The works in “Blind enough to see,” Puerto Rican-born Ivelisse Jimenez’s solo debut at Diana Lowenstein, explore the notion of empty space and our ideas of how this space might be filled, both psychologically and visually. Like most painters, Jimenez regards the blank white canvas as being full of possibility. With the two-dimensional as her base camp, she ventures out to investigate various permutations of abstraction. The results are visually buoyant meditations on perception and the nature of illusion. Jimenez also challenges traditional ideas of beauty by using worn, bedraggled materials such as tape and plastic, so that what we were indifferent to before suddenly turns seductive.
The show consisted of 10 works, which fell into three categories: traditional painting on canvas; amalgams of juxtaposed canvases that wrapped around the gallery’s walls; and “ensamblages,” objectlike mixed-medium pieces of painted and superimposed plastic, tape and acetate. With these layered materials the artist partially obscures visual access to underlying elements; depending on where one stands, different parts of the work are revealed. Blind Enough #2 (2010) appears utilitarian, more like a trippy shower curtain than an abstract painting; it’s at once playful, ungainly and texturally appealing. Its loopy, layered grids look like electrical circuitry gone awry, with meandering orange threads of thick plasticky paint escaping into space as if to declare their emancipation from the confines of painting. Blind Enough #6 (2010) is composed almost entirely of layered plastic, adding a structural element to an otherwise flat surface. Jessica Stockholder’s sculptural constructions come to mind, as do Joanne Greenbaum’s doodley canvases and Franklin Evans’s sprawling, maniacal installations. Jimenez similarly seeks to expand the definition of what a painting can do and how the genre can be reinvigorated. As well trod as this territory may seem, her idiosyncratic inventiveness keeps it fresh.
Photo: Ivelisse Jimenez: Blind Enough #2, 2010, mixed mediums, 64 by 45 inches; at Diana Lowenstein.