There’s a shared desire between these two artists from Oceania—Brooklyn-based New Zealander Kate Newby and Melbourne-based Helen Johnson—to fracture and reconfigure the stuff of everyday life. The centerpiece of Newby’s sculptural installation, in the front room of Laurel Gitlen, is a yellow platform on which she displays clustered remakes of natural materials—coral-like forms, sticks and puddles—in materials like porcelain, silver and glaze. A rock on the platform anchors a rope strung diagonally from the ceiling, effectively mixing the aesthetic registers of tweeness and post-Minimalism. The viewer walks across the platform and through a narrow hallway to reach Johnson’s show, “The body is through.” Three canvases hanging from the ceiling depict portions of figurative images, like torn pieces of photographs, against textured white grounds. Though the statement accompanying the paintings alludes to social alienation produced by digital technologies, the pleasure of these works lies in their emphatic tactility.
Pictured: Installation view of Helen Johnson’s “The body is through”; at Laurel Gitlen, New York.