Jill Levine + Colin Thomson | Can U Dig It?
February 8 - March 18, 2018
HIGH NOON is proud to present Can U Dig It?, a two-person exhibition of new works by Jill Levine and Colin Thomson. Longtime friends and former roommates during their postgraduate studies at Yale in 1977 (the two have been living and working in New York, developing their respective and complimentary vocabularies in various media, excavating layers of multi-cultural influences by combining sculptural, architectural, graphic, and painterly elements.
Taken together, the works in Can U Dig It? present a playful, plush cohesion of linear tactility that hook into your cerebrum and pull you through an archeological labyrinth. Throughout various types of works presented--- wall sculpture, paintings, and works on paper--- the duo manage to create a landscape of artifacts and architectural blueprints from the relics of an alien desert planet, or the excavation of a future-Tokyo filled with mummified Pokemon. The pairing is fun and visually spontaneous but the formal qualities of the work demand that it be taken seriously.
Jill Levine has spent the better part of two decades primarily focused on combining painting and sculpture. Her practice has taken her all over rural parts of Latin America, where she has been inspired by Pre-Columbian art, at first transmitting imagery borrowed directly from codices or cylindar seals onto sculptures whose skeletal structure is a combination of styrofoam, plaster dipped gauze, and modeling compound, creating a cubist-like scenario in which the pictoral and sculptural space fight one another. In recent years, however, the sculptures have taken on a totemic quality, with a simpiler, more minimalist way of augmenting the formal/pictoral relationship. Additionally, the images are no longer replicated and come from Levine’s own mind, a vocabulary she’s developed over years of sourcing material. As a result, the works seen collectively have a common tribal element, and simultaneously a retro and futuristic vibe; maybe a rock band that Felix the Cat would enjoy.
Colin Thomson is similarly interested in the push and pull of sculptural versus graphic forms, albeit on canvas. From his neutral ground of subtly shifting tones and temperatures emerges a metropolis of lines and shapes that shift between their linear and three dimensional painterly qualities depending on the distance of the viewer. Layers overlap, merge, and deconstruct as the eye travels along the tunnels and tributaries. Thomson’s process, as well as his palette are intuitional, consecutively burying and unearthing various colors and linear structures, using sheets of mylar to map out possible overlaps and interruptions of the graphic qualities. The final result is a matter of problem solving color and spacial relationships finished off with a strong linear anatomy, like the x-ray of a city built upon ancient ruins.
Jill Levine is a native New Yorker and received her BA from Queens college and her MFA from Yale, including a semester at the Royal College of Art in London. She is the recipient of both a Guggenheim and NYFA Fellowship, and her work is included in prominent collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Dorothy and Herbert Voel collection at the National Gallery of Art in D.C., and Art in Embassies collection in Mumbai. Colin Thomson was born in London, England and moved to New York in 1955. He attended Lake Forest College for his BA with continuing education at the New York Studio School, Skowhegen school of art, and graduated Yale with his MFA. He was the recpient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and prominent collections include the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Centro Culturale, Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City, Chase Manhattan Bank, Grey Art Gallery at NYU, M&T Bank, National Madison Group, the Weatherspoon Art Museum, and Wilkie, Farr, & Gallagher.