The Law of Entropy described in 1862 by Rudolf Clausius postulated conditions that increased disintegration or plainly put, the mitigating conditions that changes order into disorder. (i.e., ice melting in a warm room) – Everyday we live in the ever prescient law of Entropy around us best termed as chaotic parts of our lives. Magnolia Laurie presented her current series of works based on this unrelenting fact of life with “what could hold us together” at frosch & portmann.
Her title was derived from a line in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. The Baltimore, Maryland based artist created her artworks in the show with the aim of reflective introspection of what unseen forces or matter that hold us back from falling into pieces. For her paintings on wood panel, Laurie composed collages as a jumping board for the manmade structures that inhabit the desolate abstract landscapes. In We all Can Adjust to Inhabiting the Accident (2012) a ramshackle assembly of forms like it was flattened by a storm or at the brink of falling apart sits placidly in what could be a melting glacier or some treacherous Icelandic tundra. The overall impression leaves you to think who made this structure in the middle of nowhere yet the defiant form still holds its own amidst the violent environment. The push-pull dynamics Laurie injects into the oeuvre balances chaos personified with resolute assurance. Besides the poignant paintings of entropy, there were some assemblages installed at both sides of the gallery. Composed of found objects from the artist’s home like an antique Croquet set and stereo casing from the 1970s, the quotidian objects of comfortable existence is a frail attempt of domestic civility which at a turn of a dime by the savage force of disorder can totally turn it upside down. The sculptures are precariously composed and affixed that you have to approach it carefully for fear of a domino effect that if you topple or displace one item that it could all fall apart.
Laurie gives good play and a clear platform of how chaos and disorder are integral parts of our daily life. We constantly fight against these forces, which often results into futile defeat. Yet, in the aftermath one is left to contemplate, what was it all about anyway? There is so much effort and planning that it is no match to the laws of nature and this world will always be in the state of entropy. It is best as the cliché goes, “To go with the flow” in which the plausible images and structures that Laurie presented are quite reassuring that it’s the best medicine while standing amidst in our self-made debris.
Magnolia Laurie: what could hold us together / On View: Sept. 5 – Oct. 21, 2012
Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, noon – 6pm
frosch & portmann. 53 Stanton Street. New York, NY 10002
art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
images from frosch & portmann courtesy of the artist, Magnolia Laurie
event photos by Deukyun Hwang