The last time I saw the work and reviewed Elise Adibi was in May of 2012 at Churner and Churner in Chelsea then I met her again at the Armory Show in 2013. Time passed and it is rare for me to even follow the careers of a handful of artists but when they do come across my radar, I am always intrigued what evolution or progression of their work at the next show could be. So it was a clear draw for me to attend the second show of Elise Adibi last December 11th at Louis B. James on the Lower East Side.
Substance is really hefty for her first solo show with this gallery and it packed some visual with olfactory punch. Adibi gave her signature touch on the monochromatic paintings and on the panels there are some substances in the mix such as frankincense, myrrh, turmeric, and other rich elements. One immediately smelled the fragrance even before walking into the room and the mostly gold leafed, sallow yellows, and muted neutrals gave a serene almost Zen-like ambiance. It is very characteristic of her earlier works where the rhythms are in the minute repetitions and irregularities of the patterns on the canvas. For this series, Adibi lavishes with the application of gold leaf, stripes, layers of monochromatic compositions, and poured technique on the dozen paintings featured in this show. If her previous show was stringing a symphony then this should be cresting to an aria as this was not shy of color and bold choices.
It was a real risk to paint the floor yellow as it can be visually overwhelming which can make you hate the effect. It can be too garish or makes you feel you got jaundice. However, this very brash floor treatment was the perfect “gold” foil for the art in the room. It grounded the ostentatious feel and heady vapors that can transport you in the interiors of a golden Buddhist temple in Thailand. You are just straining for the gong to sound and bells that softly peal to carry your soul away. Finding yourself in front of the canvas could most certainly put your soul in a calm ardor but this time Adibi goes for the gold in stimulating both your eyes and your nose.
For this second encounter with Adibi, I am gob smacked by her presentation and choices. They are still very minimalist but with the maximalist impact. The color saturation and scent denoted a jump from what I saw from her last series. It can be the gravitas and chutzpah that one gains after working your craft. But it is so easy to veer off the cliff when you aim bigger as some missteps are when there is no foundation. Adibi had set the groundwork before and provided a solid base for which she can jet off ostentatiously and give us substance that is inherent in the work and what we perceive.
Minimalist opulence and an olfactory feast to delight multiple senses would be the tagline endorsement. I had a heady and strong experience with this show by Elise Adibi. It is a rare opportunity to follow the careers of certain artists. But what a golden opportunity as long as the substance is there.
Elise Adibi : Substance / On View: Dec. 11, 2014 – Jan. 17, 2015
Gallery Hours: Wed. to Sat. (11 am – 6 pm) & Sunday (12 – 6 pm)
Louis B. James. 143B Orchard Street. NYC, NY 10002
Art Review By: Oscar A. Laluyan
Photography by: Jamie Martinez
Select Art Image courtesy of the gallery