May 27 – June 30, 2018
Opening reception: Sunday, May 27, 2018
2:00 pm to 5:00 pm
To identify an artwork as “difficult,” confident in the belief that this word will be understood as a term of praise, not blame, is a characteristic gesture of modernist culture. Jim Starrett is a deeply committed participant in that culture, as his complex and demanding drawings at As Is attest. These small—typically measuring 8 1/2” x 11” each—densely packed artworks in ink (and sometimes graphite) on paper were executed over the course of thirty years, with a majority of the twenty six on view made during the decade of the nineteen eighties. And while they are, of course, products of their own time, the drawings refer to an even earlier set of historical events: Hitler’s Germany, the Holocaust and its attendant trauma. The imagery Starrett deploys for this purpose can be disturbing. Indeed, a related painting on view in an art museum was once defaced in an act of vandalism that was also, however misguided, an act of critical judgment. The drawings in this show are framed safely behind glass. But in what is a perhaps unexpected discovery, that same thin layer of transparent glass that protects them from us also protects, subtly but effectively, us from them.