On September 22th, 2015, We attended the preview for the new exhibition: Poitr Uklanski’s ‘Collages’ at Nahmad Contemporary on Madison Avenue. Here’s what we thought.
There’s such a fascinating closeness in Poitr Uklanski’s works: they’re huge but immediate. Absolutely soaring, fantastic plays of color. They feel as though it’s just been finished, just now arranged, just now perfected. The nature of ‘collages’, an effort that came about in 2000, of course, is a series of large sheets made of Lanaquarelle. The paper is applied with matte gouache then torn and layered. Note the order of events: the collage effort comes last. You’re inclined to be doubtful this is actually the case, as the tears seem so perfectly planned in the most unusual way, as thought it just was a matter of serendipity, gleeful coincidence. The colors are warm, approachable, thrilling even, with careful use of contrast or shading.
The subjects, however, are a bit grim. With pleasure do the eyes receive the expansive “Untitled (Rocket’s Glare, Over Najaf” (2004), only for the mind to discover the reality of the scene: a rocket, an explosive, literally tearing its way across a lushly blue and green sky. Another work, “Untitled (The Day After)” (2004) is apparently a sunrise or set among the hills but the vague title keeps the viewer from truly luxuriating in the crisp, random design. This work brings one new idea to Poitr’s work: the lack of people. And with a title like “The Day After”, questions inevitably arise about the fate of humanity in Poitr’s world. The collection’s most conceptually ambitious work is visually the weakest, a yellow-dominated mushroom cloud or volcano, or perhaps something else, but it is overcomplicated, too cheery, too blended together, which seems like an impossibility by the very virtue of Uklanki’s technique of “meta-painting”, in which painting is the means rather than the end. For any other artist, this work, “Untitled (Castle Romeo)” (2015), would be regarded as the most well rounded, fully finished. For Uklanski, this is apparently an experiment gone wrong. But conceptually, Uklanksi would be inclined to agree that all of humanity could be sorted into this very hypothesis.
Poitr Uklanksi: Collages is on view at Nahmad Contemporary, 980 Madison Avenue, 3rd floor, New York, New York 10075 from September 22- October 28th, 2015.