At Freight and Volume

Keltie Ferris, Rock Steady, 2008, 32" x 26", oil & enamel on canvas

Installation with Fawn Krieger (floor), Ecke, 2007, 31" x 28.75" x 7.5", wood, vinyl flooring, hardware

Tamara Zahaykevich, Trill(m), 2007, 19" x 21" x 3.5", foam board, acrylic, paper, polystyrene, wood filler, glue

Named after the British term designating the site of an accident, Accident Blackspot is a new exhibition at Freight & Volume in Chelsea, curated by Jim Lee and Rob Nadeau. The show includes the work of 13 artists who work in a variety of approaches, but all with a particular emphasis on found or common materials, and casual execution. I’d say there are really 15 artists here, since the curators, although they do not include their own works, have made the installation one of the most distinctive aspects of the show. It is really as an installation that this show operates, minimizing the focus on individual works in favor of a total dynamic environment that is comprised of a collection of interacting works. The installation actually looks like a Jim Lee show, but using other artists’ pieces in place of Jim’s, with the same sly humor and offhanded materiality laced with inescapable formal eloquence. Not that the individual works are completely sublimated – eye catching pieces include a cast resin wall piece posing as a hunk of cardboard (complete with trompe l’oeil duct tape) by Ivin Ballen, a very chunky and colorful little oil painting by Ali Smith, a Wendy White painting with volley ball, and a beautiful lively canvas by Keltie Ferris. For me one of the standout moments is an oddly shaped floor piece by Fawn Krieger installed adjacent to a tiny photograph of what appears to be a gang rape scene, making vague unsettling and intriguing relations between the image in the photo and the sculptural configuration. My favorite work in the show is an extremely funky wall piece by Tamara Zahaykevich that looks to be made of a combination of stuff from the garbage, and has a playfully self-possessed and animated presence.

If there is a common aesthetic in this show, it is somehow related to a willingness to fail, or possibly the disregard of such determinations as success or failure. But these artists are not naïve, they are truly enamored with the ephemera they employ and the randomness they bring to their well-schooled and refined sensibilities. And in this exhibition, they end up looking elegant in spite of themselves.