If video cameras are the pencils of today, British artist and Turner Prize nominee Hilary Lloyd
scribbles, cross hatches and swings her pencil with skill and gusto. Her U.S. solo debut at Artists Space
in Soho (through August 21) reveals the magical results.
The works are site-specific and the expansive installation alone evokes indulgence in a crowded, over-compartmentalized city. Lloyd's flat screen panels and custom Unicol poles slice the verticals of the space, becoming not only part of the show but also part of the images.
The desiring, voyeuristic gaze is a concern in much of Lloyd's earlier work, but here it has been refined and formalized, emerging effectively as a slightness of touch. "Thighs" is probably one of the most sensual videos ever made. The camera flirts in and out of focus, a pastel lens glare obscures the image further as the gap between two clothed legs emerges.
The show is an exercise class for the camera. By contrast, we become acutely aware that we are standing still in front of each work. Every piece apart from the central "Shirt" are a result of human movement—a pivot, a nod, a shake; sometimes images combine and escalate to a vibration. But "Shirt" emerges slowly: as if developing with chemicals, a close-up shot of the fabric is slowly revealed, the polka dots visually reflect "Moon," its hyperactive cousin off to the left.
Each work in the show is rewarding, perhaps because of the simplicity, perhaps because these are moments missed or forgotten that we can get back. Through Lloyd's adept camera movements and the strength and confidence of the structures that support these whimsical images, we are focused on the sensitivity and rhythm of looking.
The subjects become irrelevant, a skyscraper, shirt or the moon opening up to reveal the anatomy of the image and the genetics of seduction. In the heat of the moment the pencil or camera disappears, we are no longer looking at videos or even complete images, and it is only that moment that matters.
(Installation view from Hilary Lloyd courtesy Artists Space, 2011. Photo: Daniel Pérez)