In two exhibitions on the Bowery â€“ one ending tomorrow and the other continuing through May 2 â€“ painters with sensibilities carried over from drafting and drawing imagine diametrically opposed expressionist spaces. By repurposing mundane buildings, seeing abandoned structures as if through a kaleidoscope and creating new spatial forms, Kinke Kooi and William Swanson reconfigure our visions of architecture.
In Kooiâ€™s exhibition Let Me Comfort You at Feature Inc, intricate structures rendered in granite seem to billow out over her acrylic backdrops. Whether in the minute details of cocoon-shaped crochet domes, or the playful recuperations of legs, lines and wigs added to lonely buildings, Kooi presents these new architectures as intimate, nurturing, textured and sexual spaces. Though the Ducth artist claims a tenuous relationship with feminism, thereâ€™s something distinctly third-wave to her adaptation of imagery taken from knitting and beauty shops and applied to the creation of new, optimistic spaces.
Swansonâ€™s forms donâ€™t share Kooiâ€™s optimism, but his exhibition Architectonic at DCKT also offers a certain pleasure in the total delirium of forms and colors. Fusing the last 20 yearsâ€™ fondness for abandoned spaces and graffiti, and the time-based distortions of Futurism â€“ where a shape seems to be moving so fast that it overtakes itself â€“ his dilapidated spaces are brimming with colorful forces. Each painting presents a different vision of architectural decomposition: spaces crumble into cracked tiles, others crash into their reflections, while some explode in fractal clouds of monochrome.
Swansonâ€™s grand neon visions â€“ something akin to Michael Bayâ€™s special effect fantasies of dizzying annihilation â€“ are extremely pleasurable from a distance. However, their delight in disaster offers a familiar spectacular cynicism thatâ€™s become all too trendy and facile. Kooi, meanwhile, takes a refreshingly minute approach and subverts the scene by crafting intimate rooms for private utopias.