SPLIT THE LARK
DC Moore Gallery, New York, NY
November 6 – December 20, 2014
A solo exhibition of new paintings and architectural forms by Darren Waterston. This body of work looks to the improbable images and the charged warning of an Emily Dickinson poem to explore the mystery of interiority and the boundaries we violate to satisfy our desire to know. A catalogue with an essay by Jacques Khalip accompanies the exhibition.
By turns beautiful, unsettling, and spare, Waterston’s work melds unlikely color and elusory subject matter. The abstracted imagery shades back and forth between the physical and the ephemeral, evoking wounds seeping into the landscape, or spiraling wings slicing through luminous skies. Jacques Khalip writes in his essay, “How to paint suffering, passion, or bliss? What figures and shapes emerge out of energies that do not belong to us? Such concerns come with pleasures that allow us to love what is inaccessible, and to feel deeply what is not of this world at all.”
The sculptural panels exhibited in Split the Lark deconstruct the forms of ecclesiastical objects such as confessional partitions and devotional objects, especially Matthias Grünewald’s 16th century Isenheim Altarpiece. Created for the monastic chapel of the Hospital of St. Anthony, this canonical work reveals both acute suffering and ecstatic salvation through its movable components. Waterston’s large-format Triptych (Twilight) is based on this polyptych structure. Its hinged side panels are flayed open, inviting close examination. Other freestanding or leaning panels assert their physicality while prompting viewers to probe recesses and shadows, looking beyond the surface. This immersive quality echoes Waterston’s site-responsive installations, particularly his subversive reimagining of James McNeill Whistler’s Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, currently on view at MASS MoCA.