Real Fine Arts is pleased to present the first New York solo show by Whitney Claflin, Nothing to Blame But Gemini.
The exhibition features a group of paintings and posters hung in tandem. With an agility and why-not experimentation, these abstractions pair processes of piling up and emptying out. Claflin’s paintings are sized like personal objects, and bear traces of a bold and nervous hand. Their surfaces veer from accidental, even junky, to deliberate and practiced, often within a few inches. Their serial smallness, spectral invocation of bigness, and jagged, process-y exhibitionism leads away from parody or private homage and towards a tactile sense of broadening. A spectrum of presence balances the artist’s cognitive remove with immediate, textural gratifications.
Claflin’s posters, on the other hand, obscure their own efforts. In these, Claflin performs the ritual in reverse, photographing and cropping her compositions from larger fields of abstract, art-ish patterning. Taking from generic décor whose referent is painterly abstraction, and then returning it to the form of décor (a reproducible poster) in the presence of painterly abstraction, Claflin creates an uncanny mirroring. The narrow space between single and multiple, suggested in the paintings, becomes tighter in the presence of the posters.
These two bodies of work, seen at once, present the viewer with an equation in which neither side is determinate, and the only fixed point is their material equivalence. As sites for grappling with abstract possibilities, these are playgrounds for painterly and linguistic choices.
-Greg Parma Smith & Annie Ochmanek
Whitney Claflin has previously participated in The Open, a survey of emerging art, at Deitch Projects, Long Island City, and Space Is A Place at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. She graduated with an MFA from Yale University in 2009.