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Emerson Dorsch featured in Artforum

March 29, 2019

By Monica Uszerowicz

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Is a ghost a disembodied entity? Or is it the palpable heaviness of a space in which time has elapsed, an energetic trace of what took place? The works in “Fragment” recall not the ephemerality of what’s lost but how it lingers.

Some of the work is hardly visible and better sensed or glimpsed, like a clipped recollection. Jenny Brillhart’s life-size shelf scene, Contrapposto, 2019, is austere and muted; the painted and photographed items it holds are captured in contours, and are too abstract to name. Yanira Collado’s Untitled/echague, 2019, a pinewood structure filled with carbon paper and ocean-blue fabric, encloses blocks of cuaba soap, a cleanser commonly used in the Dominican Republic, where Collado lived as a child. Hidden in the folds, the soap emits a fresh, woodsy scent. And there are more semblances of home: Ryan Roa’s massive sheets of roofers’ tar paper, crisply stapled together, evoke a literal house (Tar Paper Piece #7, 2017). Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova’s sculpture Ceramic, Mop, and Frame, 2019, is centered on the colloquially named Cuban mop, a T-shaped wooden tool that can be wrapped with a cloth, which the artist used growing up. There’s an impression of fragmented self-portraiture in the show, particularly in James Allister Sprang’s two 2017 prints, both titled Concrete Color Arrangement. The painterly photographs depict concrete hunks infused with thick red-and-blue pigments—their textures resemble that of skin. The images are roseate but ruminative. Absence temporizes you, stills you long enough to explore the resulting ruptures. Here, the body becomes home and monument, a vessel for ancestry and memories.

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