What with the piles of shoddy painting clogging many art venues these days, it is a relief to see Darren Waterston’s current exhibit at Inman Gallery. It’s one of those rare instances when one needn’t wonder whether it’s oneself, or all those other people, who have got their heads so far up their asses that they wouldn’t know good art if it came up and licked them. Waterston’s installation is somber yet playful, crowded yet spare, dripping with import yet insubstantial. It’s also beautifully executed. Indeed, if you are prone to nit-picking, Waterston has really left no nits lying about to pick — unless, of course, you cotton to shoddy painting.
There’s something here for everyone: clutterbugs and devotees of small, precious works on paper will enjoy Waterston’s crowded salon hanging of framed and unframed works along one wall, interspersed with objets from his studio.
Design-y minimalists of the Calvin Klein mold will appreciate the other end of the gallery, which is sparsely hung with three monochromatic large paintings on panel.
Finally, for the oddballs and lovers thereof: a plinth down the middle with four sculptures that look like sea creatures dipped in tar. (Obvious reference to current ghastly environmental disaster apparently unintended.)
They painted the walls a warm gray, which adds to the cozy wunderkammer feel. Speaking of which, the show evokes the Menil Collection at its most intimate and strange. And that’s never a bad thing.
“Darren Waterston: Anatomies” is on view at Inman Gallery May 8 – June 19, 2010.