Adriana Varejão at Lehmann Maupin
BY RAUL ZAMUDIO
In Adriana Varejão’s second New York solo show, the artist expanded her signature style and themes into subtle, but no less complex directions, while maintaining the visual poetics and conceptual impulse of her earlier work. The pieces presented under the rubric of "Saunas" were the monumental Folds, a painting split open to display its ‘viscera’; the "Jerked-beef ruin" series consisting of vertical floor pieces with similar corporeal allusions; and four paintings of architectural interiors individually titled Sauna.
Although references to colonialism remain in her work, Varejão has converged this theme with theoretical issues around painting and sculpture: the latter is reconfigured into the former in a painting that seems to explode from pictoral space beyond the frame. Her sculptural work equally subverts historical artistic models; for it undermines sculpture’s status as a three-dimensional object via placement of some works on the wall, or in a move of self-irony it is parallel to the wall as conventional freestanding sculpture or laid flat on the ground à la Carl Andre. The grids that constitute some of her paintings not only recall their use in modernist aesthetics, but, if you’ll pardon the expression, new meaning is fleshed out of them when they are anchored in a colonial context of flesh and blood.