In this plague era, who among us hasn't felt our lives grow smaller, as the objects of our surroundings loom large? Mathew Cerletty's latest solo show at Karma, titled "This," meditates on the banal and the particular—this bag of groceries, this velvet ottoman, this rubber duck—and the ways we imbue the non-precious with sentimental meaning.
The nine drawings on view are skilled and smooth—nearly photorealistic but for the slightly flattened plane of his depictions and the inevitable grain of the colored pencil against cold-pressed paper. A slight uncanniness manifests dreamily across the compositions, with these objects positioned over soothing pastel backgrounds like in stock photos or vintage ads. A luscious green ottoman is juxtaposed over a prime teal shade; a set of perfectly symmetrical pelvic bones appears over a creamy yellow hue. Elsewhere, a rubber duck with wide blank eyes returns the favor of the exhibition title with its own: You're the One (2021) [pictured].
Mathew Cerletty, You're the One, 2020. Colored pencil on paper, 25 × 20 1⁄4 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Karma, New York.