Otto Dix / Andra Ursuţa
Works on Paper
The ambitious inaugural exhibition at Egan and Rosen—a joint venture of Mike Egan and Meredith Rosen—juxtaposes contemporary drawings from Andra Ursuţa’s “Man From The Internet” series with the Weimar-era wartime sketches by Otto Dix, made nearly a century earlier. Dix’s drawings of women are typically gentle depictions—more so for their lack of grandiosity. A figure has pillowy, uneven breasts in Alma II (1921), for instance, and obtrusive features set in a dead-on bust-length composition in Anna, Half-Nude, Facing Front (1920). Dix’s landscapes, meanwhile, explode the form. Grenade Crater in a House (1916) is zig-zagged and frenetic, barely contained in its square frame, the jagged strokes themselves echoing the destruction they depict.
The Romanian-born Ursuţa combines the same subjects—people, landscapes, devastation—in a markedly contemporary manner. In these drawings, the artist retraces the same subject over and over, the way an inkjet printer layers colors to form an image. Here, however, each attempt seems to paradoxically uncover or lessen clarity, increase ambiguity, or even obscure information in the pixelated source image: allegedly one of a Chechen corpse. Encased in understatedly bejeweled frames, the drawings are rendered in a vortex of careful, fur-like pen strokes. In Man From the Internet 65 (2016), the rose-colored folds and crevices in the rocks and roots echo or even temporarily resolve into the dimple of a chin, the cleft of a cheek; in others, there is no resolution at all.
Andra Ursuţa, Man from the Internet 73, 2016. Ink on paper, hand cast polyurethane and dirt frame, 17 x 21 x 1 1/2 inches. Courtesy Egan and Rosen, New York.