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Laddie John Dill, Cayetano Ferrer, Michael Hunter

Kara Pickman

Cayetano Ferrer, Remnant Recomposition, 2014–15 (detail). Casino carpet and seam tape, dimensions variable

Michael Jon Gallery
January 31–March 7, 2015

At the opening of Michael Jon Gallery’s group show, someone kept turning off the lights. My wife thought this meant we should leave—but no, dimming the lights only makes for better viewing of Laddie John Dill’s celebrated untitled light work, which he first created in 1971 and has since been (laboriously) installed at the Venice Biennale, among other places. Showcased at the center of the gallery, mounds of sand and sediment house angular arrangements of glass panes that—when someone hits the lights—are softly illuminated from within by argon lighting just beneath the surface.

I imagined this heap of dirt extending far down into the earth, beneath the gallery floor, as if the glass remnants were just the very tops of buried buildings, their lights still on, but dimming under the weight. This bright lights, lost city is just a fantasy, but the carpet Dill’s work sits on top of is not—Cayetano Ferrer’s installation of casino flooring remnants is frenetic, eye-popping, and constantly tread on by visitors. Installed to fit the space precisely, the geometric pieces puzzle together in a hyper jumble that brightens the cool, dystopic nature of Dill’s work and the white-cube gallery space itself.

What’s left are the walls. Michael Hunter’s twenty-five canvases feature inexact repetitions of a single tableau, drawn (in crayon) from memory each time. The tropical scene features shadowlike forms—distended palm fronds and lush flora that vary in coloration from blacks and grays, to near monochrome, to bright, contrasting yellows ands violets. The distinctly hand-colored shading can be seen even at a distance.