The Brooklyn Rail
ROXY PAINE Farewell Transmission
June 1, 2017
In Farewell Transmission, May 2nd – July 1st, 2017, Roxy Paine’s first show with Paul Kasmin, his obsession with the accelerating turmoil of man-made entropy, otherwise known as climate change, assures his place as one of our most intelligent and sardonic sculptors of the Anthropocene. In this powerful multi-part exhibition, he takes us one step beyond the devastating effects of climate change, linking our socially destructive attempts to control people’s inner lives with the anthropogenic disruptions of the environment. Never with such force does Paine claim the personal is political is ecological.
Farewell Transmission spans two adjacent galleries in Chelsea. The first, a storefront space at 297 10th Avenue, features eight miniature Dendroids, his signature fictional tree constructions in which the natural branching structure of the tree draws together psychology, physiology, the climate, and other complex systems. Neuron Flower Tree, 2016, is an idealized representation of a neuron, with its axon as the trunk and the dendrites for the branches. Although from a completely different frame of reference, the neurological as apposed to the botanical, its morphology matches with uncanny precision the other tree sculptures in the room. Paine draws here, as he has elsewhere, a continuum of delicate dependencies between different scales in nature. After the Flood, 2016, shows a tree with an electric pole, clothing, and other detritus left behind from a surge of high water—a clear reference to the disturbances of the water cycle caused by climate change. On a more whimsical note, Mental State no. 5, 2017, and Coil (Mental State no. 4), 2017, attempt to illustrate what moods look like: perhaps the pimples and uneven bulges of no. 5 refer to irritation, while no. 4, with its teetering loops, suggests an obsessive thought turned over and over again in the mind.