WENDY WHITE, SCOOTER LAFORGE, HOWARD FONDA & B.D GRAFT For Calder (In Motion) December 9th – January 22nd, 2022 Launch F18 373 Broadway, New York
Paintings by Wendy White, Scooter LaForge, Howard Fonda and B.D Graft rotated throughout For Calder (In Motion), Launch F18’s final show of the year. Borrowing from Alexander Calder’s great kinetic sculptures, the show’s revolving installation method aimed to highlight each painting’s mobile playfulness and capture the movement and unpredictability of its audience’s ever shifting perspective. During a gallery visit to speak to Sam Trioli and Marissa Graziano, paintings by Howard Fonda and Scooter LaForge were installed as part of For Calder (In Motion)’s final hang.
In Untitled (another secret) by Howard Fonda,four focal figures gaze upon their reflection from a canoe they are determinedly paddling. The hopefulness that could potentially resonate from the figure’s swampy and riverish transit is quickly sullied by the appearance of an enveloping skull shape that dominates the pictorial space.
Two spiral patterns forming the words ‘another’ and ‘secret’, seen in the middle of the canvas, stop blending into the surrounding leaves and bushes, and begin to operate as the skull’s two eye sockets instead. Similarly, below the painting’s succulent fauna, the canoe appears in place of the skull’s jaw. The artist has used oil paint and colored pencils to disguise sinister details with such deceptiveness that for a first-time viewer, they could go entirely unnoticed.
In a similarly ominous work, Scooter LaForge illustrates the messages found within the ancient phrase ‘As Above So Below’, which also inspired the painting’s title. Through a Hermetic lens, the artist’s interpretation follows the assumption that whatever happens on earth is reflected back in the astral plane.
Painted in the center of the canvas is the youngest of the Seven Drawfs, Dopey (named after his high level of incompetence and penchant for silly antics). His head and body are cropped and he is completely submerged in a thick cigarette and cigar smoke. Dopey’s bout of blatant substance abuse represents an experience which could take place on earth, suggesting its inevitable reflection in the black, red and white dotted background that fills the painting’s edges. Unlike the cropped limitations of Dopey’s antics below, this galactic looking mass, perhaps depicting LaForge’s ‘astral plane’, contrastingly suggests a level of daunting susceptibility and infinite possibility for the above.
Although it wasn’t clear how Calder’s mobile sculptures related to the paintings in the show specifically, a myriad of new perspectives were revealed throughout the show’s revolving installation method. For Calder (In Motion)’s intentions allowed an elusiveness to appear over time, particularly in paintings Untitled (another secret) by Howard Fonda and As Above So Below by Scooter LaForge.
For Calder (In Motion) ran from December 9th 2021- January 22, 2022.
Launch F18 Gallery is currently showcasing Be a Body, (group show) curated by Tchotchke Gallery that runs until February 26, 2022.
Clare Gemima studied Fine Arts and graduated from Whitecliffe College of Arts in Design in 2017. She currently spends her time between making work in the studio and writing a weekly arts column in New York-based publication, EVGrieve.