Wow, I am impressed by Austin Thomas’s show. It is badass. I’ve always liked her Lower Eastside gallery Pocket Utopia, and I have seen her work here and there, but this is the first time I’ve seen a bunch of it together. Unsurprisingly, it’s not unlike what she curates, as if Pocket Utopia is an extended artist talk about her process. I guess what hit me is that I like her work better than anything that she has shown. If you’re unfamiliar with the work, it all seems to be tied into physical books in a very loose way. She seems to work exclusively on faded paper in a style that makes you suspect her studio smells like mildewing library books or the old basement at the Strand. I guess, I suspect her work to be sculptures / collages made from torn books, or small work that felt like it was culled from a box of childhood belongings, that might lead one to believe they were a hell of a progeny. But what I found most surprising was the diversity, from a nice still life of a three-dimensional triangle that I think is the slip case from a hardcover book or the flower photogram that I am just assuming came from being pressed under a Thomas Pynchon novel to the large black and white cube sculpture in the center of the room, which is surprisingly blunt and assertive compared to the rest of the more humbly scaled pieces. So what I am saying is Austin Thomas is damn good and should certainly be having work out in the world more.
Through Mar. 15th