Time Out New York / May 13–19, 2010

Gardar Eide Einarsson

On the evidence of this markedly restrained exhibition, Gardar Eide Einarsson has been taking notes from gallery stablemate Banks Violette. Lately, both artists seem to have tired somewhat of the bad-boy themes with which they made their names, deciding instead to emphasize the formal and art-historical aspects of their respective oeuvres.

With “Another Modern Moment Completed,” the young Norwegian ditches the explicit references to revolutionary politics and outlaw shenanigans that have peppered his output to date, in favor of a studied postmodernist reflection on the construction, reading and reproduction of images. It’s a worthy enterprise, and one to which Einarsson’s stark, black-and-white style of painting contributes a diagrammatic clarity. Still, one can’t help missing the snarling attitude and subcultural preoccupations that enlivened so much of his earlier work.

The canvases here picture a range of found bits and pieces that pointedly appear to be lacking any such associations. Rather, the flag and napkin designs, book-cover fragment, chain link fence and comic-book image that Einarsson targets as source material for this arid new suite seem to have been selected primarily for their simple—hence malleable—graphic qualities.

Rendering the designs on identically sized panels, then distinguishing each with an arbitrary change, the artist presents a kind of schematic guide to the pleasures and pitfalls of appropriation. The gallery statement makes much of the paintings’ superficial—perhaps mocking—resemblance to various greatest hits of abstraction, but even a skeptical tone doesn’t prevent them from seeming, ironically, rather academic.

Image: Gardar Eide Einarsson, Crest, 2010