Review: Paulette Phillips and Kelly Mark at Diaz Contemporary.

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Paulette Phillips (Diaz Contemporary)

Diaz Contemporary’s current exhibition pairs the work of Paulette Phillips and Kelly Mark, two Canadian born, multimedia artists.

Paulette Phillips (Diaz Contemporary)

At first glance these two women’s individual pieces appear to be unalike in terms of both production and theory. Phillips’ video display is more conceptually driven than Mark’s representational Letraset drawings, but the work of these artists’ is rightly linked though their focus on cognitive processes. More specifically, Phillips’ ongoing project, The Directed Lie, explores the concept of judgment via the fascinating outlet of the polygraph. In 2009, Phillips became a certified lie detector and has since carried out 238 interviews with artists, writers, curators and other generally creative types on an international level. Phillips’ display combines tactile dimensions, like her presentation of official result scrolls and chrome sculptures of the test’s physiological responses, with the exhibition’s main attraction, an interactive film project. The gallery’s most intriguing experience comes from Phillips’ video experimentation in which she invites gallery-goers to scroll through a list of her examinees, enter their corresponding codes into a number board and watch a split-screen image of the interviewed subject juxtaposed against a working polygraph. In this manner, Phillip creates a unique technological portrait of the artistic community’s innermost thoughts and impulses.

Kelly Mark

Comparatively, Kelly Mark’s 33.333333, a beautifully rendered 10 panel long Letraset drawing, examines the cognitive system of aesthetic perception. In this piece, Mark produces a processional line of intricately tangled, but still familiar forms, letters, numbers, symbols, and words. These images are all densely packed into a solid black outline, which is connected through 10 identical, consecutive frames. When viewed from afar, one is reminded of an endless “machine of design”, adorned with pulls, cogs and wheels. Upon closer inspection, different elements emerge from the surface, as I found myself honing in on more easily recognizable iconography like the tiny fleurs-de-lys and Latin crosses. Here, the artist calls the significance of mark making into question, investigating the meaning symbols take on in conjunction with others.

Both The Directed Lie and 33.333333 run until March 17.

– Stella Melchiori

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