Justine Frischmann employs the Low-Fi materials of a suburban hardware store to dig through the ash and rubble of Modernism. Her methodical self‐canceling is depicted with vandalism, improvised geometrical methods, and defacements in masking tape and aerosol paint. An austere and unnatural color palette of black, white, neon green and salmon, alternately erases and reveals semi-navigable architectural plans and exploding constructions of never-to-be-built-buildings.
These psychic floor plans and gestural meditations seem to refer to her childhood home, her father’s fascination with the mathematics of skyscrapers, and a family history erased by the holocaust. By repeatedly summoning and then rejecting the values inherited from high and post-modernism, Frischmann arrives at the image’s lack of integrity as suitable criteria for judging value or truth in our time. Her work reveals a basic mistrust of materialism and celebrates impermanence with its use of non-archival materials and throw-away gestures. Falling, fading, copying and stealing, challenge painting’s historical contract with authorship and permanence.
Like hers, our own history is a series of layered erasures. We forget our present is the combined result of harrowing atrocity, large-scale cons, and transcendent accomplishments fueled by desperation. As we confront the work in this show, we arrive in our Post-Image age, bleary-eyed and burned out by the commercial glut of after-image reproductions. In their deliberate incompetence and casual “failure”, these works are like the boarded up shop windows and Gone-Out-of-Business signs all around us which very well might mark the point of entry to transcendence and divinity. The failures of reason that haunt the Modernist experiment can help us find our way to a humble logic of everyday beauty.
If the dumb and desperate graffiti of Frischmann’s paintings could speak, it might say, Modernism Was Here and Consciousness Is Right Here, Right Now.
- Marian St. Laurent