Comments/Context: Max Warsh's photographic collages break down images of architectural ornamentation into studies of flat, all-over pattern, transforming them into jagged shards of geometric wallpaper that are fit together with interlocking precision. Combined with painted areas of more organic empty space, the works use contrasts of implied texture and scale to create abstract compositions full of swirling, shifting movement. They're fresh and energetic, with repeated visual motifs chasing themselves across the picture plane.
Warsh's photographic raw material is the stuff of building decoration: stucco walls, painted breeze blocks, arcs of terracotta tiles, billows of carved vegetation, and squares and triangles of concrete piled into perforated barriers and patterned fences. His pictures bring out the inherent order and repetition of such structures, and when scissored together, they become swatches of fabric in stark white or pastel salmon pink, mixed and layered into busy combinations. In between areas of black, brown or grey negative space give the eye a break from the frenetic geometries, slowing the jittering down to a more manageable pace and making the contrasts less intense. The result is a set of systematic abstractions that are well balanced, that draw the eye around the compositions following the transitions in texture.
These works feel like the beginning point for a line of artistic thinking that will inevitably get more complex and sculptural; as the panels multiply, the works will likely move from closed and intimate to more open ended and iterative, allowing the patterns more freedom to roam. Warsh's vertical zip conveyor belt readymades imply further extensions of texture and materials, broadening the scope far beyond the normal boundaries of simple photographic collage.
Collector's POV: The works in this show are priced as follows. The smaller 25x21 collages are $2400 each, while the larger 49x41 collage is $8800. Warsh's work has not yet reached the secondary markets, so gallery retail is likely the best/only option for those collectors interested in following up.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
100A Forsyth Street
New York, NY 10002