New Yorker

Jennifer J. Lee and Joy Curtis

By Johanna Fateman

February 4, 2019

Jennifer J. Lee / Joy Curtis

Two engaging solo exhibitions contrast in medium and in mood. Lee’s small canvases, collectively titled “Day Trip,” are realistic oil renderings of tourist attractions (Niagara Falls, a vertical garden) and Instagram’s minor revelations (the infinity-mirror effect in a restroom, stacks of tessellating plastic chairs). The paintings are executed on coarsely woven jute, which thwarts any attempt at crisp precision. The lovely, fuzzy results evoke blurry photos, low-res files, or simply a stoned softening of perception. In an adjacent room, four sculptures by Curtis hang against a wall, at once skeletons and costumes. Each has a rib-cage-like armature of steel inside a sewn and frayed fabric casing, which extends downward, like a rope ladder, onto the floor. Their visceral heft is achieved by hand-dyeing cotton duck with madder root and indigo: materials associated with the African slave trade, used here to suggest bodies.