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New Yorker

Jennifer J. Lee and Joy Curtis

By Johanna Fateman

February 4, 2019

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.