Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Critique of Nora Kostow's Work, Untitled, 2011

Miranda Robert

Nora Kostow's piece, Untitled, 2011 explores the concept of fracture. The work is placed on a white podium in the center, suggesting that the context of the room may not matter. There is no play between the piece and the room. In terms of material, there are multiple layers of thick, white paper stacked neatly in two stacks. These two layers depend on each other for support and balance. There is also balance of color, since the surface on which the work is placed is white, as well as the pieces of paper themselves. There is texture created by the tearing of paper, which appears to have been a slow and tedious process. Each fiber is visible and creates a almost a soft edge, although it is disorderly at the micro level. The tears themselves are straight lines, on the top side of the paper, perpendicular to the other sides of the rectangular shaped paper. The lines produce a linear network of hatching because of all the parallel straight lines throughout the work. All of the sheets of paper are the same shape, but towards the center of the piece, they increase in height only. This moves the eye upward and back and forth along the torn edges. The piece creates tension between the two stacks because they lean on each other and the viewer may worry it might fall over. This piece is unified because all of the elements (each piece of paper) belongs. They are in very close proximity to each other within each stack, suggesting more stability than the piece gives overall, because it looks unbalanced from a distance. Space and negative space is utilized and there is a play between the two. The two stacks lean against each other, but produce a small, rectangular space in the middle, which can suggest containment. However, I think it is more for the movement of the eye, rather than containment, because the space is open in the front and the back. There is a lot of movement in this piece, which I noticed because my eyes followed the lines up the side of the piece and along each torn piece of paper and to the other stack.

This piece explores fracture of paper. This is shown to be tedious and slow, but beautiful and soft. The nature of paper is to be written on or to be folded, so I think the careful tearing of the pages was an interesting way to explore fracture of this material. The piece is very simple from afar, but complex as the viewer looks at each torn piece of paper and all of the fibers which produce a line. Could this piece be an exploration of the destruction of nature--as paper is made from trees? Could it be a commentary on judgment of a work without paying attention to the detail? Is the viewer supposed to pay more attention to the tension of the precarious balancing act of the two stacks or the small fibers in each torn layer of paper?

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