Erin Paradis: Impetus of Entanglement

Review by Christina Schmid

Hair + Nails Gallery
Sept 15–Oct 19, 2019

Lines promise clarity. From timelines to grids of latitude and longitude, lines keep us organized and oriented. Horizon lines contour our world. Flight lines lend it depth and perspective. We think along lines, toe the proverbial line, draw the line when we reach our limit, or step off the sidewalk to follow unruly desire lines. Erin Paradis compromises such clarity: three-dimensional, the clay lines she draws in space curl into knots, squiggle in wall-hung fabric; flattened, they are magnified, textured, sharp-edged, handdrawn on walls, or simply the result of gravity’s pull on a pair of strings that sags, like a power line in the distance.

Rather than a collection of individual works, this show is best seen as an entanglement of shapes with spaces, meandering lines of inquiry that entwine and sprout offshoots. The work inhabits and thus transforms the surrounding space. Shapes shift and morph, offering moments of déjà vu. Three smooth ceramic sculptures sit on colorful cushions atop pedestals. Titled White Tangle, Gray Knot, and Pink Cluster, their lines loop and almost but never quite touch. The effect conjures a strange intimacy held by each object, an interiority partially obscured by their elegant twists. The suspended Oh I See, loosely based on a drawing of Gray Knot, flattens the anterior shape into an uncanny, ancient-looking icon. A concrete shelf holds a series of smaller biomorphic bundles. They bear the marks of the artist’s hands, a history of touch and exploration. Paradis’ formal exploration continues in the basement with a hanging fabric sculpture and a mischief of standing sculptures that scurry behind the furnace, an oddly furtive, leggy bunch.

“Impetus of Entanglement” is a playful study in material metamorphosis rooted in an intimate attunement of body to surrounding, holding, space: maybe we are never separate to begin with. What indeed might straight lines obscure and tangles reveal?