The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2016

All Issues
JUL-AUG 2016 Issue


On View
Casey Kaplan
May 3 – June 18, 2016
New York

Several and specific typologies. They evoke Babylonian clay tablets
That desire to relinquish their planes’ subtle textures.
Here, taunted pigments protest borders
Like perpendicular bisectors
Refusing to surrender to either “terminal” or “absolute” form.
There, the negotiation between drawing the void and the edges of
Sacred geometry is a constant condition, as I was told.

High above the plane figures, supple strings
Threaten to collaborate with tangent lines
But they never do.
While claiming a new formation in new frontiers
Some recall their discrete, constant metaphysical nature.
Others offer traces of their previous lives intermittently.

Lustrous, solid iodine disguised as foliated masses of graphite black.
Semi-gloss of morning sky is blue in accord with white satin.
Thermal equilibrium cools and overcomes endless friction:
Fastened in particular instances with firm conviction,
Elsewhere gravity dictates in moments of clarity.
Blotting, daubing,
Rising levels of condensation reach
The prefect climax before the first day of the summer.
Relax your acidic overflow,
Pepto-Bismol pink lessens moisture of pain
From both sides.

A young woman in her mid-twenties whispers to my left ear,
The bright light from the ground erases her field of vision.
I said it’s the light that gesticulates with radiant speed migrating
Between Ryman’s domain of white and Sugimoto’s calm sea.
We laughed for two seconds before her iPhone rang
And ended the romance.

I am alone again on my own.
Everything comes in my associations:
Vitruvius living in harmony with Earth,
Castel del Monte in the Apulia region, built in the 13th century,
By Frederick II the Holy Roman Emperor, where I once went
Twenty-eight years ago. I wonder if the Rothko Chapel was reconfigured
After the citadel’s octagonal prism?
Many tiny islands appear like dissipated clouds
Hovering above invisible relics in old churches.
Tactility calls forth old memories,
Religious shrines with absent angels,
Looking as touching. Touching as seeing.
Either way, she looks intently at her objects
As if she touches them with the same tender, monastic discipline.


N. Dash, Untitled, 2016. Adobe, oil, pigment, acrylic, gesso, string, linen, jute, wood support. 84 × 96 1/2 × 1 1/2 inches. Photo: Jean Vong. Courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York.



Phong Bui

Phong H. Bui is the Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUL-AUG 2016

All Issues