It was silent in a hush

It was silent in a hush that can only come in single rooms which you cannot see the whole of from any vantage point. The lights sang like insects. It recharged that funereal overtone that had arisen when I had first scurried past in the hallway. The room was populated with freestanding white walls like the Standing Stones, in ranks like the Terra Cotta Army in Xi’an just unearthed. The way the walls stopped at an eight foot datum well below the ceiling of the room created a loosely defined space low in the room that was occupiable, in a mindset, separate from the gallery itself. I stalled out a bit from Leach at the first few drawings in from the door. The David’s Island plans were there. These old messes were the first image of Perry I had. Seeing him again here was like catching up with an old friend at the haunt where you first met, not so much by turning back the clock but by resurfacing those youthful faces in that context with the worn (or grizzled) faces of today, both maintaining the freshness of a first conversation with the long worn fitness of a flannel shirt. The inclination with Perry’s drawings is to approach them. The level of detail is microscopic and burned into the mylar with such precision that each mark, each dash in a ship’s curved hidden arabesque seems as though it might be a text inscribed on a grain of rice. These are laden objects, ‘smart objects.’ It is at that scale that specificity is communicated (but of what, no clue). Intensity is also established. Moving out, ever so slightly where marks begin to group, two things are visible: one is attention to form as a communicative vehicle, a characterizing element like a Hejduk icon, still not of an idea necessarily, but of a tone or a pose; but also a ‘skin; beneath the marks, somewhat translucent in its inconsistency such that it floats over the mylar and beneath the marks. Even moreso than the intricacy, proof enough of hunched hours, the skin, a small part the schmutz of triangles and tools and a large part the fog of construction marks, or as Perry maybe punningly alluded to in a previous exhibition, this ‘calculus’ is an index of investment, of life, and of the function of the drawing worn into it like depressions on the treads of the old marble stairs in Atlanta’s Candler Building or grey stains on door jambs where cats have drawn their arched flanks so many times, the acute stone corner of Pei’s National Gallery building polished by fascinated hands, all of which are the result of time and action, the real life of real things.

The skin/calculus speaks of a second life to the information beyond the architecture it might be the progenitor of, different than the “go wash your hands and try again” anticepticism of Richard Meier’s architectural drawings. What is that life? Does it make the drawing more than a drawing? It also speaks of a time before and during the drawing, different than intellectualized temporal constructions like Eisenman’s drawings. In fact, PK, in his drawing courses, often characterized the expectations of what of labor commitment might lay behind a drawing in hours. “This will be at the very least a one-hundred hour drawing, I expect, no less,” he would say.

Critical Response:

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