Landlord White

, 2008

Gregory Lind Gallery

San Francisco, California

Gregory Lind Gallery is pleased to present Landlord White, an exhibition of painted relief sculpture, photographs, and prints by New York artist Sarah Bostwick. Titles like Post No Bills Blue, Black Stair, and Landlord White describe the important role that color plays in this minimal but brightly painted body of work.

 

Mounted high on the gallery’s far wall, Bostwick’s site-specific sculpture, San Francisco Pink and Green, depicts a set of physically mirrored wooden fire escapes painted in the emblematic pastels of Bay Area row houses. Her construction captures the gallery’s clerestory natural light to reveal a form that skips over the function of a staircase to instead capture the myriad of different shades within the limits of two paint colors, as determined by the interplay of light with the various planes and angles of a three-dimensional structure. The two-foot-deep relief mimics the effect of sunlight hitting an existing light well at a friend’s residence in the Richmond district.

 

Playing with the idea of predetermined architectural tropes and how individuals work within these sets of zoning laws and cultural norms, Landlord White refers to the neutral color all apartments return to after each tenant vacates. It is the ultimate in chromatic reduction: the natural state to which everything returns within certain sectors of the rental market. While much of Bostwick’s work focuses on the complex systems-based interplay between humans, time, and physical space, Landlord White wryly comments on the almost magisterial decree that Navajo White and Swiss Coffee be declared the official shades of chromatic neutrality. The reference to larger systems in this case is confined to the imagined accumulation of decisions that led to these conventions in the first place.

 

Bostwick’s Post No Bills Blue isolates just the skin of royal blue painted plywood that covers the scaffolding at a midtown Manhattan construction site. The color has been decided by the city, but how it has been interpreted and applied varies widely, creating a temporary monochromatic intervention into the rigidly coded language of urban architecture. There is some irony in the text’s imperative to leave this false front clutter-free, and these themes are further explicated by the artist’s execution of subtle visual puns and trompe l’oeil detours within the work itself. At first glance, Bostwick’s painted relief depicts a geometric drawing of a building, but upon further inspection, it becomes clear that it is a depiction of the vibrant shell of a parasitic structure attached to the host building behind it. The relief plays deftly with the recurring themes of the show, referencing the rich intermediate territories that exist quietly between the surface of a thing and what lies beneath.