“You Should Stop Editing”

Pub date October 2, 2007
SectionArts & CultureSectionVisual Art

REVIEW I should stop editing? Well, an unedited issue of the Guardian has sprung to my wild or tired mind more than once, whether it be rated X or composed entirely of photocopied press releases. In the case of Ema Harris-Sintamarian’s show at Jack Fischer Gallery, the phrase "You Should Stop Editing" might function as a creative credo — one that allows the artist to range freely within works and between mediums. To put it bluntly, what the exhibit lacks in posturing, it more than makes up for in intricate intensity. These metalandscapes of ink and gouache on velum bloom from a technique that verges on digital design or ancient lithograph in its exactitude yet maintains a hand-drawn, idiosyncratic charm.

Nostalgia and science-fiction dystopia tangle and tango in idiosyncratic ways within Harris-Sintamarian’s mazes, grids, and matrices. Upside Down: The Story of Air suggests the skeleton of a spacecraft — and are those construction workers suspended above a roller coaster made of city halls? Elsewhere the cellular and the architectural entwine, sometimes in disturbing, dead-end fashion. Spaghetti, intestines, musculature, bridges, canoes, eggbeaters, machine guns, movie projectors, vaulted hallways, and decorated ceilings ricochet elastically through time and space. At times, as in Lullaby on C, the carefully open-ended result suggests a page from a sophisticated coloring book before its spaces have been completely filled. Gertrude Stein seems to peek from the background of one piece, and Eugène Delacroix is invoked in another, but for the most part the artist’s cosmology is her own. As she has hinted in statements about her work, she’s remaking Alice or trying to find her in the wicked wonderlands of a life that has spanned from Romanian Communism to Californian capitalism. Just as filmmakers such as Cristi Puiu herald a new wave of Romanian cinema, Harris-Sintamarian shows that acute dreaming can be born abroad.

YOU SHOULD STOP EDITING Through Oct. 25. Tues.–Sat., 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Jack Fischer Gallery, 49 Geary, SF. (415) 956-1178, www.jackfischergallery.com