4 from 3 dancers
Blum & Poe
September 12 – October 24, 2020
Aaron Garber-Maikovska’s latest exhibition, 4 from 3 dancers, magnifies the scale of a contemporary infant’s very first canvas—the dreaded, flimsy 8.5-by-11 sheet of paper. By working on sheets of corrugated plastic formally known as fluted propylene and that support paint scribbles three times longer than an infant’s height, the L.A.-based artist makes use of the material that is often used for lawn signs, lending his paintings a bargain-basement, weather-resistant chic.
In this case, comparing Garber-Maikovska’s paintings to children’s art is not intended as yet another tired and snobbish putdown of contemporary art. Indeed, it is meant as a compliment. Garber-Maikovska’s paintings are an outpouring of feeling and movement, striking a chord somewhere that is not quite the head, the heart or the body but a combination of all three. While some of Garber-Maikovska’s color combinations initially appear as cacophonous, overlaying bright blue, cyan, white, black, red, magenta and dark forest green lines on top of one another, they eventually settle into a kind of harmony. Here, cacophony is simultaneously vital and savvy.
Some paintings feel explicitly anthropomorphic, such as a series of four chromatically-named pieces entitled Green Pearls, Blue Foot, Blue Crown and Yellow Spiral. Each features two contained bursts of color enveloped by cephalopodic shapes, with frenzied, multi-colored streaks of paint comprising their innards. The black and red outlines of the shapes are expressive and free. These lines serve a functional purpose, contouring and hugging the burgeoning color, but also having a will of their own, breaking out here and there to blow off steam. Upon closer inspection of his paintings, the viewer delightfully discovers the unevenness and thickness of Garber-Maikovska’s paint, which, in certain places, has even been scraped off, revealing the ridged lines of the plastic.
Documentation of Garber-Maikovska’s performances at different locations around Southern California play on video stands near the gallery’s entrance. He meticulously sculpts the air atop a bench in 4waybench, Rancho Cucamonga and revolves around a nondescript plot of a parking lot in 33.8103N, 117.5081W, the geographic coordinates of the spot.
Garber-Maikovska’s capacity to forge an artistic space of movement, spirit, and sensation—transcending divisions between cognition and perception—springs from his interest in natality. 4 from 3 dancers is the fourth show in a series succeeding the exhibitions homebirth, POSTPARTUM and Daughter. His talent lies in conveying the energy aroused by embryonic growth, suggesting how far we have fallen, while proposing its re-infusion into our lives.
Cover image: installation view, 4 from 3 dancers; images courtesy Blum & Poe