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Like It Is


Well before the real estate crash, I, like countless others, traipsed through many a Brooklyn condo complex, considering the homes. Many were “Phase 1” offerings and came with the particular challenge of standing upon a chalky floor, amidst exposed drywall and electrical wire, trying to imagine the finished product. How would it feel when completed and could I envision my life there?

I was reminded of these questions at “Like it Is” a show of watercolors, sculpture and installation by French artist Briac Lepretre at Parker’s Box (193 Grand Street), the Breton artist’s first solo exhibition in New York.

The watercolors on view here (from the “Before Painting” series) show literally that; tightly rendered scenes of interior unfinished construction. Possibly domestic, these attic spaces have exposed rafters and windows that flood with light. Supported by beams of experience and technique and open to inspiration and un-“finished” possibility, are these rooms symbolic of the mind? Perhaps. Or maybe they are simply inverted interiors, portraits of the platforms upon which future process occurs.

The paradox of a finished work about “the unfinished” is writ large in “Rocked and Mudded Wall” a gallery wall painted to look exactly like unpainted drywall. This work prompted one visitor to question, “Is the install done yet?” This large abstraction reminded me of the Taoist concept, “Wu-Wei” (the paradoxical “practice of non-practice”) and I could sense an affinity here in this intentional, fully expressed nod to pre-expression.

This celebration of underlying form and contradiction plays further in “T-Beam”, a large load bearing support beam that fills the central gallery. Appearing to support the entire ceiling, this sculpture is actually made of Styrofoam and faux-finished to appear like concrete.

—Enrico Gomez