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2001 Ben Morgan-Cleveland

Real Fine Arts
2009-05-01

We tend to forget that most paintings are done on fabric and that they are objects, not just flat planes. Ben Morgan-Cleveland's New York gallery debut reminds us. Based on the famous monolith from "2001: A Space Odyssey", one work is made from industrially produced spandex stretched over a wooden frame. Interestingly the work looks like a John McCracken sculpture, but unlike his cool industrial polish, the smooth surface of Morgan-Cleveland's showstopper is the product of tension. The related wall works even show the stretch at work, points of attachment visible at the side, as though each piece is in a struggle to hold itself together and at any moment the "painting" will fly off the support. Other works make great use of the cyanotype process, used in blueprints and summer camp projects, in which blue is produced by exposure to light, leaving a white imprint of anything casting a shadow. Used on two "suits" the process implies that what you wear can get a sunburn too. They are an interesting companions to the spandex works, as though the individual forces of light and tension were being cleverly bent to creative ends.

—Dylan Peet
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