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Hands
SolwayJones
990 N. Hill Street, Los Angeles
(323) 937-7354 www.solwayjonesgallery.com

Hands

Hands
John Coplans, Double Hand, Front, gelatin silver print, 41" x 53", 1988. Courtesy SolwayJones, Los Angeles and John Coplans Trust.
Hands is a collection of images featuring the hands of the artists who created them. Referencing the classic Duchampian rupture prioritizing the content of an artwork over its physical creation, the show is much more than a clever send-up of the age-old cliché of the hand of the artist. The works presented here have an uncanny ability to connect the viewer with the physicality of the artists themselves and through that embodiment directly with the viewer's own physicality.

In the two decades prior to his death, John Coplans created series of black-and-white photographs of his aging body. Shocking in its corporeality, outrageous in its willingness to reveal the stigmatized older body, the 4-foot long Double Hands, Front wraps the viewer in the warmth of Coplans's cupped embrace.

Hannah Wilke is famous for video works that exploit her own beauty to interrogate female sexuality and its relation to the male gaze. In Gestures, we see a close-up view of Wilke as her disembodied hands stroke, pinch, and slap her face, her expression moving from the dead-eyed look of the abused to a lover's stare. Automatically assuming ownership of the hands touching Wilke, the viewer unwittingly becomes her partner in the dramas that she masterfully manipulates with her gaze and gesture.

For Coplans and Wilke, the startling sense of intimacy created when the viewer encounters the artist's (nude) body is intrinsic, and here, the connection with their hands amplifies this unexpected familiarity through the sense of touch. Dane Picard and Alan Rath utilize the hand to mediate the distancing effects of technology in their video-generated sculptures. Picard creates an animated representation of a herd of horses in motion, using montaged rows of hands that generate the illusion of light reflecting off the animals' undulating coats, while Rath's hands beckon the viewer to interact with his computerized sculptures.
by Julia Schlosser