There seems to be a relentless forfeit to the way certain things seem to go in today’s society. And one who cares about the status quo may find themselves relegated to personal acts of protest served with an underlying feeling that they may not be able to turn the tide. Yet there is something to be valued in the gesture. One could also make the argument that picking up a paintbrush and making a picture carries a similar opportunity for a voice to be heard yet only to be drowned out by the cacophony of visual noise that bombards us each day.
This bipolar dynamic can be found in the title of Rochelle Feinstein’s recent show, Who Cares, (not Who Cares?).
Feinstein has historically used the visual language of abstraction in her work as a tool to address specific ideas and issues. In Who Cares, she does with a particularly keen play on the duality of words, ideas, values and images. Off Color, a sort of color wheel gone awry, plays with the expectations of perfection and instruction. The very elements of play and creativity that tweak the structure and order of the color wheel simultaneously purport clumsiness and revolt. Color Therapy seems to take a more expressive approach to interplay of color. The frenetic struggle and push in the painting both mimics and mocks the idea of painting as therapy.
A curtain covered with text called Ear to the Ground splits the space. The hanging fabric is emblazoned in phrases, expressions and quips collected by the artist. The din of multiple expressions seems to block a clear voice just as the scrim blocks the viewer from a free traversing of the gallery space. These dualities seem to confuse and liberate all at the same time. The most exemplary of this duality is found in the titular paintings that consist of a full color gestural abstraction and a colorless reproduction of the same gestural abstraction. Question asked, if the color is removed, if the image is repeated, is the gesture removed? And who cares if it is? Are we not left with the gesture of the painting itself?
Under the guise of sarcasm, one offs, and tongue in cheek, Feinstein’s work reveals an earnestness for the human condition, for our state of our society, for a connection with history with a deft dance with the complex history of the way images are made and their relationship to the way images are read today. Ultimately, in her work, we find out who cares about art and it’s relationship to life.