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Glasstire: Lucy Kirkman: Library of Babel at That That by Lucia Simek

June 26, 2013

Because their surfaces seemed to sparkle, I thought at first that Lucy Kirkman’s paintings, installed at the lovely (but non-air conditioned and, therefore, very hot) That That gallery in Dallas, were covered in a layer of fine glitter. The paintings are actually coated in rabbit skin glue which is used in traditional gesso. Used on its own as a sealant, Kirkman informed me, rabbit skin glue has a metallic quality—a little-known fact.

Kirkman’s show, Library of Babel, is replete with little-known facts. Without clues, they are are puzzling and elusive, an organized yet confusing compendium, as the title suggests. Inspired by Jorge Luis Borges story The Library of Babel, which describes the universe as an infinite library of nonsensical books, Kirkman’s show is compiled of groups of triptychs that are paintings within paintings—expertly rendered book pages are painted atop shimmery linen or transparent silk or careless painterly marks on canvas. The book pages are (save in one triptych) seemingly identical throughout each set, with imagery culled from Kirkman’s own private library of references, both literary and art historical.

… Read more on Glasstire.com

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