Clearing, Brooklyn, NY
This is ostensibly a painting show, but it’s one that is easier to appreciate if you happen to know Aaron Garber-Maikovska’s eccentric, surprisingly entertaining videos. He brings his compulsively kinesthetic investigations, which look almost like improvised choreography, to outdoor and domestic settings and fixtures. He might, for example, carefully span every one of a row of bathroom tiles with his fingers with grunting effort, or spin back and forth in front of a highway sign as if trying to measure its length.
It’s Mr. Garber-Maikovska’s intense but indiscriminate attention, rather than the specific content of anything he does, that attracts viewers. It’s helpful to know this because he makes his paintings, all of them on paperwhite gator board just over 10 feet high, with an analogous process. Working on the floor, he covers the boards with swooshes, loops, scribbles, and jagged squares of brightly colored pastel and black ink, as well as the occasional stray handprint. The results, depending on how densely he covers a given surface, evoke anything from self-serious abstraction to manic graffiti art.
As finished formal objects — that is, as paintings — they don’t really stand up. But their appeal is as unresolved artifacts of the vital, open-ended process of their own making. They’re like blackboards covered in half-legible equations that make you wish you had made it to the lecture.