“Talk to the Hand” is an eight-person exhibition currently on view at the new LYNCH THAM gallery at 175 Rivington Street, through February 15th. The gallery is a welcome contrast to the over-scaled Chelsea galleries in the high-touristed Highline area. LYNCH THAM is sandwiched between a tattoo shop and a pawn shop.
Florence Lynch was a pioneer in the Chelsea market running an international gallery, Florence Lynch Gallery on West 29th St., as early as 1999.
The first works of hands to “shake” the viewer, if you will, in a gesture of greeting, is “Hand Catching Lead,” by the established artist Richard Serra, a small black and white video of a hand held in one position attempting to grasp lead objects that are dropping from above, off screen. On the opposite wall are a series of drawings by emerging artist Wang Jingyu, from mainland China who Bee Tham discovered on a recent trip there when she attended the Busan art fair. The series “Dancing,” subtly dares to show hands in different sexually-suggestive auto-erotic configurations.
“G and D,” by Luisa Caldwell riffs on the iconic fist-pumping photograph by Dan Wynn (first published in Esquire Magazine) of activists Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes during their famous 1971 national tour promoting feminism. Caldwell cuts barcodes from fruit stickers and her intricate collage work creates the illusion of a fine line drawing.
(Caldwell is also currently exhibiting a piece in the group show “Respond” at Smack Mellon in DUMBO, where she also appropriates from the same 1971 image by Wynn.)
In contrast to Richard Serra’s physically engaged piece is a photo by Marcello Maloberti titled “Da Lima a Bande Nere,” of closely cropped hands gently clasped, from a series that Maloberti shot of Milan subway riders. Maloberti’s hands reveal a grace, and that the individual is a laborer.
The conceptual photographer Carlo Ferraris is represented in the show with two photographs: “Untitled” and “Not Guilty.” The first work portrays several young men standing in a courtyard pointing at an unseen object. The second, similarly haunting, is a close-up of a hand holding a terrorist-suggestive battery-powered light.
Across from Jingyu’s drawing is Alona Weiss’s “Plagiarism Will Liberate Us From Our Rebellious Sins,” quoting the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The image is echoed and appears as if repeated infinitely, so it is barely possible to recognize the small building at the far center of the frame which the hand gesture is aimed to condemn.
The hand, by nature is the first thing that an artist will draw of the human body; the theme of the hand and its uniqueness to humans is archetypical and offers endless distinctive interpretations. This show handily moves the viewer forward, emotionally and imaginatively. The hand does indeed talk.