Posted on Oct 27, 2020
A throwback to the Tribeca loft studio in New York City gives the new Adaptation series its beginnings. There is some time between then and what's going on at Berlinna Factory Loft now. Let's consider this.
The figures seen in the work of Schnabel, Palladino and Clemente are taciturn, drawn, permanently in crisis, as if they have embarked upon a bleak search for meaning in an otherwise solipsistic life. By the wholesale appropriation of images drawn from mass media, popular culture and art history, these esthetic scavengers, particularly Clemente, set themselves adrift across cultures and styles in an attempt to recover timeless truths on behalf of the modern experience.
Lederle’s work, too, falls within the ambit of modern expressionism in that it demonstrates, to a certain degree, the failure of traditional symbols to move us and the need to galvanize them with a shot of heroic energy. The result, ironically, is purely a superficial attraction. Take, for example, Election (1985), which presents symbols in search of a context in what amounts to an iconographical shopping list. It includes a tongue-tied figure with awkward hands, acting like a wallflower at a dance. Beside him hovers a fish and one of those little Keith Haring "Gumby" figures, looking surprisingly enervated. This is a spent art, as if the artist is waiting for someone (but who?) to pull the strings so his paintings can start moving. But there is more to Lederle’s work than this.