At DC Moore, Alexi Worth Plucks at Art’s Fig Leaf

THE DAILY PIC: Painted on translucent mesh, Worth's painting hides and reveals


THE DAILY PIC: Looking at this painting by Alexi Worth, in his small solo at DC Moore Gallery in New York, it suddenly struck me that the humble fig leaf somehow stands in well for all of art. After all, outside of horticulture, it’s a device that only really exists in an artistic context, and it’s all about the revealing and concealing that’s the bottom line for most picture-making.

That notion becomes all the more palpable, in Worth’s example, because of the fine mesh that he’s been painting on recently: Rather than opening up a window through an opaque picture surface, as most paintings have done since the Renaissance, his fig leaf, densely painted on top of his translucent mesh, turns out to hide even as it displays – just as fig leaves are meant to do.

Worth’s leaf stretches out to touch all four sides of his stretcher, becoming the artist’s entire canvas but also seeming to cover it up, while the hand we see both places the leaf and removes it. This is the kind of ambivalence, and coyness, that all painters ought to be coping with in our post-painterly age.

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