Doodles are usually small things found in margins. But what if you took a magnifying lens and blew up a doodle, what would you see? A trio of paintings by Ellis Rosenberg posit one possible answer to this question: doodles are made up of other doodles, endlessly, rhizomatically, getting smaller and smaller until there’s simply no space left. What kind of doodles? “Man with Teeth,” a cacophonic, riotous, Basquiat-esque dude as compact as he is electric, comprises heads and scribbles and eyeballs and shapes, plus choice phrases, some of them expertly collaged from newspaper headlines and others featuring Route 66 signage. “Zeitgeist of the Streets” thoroughly inscribes, on the red negative space of a recovered metal stop sign, white peace symbols, yin-yangs, spiderwebs and skulls, plus two sets of stylized eyes and nose in gold. Perhaps the right question to ask is who’s made up of doodles. As for what a doodle’s made of, I’m betting on an artist’s unconscious, at least that’s what always happens to me when I’ve got a pen and blank space available.
—Lori Waxman 10/13/2023 5:52 PM