5 April 2008 1:28 PM
At the heart of David Wolff’s experiments in the limits of visual communication seethes a very dark humor, the kind clearly wonders what it might look like to paint out the corner of a room. Hence the deep black overlapping spheres that make a black hole of one section of his 2007 exhibition, “There Is No Paradise.” Everywhere here neutral signs and symbols are forced into playing games of confusion against their will, revealing that a) there’s no such thing as a neutral sign, b) context is everything, or at least a whole lot, and c) Sol Lewitt got soft and sweet in his old age. Wolff’s work chews on concepts and semiotics, sometimes, as above, pushing them into the three dimensional, while elsewhere, as in his most recent work, sticking to the flatter surfaces and mark-making of maps. In these drawings lines dart here and there, trying desperately to mean something, but bereft of all the extra information necessary for legible content. It’s enough to make a lost soul desperately plea for help—fortunately, Wolff has created just such a suitable contraption, the "Surrender Machine," a motorized bundle of odds and ends that, once plugged in, frantically waves a white flag. To whom, and for what, depends ultimately on everything else.