reviews > Austin, TX

7/12/09 1:17 PM

W. Tucker has created the story of stories in this series of drawings on found materials—not in the sense of this being the greatest of all stories, but literally of it’s being a story of many stories, and none of them complete. As his ground, Tucker has taken tattered old book covers and sun-bleached pages come unglued from the novels to which they once belonged, and he has drawn childlike figures atop them, putting in play characters like Man-Dog, Girly Bird, Mr. Highpants, Yellow Face, and Avanelle Tye. Each drawing acts as a moment in a narrative—beginning, middle or end—and together they compel both in material and figurative ways, tapping into the pleasure of scribbling on books, making up nonsense people, and imagining the stories behind the pictures. The whole, in its narrative interruption, wondrously recalls Italo Calvino’s great novel of novels, “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler…,” in which the brilliant Italian writer strung together the first chapters of a dozen imaginary novels, leaving the reader always wanting more and more and more, but without ever engendering any kind of dissatisfaction. In creating a visual counterpart to this strategy, W. Tucker has pulled off a similar kind of magic, feeding the viewer’s desire but without ever truly satiating it—which is, of course, the only way to really keep desire in play.

—Lori Waxman