Some of My EqualsSeptember 20, 2011
In Some of My Equals, Yuval Pudik departs from his gothic drawings of surreally fused animals, machinery, and fashion. With varying degrees of success, Pudik has pared down his imagery, almost obsessively, to a proto-taxonomical study of megalodon teeth. The megalodon was the fiercest and largest prehistoric shark, and its teeth constitute the bulk of the animal’s fossil record. Most of the gallery is dedicated to an installation of large framed wall drawings and two vitrines, each showcasing meticulous drawings of these fossils that strive to, as the press release indicates, “evoke the language of natural science, such as the drawings of Charles Darwin, while offering a voluptuous and poetic critique of power, sexuality and social evolution.” While the drawings are a rich synthesis of abstraction and rendered forms, Pudik is perhaps unnecessarily reaching to layer content onto the work.
Pudik’s framed images seem to address abstraction more than sexual politics and evolution. In each of the images, a solitary megalodon tooth floats on an artificial horizon line that divides the compositions into a darkly shaded upper area and a blank lower field. In contrast to previous work where his darkest values were frantically filled in, these fields are now more expansive and considered. The horizontal and vertical movements lend them enough purpose and substantiality to stand against the refined draftsmanship of the teeth; the drawings shimmer with their rich graphite lines and forms. The expansive fields contrast Pudik’s minute detail, pushing and pulling the eye. From a distance, the forms become almost unrecognizably abstract, but within each tooth, they undulate to create grotesque, mouth-like areas.
Although the framed works have the greatest impact in the gallery, I found the vitrine pieces more reflective of his intentions, although still slightly puzzling. With a museological sensibility, Pudik has labeled and displayed numerous intimate drawings of megalodon teeth within each vitrine. On the bottom of each image, Pudik has copied Craigslist personal ads for proposed sexual exchanges, largely
between gay men. While the ads allude to the biological sex drive, I hesitate to conclude that they are Darwinian “critiques of power, sexuality, and social evolution.” Although these pieces don’t seem fully realized, Pudik seems to be searching for ways to connect his content with the work he’s produced.