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Lydia Dona Third Space and The Retinal Passage into Sign System 1993

“Not only the desiring of the machine, I also was sustaining a lot of issues of other desires: the desire to investigate and bring my interests in photography, installation, and video works into some sort of a coexistence which deals with constant questions of polyvocality, transgender, and so on. I just never think of it as either/or. I just see multiplicity as a possibility against generics. Let’s say the possibility of working with minimalism, not in a reactive way, but working with “a loaded brush,” not just as a conceptual in some sort of charged and re-sexualized way, but in order to bring them all together into painting, and create a new space.” Lydia Dona in conversation with Phong Bui, Brooklyn Rail, April 4, 2018.

Lydia Dona’s work was always difficult for me. Postmodern abstract painters had begun to adapt Greenbergian “all over composition.” Instead of using paint in a “pure” fashion (think Jacks’ “skeins” or Mitchell’s strokes) painters would use linear schematic drawing and filmic “dissolves” or “overlays” to collapse pictorial space and deny illusionistic space. It was a way to remain Modern. Abstraction must keep painting on the surface.

Since the New Abstraction or Conceptual Abstraction shows in the early 90s Lydia has developed this technique in her work making it into a grand Mannerist style.

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