At Petzel, Thomas Eggerer presents a single, large painting. Called Waterworld (2015), it’s composed of a rolling expanse of water seen from a high, raking vantage, with no horizon and no shore. Punctuated with a single breaking wave, the image is populated with hundreds of small, identical figures, all white men, in various postures of restrained enjoyment. They paddle on floating things, dip into the brine, wade, stand in blank contemplation, without interacting. Their repetition is reminiscent of artists like Hieronymus Bosch or Thomas Bayrle, but rendered with a televisual superficiality that is evocative without being specific, making it especially haunting. One might also think of Derek Jarman’s Blue (1993), which also featured a flat, blue expanse, and Jarman’s reminiscences about his progressive blindness, his coming death, and friends and lovers lost to AIDS, memories of romantic beaches, as well as the start of a new year and the cyclical nature of time. The image is spooky, awesome, and not a little sad.
On view through February 20 at Petzel, 456 W. 18th Street, between 9th and 10th avenues, New York, 212 680 9467.print