Water Thief, Nathlie Provosty’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, features ten years of the artist’s works on paper. These pieces, almost entirely in water media, feel familiar while being completely awash in more novel reflections of form, color, and marking.
The show’s title, Water Thief, comes from the translation of the Greek word “clepsydra,” an ancient device that keeps time by measuring the flow of water. Taken as a group, all of the works mark the passage of time—time as a medium of exchange as well as a propeller of thought.
Central to the exhibition is the artist’s book titled Likeness, comprised of diptychs that seem to steal ideas back and forth from one another. Provosty’s drawings are woven into reproductions of Egyptian sculpture, Renaissance paintings, film stills, and snapshots of daily life—a tonal maraud of the artist’s subconscious.
The series’ of works exhibited—Looking / Seeing, Recto Verso, Again Song, Council, Skins, and Untitled, as well as a new group of monoprints published with Universal Limited Art Editions—exemplify the artist’s approach of viewing an image from the inside outward, which is to say, pursuing a consistency of content while deploying numerous variations of form. These are not studies: the ensemble represents a longstanding parallel practice to the artist’s painting. Revealing an execution just as rich and complex, what differs is how these explorations undulate with the very first gestures of a wave: water and light draw out the shore, mingle with particles, become indistinguishable. Latent energy in this nebulous zone makes it possible for Provosty’s tidal-wave like paintings to exist.