ART IN REVIEW
Devendra Banhart, Lily Ludlow, Elena Pankova
By HOLLAND COTTER
Published: July 9, 2004, Friday
55 Chrystie Street Through July 18
These three young artists would seem to have little in common, but they work like a charm together. Devendra Banhart’s small, fine-grained ink drawings, in tight, doodle-like strokes and flourishes, offer a menagerie of beasts with horned and haloed heads, lots of eyes, and bodies covered with feathers that end in fingers. Echoes of Paul Klee, Indian painting and children’s drawings chime together here. Like the psychedelic-folk music for which Mr. Banhart has become well known, the effect is of a spooky sweetness.
Lily Ludlow’s graphite drawings are portraits, judging by their titles. But with their long, lightly touched, disconnected lines, they have the glamorous inexactitude of fashion illustrations — slightly gawky ones. Last year Ms. Ludlow showed her sculptures — free-standing fabric pieces that look like unwearable garments. These drawings look almost as evanescent.
The show gains weight from paintings by the Russian-born artist Elena Pankova. Her large, semi-abstract pictures, deliberately composed and brushed, are packed with forms suggesting pipes and funnels that interpenetrate sexually in pieces titled the ”Industrialist” and ”Machismo.” Over all, the work recalls a mechanistic strain of modernism (Léger, Malevich) tempered by a romantic palette (lavender, electric blue, dark shadows) and poetic images (fir trees, clouds, glowing light). At 30, Ms. Pankova has already lived an intriguingly eclectic international life; her art could be described the same way. Her biography in the gallery is worth a look.