When Naomie Kremer mounted her first ICA show (Keeping Time) in 2005, her paintings were hyperkinetic thickets of roiling energy. Populated by layers of colliding shapes, colors and gestures, they pushed the non-objective impulse to its outer limits, harnessing what felt like primordial forces. Age of Entanglement, her current show, employs digital media to push those impulses even further. It includes video, animated text, light sculptures and “hybrid paintings” – works in which the artist projects moving images across painted surfaces. As with Keeping Time, Age of Entanglement holds fast to the idea that all things are interconnected and infinitely complex, but it also branches out to address issues of sexuality, technology and mortality.
The show, perfectly paced and masterfully installed, gives pride of place to the hybrids. At a distance they resemble backlit transparencies. Up close they feel like filmic portals. The most captivating of the five on view, Walkabout, gives the illusion of trees and foliage in a forest canyon being ruffled by a gentle breeze; or, if viewed from a different angle, the sky seen from the bottom of a reef, with rays of sunlight casting shadows across sea plants swayed by the tide. These quasi-anamorphic possibilities show how observation changes the nature of the thing observed. But the most exciting aspect of the piece is how it plays with our sense of time. It does so first by integrating the painted and projected parts so well that it becomes impossible to distinguish between them, and second, by presenting the combined parts an static objects, an act we intuitively take to mean freezing a discrete moment. To look, then, is to experience that compact being broken and to entertain the idea that a painting might be a living, animate thing.
Actual entanglement appears in two places: Only Connect, a video animation projected onto the gallery floor, and The Web, a hybrid painting. The first begins with simple sketches of faces but quickly accelerates, piling up geometric and decorative patterns in ever-deepening layers. Within seconds the drawing becomes a mass of overlapping sprocket-like shapes. Web explores the same idea more subtly, setting before us a softly undulating (and equally impenetrable) labyrinth of lattices and grids that appears to “breathe.”