Clayton Schiff is in Close Quarters
When I see the paintings of Clayton Schiff, I see a loneliness and a sort of Dostoevsky storyline. It feels like an inevitable sort of condition, a sort of inward examination of self because the self is the most important thing to explore in this universe. Or the self is in need of exploration, perhaps? In Close Quarters, Schiff's new solo show at Harkawik in LA, there is almost a psychological thriller going on in the scenes, understated but almost eerily Crime and Punishment stagecraft.
It makes sense in this context. As the gallery notes, "Close Quarters is an exhibition that speaks to the endlessly cinematic spaces of Los Angeles." And that is why they have a sort of set and stage design aesthetic. What feels like Hollywood also feels like Broadway, and Schiff is at his best when exploring a sense of theater in this work. It's about the self but also a wider conversation about how the self can be reflected in a narrative that almost appears beyond human. There is something foreign and yet collective here, and the shared experiences of the works feel like an examination of the calamity of the past 3 years. —Evan Pricco