With rock ‘n’ roll rough-going soul and gothic flourishes, Jesse Draxler’s current exhibition, being made during the era of Covid, speaks to the memory of the dashed hopes from the Before Time, the struggle to figure out what the hell is going on in the everlasting limbo of the present, and the first blush of promise that things might, somehow, someday, be alright. The visual language of the works and the evocative installation vignettes encompass imagery of fragility, luxury, ritual, grief, destruction, amnesia, violence and dark magic.
Draxler’s recombinant use of unconventional materials from printed paper to lit candles, IV drips delivering unrelenting information, handheld talismans of protection, texts of threat, anguish and shady humor, and the strategy of collage to more fully represent the enforced juxtapositional surreality of collective anxiety. At times beautiful and with affection for fragility, at other times speaking to the magma of unresolved dread, and at all times giving physical form to the interior state of whatever the fuck this is we’re living through, Draxler’s work is not pretty, but in several crucial ways, it is perfect. NO Gallery, 961 Chung King Road, Chinatown; on view through October 27; nogalleryla.com.