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Review: Debra Scacco maps the psyche at Marine Contemporary

May 25, 2012|By Leah Ollman
  • A detail of Debra Scacco's drawing "All I ask is one more day."
A detail of Debra Scacco's drawing "All I ask is one more day." (Marine Contemporary )

Debra Scacco was born in New York of an Italian father and American mother, grew up there and in Georgia, and now lives in London. These locales are key to her absorbing drawings at Marine Contemporary, which map psychic more than physical territory, places defined by memory, association and pervasive yearning.

In each of seven large ink drawings that form the core of the show, a single shape floats against stark whiteness. The islands aren't recognizable places as much as concentrated meditations on place, mantra-like repetitions of phrases aligned in concentric rings like ripples emanating from a dropped stone, the widening bands of a target, the lines of a contour map.

From a few steps back, the urgency and intensity of the written pleas -- "I cannot reach you," "All I ask is one more day" -- devolves into pure pattern. The temperature drops. Private diary becomes detached diagram. This vacillation between obsession and restraint gives Scacco's work a curious power.

Small drawings built from similarly impassioned commands/hopes -- "Accept Me," "Remind Me," "Protect Me" -- are concise and compelling. A sculpture whose 4,000 gold-plated beads neatly articulate the shapes in the drawings has far less visceral appeal. All schema and no signature, it is the exception in this otherwise resonant exploration of the private topography of displacement and belonging.

Marine Contemporary, 1733-A Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 399-0294, through June 23. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.marinecontemporary.com

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