October 24, 2014

Art and race: Through A Lens Darkly, Nick Cave and Jordan Casteel

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Art and race constitute a delicate and provocative subject. Two recent exhibitions and a documentary film handle it with great intelligence, nuance, and energy.

[Image: Jordan Casteel, Sterling, 2014, oil on canvas, 54 x 72 inches.]

October 23, 2014

The backstory: Abstraction and Its Discontents

"Abstraction and Its Discontents," a generous exhibition of abstract paintings opens this weekend at Storefront Ten Eyck. In preparation for an upcoming panel discussion hosted by School of Visual Arts MFA Chair Mark Tribe, I asked exhibition organizer Deborah Brown via email about the title and premise for the show. "I was obviously referencing Freud's Civilization and Its Discontents. Abstraction as a painting stance has been viewed as hegemonist and colonial--a conservative province of privilege and exclusion," Brown responded. "I wanted to challenge that historical view and show a range of work by less familiar artists who use an abstract vocabulary in a variety of ways other than the traditional, ego-driven, privileged ones. Hence the title with its reference to a subterranean activity of subversion and reversal of assumptions and canons.

 [Image at top: Look for my new painting DD (Want me) on the front wall behind the desk at Storefront Ten Eyck. I haven't seen the show yet, but I grabbed this image off Facebook.]

Weekend Pick: Exchange Rates in Bushwick

Expect to see an influx of Brits and other non-New Yorkers in Bushwick this weekend for Exchange Rates, also known as The Bushwick Expo, an artist-driven gallery exchange and collaboration between Bushwick galleries and artist-run initiatives from Europe and the Pacific Northwest. Conceived by Stephanie Theodore, Paul D'Agostino and Sluice_, Exchange Rates exhibitions will be on view through Sunday afternoon. Norte Maar has organized a special edition of Beat Night, which means galleries will be open on Friday night from 6-10. I've got a few pieces on view in a terrific group show at Theodore:Art, where SEASON (Seattle, WA) and Blackwater Polytechnic (Essex, UK) will also be presenting work by their out-of-town artists. SEASON founder Robert Yoder is also presenting his own work at Schema Projects, where Platform, another great Seattle gallery, is curating. For a full list of participating galleries and artists from home and abroad, click here.

[Image at top: Stephanie Theodore adjusts the lights at Theodore:Art during the installation last night. Art from left: Joyce Robins, Ben Coode-Adams, Sharon Butler, Andrew Seto, Seth Friedman.]

October 22, 2014

On Film: Mania, serenity and the creative process

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / What brings out the best in artists? In vivid terms, two recent movies, Bird People and Whiplash, respectively illustrate that calm immersion in the ordinary world can do so in some cases, balefully solipsistic detachment from that world in other situations.

Ideas and Influences: Mary Addison Hackett

I have followed Mary Addison Hackett's blog Process since she left LA a few years ago and returned to Nashville where her mother was in the hospital. Unfortunately, as Hackett drove across country, she received word that her mother had died. Since then, Hackett has been dividing her time between LA and Nashville, where she lives and works in her childhood home, sifting through family images and objects. Over the years, the gracious home has gradually evolved from the house she grew up in, to a sprawling artist's studio with paintings, easels, palettes and other evidence of her robust painting practice filling every room.

For the second installment of the "Ideas and Influences" column, I asked Hackett to put together a list of things she's been thinking about. Her solo exhibition "Crazy Eyes" is on view at David Lusk Gallery in Nashville through November 8.

[Image at top: Mary Addison Hackett, Seashells, 2014, oil on canvas, 52 x 44 inches.]

October 19, 2014

Colleagues: Judith Schaechter and Eileen Neff

Two of my talented colleagues at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts have solo shows in Chelsea this month. At Claire Oliver, Judith Schaechter presents beautiful but disturbing stained glass lightboxes and kiln-cast glass sculptures about sex and death, and at Bruce Silverstein, Eileen Neff explores perception, mirroring, and memory in an installation of staged and often manipulated photographic images.

[ Image at top: Judith Schaechter, Harpy, stained glass lightbox, 37 x 33 x 2 inches.]

October 18, 2014

David Humphrey's vantage point

David Humphrey's extraordinary exhibition at Fredericks & Freiser tells stories about our engagement with the world. It is a tour de force of eclecticism, expansiveness, and integration, unifying ostensibly disparate images through the shared phenomenon of depicted observation. 

[Image at top: David Humphrey, Performance, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 45 x 60 inches. All images courtesy of Fredericks & Freiser.]

October 17, 2014

Quick Study

Links for today include Crossing Brooklyn, Frieze London, Arts Gowanus, Ebola, Cubism, Gavin Brown's new location, and more.

[Image at top: Greg Allen, Study for Untitled (Tanya), 2014, lasercopy and graphite on white paper, 11x8.5 in., ed. 50.]

Darren Waterston: Opulence and ruin

Contributed by Hannah Kennedy, Two Coats Intern / Darren Waterston’s paintings and an installation called Filthy Lucre are on view at Mass MOCA through January 2015. Ranging from small canvases to engrossing alien landscapes, Waterston's paintings evoke otherworldly abstractions: dark and mysterious yet inviting. Filthy Lucre, a re-interpreted interior installation, represents a major departure from Waterston’s previous work but still evokes a similar aesthetic and experiential scene.

[Images: Darren Waterston, Filthy Lucre, 2013-2014, mixed media, 20 x 30 x 12 feet, courtesy of the artist and DC Moore Gallery.]

October 16, 2014

Lovable: Chris Martin at Anton Kern

In his first solo show at Anton Kern, Chris Martin presents a bright, shining cosmos that signals a shift from the more visually subdued, densely painted work presented in his final show at Mitchell-Innes and Nash. Many of Martin's new pieces feature loopy landscape imagery laced with glitter, while lacking the object-image play present in his last show. (Remember the nap nooks and cut-through canvases?) 

[Image at top: Chris Martin, Tree, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 88 x 77 inches. All images courtesy Anton Kern Gallery, New York.]

October 14, 2014

October 14: Andrew Ginzel's list of NYC shows and events

SOME but not all NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE / October 14, 2014  / Listed south to north. Compiled by artist Andrew Ginzel for his students at the School of Visual Arts. Note: Images have been selected by Two Coats of Paint.

[Image at top: Chris Martin @ Anton Kern]

October 13, 2014

Gedi Sibony moves beyond the Provisional

Gedi Sibony continues to repurpose and recycle objects, but his new work moves considerably beyond the abject provisionality of earlier work. In Greene Naftali's bunker-like new ground-floor space on W.26th Street, Sibony presents huge pieces of metal cut from a stash of decommisioned semi trailers. The logos and advertising text are painted out (redacted), and the metal flats are presented as traditional paintings, humbly hung on the wall like any other painting exhibition. 

[Image: Gedi Sibony, Stumble Riser, 2014, aluminum semi-trailer, 120 3/8 x  90 1/2 inches 

October 12, 2014

Ideas and Influences: Helen O'Leary

Helen O'Leary grew up in rural Ireland in the the 60s and 70s, where her mother's philosophy was "if you can't make it, you can't have it." In her 2010 Guggenheim application she wrote that this spirit of creativity and "making do" carries over into her work:
Throughout my career, I have been constructing a very personal and idiomatic formal language based in simple materials and unglamorous gestures, a framework which functions as a kind of syntactical grid of shifting equivalences. The “paintings” that emerge from this process know their family history, a narrative of greatness fallen on hard times. Yet, for all that, they remain remarkably un-defensive, wobbly, presuming no need to disavow the past or defy the present....
My new work delves into my own history as a painter, rooting in the ruins and failures of my own studio for both subject matter and raw material. I have disassembled the wooden structures of previous paintings—the stretchers, panels, and frames—and have cut them back to rudimentary hand-built slabs of wood, glued and patched together, their history of being stapled, splashed with bits of paint, and stapled again to linen clearly evident. The residual marks on the frames, coupled with their internal organization, begin to form a constellation of densities, implying an idiomatic syntax of organic fluctuation where compact spaces coexist with the appearance of gaping holes where the rickety bridges have given way. Formal and structural concerns become inseparable, the slippery organization of their fluctuating grids showing a transparency both literal and historical. With both serenity and abandon, these structures imagine the possibility that painting might take root and find a place to press forward into fertile new terrain.
On the occasion of her forthcoming solo exhibition at the Irish Arts Center, "The Geometry of Dirt," I asked O'Leary to put together a list of the things that she's thinking about.

[Image at top: Work in progress in O'Leary's studio]

October 9, 2014

Christopher Deeton's symmetries

In Bomb, Raphael Rubinstein wrote about Christopher Deeton's big, fluid, black abstractions on view at MAKEBISH through the end of the month. The paintings evoke Morris Louis's Color Field paintings, but Rubinstein, long an admirer of Deeton's work, says there's more to it than that. Here's an excerpt:
Maybe Orozco’s depiction of the fire-stealing god also planted seeds for the bilateral symmetry that dominates Deeton’s recent work. Eliciting beautiful tonal nuances from black paint alone, Deeton uses symmetry not to riff on the legacy of Morris Louis, but to devise a new iconography and a new technique—despite appearances, his arcing bands are not poured à la Louis but laid down with a paintbrush. Evoking the mirroring structures that pervade the natural world as well as suggesting the more remote symmetries of particle physics, Deeton’s paintings unfold like butterfly wings and loom up like Gothic gates, at once pulling the viewer in ever deeper and marking the magical frontier between two realms. The latest in a long line of artist-alchemists, he sees his paintings as the result of “discovery” rather than “invention”; they are, he says, “the physical manifestation of something that exists elsewhere.
"Christopher Deeton: Numbers," MAKEBISH, West Village, New York, NY. Through October 2014.

Related posts:
Morris Louis investigation
Catalogue essay: COVER THE EARTH by Stephen Maine


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Melissa Meyer's FASCINATION

Over the summer Melissa Meyer and I exchanged leisurely studio visits, first at my studio in DUMBO and then at hers on West 39th Street. On the second floor of an unassuming office building in the fabric district, Meyer's space has a timeless view of a bustling Manhattan street that reminded me of paintings by Ashcan School artists like Robert Henri, John Sloan, and George Luks. She had just returned from a long residency at Yaddo, where she completed Fascination, a letterpress book project (pictured above) that featured poems by South Korean poet and activist Ko Un.

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