June 5, 2009

NY Times Art in Review: Little, Man, Smith, Tegeder

JAMES LITTLE, June Kelly Gallery, New York, NY. Through June 9. HOLLAND COTTER: Each stripe becomes a self-defined spectrum, each painting a rainbow. Such results could be just pretty; the work’s titles — “Satchmo’s Answer to Truman,” “The Marriage of Western Civilization and the Jungle” — seem designed to make sure we don’t see them that way. And we don’t. What we see, or feel, is an eye choosing, mixing and gradating color the way Mondrian applied paint: as if concentration were a form of expression, which it is.

James Little, "Near-Miss," 2008, oil and wax on canvas, 72 ½ x 94 inches

VICTOR MAN, Gladstone Gallery, New York, NY. Through June 13. ROBERTA SMITH: Victor Man has a considerable reputation in Europe, so it may be pure American provincialism to say that — based on the paintings, sculptures and installation piece in his New York debut — he has apparently received too much encouragement. Mr. Man, a Romanian born in 1974, needs to stop pulling on our heartstrings and go back to the drawing board.... This show suggests some ground rules: taste is not talent; obscurity is not meaning; and the heads and pelts of dead animals should be used sparingly, if at all.

Victor Man, installation shot.

SHINIQUE SMITH:Ten Times Myself, Yvon Lambert, New York, NY. Through July 31. KAREN ROSENBERG: Shinique Smith’s latest solo, her first at this gallery, give off a restless energy. Ms. Smith pushes her collages and bunched-fabric assemblages in multiple directions: Asian calligraphy, monochrome painting, iconic figurative art. ....In her collage paintings, Ms. Smith relies too much on a signature flourish: a swirl of black marker that looks vaguely like graffiti. It’s most visible in “And the World Don’t Stop” and “Mandala.” Fortunately, some of the paintings include unusual found objects — a costumey wrestling belt, a clock with an image of River Phoenix — that resist the homogenizing force of the swirls and squiggles.

Shinique Smith, "Mount Holly Street," 2005,
Clothing, twine on wood, 32" x 32"

DANNIELLE TEGEDER: Arrangements to Ward Off Accidents, Priska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York, NY. Through July 3. KAREN ROSENBERG: In the winning but flawed installation “The Library of Abstract Sound,” 130 abstract drawings propped on shelves line the walls of a small room. They are accompanied by atonal music generated by a computer program that scans each drawing and translates its imagery into a 30- to 120-second “sound guide.” A flat-screen monitor outside the installation displays the drawings one at a time, with their corresponding recordings. It’s amusing to experience the circles, triangles and lines in the drawings as robotic blips, bleeps and arpeggios. But the varied frames in the installation, evidently found or store-bought, have a distractingly cutesy, thrift-shop aesthetic. And the drawings, individually, look like makeshift Maleviches. The four large-scale drawings in the main gallery are just as playful as the “Library,” but here quality trumps quantity.

Dannielle Tegeder, "The Library of Abstract Sound," mixed media installation, 2009

Read the entire "Art in Review" column here.

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