October 2, 2009

NY Times Art in Review: Austé, Shishkin, Abstract Abstract


Austé painting

"Austé: Paintings and Works on Paper," Mitchell Algus Gallery, Chelsea. Through Oct. 10. Roberta Smith: Austé’s work looked more anomalous in the ’80s than it does now, after a general blurring of the line between drawing and painting and the proliferation of girl-dominated worlds by artists like Rita Ackermann and Lisa Yuskavage. In retrospect it might be described as watered-down Pattern and Decoration pointed toward the planet of punk, where Halloween always seemed in the offing. And it could turn nasty. The show’s opening salvo is a large drawing that depicts a few orange orbs enmeshed in thorny tangles of glinting black graphite. Scary letters spell the title: “Biochemical Vignette.”



Installation view, "Abstract Abstract"


Xylor Jane, "Via Crucis VIII "D.O.J." 2009, oil on panel, 33 x 39"

"Abstract Abstract," Foxy Production, Chelsea. Through Oct. 10. Roberta Smith: The double title of “Abstract Abstract” implies multiple possibilities for a familiar language or using it at a remove, several generations out. Either way this show brings together seven young, mostly unknown artists who make two-dimensional works generally devoid of recognizable forms. It is unusually lively because the diversity of their work is not just stylistic, but also physical and methodological.... Taken together, the work in this show foments optimism about something like painting used to pursue something like abstraction. Artists include Michael Bell-Smith, Heather Cook, Hilary Harnischfeger, Gabriel Hartley, Xylor Jane, Ilia Ovechkin, and Max Pitegoff and Travess Smalley.



Dasha Shishkin, "Men Like That," installation view

 
Dasha Shishkin, "That only which is real and permanent is truly good," 2009, acrylic, ink and conté on canvas, 82.63 x 96"

"Dasha Shishkin: Men Like That," Zach Feuer, Chelsea. Through Oct. 17
Karen Rosenberg: A nervy, sinuous line is the primary weapon of Dasha Shishkin, a young painter and printmaker. It’s unleashed with a vengeance in her latest show of paintings and drawings, her first at this gallery. Ms. Shishkin tends to deploy her line in quasi-figurative fantasy worlds, where it can conjure Egon Schiele, Brice Marden, Henry Darger or Japanese woodblock prints....The only misstep here is the gimmicky installation. Framed and unframed drawings of various sizes are herded into corners, as if they couldn’t be trusted to stand alone. Ms. Shishkin should have more confidence in her narrative and decorative fluency.

Read the entire Art in Review column here.

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