September 30, 2011

NY Art Book Fair: Let's make books!

Some of the free stuff I collected at the NY Art Book Fair.

Last night I went to the preview for the 2011 NY Art Book Fair at MoMAPS1 where I got more cool bookmarks than I'll ever need. Presented by Printed Matter, the fair features more than 200 international presses, booksellers, antiquarian dealers, artists and independent publishers from twenty-one countries.  This year’s focus is on artists’ photography books (look for blogger Alec Soth's outfit, Little Brown Mushroom Books), and in an outdoor tent in the courtyard, more than 60 zinesters have set up shop. Incredible artists’ books, contemporary art catalogs and monographs, art periodicals, and artist zines fill two floors in the old brick schoolhouse, and admission is absolutely free. 

 In the zine tent.

Don't miss REDFOXPRESS where Francis Van Maele has been printing limited editions in his silkscreen studio since 2000 at Achill Island on the west coast of Ireland.

At the Booklyn Artists Alliance table make sure to check out the big James Siena book that goes backwards and forwards. And if you touch the big book that's made of canvas, they'll give you a free book of haiku. BAA is an artist run non-profit organization that publishes, distributes and produces exhibits of limited edition artist books and works on paper by artists like Xu Bing, Kottie Paloma, Raymond Pettibon, Iggy Scam, James Siena, Jessica Stockholder, Roland Tiangco, Mark Wagner, Scott Williams and more.

Overall, if you like to fondle beautifully bound objects full of thought provoking words and images, don't miss this exhibition. It's inspiring. I got some great ideas for new projects for Two Coats of Paint Press, which recently released artist proof versions of Sketchbook 1 (2007) and Sketchbook 2 (2008-10). The 100-page sketchbook volumes, which were created as part of an exhibition I had at TowerBrook Art Project this summer, are culled from 1000 pages of sketchbook drawings and collages made from 2007-2010. I'm looking forward to producing more books in the coming year. Everyone should be making books--start your own press!

Sketchbook 1 (2007), 9 x 6", full-color, 104 pages. It looks just like one of my sketchbooks.

UPDATE (October 1): Final versions of the sketchbook volumes mentioned above have just been approved and are available here.

Related posts: 
This is an article I wrote in The Brooklyn Rail a few years ago (before I started Two Coats of Paint Press I think) about how artists are using on-demand publishers to create and distribute artists books.

September 29, 2011

Elizabeth Hazan and Jennifer Riley at Janet Kurnatowski

 Elizabeth Hazan, "Untitled (Across the Universe)," 2011, oil on canvas, 2011, 24 x 30"

Elizabeth Hazan and Jennifer Riley present buoyant abstraction at Janet Kurnatowski through October 9. Both painters are interested in shape, line, and the emotional content of color more than the viscous, visceral application of paint. Based on map imagery, Hazan in her vibrant paintings uses purposeful, specific color to place the animated shapes in space. "I begin paintings with large areas of color and then in smaller areas use pairs of color to play back and forth, for instance one color will surround a square of the other and then it will reverse in another area," she writes in her statement. Likening her use of color to how composers explore the variations on a line of melody, Hazan derives her titles from the songs she was listening to while making the paintings, and indeed the paintings recall the American jazz-steeped easel-sized abstractions from the 1940s.

Where Hazan takes static images and enlivens them, Riley composes meticulous images from gestural pastel studies. The original impulsive scribbles are assessed, edited, and carefully rendered in oil on canvas, not unlike Roy Lichtenstein's brushstroke series from the 1960s. Lichtenstein was commenting on 1950s action painting and suggesting that the agitated brushstroke had become a cliché, but Riley seems to be exploring how we turn fleeting circumstance and improvisation into something more permanent. "Line allows me to follow a feeling into the place where it can either open up and be seen clearly or to where it can dissolve into or become lost in its environment," Riley writes. "Color remains the key element that allows me to chase a particular vibration or timbre or feeling." I think Riley's paintings, lively and original as they are, also offer a sharp comment on mediated experience and the demise of authenticity.

 Elizabeth Hazan, "Untitled (Don't Walk) )," 2011, oil on canvas, 2011, 30 x 24"

 Elizabeth Hazan, "Untitled (House of Cards)," 2011, oil on canvas, 2011, 24 x 20"

 Jennifer Riley, "Stringing the Stars Low," 2011, oil on linen, 16 x 16"

  Jennifer Riley, "Mockingbird 2," 2011, oil on canvas, 16 x 16"

  Jennifer Riley, "Mockingbird 1," oil on canvas, 40 x 40"

"Soundings: Elizabeth Hazan & Jennifer Riley," Janet Kurnatowski, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. Through October 9, 2011.

September 28, 2011

Social practice: Austin Thomas and Julie Torres

I stopped by Austin Thomas's studio yesterday where she and Julie Torres were deep into a twelve-hour artmaking session.

 Austin works on a large sketchbook at her desk, which is cluttered with 3-dimensional collage pieces made with scraps from her sketchbooks.

 Julie arranges a grid of paper on the floor then paints them in a contemporary version of action painting, combining aspects of time-based performance. In this picture she's tacking the finished pieces to the wall. Some of Austin's earlier work is on the wall at left.

 Austin holds up a new collage that incorporates a piece of her sketchbook with a figure drawing.

Julie's work area on the floor is covered in plastic. I suggest that the plastic, which has a colorful grid painted on it, might look good stretched.

Here's a charming 3-D paper piece that Austin tells me was inspired by her visit to the deKooning show at MOMA earlier in the day.

Related posts: 

September 26, 2011

Twitter notes

Here are some recent items cut and pasted from the Two Coats Twitter Feed. For readers unfamiliar with Twitter, "RT" indicates the item has been repeated, or "retweeted," from someone else's Twitter feed. The "@" symbol indicates that I'm referring to another Twitter-er.

Ann Pibal, "MNGO," 2010, acrylic on aluminum panel, 12.5 x 17.75"| 2010

1. Painters need room to move! Roberta Smith sez Ann Pibal should open up her conversation. Should she? 

2. Thanks for writing about the dearth of women on the walls:

The Rijksmuseum's "Portrait of Ramon Satue", 1823, and right, a diagram of the underlying image compiled by the restorer Anna Krekeler (via The Art Newspaper)

3. LOL//Painters are never surprised by these revelations.RT : Discovery: Goya portrait found under a Rijksmuseum painting using new x-ray technology.

4. Yoder!! //RT : The Genius Shortlist for Art! Heishman, Hashemi, Yoder, Park, Powers & Ford-Terry.

5. I agree w Charlie Finch: Pace's lighting of Agnes Martin's paintings was AWFUL.

6. Just read the 60-page faculty workload study compiled about Eastern. Guess what? The 4-4 course load affects teaching effectiveness.

7. RT If you like it, take it home at Art Blog Art Blog:

8. Apply: Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship at SFAI // Deadline: Nov. 11  

9. RT @ JenGraves // Save Me from Art PR via
 Jenny Saville, "Continuum," Installation view at Gagosian. Photo by Rob McKeever
Gagosian Gallery // Just posted: "Jenny Saville: Continuum" installation pix from our show currently up at Gagosian Madison Ave

11. Just bought my ticket to the NURTUREart benefit------>   

12.  RT Barry Hoggard // Wow some amazing items in the art benefit: Gary Simmons, Mike Kelley, Cindy Sherman

13. Going to see The Mill and The Cross. Me: we should go early--it could be crowded. J: You're joking, right?  

14. RT @WGBHArtAuction // Kudos to for increasing art's visibility in Boston! MassArt unveils $120mill expansion plan via

15. Join me at : Teaching Visual Arts Online / Panel Discussion /Thursday, October 6, 6pm

16. Sure Hackman's good, but 1970s-era BROOKLYN is the real star of The French Connection. Three more days  

17. Brief book review: Joan Mitchell Lady Painter should win awards. EXCELLENT. Get it from your local independent bookseller!

18. The best thing about selling paintings is that you have more money to buy paint and canvas.

19. Sketchbook 1 (2007) and Sketchbook 2 (2008-10) aren't expensive books, they're cheap art. Artist proofs available now--->

20. Remember the exhibition ( I was organizing for Two Coats of Paint called Against the Tide"? It goes online THIS WEEK. Catalogue designed by CAROLYN LODGE.

September 23, 2011

Painters as storytellers: The Mill and The Cross

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, "The Way to Cavalry," 1564. Located in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna

When I was an art history undergrad at Tufts University, I took Northern Renaissance Art with esteemed art historian Madeline Caviness. Our class spent hours in the small, dank basement classroom looking at slides of paintings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder as well as other extraordinary Dutch and Flemish masters. I hope Professor Caviness will get a chance to see Lech Majewski’s new film, The Mill and the Cross, which takes viewers to sixteenth-century Flanders to watch Bruegel thoughtfully conceive “The Way To Calvary.”

In museums today, we often rush past the history paintings, but in the sixteenth century, these paintings were like epic feature films. Looking at older paintings, especially those painted by Dutch and Flemish masters who had phenomenal technique, contemporary painters (like me) are easily seduced by the paint handling and forget about the story. Masquerading as a Crucifixion, “The Way To Calvary” tells a compelling story about how the slow quietness of the Flemish villagers’ everyday lives was disrupted by the monstrous brutality of the Spanish soldiers during the occupation and Inquisition. 

The Mill and the Cross, co-written by Majewski and art historian Michael Francis Gibson, is a intellectually innovative and visually mesmerizing reminder that artists are storytellers. In every great history painting, the artist is sharing a story in a very specific, carefully conceived way. If a painter were to re-stage the Crucifixion in our own time period, I wonder, what kind of story would he or she tell? Who would be the heretic? Who would be the Inquisitors? What stories will the paintings we make tell future generations--or have we already left the storytelling to filmmakers?

Review roundup:
New York Times: "It isn’t the artist, it’s the art that’s the star here, and Mr. Majewski lavishes sophisticated, enchanting detail on its re-creation."
NPR:  "The effect is rich and complex, as befits the artist's ambitions. A painting "should be large enough to hold everything," Bruegel explains to Jonghelinck, and The Mill and the Cross is worthy of that ideal. The movie certainly doesn't contain everything, but its visual splendor argues for repeated viewings."
The Stranger: "Majewski is not shy or indirect. Sometimes that means goofy monologues by Bruegel (Rutger Hauer, in a floppy-banged turn that demonstrates perfect restraint) and the Virgin Mary (Charlotte Rampling, majestic sufferer). But that's better than being opaque, as other imaginative adapters of paintings have been—artist Eve Sussman being chief perpetrator here, making big-budget contemporary reimaginings of paintings that give no earthly idea what drew her to the material in the first place. Majewski's The Mill and the Cross—he also co-wrote Basquiat and directed 2004's The Garden of Earthly Delights, about a Hieronymus Bosch scholar—is a meditation on the desire to make art in order to stop time. (I'll stop the world and melt with you.) It's wonderful."

At the Film Forum through September 27, 2011. With Rutger Hauer (Pieter Bruegel), Charlotte Rampling (Mary) and Michael York (Nicholas Jonghelinck).

Watch the trailer to see how Majewski has combined traditional painting techniques with digital compositing, but keep in mind that the film's color is much richer.


Bonus post: The history of my Northern Painting textbook

I dug out my old textbook, Northern Painting by Charles D. Cuttler, and "Road to Cavalary" had been highlighted--which means we discussed it in class and the image probably appeared on the exam. An art history professor at the University of Iowa, Cuttler recorded his lectures on reel-to-reel tapes and his wife Cecilia transcribed them each day. They edited and retyped numerous versions to create Northern Painting, which was first published in 1968 by Holt, Rhinehart Winston. Cuttler died in 2008 at 94 years old.

My professor, Madeline Caviness, is retired, but I recently found her on Facebook.

Stephen Mueller has died of cancer

Stephen Mueller, "Roland," 2010, acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Lennon Weinberg.

According to Roberta Smith in the NYTimes, Stephen Mueller, 63, died on Sept. 16 in Manhattan. His sister Debra Pendleton has said the cause was lung cancer.  "Mr. Mueller’s mature paintings, which took shape in the early 1990s, were cross-cultural hybrids that presaged many current concerns in abstract painting, most importantly its scant interest inbeing purely abstract." Smith writes in the obituary. "Mixing motifs distilled from tantric art, Indian and Persian miniatures, and Mexican ceramics and cartoons, his paintings combined a dizzying array of references and allusions with striking formal contrasts and a brilliant palette. It all might have been overwhelming except for the care with which he constructed his compositions, spatially and chromatically." Read more.

 2006 visit with Mueller in his New York studio

Read Mueller's writing at ArtCritical.

Read ArtCritical Editor David Cohen's tribute to Mueller.
"The resolution of opposites in both his art and his criticism was for some of a piece with Stephen’s deportment, in which a seemingly somber and taciturn manner actually proved a foil for a lust for life and an unfailing generosity of spirit."

September 22, 2011

Talking about his art: Fred Valentine

BOMB magazine's BOMBsite has posted a video interview with painter Fred Valentine. Valentine was a big part of the early Williamsburg art scene and recently opened VALENTINE, a gallery in Ridgewood. Richard J. Goldstein and BOMB’s video crew toured Valentine’s Ridgewood studio and talked about his creative process.

Stop by his gallery and check out "Lars and Lori," new work by Lori Ellison and Lars Swan. Through October 2, 2011.

September 16, 2011

Two Coats reviews The Joe Bonham Project @ Hyperallergic today

Victore Juhasz, "Portrait of SGT Jason Ross--USMC (Full Frontal)," 2011

I reviewed "The Joe Bonham Project" @ Hyperallergic today. Curated by New Criterion managing editor  James Panero, the exhibition comprises portraits of injured United States and coalition military personnel made by members of the International Society of War Artists and the Society of Illustrators who have served in the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq. Here's an excerpt.
....As I looked at images of multiple amputees, my heart went out to the soldiers depicted and I appreciated both the illustrators’ technical ability to evoke the injured soldiers’ pain and loss and their desire to draw attention to the challenges facing wounded veterans. At the same time, lacking a compelling point of view other than empathy, the drawings don’t rise above the illustrative to examine deeper truths about the legacies of war...
Check out the entire article here.
"The Joe Bonham Project," curated by James Panero, Storefront, Brooklyn, NY. Through September 18. Artists include Lance Corporal Robert Bates, USMC, Peter Buotte; CWO2 Michael D. Fay, USMC (retired), Jeffrey Fisher, Roman Genn, Bill Harris, Richard Johnson, and Victor Juhasz.

September 13, 2011

Guts and Glory?

Jarrett Min Davis, "Ambush at the Pass," 2011, oil on canvas.

On the tenth anniversary of 9/11, ten years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq had produced over 6,200 US military fatalities and more than 45,000 wounded American soldiers, along with tens of thousands of additional casualties among coalition troops, enemy combatants, and unfortunate civilians. Jarrett Min Davis's new work explores how we live with war. Here's the catalogue essay I wrote for "Guts and Glory," his recent solo exhibition at Real Art Ways, one of the best alternative art spaces in Connecticut.


Covering Jarrett Min Davis’s new canvases are mangled tanks, destroyed buildings, and heaps of dead soldiers with torn-off limbs and eyes popping out of their sockets. In this age of counterinsurgency and embedded photojournalists, the images of war make obvious topical sense. But there is also something subtler in Davis’s meticulously constructed paintings. Dainty white geometric forms mysteriously pool at the bottom edge of each painting and seem to float delicately into the air. These serenely uniform shapes are pointedly out of place in the violent, disorderly scenarios that the paintings showcase, and dramatically signal that Davis is not merely rendering illustrations of military battle. What are they, and what does he intend?

Several years ago, Davis was in South Korea, his birthplace, where the memory of brutal war remains palpable after nearly 60 years, during the three-day Lotus Lantern Festival held every spring in anticipation of the Buddha’s birthday. Hung and lit over those three days, the lanterns symbolize a devotion to good deeds and the Buddha’s illumination of the dark parts of the world that are filled with agony and despair. Yet the image that stuck with Davis was that of the festival’s aftermath, when celebrants have cut down the paper lanterns and left them lining the streets. Employed to punctuate scenes of carnage and mortal loss, Davis’s discarded lanterns suggest the continued potency of peaceful impulses against hostile ones.

In their fixation on bloody mutilation, Davis’s paintings recall the 1924 “Der Krieg Cycle” that Otto Dix made after serving on both main fronts in World War I. Dix’s monumental etching portfolio, completed in an edition of 70, is an unflinching testament to the horrors he saw in battle. Made from his memory rather than from images sketched on the battlefield, most feature tightly cropped groups of soldiers, both dead and alive, against simplified backgrounds. Davis, however, has never served in the military, and therefore had to research his subjects thoroughly to inform his imagination. Furthermore, unlike Dix – who focused obsessively on one situation at a time, always drawn from World War I – Davis merges several combat episodes from different epochs into a single painting. Visually, the simple lantern-like forms function as framing devices that help Davis to organize a correspondingly intricate canvas.

In “Ambush at the Pass” for instance, standing on a little hill situated in the lower left quadrant of the painting, two officers wearing pith helmets, belted jackets and khaki jodhpurs appear to conduct an after-action battle assessment. Surrounded by the enigmatic white geometric forms, they gaze out over the battlefield at overturned armored vehicles, dead soldiers, and the rubble of a bombed-out building. Further in the distance, rocky outcroppings rise from the battlefield and smoke ascends into the cloudless sky against a backdrop of mountains on the far bank of a narrow river. Among the artful incongruities here: the officers surveying the wreckage in the foreground are of the late European colonial era, while the dead soldiers in the field are wearing the olive-drab uniforms of World War II vintage. The overturned and burning armored vehicles, all with gun turrets, incorporate aspects of contemporary Humvees, Bradleys and Strykers in use in Afghanistan and Iraq.

 Jarrett Min Davis, "Forward Post," 2011, oil on canvas.

Similarly, in the left-hand corner of “Forward Post,” closest to the viewer, a clutch of officers in brown uniforms and high black boots huddle together smoking in a short trench while looking at a map and planning an operation. Above their heads, closer to the horizon, a tank lies overturned with smoke billowing from its rear. Next to the tank, a lone figure wearing a gas mask stands in a trench staring out at the viewer. The trenches and the mask reference World War I, while the tank – only introduced in that conflict – alludes more firmly to the next global conflict. In the middle of the painting, grey-outfitted troops seem to be storming an enemy position, while just below them, dead soldiers in green uniforms lie mutilated in a heap. Behind them artillery explodes. On the far right, up near the horizon, projectiles explode into fireballs. The pristine white lanterns are heaped in the foreground, bracketing the savage vignettes.

These mash-ups are anything but careless or random. Rather, in juxtaposing particular elements of different wars with the fallen lanterns’ symbolic lament and inspiration, the paintings radiate a transcendently inter-generational – indeed, universal – sympathy for soldiers and aspiration of peace. In all of his paintings, Davis’s paint handling remains constant. He doesn’t use seductive sfumato to generate sentimentality or agitated facture to give the viewer a kinetic sense of action unfolding. Instead, his meticulous rendering purposefully flattens the three-dimensional illusion of the images, presenting an amped-up hyperrealism that recalls early American folk art. Thus, he is not sharing an experience of war, but rather constructing both a narrative of what he thinks war must be like for the individual and a synthesis of its cumulative human impact.

Jarrett Min Davis, “In the Trench,” 2011, oil on canvas.

Davis’s point of view is omniscient but removed, a bit like that of a precocious child playing with toy soldiers. But his attitude is neither viciously gung-ho nor smugly pacifist. Davis’s sympathies lie beneath (or above) politics or philosophy, with the individual soldiers. Understanding their unspeakable predicament, he forgives their lethal behavior. “In the Trench” depicts a soldier wearing tan camouflage – a nod to the Gulf War and those that have followed – and carrying a bloody hatchet who appears to be moving through a trench full of dead enemy combatants. Resonating Vietnam (and perhaps Rwanda), one has been stabbed from behind with a machete, the long blade sticking out through his chest. The question arises whether the soldier holding the hatchet has slaughtered an entire platoon. Looking all of sixteen years old, he raises his desensitized eyes beyond the frame, looking forward with the proverbial thousand-yard stare.

 Jarrett Min Davis, installation view.

Whereas Dix was exorcising his own demons with his series of etchings, Davis is trying to understand how war haunts soldiers as it did Dix. If Dix was understandably resigned to pessimism, Davis seems an as yet unbowed realist asking hard questions. One especially pressing one is whether soldiers can manage to get on with their lives after the horrible experience of war. With technical virtuosity, assiduous method, an intense but calm focus, an inventively eclectic embrace of history, and the intellectual discipline to withhold judgment about the politics of particular armed conflicts, Jarrett Min Davis vividly and intelligently offers hope that the answer is yes.

September 10, 2011

Exhibition notes

Continuing my exploration of alternative venues this fall, I am showing a few paintings from the Brightly Colored Separates series (2010) and a new small painting at Gallery 195, an exhibition space curated and funded by the Greater New Haven Arts Council. If you're in the area, I hope you can stop by the opening reception on Tuesday, September 13, 5 to 7pm.  Surprisingly, the gallery is located in the lobby of First Niagara Bank!

I have a soft spot for funded projects designed to connect businesses and their customers with the art community. Over the summer I had a three-month solo show at TowerBrook Capital Partners, an international investment firm on 65th Street in New York. Joelle Held, an administrative assistant who is married to artist Matt Held, started the TowerBrook Art Program as a way to bring art into the corporate environment and also to support artists. Painter Angela Gualdoni  has agreed to do the next TowerBrook exhibition this fall.

But back to the upcoming show in New Haven. Here's the info:

Press release:
The Arts Council of Greater New Haven presents an exhibition of works by Sharon Butler and Geoffrey Detrani at Gallery 195, September 14 through December 9, 2011. Curated by Debbie Hesse. The exhibit will feature paintings by Sharon Butler and Geoffrey Detrani.  Detrani’s energetic, linear “imaginative landscapes” contrast with Butler’s juxtaposition of brilliant color against stark backgrounds.

Sharon Butler, an artist and writer, has received several grants and awards including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant. She blogs at Two Coats of Paint.

Geoffrey Detrani is an artist, writer, and poet from Hamden, CT. Geoffrey’s work has been featured in numerous collections and galleries and has been the featured artist for such publications as The New England Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Artscope Magazine. Geoffrey has received multiple grants and awards such as the 2006 Chashama Visual Arts Studio Award and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation residency grant. He is a contributing writer for the New Haven Advocate and a teacher in New Haven, CT.  

Gallery 195 @ First Niagara is located at 195 Church St., 4th floor, New Haven, CT. For more information call the Arts Council at (203) 772-2788. 


NOTE: To pick up one of my small paintings on the cheap, buy a ticket to the Greater New Haven Arts Council's upcoming benefit, Somewhat Off the Wall. Tickets, each $100, will entitle guests to take home a piece of art. I donated three small paintings on canvasboard. Sunday, September 18, 2011 from 5-9pm, 760 Chapel Street, New Haven.


While you're in New Haven, it would be a shame not to check out the abstract paintings by Emilia Dubicki and Blinn Jacobs at Kehler Liddell, on view through October 9, 2011. I was in a show with Dubicki last spring at A-Space. Her paintings investigate the distance between collective memory and perceived reality.  Jacobs presents new works from the Counterpoise Series, Tie Rod Ribbon Series and a new wall installation.

 Blinn Jacobs

 Emilia Dubicki

Keep in mind that the 14th Annual City-Wide Open Studios takes place in New Haven October 13 through 30, 2011. For a listing of events, which take place over three weekends, click here.

September 9, 2011

When the personal infiltrates the formal

Todd Chilton, "Ramps and Flags," 2011; oil paint on linen; 25 x 23”

Is it too late to continue with the Fall Preview posts? Here's another show I wanted to point out. 

"Hard edge abstraction seemed to be the one to take a look at as it’s probably the most ubiquitous and the one that tends to get the most formal. I tend not to be so into formal and prefer when the formal is infiltrated by the personal. That is when abstraction sings to me. How the artist leaks the personal into the formal is the magic of what artists are."
---Excerpt from the curator's statement

Cary Smith, "Juggernaut," 2011; oil paint, wax on canvas; 50 x 50”

Nancy Shaver, "The Aunts: Lucille, Helen and Ruth," 2011; wood, fabric, Flashe acrylic paint,
house paint; 11 x 10.5 x 3” 

Ann Pibal, "RNKT," 2010; acrylic paint on aluminum panel; 11.75 x 16.25”

"SELF REFERRAL NON OBJECTIVE," Feature, Inc. New York, NY. Through October 1, 2011. Artists include Ann Pibal,Todd Chilton, Douglas Melini, Nancy Shaver, Cary Smith, Richard Rezac and Andrew Masullo.

Related posts:
Fall preview for painters
Fall preview for painters (continued)
Fervent geometry at McKenzie Fine Art

September 8, 2011

Fall preview for painters (continued)

  Clint Jukkala, "Inside Out,"2010, oil and acrylic on canvas, 16" x 20"

I'll be in New Haven this week installing a few paintings for a show put together by the Greater New Haven Arts Council so I'll definitely stop by Giampietro Gallery and check out Jukkala's exhibition, which I imagine (hope) will feature more of his exuberant meditations on inside/outside, front/back, and near/far.

  Clint Jukkala, "Reflection,"  2010, oil on canvas, 14"x 17"

"Clint Jukkala: Even if and Especially When," Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, CT. Opening reception: Friday September 9, 5-8pm. through October 7, 2011.


Jered Sprecher, "Affinity," 2011, oil on linen, 68 x 52"

Jered Sprecher, "Occident," 2011, oil on canvas, 16 x 12"

Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston is presenting new paintings by Knoxville-based painter Jered Sprecher. Roughly translated, the title of the show, "Als Ick Kan," which is cribbed from a phrase on several Jan van Eyck paintings,  means “as best I can.” Specher's visual sources include  wallpaper, graffiti, architecture, formal gardens, Tupperware, flint knives, cut gemstones, x-rays and images from art history. And FYI, Sprecher, whose work has long been associated with the new directions in contemporary abstraction,  doesn't consider his work provisional because it "comes from a place that is more purposeful and permanent." Maybe I'll take a trip up to Boston to see the show and check out the new wing at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts while I"m there.

"Jered Sprecher: Als Ick Kan," Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, MA. September 8 - October 15, 2011


Sarah McKenzie, "Big Box,'" 2011, acrylic on canvas | 60" x 60"

Based on images of reconstruction sites where work has come to a temporary standstill, McKenzie's paintings remind me of Joy Garnett's Unmonumental photography series  because she wrings meaning out of simple objects and situations she finds on the sites. The sense of absence and longing are palpable.

"Sarah McKenzie: Void," Jen Bekman Gallery, New York, NY.  September 10th - October 23rd, 2011. Opening reception: September 10, 2011.

 Maggie Michael, "Danube Series: There is No Rising or Setting Sun (Day)," 2011, ink and spray paint on paper, 22 x 30"

Maggie Michael in her Washington, DC, studio

Did I mention I"ll be spending more time in DC  this year? Michael’s show, "There is No Rising or Setting Sun," features work made this summer in Cetate, Romania, after she finished a collaborative large scale mural for the US Embassy in Bucharest, and gives me hope that the DC art community will be rich and interesting. For this series of drawings, she mixed the ink with water from the Danube river and used old vinyl records by Verdi, Diana Ross and The Jesus and Mary Chain as stencils.  “The sun reference is a way of noticing that perhaps the most inspirational phenomenon – day break or sunset – is not as it seems." Michael says. "The sun does not rise or fall; it is in a relatively fixed position.  On the other hand, the sun will appear to always be rising or setting somewhere, according to multiple points and perspectives.”

"Maggie Michael | THERE is NO RISING or SETTING SUN," G Fine Art, Washington, DC. September 10 - October 15, 2011. Opening reception September 10, 6-8pm.

For more Two Coats of Paint fall preview posts click  here and here.

September 7, 2011

Fall preview for painters

Loren Munk, "Soho Map," 2005-2006, oil on linen, 60 x 72"

"Loren Munk: Location, Location, Location--Mapping the New York Art World," Leslie Heller, New York, NY. September 7- October 16, 2011.

Munk, who also chronicles the NYC artworld in the James Kalm Report, is all about connections. I'm looking forward to the opening tonight, which will most likely feel like one of his paintings has come to life.


Kris Chatterson, "Untitled," 2011, acrylic on canvas, 72" x 60"

"Kris Chatterson: New Paintings," Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York, NY. September 9- October8, 2011.

Last year Chatterson co-curated Working Title, an exhibition of contemporary abstraction at The Bronx River Art Center, so I'm interested to see what he's been up to in the studio.  Looks like a lot of manipulation, distortion, digital printing, transferring, then more painting on top...


Davina Semo, "X MARKS THE ROT," 2011, spray paint transfer on reinforced concrete, 16 × 16" 

"WE BEGIN WITH THE NOISE," new works by Davina Semo. Martos Gallery, New York, NY. September 8 - October 8, 2011

Davina is absorbed by the disorienting and relentless abstraction of our lived experience, repurposing the ubiquitous industrial landscape of chains, concrete and glass. She etches, distresses, shatters and bends her materials--much like the heaps of scrap metal  and collaged debris found on sidewalks, in vacant lots, and down alleys.


"Carrie Moyer, Canonical," CANADA, New York, NY. September 14 - October 16, 2011.

Recently featured  in Art in America and The Brooklyn Rail, Moyer is finally having her well-deserved moment. In a conversation with Phong Bui, she talks about painting, political activism, and all the painters she loves.


Jim Herbert, "Backyard Sex," acrylic on canvas, 9 × 10'

"Jim Herbert: New Paintings," English Kills Art Gallery, Bushwick BK, NY. September 10-October 16, 2011.

I'm anticipating more massive paintings in the cavernous space. "Art making can be a sensual, playful experience - but with the possibility of a wreck on every turn." Herbert told me last year. "Both hands on the wheel please."


 Ella Kruglyanskaya, "Stick up," 2011, oil on canvas, 55x60" Courtesy of the artist's website.

"Magic Hand!" Includes work by Jonathan Allmaier, Ben Berlow, Ross Bleckner, Cheryl Donegan, Joanne Greenbaum, Ella Kruglyanskaya," curated by Joshua Abelow. Seventh in a series of exhibitions ART BLOG ART BLOG is presenting at a temporary location in Chelsea, NY. Through September 17, 2011.

What painter would miss a show that uses this Bukowski poem in the press release?

working out by Charles Bukowski

Van Gogh cut off his ear
gave it to a
who flung it away in
Van, whores don't want
they want
I guess that's why you were
such a great
painter: you
didn't understand
much else.


And now I'm off to the studio. Stay tuned for more fall previews tomorrow!

September 6, 2011

Fervent geometry at McKenzie Fine Art

This past week my in-box has been jammed with announcements for shows that open in the next couple weeks. Here are a few images from an exhibition I can't wait to see. I'll post more fall previews in the next couple days.

Sarah Walker, "Masses and Forces," 2010, acrylic on wood panel, 26 x 28"

Walker layers overlapping fields of visual information that have their sources in the physical worlds of geography, urban planning, and cartography as well as the dematerialized zones of the internet and the psyche. Walker says she grew up with hoarders, which somehow might explain the dazzling excess of her paintings.

Douglas Melini, Untitled, 2009, acrylic on canvas with hand-painted wood frame, 23 1/2 x 19 1/2"

"I'm very interested in how our body and mind respond to vibratory experiences," Melini writes. The space he creates travels inward, oscillating back and forth, folding and unfolding within the picture.

Gary Petersen, "Step Up," 2011, acrylic and oil on masonite panel, 20 x 16"

Petersen creates a flex-y pictorial space that elegantly bends and torques. And oh what beautiful color....!

"Douglas Melini, Gary Petersen, Sarah Walker," McKenzie Fine Art, New York, NY. September 8 - October 8, 2011. Opening reception: Thursday, September 15, 2011.

Related posts:
NYC Gallery Visit: Sarah Walker and Ken Weathersby
I like line, too

Leave of absence

 A few recent paintings in the studio.

Putting together the previous post about artists who write, I was  reading Laurie Fendrich's latest post at the Chronicle of Higher Education about the anxiety of returning to classes each fall, and I realized I forgot to tell readers that I'm taking an unpaid leave of absence from teaching at Eastern Connecticut State University this year.

In addition to spending more time in the studio, I'll be teaching an online course at Massachusetts College of Art, as well as serving as a visiting artist-critic and panelist at a few conferences and universities. In October I'll be at the New York Academy of Art to speak about blogging and social media, and I'll be discussing the importance of offering online courses in the visual arts during a panel discussion at MassArt. In December, I'm looking forward to a trip to Baltimore to participate in student critiques at MICA's Hoffberger School of Painting.  I'll be covering the Miami art fairs in December and the College Art Association Annual Conference, where I'm co-hosting ArtExchange, in Los Angeles in February.

Support the blog (and help pay my studio rent) by inviting me to your university to participate in student critiques, to lecture about my own art practice, to lead discussions about trends in contemporary painting and online media, or to develop online visual arts courses. I'm also available to write essays for exhibition catalogues. Thanks. Now back to our regular programming.

George Hofmann and Laurie Fendrich on artists' writing, and the Duccio Fragments series

 George Hofmann, Duccio Fragment (No. 1), 2011, acrylic on board, 30 x 24" 

Recently George Hofmann, a faculty member from 1967 to 2002 in the legendary Hunter College art program,  contributed a post to Art Critical about artists who write. "As an artist I am most drawn these days to reading blogs of other working artists," Hofmann wrote. "What sets apart the artist’s blogs is their earnestness and faith.  Critics analyze and dissect, but do they write from the heart, as artists do? Artists may wish to promote themselves, but in writing they are usually working, and thinking.... Artists who write write for a purpose. They may be working out their own trajectories, erratic and capricious, but, mostly, they are writing out of necessity. This is a big part of what now actually moves art along; in my view, we need it."

In the Comments section painter-writer Laurie Fendrich responded that "writing form the heart" isn't what makes artists' writing worth reading. "The experience of being an artist teaches artists how to be loners–to take aesthetic stands that aren’t necessarily popular," Fendrich wrote.  "Whether they write well or not, they almost always have a lot of interesting takes on the world in general."

A painting from Hoffman's 2011 "Duccio Fragment" series accompanied the post. The casual combination of emergent paint marks on unprimed wood panels caught my eye. I sent Hofmann a note to ask if there are other paintings in the series. Here are the images he sent me.

George Hofmann, Duccio Fragment (No. 4), 2011, acrylic on board, 30 x 24" 

George Hofmann, Duccio Fragment (No. 5 ), 2011, acrylic on board, 30 x 24" 

 George Hofmann, Duccio Fragment (No. 7), 2011, acrylic on board, 30 x 24" 

George Hofmann, Duccio Fragment (No. 11), 2011, acrylic on board, 30 x 24"

Related reading: