April 28, 2014

Cosmic wit at Centotto


Paul D’Agostino’s Bushwick gallery Centotto is an intimate space, presenting itself like the drawing room of an especially erudite and charmingly uncynical hipster. In the gallery’s clever group show “Vapors and Squalls, or Mediums,” comprising work by Kate Teale, Karen Marston, Jonathan Quinn, and Wendy Klemperer, D'Agostino has arrayed paintings depicting water in various forms of tumult with sculptures of animals, writhing as if in anticipation of impending storms. Also part of the show are weather-related texts drawn from great authors – Coleridge, Conrad, and Melville, for instance – by each of the artists as well as the gallerist.

Jonathan Quinn

Recollections of Sandy’s devastation are appropriate and perhaps obligatory (see Karen Marston’s Wave With Traffic Light); some of the most poignant hurricane stories came out of Brooklyn. But in this exhibition, D’Agostino also seems to have applied his cosmic wit to the more abstract, large-bore idea that even art ostensibly devoted to a single theme – here, frightful weather – inevitably opens itself up to far more than that. 

Kate Teale
In this regard, Marston’s Wave Over Wall (image at top) has an especially intriguing ambivalence. In the painting, a crashing wave takes on the shape of an evergreen, evoking Chris Martin’s Hemlock, in which, conversely, he uses increasingly jangled brushstrokes so that the tree seems to assume a more kinetic form – like that of a wave. In "Vapors, Squalls, and Mediums," weather emerges not so much as a setpiece theme or a simple metaphor as a wormhole to other tropes that might before have seemed unconnected or remote. Art’s expansiveness may be a given, but this show offers a fresh way to apprehend it.

Wendy Klemperer

"Vapors and Squalls, or Mediums: Kate Teale, Karen Marston, Jonathan Quinn, and Wendy Klemperer," Centotto, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. Closing date TBA.

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