Continuing my roadtrip north of the city, I headed west from the Berkshires to Hudson and Beacon, two more towns that have absorbed many exhausted Brooklyn artists who have decided to join art communities elsewhere. In Hudson, John Davis has notably expressive solo painting shows by Matt Blackwell, Judith Simonian, Kathy Osborn, and Angela Dufresne. Jeff Bailey, settled in his new blue clapboard townhouse down Warren Street from Davis, offers “Tossed,” a clever group show co-curated by artists Jennifer Coates and Rachel Schmidhofer. And in Beacon, I finally made a visit to Matteawan, Karlyn Benson’s smart young gallery that often features Brooklyn artists.
The imagery in Judith Simonian‘s new paintings is more abstract than it has been in earlier ones. She herself says that a representational dimension remains essential to her work but now is without narrative intent. “It’s more about creating a state of anticipation and surprise, situating the viewer in an unreliable space, architectural or natural. Almost everything is recognizable but unfamiliar. It looks like the rules have been changed.” I’ve always like sea metaphors, particularly the idea of dropping anchor, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your outlook.
At Jeff Bailey, “Tossed” is a delightful, er, salad bar of a show that includes diverse work by co-curators Jennifer Coates and Rachel Schmidhofer, Holly Coulis, Steve DiBenedetto, David Humphrey, Irena Jurek, Alisha Kerlin, Wayne Koestenbaum, Austin Lee, Joshua Marsh, Scott Penkava, Alexander Ross, Lisa Sanditz,and Michelle Segre. “Salad makes promises, punishes, disappoints and redeems,” the curators promise. “Salad can make you thin, it can make you sad, it can make you love yourself, or it can banish you to bitter, soggy purgatory…”
At Matteawan, Karlyn Benson has organized “Booksmart,” a show that riffs imaginatively on books and book formats. Artists include Theresa Gooby, Brece Honeycutt, Björn Meyer-Ebrecht, and August Ventimiglia.
From left to right: Brece Honeycutt’s handmade book (it seems her books are everywhere this summer), Björn Meyer-Ebrecht’s freestanding sculpture/book holder, and August Ventimiglia‘s collages comprising the underlining in used books.
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