April 19, 2015

Web world: The New Museum's 2015 Triennial

Entering the New Museum's 2015 Triennial "Surround Audience" is like stepping into someone else’s search history. If you’re passionate about the same information that he or she is, you might find the work fascinating. If not, you may feel as though you’re laboring through a reading assignment, or worse, correcting homework. Either way, though, curators Lauren Cornell and Ryan Trecartin have managed to create a fascinating equivalent for online life, with all the confusion, distraction, contradiction, and uneven quality that we have come to associate with post-analog existence.

[Image at top: Verena Dengler, Identity, 2014.]

April 17, 2015

Peter Halley: Hyperreal

When I stopped by the Florence Griswold Museum during a snowstorm in mid-March to see Peter Halley’s retrospective, the glowing neon color and interlocking geometric forms – what he has called cells, prisons (that is, rectangular sets of prison bars), and conduits – had transformed the museum into a dazzling chamber of vibrating light. This extraordinary exhibition, “Peter Halley: Big Paintings,” consists of nine monumental paintings made between 1987 and 2015 that take abstraction beyond the utopian ideals of early modernism and address the isolation and control imposed by government and corporate interests on our everyday lives.

[Image at top: Peter Halley, installation view at the Florence Griswold Museum.]

April 15, 2015

April 15: Andrew Ginzel's list of NYC shows, opening and events

SOME but not all NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE / April 15, 2015  / Listed south to north. Compiled by artist Andrew Ginzel for his students at the School of Visual Arts. Note: Images have been selected by Two Coats of Paint.

[Image at top:  Josh Reames in "Post-Analog Painting," @ The Hole  ]

April 14, 2015

Your Monthly Horoscope! by Crystal “Kitty” Shimski

Transcribed by guest contributor Jennifer Coates / Kitty divides her time between New York City and Montauk. She is a freelance Intuitive Technique Specialist and part-time Trance Inducer. She was recently certified in Trauma Re-alignment and holds a dual Associates Degree in Breath Dancing for Painters and Creative Shock Control from the Online Academy of Spiritual Transit. She is devoted to helping painters live out their truth on the surface of their choosing. [Image via Four Muddy Paws]

Taurus (April 20-May 20)
You can count on pain in the early part of the month. That secret practice you’ve been nursing in the studio will lead mostly to frustration. If you have been experimenting with oils, where before you only used acrylics, you will come face to face with your weaknesses and inabilities. If you use watercolors and are attempting to use enamel, you will likely develop breathing difficulties. While I am not saying you should abandon your efforts, just do not show them to anyone. You may not understand your relationship with these new mediums until early June. You may take small comfort in the fact that as Venus enters your financial sector towards the end of the month you may have some sales opportunities, but likely they will be only small, early drawings, sold to a friend who feels sorry for you.

Gemini (May 21-June 20)
In early April, your romantic partner, should you be lucky enough to have one, comes to your studio and hates your new painting. You go out to dinner after and cannot lift your head to speak to him or her. Dejected, you may drool onto your shirt. The good news is that as Venus enters your sign, this will be a time to become more confident in spite of the lack of support for your work from any arena. In your studio you are you! It’s a great time to invest in new clothes for the studio, perhaps install a mirror to see if ultramarine blue is staining your nose before going out to the hallway. A New Moon in your friendship sector will bring more social opportunities despite your haircut. Anything is possible!

Cancer (June 21-July 22)
Stress and anxiety are your studio mates this month. If only you could finish a single painting, you would feel better about things. All you can do is try to wash your hands before eating. After the middle of the month, start using more purple. After all, it is the color of bruising and it is the color most likely to recharge your spiritual batteries. If you don’t have a gallery, this month will find you pining for one that will never consider you. Career news does brighten, however, at the end of the month, thanks to the beauty of the New Moon in your professional 10th house. This is the ideal time to curate a show that includes yourself, or go after whatever other meager offerings that are out there that may enhance your reputation. The future is now!

Leo (July 23-August 22)
A friend invites you over for a studio visit and complains about a career problem that you would kill to have. You may experience frustration but do your best to take the high road: remember that this person may invite you to an insufferable long dinner, where you *might* meet someone who *might* come to your studio in five years. Thankfully Venus enters your friendship sector and you actually have a lot of fun this month, so be sure to accept all your invitations. Be open to possibilities! At the end of the month your heart will be set on new horizons in the studio. This is the time for inner journeys and incorporating text into your paintings. Life is good!

Virgo (August 23-September 22)
Take control of your finances! You are spending too much money on art supplies and alcohol. You may lose a source of income this month so time to cut down on drinking and make less paintings with fewer colors! Whatever the details, just remember you are resourceful and you will get through this, perhaps even shedding a few pounds in the process. Things brighten towards the end of the month as Venus enters your career sector, bringing you validation from your friends who are more successful than you. This is an ideal time to ask for a studio visit from a curator you’ve had your eye on. You may even hear news about a group show that seems promising. Be confident and move forward!

Libra (September 23-October 22)

The bad news is that you are more sensitive this month. The cosmic sky is playing out its dramas in your mind and you cannot tolerate the criticism of others. A studio visit turns nasty as an acquaintance tells you “the truth” about your paintings. But if you can endure this shaming without reacting until they leave, slowly but surely you will be able to begin painting again around Memorial Day. If there was ever a time to go see shows in the galleries, this is it. Besides, who knows? You might see something you like! Empower yourself! Fortunately a New Moon is coming into your relationship sector by the end of the month: time to make a new friend who is nicer than the old friend.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)

Be nice to yourself this month. That bad review or bad news affects you at your existential depths. All you can do is try to sleep, not get sick, and not become a full-on addict. Finances are on the upturn this month though, as you sell a large painting directly from your studio at market price, with only a minimal discount. The New Moon in your work sector marks a fresh start. Either a friend of yours has also suffered a career blow or you may have an idea for a new series of paintings based on someone else’s paintings. You’re likely to feel excited by the end of the month. Things are looking up!

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)
This month is about letting go. It may be of an expensive but paint-stained shirt, a competitive friendship or a long-held dream of having a museum exhibition. If this happens it’s because the thing is just not workable in your life and facing reality once in a while is actually healthy. Magical thinking works great in paintings but not always in life! Meanwhile Venus makes a tour of your relationship sector, so expect that special someone, if there is a special someone, to be much more accepting of your “quirks.” You’ll feel strongly that this person is really on your team. Towards the end of the month your paintings will require more impasto and smearing. Make it happen!

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)

If your paintings are really good, this month you will get the attention you deserve. You may even receive a grant or award. However if they are still somewhat derivative or perhaps even weak, you will find out one way or another, over and over, for several days in a row. It’s possible that a friend accuses your colors of being muddy or too often used straight from the tube, or maybe that your work looks like someone else’s. Whatever the criticism, even if it rattles you, it is correct! You would do well to really examine your process at every level. Keep in mind that even if this brutal self-assessment leads you to never paint again, it’s better to know now what you are truly meant to be doing with your life. Make it count!

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)
This month has a crisis of conscience in store. For some reason, you are overly concerned with ethics and morality. Whatever the details, you may either have to stand up for something you believe is right or come clean about borrowing the ideas of an unsuspecting grad student in the Midwest whose art department you visited late last year. Even if you can’t make it right, you can expect to grow as a person, if not an artist, from this experience. In lighter news, Venus will be touring your love sector towards the end of the month and this once-a-year phenomenon will finally help you to enjoy sex. A brilliant New Moon will also ensure your studio neighbors will be quiet this month.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)
Your finances may be a source of frustration this month. You may owe more money than you thought to the IRS or you may face an audit. The next several months will be a nightmare of paperwork and distraction from your studio practice as you realize you have not been religiously saving receipts and you’ve taken way too many Ubers. Just remember! It will pass. In happier news, once you resume painting, you gain a sense of confidence about using spray paint, despite its irksome prevalence. If you need to find a new studio mate, you are likely to find a good one this month! One who does not clog the toilet, one who does not play Enya, one who does not leave behind rotting lunchmeat. Peace and harmony are coming your way.

Aries (March 21-April 19)
Relationships may be touchy this month. Avoid doing any studio visits or you will find yourself telling someone you hate their paintings, or comforting them as they cry about a situation you can’t relate to, or spending a long time giving relationship advice to someone who is supposed to be looking at your work. You might find yourself in some unwanted sticky situations! So spend a lot of time alone over the next few weeks. By the end of the month, your confidence will receive a major boost. It’s a great time to get back to the gym, so you will actually look better rather than just think you do. Meanwhile, the sky is the limit in the studio: splurge on some new canvases and show us what you got!


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

April 10, 2015

Diana Copperwhite: I think about what the paintings can’t do and then I try to do it

On the occasion of her solo show at Kevin Kavanagh in Dublin, Diana Copperwhite, born in Dublin in 1969, had the following conversation with Irish artist Helen O'Leary. They discuss Ireland's literary and visual traditions, the importance of scale, optics, and how technology has taken hold in Copperwhite's work. "Painting is so physical but has the potential to do something very different to other media," she tells O'Leary. "Aspects of technology are almost hypnotic and trance-like and this creates a space in my paintings that gives rise to what you might consider the psychedelic."  

[Image at top: Diana Copperwhite, Human Architecture, 2015, oil on canvas, 91 x 87 cm]

April 7, 2015

Please join me: upcoming events in April, May, and June

Hello readers,
I have a few events coming up and I want to make sure everyone is invited.

First: A plug for the Art F City 10th Anniversary Benefit Party and Auction, which takes place on April 13 at Lightbox. Buy your tickets here. I'm on the organizing committee and I hope to see you all out supporting independent blogging! Laurie Anderson is the honored guest, and vaudevillian rockers known as the Elephant Room will perform magic. If you can't make it, I hope you'll consider bidding on some of the art at Paddle8.


Second: The Review Panel
On Friday, April 17 at 6:30 pm I'll be joining David Cohen, John Yau, and Noah Dillon to discuss the New Museum's Triennial and the Invitational at the American Academy of Arts and Letters for The Review Panel, a popular critics’ forum at the National Academy Museum. I have no idea what will happen--should be fun.
From the press release:
The two shows are a contrast of medium proclivity: while new technologies predominate at the Triennial, an international survey of early-career artists filling all floors of the New Museum’s Bowery headquarters, the Invitational has a bias towards painting and artists of all career stages. The Triennial has been curated by Lauren Cornell of the New Museum and artist Ryan Trecartin while the Invitational is selected by a committee of academicians.
John Yau, the eminent poet and respected critic, has been a regular guest of The Review Panel. Our other two speakers are newcomers: Sharon Butler is the veteran blogger at Two Coats of Paint, while Noah Dillon has been Associate Editor at artcritical.com since last summer.
Free and open to the public.
Time: 6:30 pm
The National Academy Museum
1083 5th Avenue at 89th Street
New York, NY

To make a reservation, please call 212-369-4880 x 201


And this:
Recommended reading and Improvised Showboat:

You may have read the recent post about the Internet and how it has affected abstract painting. These ideas will be teased out in a curated one-night group exhibition with Improvised Showboat. The exhibition will be on Saturday, May 2 at Two Coats HQ, 55 Washington Street #321 in DUMBO. Save the date--details to come.


Finally: Upcoming

I've been invited to mount a solo show at Matteawan Gallery in Beacon, NY, not far from DIA Art Foundation. The opening is Saturday, May 9, so save the date. I'm planning a Two Coats of Paint road trip to Beacon--details to come.

In June, look for my work at Theodore:Art in Bushwick. Stephanie has invited me to participate in a 3-person show, which I'm happy to say, will be up during Bushwick Open Studios.

That's it. Happy spring everyone. (Spring's here, right?)

xoxo Sharon

[Image at top: Looking at some of my small paintings in the new studio at 55 Washington Street.]


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

April 6, 2015

The Painter of Modern Life, command-z, and the resurgence of abstraction

The Internet, especially through social media, facilitates a direct and immediate connection between interior and exterior worlds, and I have little doubt that this recent phenomenon has helped propel the current resurgence of abstract painting. MoMA’s Laura Hoptman-curated contemporary painting survey “The Forever Now” showcases artists who comb the Internet for styles both past and present to ape, reference, and revere. In contrast, “The Painter of Modern Life,” a group show organized by Bob Nickas at Anton Kern, is a visual essay that seems to focus directly on the mind space created when we are on the Internet. Many of the artists in this show may still refer to art historical-materials found on the web, but what makes their work so distinctive is their effort to visualize how it feels to spend so much time in a virtual world.

[Image at top: Mathew Cerletty, True Believer, 2013, oil on linen, 17 x 17 inches.

April 2, 2015

Image of the Day: Ellen Siebers

I stopped by Matteawan Gallery in Beacon yesterday to check out Ellen Siebers' winsome show before it closes on Sunday. Siebers paints an assortment of objects from memory, some recognizable and some not, on a small scale and using neutral color, recalling the simplicity of Shaker design. "With every moment our limitations and visual processes force us to link together a series of images, perspectives and perceptual phenomena," Siebers says. "Everything begins to feel like mythology."

[Image at top: Ellen Siebers, Untitled III, 2014, oil on marble ground on panel, 11 x 11 inches.]

Ellen Siebers, C.I.T.S., 2015, mixed media, gesso, paint, 6.5 x 6.5 inches. This mysterious lone object on the wall completes a charming show. I recommend a road trip to Beacon this weekend!

"Ellen Siebers: Soft Nails," Mattaewan Gallery, Beacon, NY. through April 5, 2015.

NOTE: My solo show at Matteawan opens on Saturday May 9--save the date!

Related posts:
Last chance: Summer shows in Hudson and Beacon (2014)
Studio Update: Summer progress in Beacon (2008)


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

Craig Taylor: Data bust


In his witty new paintings, Brooklyn painter Craig Taylor empties traditional portrait bust forms of facial detail and fills the silhouettes with strata of small marks and brushstrokes. The effect is to make visible the unarticulated anxiety behind our carefully crafted facades.

[Image at top: Craig Taylor, Self-Portrait of Nobody, 2014, oil on canvas, 80 x 60 inches.]

April 1, 2015

Jack Davidson: Snippets and memories

Jack Davidson’s paintings are humble, from their mid-scale size and lightweight stretcher bars to their enigmatic lowercase titles. The paint handling is purposefully inconspicuous, like the uninflected voice of a realist novelist. Davidson wants to show what happens when a painter refrains from using all the jaw-dropping tricks we associate with paint. No sfumato or chiaroscuro, no pentimenti, no scraping, squeegying or thick repainting, no veiled glazes or mimesis. Just shape, line, and color. He puts the paint on the canvas with little fuss. Davidson has a minimalist’s restraint: he doesn’t want to transform the paint into something other than what it is. Yet the color is pronounced, hovering between bold seventies graphics, eighties pomo design, and Easter pastels.

[Image at top:  Jack Davidson, i want to lead the sporting life, 2014, oil on canvas, 45x63.75 inches.]

March 30, 2015

Studio update: Preston Hand Built

Having settled into my new studio at 55 Washington Street in DUMBO, I've started a batch of new work, none of which is ready to share yet. Moving from sublet to sublet for the past five years, I've come to expect a few unproductive weeks every time I move into a new space, though often that uncertain transient feeling has eventually borne fruit in my work. Now that I have signed a three-year lease (thanks to the Two Trees Cultural Space Subsidy Program), the relative stability will inevitably affect my art practice.

 My new neighbor Jared Preston

The biggest change so far has been that I've decided to use stretched canvases for the large-scale paintings. As luck would have it, Jared Preston – woodworker, art handler, all–around studio assistant and nice guy – has opened a new stretcher-building company, Preston Hand Built, at 20 Jay Street, not too far from my studio. Last week he delivered five stretchers (pictured at top) made from kiln-dried basswood. Most of Preston's stretcher bars (and trainers, too) use a two-part construction with meshed-tooth joinery that ensures dimensional stability, and he uses a ingenious fastening system that holds miter joints tight when expanded without those little wood keys. If you need stretchers, I highly recommend him.

Stay tuned for images of new paintings in the near.


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

March 27, 2015

Surface prep at Centotto: Dunlap, Mahler, D’Acunto, DaWalt

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / “Something Naught,” the new group show at Centotto, Paul D’Agostino’s redoubtable Bushwick salon, gathers four abstract artists who take very different approaches to resolving surfaces. The fact that surfaces themselves have aesthetic value in paintings sets painting apart from, say, digital work. So deciding how to exploit the surface of a painting to establish and convey content is key to realizing that painting’s full expressive potential. D’Agostino, with this clever selection, offers a trenchant visual essay on the full range of conventional strategies, variations thereon, and more experimental approaches.

[Image at top: Christopher Dunlap. Dunlap's solo show "Deep Space / Shallow Grave," opens tonight at GCA  in Bushwick.]

Answers to the Spring/Break quiz

One submission to the Spring/Break Quiz included this fantastic jpeg, and the answers have also been added to the original post here. I had a tie: two artists (you know who you are!) submitted all the correct answers. Thanks, everyone for participating. 


Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

March 24, 2015

On Kawara: Carpe Diem


Little about On Kawara’s life is evident from looking at his work. Much of his exhibition at the Guggenheim consists of compilations of journal-like data, which unfold like life itself – one day at a time.

[Image at top: "On Kawara—Silence" at the Guggenheim. Installation view. All images courtesy of the museum.]

March 20, 2015

The Asymmetric Armory Show

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / The Modern section of the Armory Show was like an unruly museum-quality exhibition, showcasing one anointed (and usually dead) artist after another, but in no particular order. If that dispensation fell short of framing the artists’ work as respectfully or systematically as some might have liked, it did make for a gratifying kind of treasure hunt.

After (or before) beholding a wall of Picasso etchings and prints or a couple of big Jim Dines (who got a lot of love this year), turn a corner and find a solitary little Morandi gem (pictured above), a brace of serene Lee Krasner gouaches and watercolors, a titanic Georg Baselitz, a Diebenkorn and a Frankenthaler on angled facades, an array of Imi Knoebels, a tandem of cool Lewitt aquatints, several opaque Milton Avery landscapes, Doves and Hartleys. Pause in the middle aisle and pick a vector, then point and walk to a pair of signature Stella paintings or a magnetically odd 1959 Alfred Leslie canvas that insists on perusal. The Modern section is such a pleasure, it's no wonder Frieze New York, which takes up residence on Randall's Island in May, has announced the introduction of "Spotlight," a section dedicated to work made in the 20th century. At "Spotlight" Frieze promises a series of solo shows that offer a "fresh look" at works by under-appreciated artists.

Starting with the Modern stuff, though, set up the Contemporary section to disappoint – at least as far as painting was concerned. This year – except, it seemed, for Alex Katz’s work – there was not much interesting painting. Conceptually overloaded work trying too hard to capture the world’s celebrated complexity crowded it out. Perhaps fittingly, most of those paintings that were on view seemed besieged, lurching between dispirited and desperate. The dearth of prepossessing painting, of course, also made it relatively easy to zone in on the paintings that were truly outstanding – another Baselitz, and enterprising but neatly contained work by artists like Mark Francis, Anne Nieukamp, and Janaina Tschape

Anne Nieukamp @ Valentin

 Mark Francis @ Kerlin


 Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

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