August 2, 2015

Revitalization by contamination: OBJECT'hood at Lesley Heller

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The premise of “OBJECT’hood,” a group exhibition at Lesley Heller Workspace curated by Inna Babaeva and Gelah Penn, is that sculpture, though less celebrated than painting, is enjoying a stealthy resurgence. Fueling what they impishly call this “revitalization by contamination” is the willingness of its practitioners to draw on a wide range of other artistic disciplines to generate art in three dimensions.

[Image at top: Nicole Cherubini, The Great Disruption, 2014, pine , earthenware, paint, glaze, 28 x 24 x 4.5 inches. Image courtesy of artist and Tracy Williams Ltd.] 

July 31, 2015

Warp and weft: The grid at Mixed Greens

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Mixed Greens’ enterprising group exhibition "Common Thread," on view through August 28, positions a 1973 Bauhaus grid study by Anni Albers and Ellen Lesperance’s 2009 grid-based gouache deconstruction of her pre-Josef Albers sweater pattern as aesthetic and cultural springboards for work by nine contemporary female artists. Restively contemplating traditional gender associations, these artists jettison the “iconic brushstroke” in favor of extrusion and fiber art. While duly recognizing their antecedents, they appear determined to move forward.

[Image at top: Ellen Lesperance; 1921, Anni Fleischmann Demonstrates Simultaneous Contrast Herself with the Help of a Knitted I-Cord Necklace; It Would Be a Year Before Even Meeting Josef Albers; 2009; gouache and graphite on tea stained paper; 22 × 29 inches.]

July 28, 2015

Albert Oehlen's genius

If paintings were guests at a dinner party, Albert Oehlen’s would be the most popular raconteurs. Everyone would clamor to sit next to them, leaving the rest of the paintings sulking at the end of the table by themselves. His current exhibition at the New Museum, “Home and Garden,” curated by Massimiliano Gioni, with Gary Carrion-Murayari and Natalie Bell, seems too intimate – I would have preferred a bigger party with twice as many guests. Nevertheless, the show is a tour de force, full of robust irony, dynamic observation, art-historical allusions, and painterly brio. One installation and twenty-seven canvases, spanning his 35-year career, embody manic duels of line, shape, color, texture, and image. The paintings don’t necessarily fit together in some larger plan; their impact and significance lies in the process each reveals, the energy it emits, and its unfettered wit.

[Image at top: Albert Oehlen, Streithelfer, 1997, oil on canvas. Gagosian Gallery/courtesy the artist and Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin.]

July 25, 2015

Ruth Root’s deep integration

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Ruth Root’s seven striking shaped canvases, on display at Andrew Kreps Gallery in Chelsea and all untitled, might recall Elizabeth Murray’s transcendent household paintings, Hermine Ford’s erudite explorations of nature and artifice, or, more distantly, Kelly and Stella’s hard-edge Minimalist works. Indeed, Root has freely and openly acknowledged her antecedents. But this serially innovative painter is also onto something distinctly her own.

[Image at top: Ruth Root, Untitled, 2014-2015, fabric, enamel, Plexi, spray paint, 84 x 103 inches. ]

July 20, 2015

Seeing black at Brian Morris

Guest Contributor Jonathan Stevenson / “Cuts Noon Light,” the challenging three-person exhibition at Brian Morris Gallery on Chrystie Street, gets its title from a Pablo Neruda poem in which those words seem to refer to what a lover does, and especially what is missed when the lover is absent or gone. It’s a powerful if elusive notion, and the three artists shift it to a more general existential level in intriguing ways.

[Image: Andrew Ginzel, Cataclysm, 2008, ink, toner, gold on paper with mirror, 25 x 21 inches.]

July 19, 2015

William Faulkner on discrepancies and contradictions

As a guest at Yaddo this summer (studio pictured above with work in progress), I have access to a lovely library, which is located in a neo-classical building in the center of the compound. Built in 1910, the stucco-clad structure also houses the residency office and the grounds garage, and features a charming Tuscan colonnade. Browsing through the stacks last week, I found a number of first editions inscribed by authors who at one time or another were Yaddo guests. One book that especially caught my eye was The Mansion, published in 1959, William Faulkner's final novel of a trilogy that chronicles the life of a Mississippi family named Snopes.

July 18, 2015

Your July 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]

July 17, 2015

Elizabeth Kley and Conrad Ventur: Improbable harmony at Regina Rex

Guest Contributor Jonathan Stevenson / A two-person exhibition involving a couple of clearly kindred artists stands a good chance of being demurely satisfying on account of its agreeable predictability. But one of the features that makes for a truly outstanding show is apparent incongruity that surprisingly yields integration and harmony. Lower East Side gallery Regina Rex’s current exhibition “translucent threads of dawn” – the title itself is suitably enigmatic – is a fine example.

[Image at top: Installation view at Regina Rex.]

July 15, 2015

Punctuation: Derek Bourcier, Robert Medvedz, and Robert Yoder at Planthouse

Without the serial comma – the one inserted before “and” in a list of three or more items – a reader might infer from the sentence “I love my dogs, Elizabeth Murray and Yaddo” that my dogs were named Elizabeth Murray and Yaddo. (I assure you they are not!) But “Serial Comma” is also the title of a compelling three-person exhibition at Planthouse, located in the flower district just east of Chelsea. The show features paintings, drawings, and sculptural objects that are black, white, and color; graphic, cleanly articulated, and scrawled. It unfolds, as the title suggests, as a presentation of three distinct artists who nevertheless belong in the same sentence.

[Imager at top: Installation view, "Serial Comma" at Planthouse.]

July 13, 2015

Serious drollery at Asya Geisberg

Guest Contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Summer group shows are notorious for their looseness, but in “Character TraitsMatthew Craven has managed to curate one at Asya Geisberg Gallery in Chelsea that’s coherent as well as insightful and amusing. Leading off the show with an obscene jolt is Dawn Frasch’s large surreal canvas Pussy Phanatic(pictured above), in which a spew of toxic images, including belimbed skulls and gelatinous pistols, emerges from a petulant slattern’s crotch. If the Pandora’s Box imagery is a little on the nose in making Lisa Yuskavage and John Currin look like Shakers, it is knowingly so, and all in good fun.

July 9, 2015

Off to Yaddo

Tomorrow I leave for nearly four weeks at Yaddo, the fabled artists' community in Saratoga Springs, New York. Twenty-three artists and writers will be in residence at the bucolic 400-acre estate that was founded in 1900 by financier Spencer Trask and his wife Katrina, a poet.

[Image: In the garden at Yaddo]

July 2, 2015

Is the east end of Connecticut the new Hamptons?

Finally someone is giving Mystic the love. Troy McMullen reports in the NYPost that the Connecticut shoreline, particularly the stretch between New Haven and Rhode Island, may be the new Hamptons. An easy drive from Manhattan and Brooklyn and accessible via Amtrak and Shoreline East, towns such as Guilford, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Mystic and Stonington offer a cheaper and less crowded alternative to the east end of Long Island.

[Image at top: Mystic, CT. Chris DeLaura, via]

June 30, 2015

June 30: Andrew Ginzel's list of NYC shows, openings, and events

SOME but not all NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE / June 30, 2015 / Listed south to north. Compiled by artist Andrew Ginzel for his students at the School of Visual Arts. Images have been selected by Two Coats of Paint.

NOTE: Many venues are on special summer hours. Please inquire before going out of your way. Sadly, this is the last list for the summer--NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE is now on summer hiatus. Have a wonderful July & August!

[Image at top: Ruth Root @ Andrew Kreps]

June 27, 2015

VERNACULAR: A painterly conversation about abstraction

By Janet Goleas / Shared from the Hamptons Art Hub / The four artists included in "Vernacular"—Eric Brown, Sharon Butler, Andrew Seto and Joyce Robins—at Bushwick’s Theodore:Art, approach abstraction with a shared sense of humility, materiality and ambiguity. Speaking in distinct but related painterly tongues, the works on view connect familiar idioms—minimalism, cubism, precisionism—with a wabi-sabi aesthetic. The conversation among these accomplished artists is smart and refreshing.

[Image: Andrew Seto, Biscuits, 2015, oil on canvas, 9 3/4 x 8 inches. ]

June 26, 2015

Blast of color: Mink and Dolnick at OUTLET

"An avalanche of color has no force," Matisse wrote in 1945. "Color attains its full expression only when it is organized, when it corresponds to the emotional intensity of the artist." At OUTLET this month, Jason Andrew presents the impressive work of Lucy Mink and Judith Dolnick, painters who seem to live for color, and since I have been exploring color in some of my new projects and paintings, I decided to ask them about their relationship to what is probably the most elusive and complex element in painting.

[Image at top: Lucy Mink, Vacation, 2014, oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 inches.]

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