October 1, 2014

Politics and abstract painting: Matthew Deleget at OUTLET

In the beginning, when Malevich and El Lissitzky were making some of the first Western abstract paintings,  abstraction was infused with politics and ideas. The connection continued through European art movements in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Arte Povera, ZERO Group, and Supports/Surfaces. In recent years, however, abstract form and process have become vehicles for more personal, less strident explorations of the provisional, the contingent and the casual.

[Image at top; Matthew Deleget, High Value Target, 2014, fluorescent orange enamel spray paint on wooden panel, 24 x 24 inches.]

October 1: Andrew Ginzel's list of NYC shows and events

SOME but not all NYC SELECTED SHOWS TO SEE / October 1, 2014  / 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: Harriet Korman @ Lennon, Weinberg in Chlesea]

September 25, 2014

It's good to be lonely: Jason Tomme at Theodore:Art

Stephanie Theodore gets the prize for press release of the day for her five deceptively simple takes on Jason Tomme's exhibition. The show is a compelling mix of different media, from wood and stone sculptures and found objects to finely detailed pencil drawings, which I can imagine the artist making alone, in his studio, contemplating art's need for solitude, all the while longing for human companionship and conversation. We can all relate to that.

[Jason Tomme, Crack Painting September 2014, 2014, oil on linen, 24 x 18 inches.]

Art and Fiction: Donald Antrim’s dark art

Guest Contributor Jonathan Stevenson / Artists populate a number of Donald Antrim’s ominous short stories. In some, their status as artists makes the story tick. One such story is “The Emerald Light in the Air,” which appeared in the The New Yorker last February and is the title story of his new collection, recently reviewed twice (here and here) in the NY Times.

[Image:  Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, The Rape of Europa, c. 1725, oil on canvas, 99 x 134 cm, Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice.]

Deborah Brown: A Painterly Trajectory


Matthew Neil Gehring curated an expansive solo show of Deborah Brown's recent paintings in the Flecker Gallery at Suffolk Community College. With his endearing adverbial swagger, Paul D'Agostino wrote the following catalog essay that considers Brown's oeuvre from the past 10 years.

[Image: Deborah Brown, Sun King, 2014, oil on canvas 70 X 80 inches.]

September 22, 2014

Invitation: A goodbye party and the DUMBO ARTS FESTIVAL

The annual DUMBO Arts Festival takes place this coming weekend, Friday, Sept. 26, through Sunday, Sept. 28, which, sadly, will also be my last weekend in the neighborhood. [Image at top: A snap from my first week in the studio back in June]

Please stop by our open studio reception at 68 Jay Street, Studio 510A on Friday, Sept. 26 from 6-8 pm. I've invited Thomas Micchelli, co-editor of Hyperallergic Weekend, to hang some of his work alongside the paintings I made while I've been "in residence." Micchelli and I are both interested in a hybrid painting-drawing combo, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he has been up to since his last show at Centotto in Bushwick.

Artist (and my generous studio landlord) Teri Hackett has also organized a group exhibition in the front space featuring Elena Berriolo, Lisa HeinRobert Seng, Margrit Lewczuk, Dennis Kardon, Heather Hutchison, Liza Phllips, and Michelle Weinberg. The work Hackett selected features a bit of humor, direct use of materials, and evocative color. Sounds good.

Thomas Micchelli, Bacchante 17, 2014, graphite on paper, 9 ¾ x 4 ½ inches, sheet 11 x 14 inches.

September 13, 2014

Tamsin Doherty asks "What is a creative life?"

In the September issue of The Brooklyn Rail, Tamsin Doherty contributed a book review of Living and Sustaining a Creative Life, a book of 40 artists' essays (one of which I wrote) edited by artist Sharon Louden. The book has been widely praised as a resource for young artists and a pep talk for older ones, but Doherty, a 2014 Pratt BFA grad, was unmoved.

[Image: Tamsin Doherty, Untitled, 2013, acrylic and oil on canvas, 38 x 42 inches. Images are from the artist's website.]

September 12, 2014

Perfection: Tomma Abts and Helene Appel

Is perfection making a comeback? In exhibitions at David Zwirner and James Cohan, Tomma Abts (b. Germany 1967) and Helene Appel (b. Germany 1976) certainly make a case that focus and exactitude are still meaningful approaches.

[Image: Tomma Abts @ David Zwirner]

September 11, 2014

Eric Wesley's daily status updates

I like reading other people's diaries, especially artists, and so naturally I was drawn to Eric Wesley's new work at Bortolami. The show features paintings of his daily progress status reports--a combination of to-do lists and daily calendar entries.

[Image at top: Eric Wesley, slideshow of paintings in the show at Bortolami] 

September 8, 2014

Cheat sheet: Recommended shows

Traditionally, the fall season, following the summer doldrums, is the time for audacious exhibitions that garner attention and big crowds. This fall is no exception, but some smaller exhibitions look promising, too. Here are a few I'm looking forward to seeing (and some I'm participating in), listed in chronological order.

[Image above: Ralph Fasenella @ American Folk Art Museum

September 3, 2014

The New Museum’s “Here and Elsewhere:” Arab artists’ grim pride of place

Guest contributor Jonathan Stevenson / The New Museum’s abundant exhibition of Arab art “Here and Elsewhere,” named for and inspired by Jean-Luc Godard’s searching 1976 documentary, suggests that Middle Eastern artists in some ways have an advantage over others. Conflict and repression are so deeply embedded in their experience that they could fairly be held to less exacting formal and aesthetic standards than their counterparts in United States, Europe, or even Latin America. In these places, relative political stability allows artists to stand aloof from politics and minutely focus on technique or metaphysics or something else still if they so choose. Arab artists generally can’t afford that luxury.

[Image at top:  Anna Boghiguian (b. 1946  in Cairo, lives internationally). Boghiguian created an installation of her portable, unframed paintings and collages on paper, set on freestanding shelves. Each piece is heart-wrenchingly visceral and speaks eloquently to the experience of a displaced artist.]

August 28, 2014

Last chance: Summer shows in Hudson and Beacon

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.

[Image: Matt Blackwell, Pulling your Leg, 2007-2014, acrylic & oil on canvas, 36 36 inches.]

August 27, 2014

Outside the city: Great Barrington

Last week I took a couple days off and drove up to Massachusetts. In Sheffield, I stopped by the Colonial Farm to catch up with with Brece Honeycutt, then took in two excellent shows in Great Barrington, the next town over, at Susan Jennings and Slink Moss's new gallery, LABSpace, and the esteemed Geoffrey Young Gallery.

[Image: Black Lake, Help Others, 2014, paint, marker, acrylic, lead, glass, colored pencil, foil on board, 14 x 11 inches.]

August 26, 2014

Studio visit: EJ Hauser

One of the best things about spending summer in the city is having more time for leisurely studio visits with other artists. Recently I stopped by EJ Hauser's spacious studio in Sunset Park to check out her new work. Hauser was the artist-in-residence last year at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where she concentrated on portable media such as drawing, digital imagery and small paintings. Back in Brooklyn, many of the images and ideas she developed during the residency are now emerging on larger canvases.

[Image: Studio snap. At left: small drawings on paper. At right: Sevencup, 2014, oil on canvas, 70 x 70 inches.]

August 25, 2014

North Adams news

Peter Dudek is moving from his longtime Pittsfield studio to a cavernous Beaver Mill space in North Adams, where space is cheap. But before he goes, he's having a big open studio on Saturday, August 30, from 12-5pm. Stop by 2 Fenn Street, second floor, Pittsfield, MA, and say hello. Buy something so he doesn't have to move it. Call 917-568-3712 for more info.


Speaking of North Adams, Mass MOCA just got a $25.4 million grant from the state and plans to double their space. Clearly Massachusetts understands how supporting and investing in the arts generates economic growth. Perhaps artists demoralized by New York real estate woes should consider relocating to North Adams. Read more  here. 

Image above: Installation of Anselm Keifer's paintings in MASS MoCA's new 10,000 square-foot building dedicated to his work.


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