Settling in to Bushwick yesterday, I stopped by English Kills to see Andy Piedilato’s paintings. The most obvious thing to report is that the paintings are really, really big (144″ x 138″). Let’s face it, you have to admire an emerging artist who works at this kind of ambitious scale while the market dissolves around us. Apparently the stretchers are hinged so that the paintings fold up like tortillas to fit through the doors. Piedilato, who was born in Athens, Georgia, and attended the Pratt MFA program, clearly loves paint, and isn’t afraid to slap it around and play with it. His paintings, which juxtapose sketchily-drawn, off-kilter architectural elements with thick, gesturally painted objects and animals, reminded me of Anselm Kiefer’s materiality/scale crossed with Philip Guston‘s cartoon-like imagery and Ralph Steadman‘s sardonic splatter. The irony is that while the paintings depict a world dangerously askew, there’s such obvious joy in Piedilato’s paint handling and color that it’s hard to worry. Take a trip out to Bushwick; it’s worth experiencing the grand scale of these paintings first hand–it doesn’t translate in jpegs.
For more on optimistic artists, read Charlie Finch’s report here. “In Portland, Ore., blogger Eva Lake raised money for the documentary Alien Boy, a film about a local rocker shot to death by the police for no apparent reason in broad daylight in front of a local coffee bar. At Pocket Utopia, a new artist-run space in Bushwick, artist Deborah Brown collaborated with gallery owner Austin Thomas on a print of a cardinal escaping from a Schielelike branch, to benefit the Women in Need charity. Another Brooklyn artist, Hannah Corbett of Park Slope, also produced prints based on her painting of ‘The Graces,’ a seductive nude-in-triplicate of her three too-sexy aunts….”
“Andy Piedilato,” curated by Chris Harding. English Kills, Brooklyn, NY. Through Feb. 15.