“Joanne Greenbaum: Hollywood Squares,” D’Amelio Terras, Chelsea. Through Oct. 31. Roberta Smith: Joanne Greenbaum’s new paintings are nicely abrasive, inharmonious in color and, generally speaking, a little nuts. They make the eyes spin….The best works here emphasize dark tones, if not black, and the weight of the color works well against the thinness of the paint. There’s a grinding energy to the surfaces; they suggest a graffiti artist or a child with crayons who has been working in one place too long. What was supposed to be once-over-lightly becomes charged and impacted, pushing into the vicinity of painting without succumbing to the medium’s usual seductiveness. Ms. Greenbaum has become less tolerant of the bare white canvas that tended to make her paintings resemble large colorful drawings. These new works are something else.
Read more about Greenbaum here.
“Caragh Thuring: Assembly,”Simon Preston, Lower East Side. Through Nov. 1. Roberta Smith: In her first New York solo show of paintings, Caragh Thuring, a young Brussels-born artist who lives and works in London, conveys a self-conscious ambivalence toward her medium. Her paintings consist, on first sight, of seemingly random shapes and marks scattered across unprimed linen whose light-brown tone forms a conspicuous part of the picture. These elements hover autonomously in a state of peaceful coexistence between abstraction and representation and intention and indifference. They resemble the parts of a sentence that have been diagrammed and patiently await the interested reader who wants to put them back together so they make sense again. Luckily, this isn’t too hard to do. Minimally recognizable fragments of trees and such suggest outdoor settings, and Manet’s “Luncheon on the Grass” appears to be a theme….Titling the show “Assembly” is also intriguing. It evokes the phrase “some assembly required,” a notion that Ms. Thuring might consider.
“Michael Berryhill: Basement States,” Horton & Liu, Chelsea. Through Oct. 10. Karen Rosenberg: One of the hardest things about making a painting is knowing when to stop. Some artists tend to leave things raw; others habitually overcook. In his New York solo debut at the recently opened gallery Horton & Liu, Michael Berryhill does both. Mr. Berryhill is a recent graduate of Columbia’s Master of Fine Arts program (class of 2009), though at 38 he’s older than most. His paintings, semi-abstract still lifes with a cartoonish touch, are confident and colorful. The problem is that some are worked to within an inch of their lives, while others look as if they were plucked half-formed from the studio. The standout is “Stair Guitar” (2009), in which Mr. Berryhill plays a noodling, psychedelic riff on Picasso’s cubist instrument. The music theme extends to the spectral amplifier of “Mi Amigo Sound Machine” (2009), and the warped fingerboards of “Two Easy Pieces” (2009), which exude a friendly, jam-band Surrealism. Meanwhile, “Gay Pride Moustache” (2008) doesn’t deliver on the campy promises of its title. The folds of drapery are too distracting, the artfully cluttered tabletop too reminiscent of an undergraduate exercise. And the smaller, sketchlike paintings clustered nearby aren’t quite ready for prime time. Mr. Berryhill should keep thinking about music, which seems to give him some parameters.