Contributed by William Eckhardt Kohler / The printed studio maps were already gone by early Saturday afternoon–a good indication of the popularity of Bushwick Open Studios–so I simply started at 56 Bogart and made my way to 17-17 Troutman, stopping at studios I found along the way. In open-studio walks, the art inevitably ranges wildly from undeveloped and amateurish stuff to wonderfully revelatory discoveries of accomplished artists toiling in relative obscurity. And the studios themselves run the gamut from chaotic nooks to manicured spaces to curated gallery-quality exhibits. By no means comprehensive, this accounting includes what I came across that most excited me in four hours plus.
56 Bogart Street
David & Schweitzer annex– “True Believers,” curated by Daniel John Gadd. In heavily populated group shows, boundaries can blur and there is often not enough space to really read a piece. Even so, a few really jumped out.
Eric Simmons is painter whose work I can’t recall seeing and a pleasant surprise. He shuttles between collage and painting, and it appears the collages may serve as working models for the paintings. Elements of traditional painting are fused with a sweetly anarchic streak.
Amanda Rose Hunter. I’m a fan of the down-tempo, and these modest and somewhat scruffy collages fall into that category. They are simple, sly and inventive. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this artist.
And on my way to 17-17 Troutman, I encountered the work of Emilia Olsen. Henri Rousseau meets Florine Stettheimer in the house of Ensor.
One of my favorite conversations of the day was with Nils Karsten. In his main studio, a kind of square box with tall ceilings, were his woodblocks–both the abstraction shown here and large prints of vintage punk album covers. Upstairs via a little loft ladder was the artist’s collage work: intuitive pedagogical clippings sourced from various media, arranged along a grid.
Ann McCoy and Jeff Lewis were in a small group show at Becky Kinder’s studio. It was treat to see McCoy’s work as it seems like years since I’ve had the pleasure. Jeff Lewis completed the mystical vibe.
And more from along the way:
Another enjoyable conversation was had with Johnny Mullen. These are block print paintings, using enamel house paint and rigid insulation board as the printing blocks.
I ended the evening with a handful of the always engaging Meg Lipke. I’m enjoying how she is focusing and expanding her playfully enigmatic and allusive sculpture/painting hybrids.
About the author: A graduate of the Maryland Art Institute, Willie Kohler is a painter who works in Long Island City and is represented by Linda Warren Projects in Chicago. He is a regular contributor to the arts section at HuffPost.