Mar 152024
 

“Northern Lights”, 1959, oil on linen

“Untitled (Near the Cove)”, c. 1958, oil on linen

“Fresh Air”, c.1958-1962, oil on canvas

Although better known for her figurative paintings, Jane Freilicher also created several large abstract paintings which were on view last year at Kasmin gallery in NYC.  The paintings hint at a recognizable landscape, but through her use of color and energetic brush strokes she evokes the feeling of being immersed in the beauty of nature- without the boundaries of a more realistic representation.

From the gallery about the work-

The exhibition presents a group of paintings in degrees of abstraction, realized by Freilicher between 1958 and 1962, a period of great inventiveness when the artist was spending stretches of time in Long Island but had yet to establish a studio there. The series marks a crucial moment of discovery and focus for Freilicher, who went on to integrate the freedom, fluidity, and confidence developed during this period into her more recognizable still lifes and landscapes of later decades.

Freilicher’s abstractions have their roots in observation, informed by her studies with legendary abstract painter Hans Hofmann at his schools in New York and Provincetown. In this group of paintings, pastoral landscapes from Water Mill, Long Island, are translated through the lens of the artist’s memory into confident gestural compositions defined by their use of color and sensitive depiction of light. In a 2006 interview for The New York Sun, the artist tells writer Jennifer Samet of this evolutionary moment in her practice: “I remember being overwhelmed by aqueous light and the obliteration of the horizon by fog.” Freilicher’s palette returns repeatedly here to a combination of off-white and light blue, rendered in loose brushwork across an expansive pictorial space to give a palpable impression of the airy, open landscape of the country.

Breaking out of the domestic scale necessitated by previous studio spaces, this generative period saw Freilicher regularly visiting Water Mill and then returning to her Manhattan studio where she would collapse the formal elements of the rural and coastal environments into energetic, improvisational paintings that were significantly larger than her earlier works. While approaching pure abstraction, the paintings from this period retain a compositional recognition of their ordering principles—the horizon line, a boat’s mast, the position of the sun in the sky, and, in the artist’s words, “long vistas of clouds and water.”

The metamorphosis of landscapes that figure prominently in the artist’s life are representative of, as Roberta Smith identified in 2006, “a more personal, grounded version of Color Field painting.” This observation bridges Freilicher to a loose group of contemporaries whose considerations of their immediate environments brought great warmth and aliveness to varying shades of abstraction—Milton Avery, Etel Adnan, Joan Mitchell, Agnes Martin, and Willem de Kooning (whose own abstract landscapes inspired by his time on Long Island went on view at Sidney Janis Gallery in 1959).

Feb 242024
 

Hope Gangloff’s painting MacDowell Cheney Cabin in the Winter Super Moon, 2019, was shown at her 2019 solo exhibition at Susan Inglett Gallery in NYC.  It is one of several created during her residency at MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Feb 162024
 

Gentle Ladies Dragon Man, 2021, (Acrylic and graphite on canvas) by Jason Fox was part of the group show Time-Slip at Petzel Gallery in New York in 2021.

Jun 302023
 

“Amalfi Coast”, 2022, Oil on Canvas

“Terraza”, 2022, Oil on canvas

Above are two of the colorful paintings from Navot Miller’s exhibition, Eurovision, at Yossi Milo, in February of 2023.

From the press release-

With his distinctively vibrant palette, Navot Miller (b. 1991; Israel) draws from the flow of moments and memories in his own life, presenting the landscapes, architecture, and people he sees with fresh, inquisitive eyes. Growing up in a rural Israeli village, Miller found it difficult to express himself and his identity as a young gay person. Upon relocating to Berlin as an adult, he found a community of creatives who opened up new possibilities for self-expression. Among them were curator Joel Mu, who introduced Miller to Berlin’s alternative art scene, and instructors Michael von Erlenbach and Kathrin Ruhlig, who became his most significant mentors. Today, Miller’s bold, colorful palette has become a means of expressing the parts of himself that remained hidden during his childhood. The new body of work in Eurovision presents the artist’s past year living in Berlin and traveling through Europe. Nodding to the hit international singing competition of the same name, Eurovision encapsulates Miller’s experiences while journeying across a continent, collecting memories and forging relationships along the way.

The series of paintings presented in Eurovision focuses on those precious memories gathered during travel and the quiet yet meaningful moments of the everyday, offering colorful, candid snapshots from the artist’s life as he sees it. To capture these moments, Miller takes hundreds of photos as they pass, revisiting them later as the source material for his paintings. Amalfi Coast (2022) is painted from one such snapshot, depicting a group of vacationers as they lounge on a cliff by the Mediterranean Sea. Beyond the water’s edge, the complex topography of the rocky shore is simplified into flat planes of color. At the scene’s foreground, a man peers over the cliff’s edge, ensuring the waters below are safe for diving. Miller identifies the man as a father who, out of concern for his son out of view, scans the scene for any potential danger. Foregoing the climactic moment of the dive itself, Miller zooms in on this moment of preparation, quietly celebrating the familial love and the protective care between father and son.

A similar glimpse into the subtleties of intimacy is granted in Terraza (2022), which depicts a gathering of six men lounging on a Berlin terrace. Totally at ease, the men converse, cuddle, and convene in this scene of uninhibited repose. The commanding colors of Miller’s vibrant palette amplify what seems to be a hot summer day, as evidenced by the semi-nude men gathered outdoors. In terms of the painting’s composition, their bodies are the only portions of the work that the artist has blended. They consequently take on a depth and dimensionality that is absent from the rest of the rendering, bringing them into sharp relief against the flattened forms of their background. In this painting, Miller brings focus to the men who gather on this sunny terrace as a celebration of the simple pleasure of gathering on a summer’s day, and the joy of letting an evening’s events unfold as they may.

 

Apr 282023
 

Leo Villareal’s exhibition at PACE, Interstellar, consists of fifteen mesmerizing, colorful sculptures that are a joy to watch.

From the PACE website-

Villareal’s practice is part of a lineage of artistic engagement that explores the connections between nature, technology, and human experience. The artist’s upcoming exhibition with Pace in New York will feature wall-based sculptures, including works from his new Nebulae series. Emitting hypnotic, diffused light, the Nebulae sculptures are informed by celestial imagery and evoke the dynamism of space through interplays of color and shape. Villareal creates unique and specific sequencing for each artwork through code that is generative and visceral, like nature itself. As such, no two sculptures are the same.

This presentation at Pace in New York will also include works realized at a scale that Villareal hasn’t explored in nearly a decade: two-foot square wall-mounted sculptures. These intimately scaled artworks, paired with their glass enclosures, encourage focused readings of Villareal’s abstractions. Like his larger works, the two-foot pieces invite viewers to consider the boundary separating physical and digital worlds.

This exhibition is on view until 4/29/23.

Apr 262023
 

“Nancy Reading”, 1963-1964, Oil on canvas

“60 T-Bird”, 1964, Oil on canvas

“60 T-Bird”, 1964 (detail)

“Potrero Table”, 1994, Oil on canvas

Gladstone Gallery is currently showing an exhibition of captivating work by the late Robert Bechtle. The show includes paintings, watercolors, and drawings.

From the press release-

In Bechtle’s works, classic cars, urban and suburban streetscapes of his native Bay Area in California, and portraits of himself and those close to him are transposed with a candor and familiarity that allows the viewer to absorb quotidian scenes with a heightened and sharpened awareness. Formally flawless, the artist captures every detail, shadow, and reflection to further draw the viewer into each quiet scene. While many of his works are depicted with realist precision, others are portrayed by employing a looser, Impressionistic technique, demonstrating the artist’s fluid ability to memorialize moments in time without one set approach. Beyond these physical attributes, Bechtle has an astute aptitude for bringing to life the unseen facets of an instance in time: isolation, emptiness, contemplativeness, and the passage of time and light are transformed from invisible characters to palpable features that seem to become secondary subjects of the works. Through an unmatched ability to depict light and details with the exactitude of a Renaissance painter, subtle details, and textures, these overlooked, everyday vignettes are transformed into significant life moments that tell a deeply personal story of contemporary life.

Another important component of this exhibition are a series of significant portraits and self-portraits made throughout his career. In Potrero Table (1994), Bechtle depicts himself and art historian Whitney Chadwick, his second wife of nearly 40 years, sitting at the dining table at their house in Potrero Hill. With astonishing clarity, the artist meticulously captures every detail of the late-night scene. Frequently turning the lens back onto himself for the entirety of his artistic practice, Bechtle’s self-portraits lay bare the process of aging, and the physical and psychological changes that come with the lived experience. These tender and honest chronicles are essential clues to understanding Bechtle’s overall artistic oeuvre, the care he had for Whitney, and highlight his ability to separate from the constantly moving and evolving world in order to pause and reflect on his surroundings with clarity and rigor. Through intense concentration and sensitivity, Bechtle’s wide-ranging body of work chronicles a remarkable life, filled with the beautiful, overlooked, and often discarded instances that make it so special.

This exhibition closes 4/29/23.
Apr 212023
 

“when stone entwines”, 2023, Oil and enamel paint, graphite on cast aluminum, in two parts

“when stone entwines”, 2023, (detail)

“if only, if yet”, 2023, Oil and enamel paint, graphite on cast aluminum/painted wood

“if only, if yet”, 2023, detail

Miles McEnery Gallery is currently showing Katy Cowan’s colorful and intricate sculptures for her exhibition gods on a bridge.

From the press release-

gods on a bridge is Katy Cowan’s first exhibition of metalworks since relocating her artistic practice from California to Berlin. The resulting body of work is a culmination of her current experiences, coupled with engrained references to the historical presence of sculpture in the city.

Each work starts in a foundry where the artist casts solid aluminum forms, which are then adorned with a variety of mediums and methods: acrylic and enamel paints, sprayed and brushed. Cowan elects to retain the fractured casting bars, signaling a parallel to the remnants of the Berlin Wall. As personally described, a guiding principle in her process is to “combine a multitude of experiences onto one surface and find a way to seize that depiction.”

This overarching aim is realized when Cowan draws from natural and urban environment alike—the blooming trees, reflecting ponds, and embracing bodies. The most prominent of these influences are the stone sculptures that appear throughout the city, acting as constant fixtures in the landscape, changing with age, taking on the textures of time and layers of graffiti. In her essay, Stephanie Cristello cements their influence by the figurative turn in Cowan’s compositions, expressing that they “have manifested as sculptural abstractions and fragmented, embodied landscapes.”

Cowan translates this amalgamation of inspiration to her aluminum surfaces, contouring reflections with cast rope, painted lines and flowing points. “Each work constitutes at once a fleshing out of figures as much as a mapping of movements—whether bodies in a park or city street or marks that dance across the capacious plane of representation itself,” writes Stephanie Bailey. “[gods on a bridge is] where line, ground, and figure collapse into a vortex of intuitive becoming.”

This exhibition closes 4/22/23.

Apr 202023
 

“Last Words”, 2022

“Butterfly”, 2022

“Peony”, 2022

“Station Meter”, 2023

 

“Peony”, 2022 (detail)

Josephine Halvorson’s paintings for Unforgotten at Sikkema Jenkins, contain an amazing amount of detail and encourage the viewer to take in the little details of things they might ordinarily not pay much mind to.

From the press release-

Josephine Halvorson’s paintings emerge from chance or repeated encounters with objects the artist comes across while wandering and traveling. Her practice often takes place outdoors, naturally relating to daylight, geography, and season. The works in this show center on still life and memento mori, artistic genres that, for Halvorson, “hover between liveliness and decay.” She is drawn to things which have little apparent value—objects and spaces that have been, or may be, forgotten. Sharing the same air and hours with a subject, Halvorson finds within them latent expressions and buried meanings.

Since 2018, Halvorson has been painting with acrylic gouache on absorbent grounds. Inspired by fresco painting’s ability to indelibly hold color and mark, the artist has sought to make a sensitive surface that preserves her observations in real time. Painting in longhand, Halvorson works in a verité style, documenting the subtle shifts of shadow and thought. As she says, “I want to make a painting that remembers better than I can.”

This exhibition closes 4/22/23.

 

Apr 192023
 

“…from dawn to dusk, (January)”, 2022

“…from dawn to dusk, (May)”, 2022

“…from dawn to dusk, (December)”, 2022

“white blind (bright red) (02.13)”, 2002

“white blind/bright red (02.6)”, 2002

“Untitled (98.5)”, 1998

From “nowhere near” Untitled (NW 18), 1999

“… and to draw a bright white line with light (Untitled 11.10)”, 2011

Uta Barth’s two part exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is a fascinating look at the artist’s work.  It includes the New York debut of her most recent piece, …from dawn to dusk, a nearly 360-degree installation of images commissioned by the J. Paul Getty Trust.

From the press release-

Barth’s expansive 2022 series … from dawn to dusk focuses on the intersection of Southern California light with the architecture of the Getty Center. It traces the changing light at one location of the Richard Meier built campus, for the period of one year. The location was photographed every five minutes, from dawn to dusk, on two days each month, for the entirety of the year. Made with a GigaPan, over 64,000 images were captured and a Timelapse video sequence now shows the progression of this movement of light. As the view repeats from panel to panel, there are subtle changes in light as well as more dramatic blurring and color shifts, which invoke inverted optical afterimages and other visual phenomena that occur when staring at a fixed point for a prolonged period of time. Presented as twelve consecutive single views, the video is embedded among the still images of the installation, and it comes as a surprise to discover what one first assumes to be a still photograph to actually be the moving summation of the show.

In the upstairs galleries, Elizabeth Smith’s selection of work reveals the foundations of the artist’s renowned and influential practice, as well as the trajectory that led to the explorations found in …from dawn to dusk. Elizabeth Smith shared her thoughts on Barth’s practice as she approached this exhibition:

It’s been almost thirty years since I worked with Uta Barth to present her first solo museum show at MOCA in 1995. In relation to her newest project, the gallery’s invitation to select some key examples from both her early series and subsequent ones has offered a welcome opportunity to reengage with and consider the full trajectory of her work. From her earliest to her most recent photographs, Barth’s practice has centered on a nuanced investigation of visual experience, free from narrative. Light, color, the passage of time, and the shifting nature of the process of vision through bodily experience are the ongoing subjects of her resonant images, probed in various ways over decades.

Throughout her career, Uta Barth has made visual perception the subject of her work. Regarded for her “empty” images that reference painterly abstraction, the artist carefully renders blurred backgrounds, cropped frames and the natural qualities of light to capture incidental and fleeting moments, those which exist almost exclusively within our periphery. With a deliberate disregard for both the conventional photographic subject and the point-and-shoot role of the camera, Barth’s work delicately deconstructs conventions of visual representation by calling our attention to the limits of the human eye.

As Leah Ollman writes in her recent Los Angeles Times profile of the artist,

From her earliest years as an artist, Barth’s attention has been drawn to the eye’s behavior: what attracts it, what makes it stay, what causes it to double back, what generates after-images and optical fatigue. Learning to photograph was, for her, a way of learning to see.

This exhibition closes 4/22/23.

 

Apr 142023
 

“The Rake’s Progress”, 1991

“The Rake’s Progress”, 1991 (detail)

“Magnet”, 1992

“Magnet”, 1992 (detail)

“Stella Polaris”, 1990

Currently at Gagosian in NYC is Helen Frankenthaler’s Drawing within Nature: Paintings from the 1990s. The exhibition includes twelve paintings and two large scale works on paper.

From the press release-

My pictures are full of climates, abstract climates, and not nature per se. But a feeling. And the feeling of an order that is associated more with nature. Nature in seasons, maybe; but nature in, well, an order. And I think art itself is order out of chaos.
—Helen Frankenthaler

Frankenthaler’s celebrated 1952 composition, Mountains and Sea, was the first of her soak-stained canvases and was highly influential in the development of 1960s Color Field painting. By the 1970s, though, she had amplified her methods to include the expressive possibilities of surface inflection and density. Over the course of the 1980s, highly painterly canvases became her principal pictorial means, soon resulting in, during what would be her final decade, canvases of the greatest dramatic impact of her entire career, some of an unexpectedly large size.

Drawing within Nature features works dating from 1990 through 1995, made following Frankenthaler’s paintings retrospective which opened in 1989 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Composed in her studios in New York; Stamford, Connecticut; and Santa Fe, New Mexico—where she held a summer teaching residency at the Santa Fe Institute of Art in 1990 and 1991—these abstractions are inspired by the artist’s experience of landscapes.

Works in the exhibition include Poseidon (1990), more than eight feet wide, which calls on qualities of Frankenthaler’s earlier soak-stained canvases to evoke ocean currents, with its wet-on-wet passages of aqua, white, and green. The even larger Stella Polaris (1990) sets streams and patches of dense cloudlike white paint beneath the starlight of its title. Western Roadmap (1991) transforms the desert rock and glowing sunsets of the American Southwest into a stratified abstraction that hangs within an almost nine-foot-wide panorama. Reef and Spellbound (both 1991) lay out washes of rich, glowing color of varying density across dark grounds. The verdant hues of The Rake’s Progress (1991) suggest a garden in bloom, and show how Frankenthaler began to use gel to thicken her paint as well as combing and raking tools to create tracks bearing the imprint of the energy passing over the surface.

Painted a few years later, in acrylic on large sheets of paper, Flirt and Aerie (both 1995) are less grounded in memories of landscape vistas. Rather, their open, cursive forms invoke vividly colored and magnified details of drawing within nature.

This exhibition closes 4/22/23.