Jul 022024
 

The brightly colored mixed media paintings Rosson Crow has painted for her exhibition, Babel, at Miles McEnery Gallery are perfect for the chaotic times we are currently living in.

From the gallery-

Crow’s works, rendered in oil, acrylic, and photo transfer, are hyper saturated in both palette and her own lexicon of distinctly American iconography. Often drawing direct inspiration from gathered experiences and ephemera from cross country roadtrips, her subjects range from exploding party stores and spilling over fruit stands to populist political crusades and overrun monster truck rallies.

The exhibition centers on three arc-shaped canvases depicting the construction, peak, and destruction of the biblical Tower of Babel. Pulled into the contemporary landscape, Crow’s inspiration stems from Jonathan Haidt’s 2022 essay in The Atlantic, “Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid.” Using the story of Babel as an allegory for the recent fragmentation of collective discourse, the paintings bring the viewer through this dissolution. Going from utopian idealism to the point of breaking and its aftermath, Crow confronts us all to address the parallels between her canvases and our fragmented reality of contention and polarization.

Julia Halperin writes, “Crow has always been a student of history—political history, pop-cultural history, art-and-design history. Critics have described many of her large-scale, epic compositions as contemporary history paintings. But she does not depict history as it unfolded or even as we wish it had unfolded. Instead, she shows history as we might actually receive it today: distorted, manipulated, heightened, blurred, and out of context.”

This exhibition closes 7/3/24.

Jul 022024
 

Amy Bennett’s small paintings for Shelter at Miles McEnery Gallery seem peaceful at first but become more disquieting as you progress through the gallery.

From the press release-

Small in scale but dense in narrative, the paintings in Shelter function akin to a short story. Each oil on panel encapsulates a snapshot still of a moment, prompting the viewer to draw upon one’s own lived experience to flesh out the lead up and its aftermath. Teetering between subjective realities and familiar memories, Bennett mitigates serene compositions with the unsettling: a sunbather lounges under the moon, a sleepwalker drifts through the home, a family gathers for breakfast in a flooded kitchenette.

Rather than painting from memory or photographs, Bennett begins her process by building miniature models. Vignettes of sprawling nature preserves and domestic interiors set the scene for figurines dressed in custom tinfoil garments frozen in place. Elizabeth Buhe writes, “Bennett’s works are not just technically brilliant repositories of painted form; they are texts that query the circulation and sedimentation of images, or perhaps memories, and how these come to snap us.”

This exhibition closes 7/3/24.

Jul 022024
 

Isca Greenfield-Sanders’ beautiful paintings, currently on view at Miles McEnery Gallery were created using vintage slides she found at flea markets and estate sales.

From the gallery-

In her fourth exhibition with the gallery, Greenfield-Sanders invites viewers through blooming meadows, sprawling beaches, and grassy slopes in quiet introspection. Her palette strays from the representational, rendering her landscapes in soft pinks, hazy blues, and mossy greens. The paintings exude a sense of familiar serenity suspended in time, each bathed in a mesmerizing dance of light and emotion. “Her work wheels through time, seasons, and weather, deftly summoning the transparent hues of early morning or the diffused light of an overcast day, the brightness of a summer noon so incandescent that you might think you need to blink while regarding it,” writes Lilly Wei.

Greenfield-Sanders’ idyllically nostalgic paintings find their origin in vintage 35-millimeter slides, sourced from flea markets and estate sales, often capturing family vacations. She sorts through thousands of forgotten memories and moments, selecting the ones that resonate, then co-opting elements from each to establish her compositions. The in-depth process distills initial photographs through collage, printing, drawing, pasting, and then, once perfected, painting.

“Her interest lies in the way photographic mementos shape actual experience that time distorts,” writes Linda Yablonsky, “Memories fade. They conflate. They become a history that is less a record of fact than the stuff of dream.”

This exhibition closes 7/4/24.

Jul 012024
 

Laura Letinsky’s has created several intriguing photographs for her exhibition, For, And Because Of…, at Yancey Richardson. Her unique assortments of objects- half eaten and smashed fruit, dying or dead flowers, loose papers, ceramic pieces- form works that challenge the idea of the still-life.

From the gallery’s press release-

The work in For, and because of… was made mostly during Letinsky’s 2023 residency in the South of France at La Maison Dora Maar, the former home of Maar, the French photographer, painter, and poet, who was also the romantic partner of Picasso. Inspired by the light of Provence in contrast to the dark weather of her home base in Chicago, Letinsky began a series she titled Who Loves the Sun in which she used natural light together with artificial light to provide her images with a radiant glow. Her subjects included borrowed objects such as a ceramic vase and glassware from La Maison that may have belonged to Maar. The detritus left behind from other artists-in-residence, as well as flowers and weeds growing nearby also found their way into her images. Yet, her photographs are not necessarily about what objects appear within them but rather about the medium of photography itself.

Letinsky explains, “I make pictures of very ordinary things in a way that destabilizes and questions the camera’s authority while also indulging in its sexiness, solicitating a visual pleasure that is tethered to other senses.” Letinsky complicates the singular point of view of the camera by building frames within frames and precariously positioning objects in relation to one another. In reference to her innovative picture spaces, Letinsky notes, “Cezanne’s still lifes described objects from multiple perspectives so as to refer to perception being a constantly shifting process. I try to harness this, to articulate that we’ve two eyes and are ambulant living beings.”

Through her work, Letinsky questions what is necessary to make a photograph that is considered “good.” Dissonance and interruption are components of her language in which objects’ perspectival positions are abstracted and gravity is elided. By working with objects associated with the home, she makes images that evoke tenderness and project an uneasy and fragile beauty.

The exhibition title, For, and because of… refers to the incommensurability of things, suggesting that there is not a concrete metric by which to measure or to reckon with life events. Letinsky notes, “So the show, the work, is for, and because of the wars, because you never called me back, for the rain that watered my garden, because the train was late, for my sons, because flowers bloom…”

This exhibition closes 7/3/24.

Jul 012024
 

For Stephen Shore’s latest exhibition, Topographies, at 303 Gallery, he has created stunning landscapes using a drone. The compositions draw you in and the details keep you transfixed.

From the gallery-

Beginning in 2020, this body of photographs was shot using a drone, resulting in sharply detailed aerial views of rural and suburban landscapes. Topographies builds upon concepts Shore has examined in his large-format landscapes from the 1970’s: pictures which uncover certain qualities intrinsic to the American vista. By employing a far-reaching, elevated perspective, Shore demonstrates how, from altitude, landforms are revealed, and conversely, how the built environment interacts with the land. In viewing these photographs, it becomes apparent that every detail of Shore’s pictures– from edge to edge, whether near or far– is as carefully considered and articulated as the next.

Shore has persistently explored new possibilities within the photographic image. Since his early practice, he has incorporated new formats and technologies, utilizing innovations as a means to achieve his own ends. Shore’s pictures seem straight forward at a glance but surprise with their ability to draw out the subtlest moments, distilling quiet sublimities from unassuming subjects.

This show closes 7/3/24.

Jun 272024
 

Terry Winters‘ paintings for Point Cloud Pictures at Matthew Marks Gallery reference data collection methods and patterns from the natural world. The colorful and energetic works leave it up to the viewer to make their own associations.

From the gallery’s press release-

Winters’s work centers on abstraction as a catalyst for exploring the natural world. In his paintings, composition and color give new meaning to a wide range of technical references, which include advanced mathematical principles, musical notation, botany, and chemistry. In the artist’s own words: “I’m taking preexisting imagery and respecifying it through the painting process. Information is torqued with the objective of opening a fictive space or lyrical dimension.”

The title of the exhibition refers to the seven Point Cloud paintings on view, in which overlapping grids of ringed particles create complex, amorphous shapes. Borrowed from the field of three-dimensional modeling, a point cloud refers to a set of data points in space, often used to articulate objects or landscapes in digital models. “The forms can also suggest the collective behavior of animals, such as the murmuration of starlings and the schooling of fish,” Winters says. His paintings build an illusionistic sense of ever-expanding depth, as the varying size, shape, and angle of his painted data points lend a dynamism to his canvases. With the utmost attention to pigment, the paintings are built up in layers of oil, wax, and resin, further eliciting the energetic potential of their compositions.

Created through a parallel process, each painting on paper fills a large sheet from edge to edge. To make these works, Winters chose a paper size called a double elephant, which was first developed in 1826 to accommodate J.J. Audubon’s life-size depictions of birds. As Winters has described, “I’m interested in these givens, working within the parameters of that aspect ratio, and how that affects the building of the work.” Together, the works create a space that is both immediate and imaginary, what Winters has called a “vitalized geometry.”

This exhibition closes 6/29/24.

Jun 132024
 

For the exhibition  Ming Smith: On the Road at Nicola Vassell, a variety of work from the artist’s impressive career is on display throughout the space.

From the gallery-

Nicola Vassell is pleased to present Ming Smith: On the Road, a selection of photographs from the artist’s archive that encapsulates the arc of her exploratory impulses as she sought and probed new subject matter and formal innovation from 1970 through 1993. Encompassing never-before-seen vintage and contemporary prints of images captured during her travels around the world, On the Road embodies the spirit of adventure and curiosity that advanced Smith’s singular entry into, and scrutiny of, the provinces of urban existence, nature’s quietude, family intimacy, popular culture, military life, and jazz milieus.

In the 1970s in New York, Smith’s practice was propelled by inquiry—both through her immersion in the Kamoinge Workshop and her preoccupation with the ideas of prominent twentieth-century American and European photographers. Cultivating her own radical sensibility in early experiments, she alluded to the virtuosity of Brassaï, Roy DeCarava, Diane Arbus, and Robert Frank. These artists set a tempo upon which Smith developed her own dexterity in portraiture, landscape, and street photography—highly attuned to the textures, geometries, and thrums pulsing through every spectrum of life. She recognized the haunting allure of an oil-slicked roadside and the liquid lightning of brass instruments in musicians’ animated hands.

Smith listens through her camera, sensitive to the harmony and dissonance that enliven her subjects and surroundings. At times, it is easy to forget that she works in a static medium, since each photograph transports its viewer into the energetic nucleus of the moment she captures. Through paint application, double exposure, and low shutter speed, Smith pushes photography’s form to the point of its brim and break. Like harnessing a memory, Smith underlines the evanescent—at once vivid and obscure.

This exhibition closes 6/15/24.

Jun 132024
 

Lucas Arruda’s paintings for Assum Preto at David Zwirner capture moments in time that beckon you to look closer. On his Instagram is a photo of Agnes Varda with a quote that reads “If we opened people up, we’d find landscapes”. Standing in front of these paintings allows the viewer to contemplate Arruda’s inner landscapes as well as their own.

From the gallery-

“Assum Preto” continues Arruda’s investigations into the painted medium and its ability to serve as an evocative and transcendental conduit for the unveiling of light, memory, and emotion. The exhibition is titled after a species of blackbird native to eastern Brazil—whose mundane birdsong, according to local tradition, is said to transform into a beautiful melody if the bird’s eyesight has been shaded. As the artist explains: “It’s as if, when the bird has everything in sight, and is full of information and distractions, it can’t organize itself. Only when it’s no longer surrounded by images, can it organize everything in its head. In a certain way, I think this has to do with light.… For me, light is related to remembering.” In the works on view, light takes on a multitude of forms, surfacing in various physical, ideographical, and affective manifestations.

The exhibition is primarily composed of new paintings from Arruda’s established body of seascapes, junglescapes, and abstract monochromes; together, these works bring about a complex understanding of landscape as a product of a state of mind rather than a depiction of reality. The works on view are notable for their fogged colors—exploring subtle but intricate variations within a single hue—that range from dense reds to ethereal and almost intangible veils of white. For the monochromes, Arruda adds layer upon layer of pigment to pre-dyed raw canvas in an attempt to replicate its tinted hue in paint, methodically returning to each work for weeks or even months on end until the composition slowly builds into a hazy and ever-shifting wall of light.



The seascapes and junglescapes, on the other hand, are made on prepared surfaces using a reductive process whereby the impression of light is attained through the subtraction of pigment. Devoid of specific reference points, Arruda’s seascapes are all grounded only by their thin horizon lines. Above and below this border, charged atmospheric conditions engage further dichotomies between sky and earth, the nebulous and the solid, the psychic and the visual. The jungles, by contrast, dwell in verticality; their genesis lies in the artist’s formative memories of the verdant foliage outside his bedroom window. For Arruda, the quasi-mythical scenery of the Brazilian rainforest coaxes out tensions between reality and human imagination. Towering and impenetrable, yet containing a sense of the infinite that surpasses its physical bounds, in Arruda’s work the jungle becomes a site of power and enlightenment as much as it is a harbinger of darkness and uncertainty—a place where one can be lost to the world and find themselves again.

As curator Lilian Tone writes: “[Arruda’s] paintings suggest a tenuous, fugitive, and mediated relation to nature as that which informs an aesthetic language. As viewers, we tend to make sense of the slightest mark within an open field, to immediately perceive a horizontal line as a horizon line, to create clouds from a change in direction of brushstrokes, and to perceive ground from a thick impasto. Arruda makes paintings we experience as at once beyond abstraction and yet before representation.”



In “Assum Preto”, Arruda debuts a group of small-scale, semi-abstract paintings that are constructed from a lexicon of symbolist motifs, marking a new turn in the artist’s practice while also harking back to the planar and architectonic forms that characterize his early oeuvre. In these works, he takes visual cues from the geometries and rich colorscapes found in the Brazilian modernist paintings of José Pancetti (1902–1958), Alfredo Volpi (1896–1988), and Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato (1900–1995). Arruda handles his brush lightly but with intense control, creating clouds and thickets of markings that delicately carve through the painted surface of the canvas in a manner recalling the textures and physicality of intaglio printmaking processes. Potent and open-ended, the symbols and motifs that populate these compositions—darkly brewing storms, empty canoes, and strings of outdoor lights—visualize the themes that permeate Arruda’s body of paintings, including the artist’s own dreams, experiences, and intuitions, through the lens of the sacred and the surreal. The images shift in and out of focus, as if hovering at the precipice of memory itself.

Additionally featured is an example of Arruda’s site-specific light installations. These works comprise a pair of vertically balanced rectangles rendered directly on the gallery wall—the top one created through a light projection and the bottom one physically applied with paint—thus translating the genre of landscape into its most elemental form.

This exhibition closes 6/15/24.

Jun 122024
 

For James Isherwood’s paintings for Thaw at Seizan Gallery he has created strange and beautiful worlds with features both foreign and recognizable. According to the artist the work “examines the context of architecture, landscape, subconscious imagery, psychedelic alternate realities, time, memory and place”.

From the gallery-

Writing in Flash Art in 2020, critic Pier Luigi Sacco characterizes Isherwood as a “master of deception.” Buildings and structures are presiding features in Isherwood’s works. They become architectural protagonists through which Isherwood invents alternate realities, inviting the viewer into visual paradoxes in hyper-saturated palettes.

These structures that populate Isherwood’s paintings, alluding to David Hockney’s pools, are always presented absent of people. Sacco writes, “Despite their obvious allusion to stereotypical built forms, they are clearly not inhabited — or possibly even inhabitable.” This absence of human presence enables the viewer to inhabit the structure in a waking-dream space, transported through a cosmos of the imagination. This space has the capability to offer a duality of feeling: playful yet dangerous, otherworldly yet recognizable. Isherwood’s color palette, likewise, engages this duality, evoking everything from a drifting snowbank or a night sky to a chemical burn or a black hole.

While Isherwood begins his process by referencing visual material—often images of particular buildings—his rendering of this material lands the viewer on another astral plane entirely. His method is highly technical, while retaining an improvisational and serendipitous aspect. His technique utilizes washes and often hundreds of layers, also adding renderings that show the hand of a skilled draftsman. At the same time, his compositions allude to Magritte and other Surrealists through his playful, trickster choices.

This exhibition represents a strong passage, following a highly inventive period in the pandemic lockdown, into a newly deepened visual vernacular of Isherwood’s own invention.

This exhibition is on view until 6/15/24.

Jun 122024
 

Lubaina Himid’s solo exhibition Street Sellers at Greene Naftali is filled with gorgeous paintings, but there is so much more to the work. Through the experience of sounding out the phonetic signs and reading what’s written behind them, the viewer is given a chance to go beyond the surface for a glimpse of the inner worlds of her subjects. It’s like receiving a beautifully wrapped gift and realizing it was only a prelude to the wonders inside.

From the gallery-

Himid’s latest cycle of paintings affirms the dignity of work through depictions of vendors who ply their wares, elegantly dressed and equipped with the tools of their particular trade. The figures emerge from a rich blend of temporalities and points of reference: from the hawkers that remain street-level fixtures of urban life, to popular prints of merchants and peddlers dating back to 17th-century London as rare documents of the working class. The genre of the full-length portrait—linked to aristocrats and monarchs—is also recast with new protagonists, shown on a grand scale and fully at one with their respective métiers. Asserting the centrality of Black subjects to art historical arenas long denied them, Himid frees herself to invent what the archive lacks: “I paint it into existence.”

Each canvas is paired with a work on paper ingeniously printed to mimic a cardboard sign, embellished with painted motifs and phonetic letters that induce the viewer to read aloud—uttering the sales pitch to lend the exhibition an informal soundtrack. The prints are double-sided, with the backs revealing the sellers’ true thoughts that go unsaid. Often romantic or wistful, those inner monologues betray their attachment to the goods they carry, which Himid renders with lapidary attention to an egg’s speckled surface, the weave of chair caning, the ribbed interior of a cowrie shell. Objects here are charged like talismans—vectors of connection that are meant to change hands.

That intimacy extends to Himid’s paintings on domestic objects: from portrait heads on discarded dresser drawers to miniature vignettes on found crockery. Opening a drawer is an everyday revelation, an airing out of hidden depths, and Himid has described it as an ideal container for “lost or forgotten lives”—a compartment to hold the “memories of people whose names no one had bothered to write down.” China plates and platters are likewise tied to acts of routine encounter, which Himid overpaints with subtle disruptions to their polite decorum. One thrifted ceramic sports a tongue, another a single molar—the first pieces of a planned New York Dinner Service the artist will source locally over time, then emblazon with every part of the human body as seen from inside. Faintly troubling yet also convivial in their nods to communal space and shared endeavor, the works extend Himid’s career-long project of “interrogating narratives about the desire to belong.”

This exhibition closes 6/15/24.