May 252024
 

There are many little stories within Sascha Mallon’s lovely installation for Wolf Tales, on view at Kentler International Drawing Space. It includes sculptures and drawings, with pieces emerging from the walls. Each little section captures the imagination.

The press release below includes a poem by Erich Fried, as well as a more detailed discussion on the artist’s motivations and process.

WOLF TALES

“It is madness
says reason
It is what it is
says love
It is unhappiness
says caution
It is nothing but pain
says fear
It has no future
says insight
It is what it is
says love
It is ridiculous
says pride
It is foolish
says caution
It is impossible
says experience
It is what it is
says love.”
– Erich Fried

This installation synthesizes the artist’s engagement with drawing, glazed porcelain, and mohair silk crochet yarn, bringing all these elements into one monumental work that flows around the edges of the space. For Wolf Tales, Mallon is going back to her roots of drawing after being actively engaged with molding, firing, and glazing porcelain objects. In this exhibition she is primarily a draftsman on a quest, mirroring the main heroes of the story as they go through transformations. Going back to drawing in this more monumental format signifies for Mallon her long-cherished wish of making this method more dynamic, forgetting its static nature, and allowing drawings to flow.

The titular wolf is an ambivalent embodiment of spirit and energy that is at first at odds with a human presence of a girl and then goes through a series of spiritual and physical changes, inner and outer shifts. In his newly published autobiographical book, Japanese author Haruki Murakami devotes significant attention to how a narrative of a novel shifts when characters are presented indirectly versus being contemplated from within their own mind-frame. In her drawings for this exhibition, Sascha Mallon likewise changes the degree of her engagement with the heroes and heroines whom we see. Themes of belonging, sustainability, mistrust, loneliness, and connection are based on narrative points presented through figures of a human girl, a wolf, a raven, and others. Yet Mallon uses her subtle drawing skills to connect disparate parts of the narrative so that we can subconsciously see the connections and let the story unfold in our own time. The tale we see is one that stays with a viewer long after they leave the space. Drawing in motion is what this presentation underlines, tying all the elements together in one mandala directly drawn on the wall by this practicing Buddhist. The drawings are airy, frequently working with and playing with a negative space.

As do many artists, Mallon creates narratives based on issues she faces in her life, and as a Buddhist she thinks often about one’s perception of reality, how we create reality, how we can make a better world by changing the mind. She is fond of questioning rather than responding, leaving spaces for stillness and freedom for the viewers. Mallon’s body of work does not develop from project to project, it is one big story that keeps changing and transforming itself. To an observer, it is more of a conversation that she continues having with herself by visual means, artistic practice presented as a gestational thought process. You do not know where it starts and where it ends; it is fluid and dynamic.

As a story, Wolf Tales also develops on multiple planes and in multiple temporal frameworks. It is not a fairy tale, but rather an artistic representation of ideas and feelings, thinking through the poem by Erich Fried, which has occupied a special place in Mallon’s life for many years. Out of all of these narratives and feelings, she weaves characters and stories in the way that fairy tales do. There are no solutions. It’s about what is happening with our lives and our emotions, and it is complex. In the seminal analysis of fairy tale structure that Vladimir Propp published in 1927, the author outlines seven main characteristics important for a fairy tale (Zaubermärchen ): miraculous helper, miraculous spouse, miraculous adversary, miraculous task, miraculous object, miraculous power or gift, and other miraculous motives. In our time we need to emphasize the importance of miraculous, which could be understood to mean harmonious, compassionate, human.

Mallon is not a research-driven artist, as what we see on the walls is transmitted (or unearthed?) through sitting still and reflecting upon dharma talks and her work as a resident artist at The Creative Center at Mount Sinai Hospital. Working with people who have limited capacities affects Mallon, bringing an existential degree to her contemplation of humanity, anger, attachment, and suffering. A native of Austria, she studied art therapy, but ultimately developed her own intuitive technique of drawing and sculpting in order to perfect what she needed to say. This self-taught quality and a certain remoteness from the official and often overtly commercial art system creates a space for honesty, deep engagement, and compassion in Mallon’s works. Being informed by the understanding of larger and more painful experiences influences one’s ability to look at life. Mallon’s life informs her works and vice versa. Even with her patients she tries to find the healthy part and work with it.

Miraculous is an element of the drawings around us. Sascha Mallon offers to bring each of us home, just as a wolf and a girl who are tied in an ambiguous, but ultimately symbiotic relationship are able to do. What is the alternative if we turn away instead of looking into each other’s faces? Compassion is an essential part of Mallon’s work, a quality that we see less and less of in the polarized society of today’s United States. For the artist, an enemy that is initially perceived on the outside turns out to be an enemy on the inside. In this story, the lines get blurred, become vague and nonessential: you don’t know any more if it’s describing a girl or a wolf. Yet the hope of the artist is that through her heroes we are able to move toward peace rather than confrontation.

—Nina Chkareuli-Mdivani is a Georgian-American curator, writer, and researcher living in New York.

This exhibition closes 5/25/24.

Jun 162023
 

The latest pop-up exhibition at Chad Mize’s SPACE in St. Pete’s Warehouse Arts District, is Hot Box, which opened Friday 6/9/23.  The show includes a LOT of artists and installations as well as, for this past weekend, an immersive performance by Dirty John’s comedy troupe.

Below are some of the works from the show-

Jay Hoff, “Criminally Divine”, Lego on Lego

Gianna Pergamo, “Pool Day”, Mixed Media

Miss Crit, “Love and Hisses” Acrylic on Wood

Rhys Meatyard, “Apollo, Artemis, Demeter”, Acrylic on wood

Macy Eats Paint (Macy Higgins), “Pieces of Me”, Mixed Media

In an upstairs section, artist Paul LeRoy has created a mixed media world of art world and celebrity icons, drawings, paintings and more.

The show will be open for its final weekend on Saturday 6/17 from 4-9pm and Sunday 6/18 from 11am-3pm.

Apr 142023
 

Thornton Dial, “Memory of the Ladies That Gave Us the Good Life”, 2004, Tin, carpet, wood, glove, washbasin, scrub brush, yard ornament, motor-oil bottle, paint brush, clothing, wire, enamel, and spray paint on wood

David Hammons, “Untitled”, 1976-77, Wire, rope, pipe cleaner, hair, rubber ball, mesh, aluminum, sand paper, thumb tack

Robert Rauschenberg, “Matt’s Defense (Scenarios)”, 2005, Pigment transfer on polylaminate

Dial / Hammons / Rauschenberg at David Lewis presents several works by the three artists that, although different in many ways, work together well.

From the press release-

This is the first-ever exhibition to solely bring together these three great American artists, each of whose conceptual ingenuity is expressed by way of material transformation and possibility. In particular, Dial / Hammons / Rauschenberg seeks to articulate the intersection between the American Duchampian legacy, as expressed in the material invention and possibilities of postwar Neo-Dada, and African-American traditions of redemptive, alchemical, and visionary practices based in found and discarded objects.

The exhibition ranges over more than 50 years; the earliest work presented is in Rauschenberg’s iconic 1962 assemblage Cartoon, then includes an early Duchampian wire, rope, pipe cleaner, hair, ball, and tack construction by David Hammons (Untitled, 1976-77), and then focuses on the 90s and 2000s, featuring four magisterial assemblages from Thornton Dial’s ‘high,’ most modernist phase of work, as well as an example of each of Hammons Kool-Aid and Tarp series from 2006 and 2007 and additional later Rauschenberg works. The exhibition also features two important sculptures: Dial’s Top of the World (1998), and Rauschenberg’s extraordinary The Lurid Attack of the Monsters from the Postal News, August, 1875 (Kabal American Zephyr) (1981). The largest work in the exhibition, Dial’s astonishing Master of Space (2004), conjures and critiques the iconography of American imperialism, military and corporate both (the eagle is made of neckties), while simultaneously calling upon and vengefully subverting the most classical of all modernist devices: the grid.

Every piece in the exhibition deploys, invents, and reflects upon the logic of assemblage: the Duchampian act of appropriation, transmuted in postwar America, into the language of assemblage, the Rauschenbergian combine. Dial / Hammons / Rauschenberg highlights these acts of American alchemy, and asks us to imagine their power and possibilities in ways which revise, expand, and complicate the history of modern and contemporary art, and weave a broader tapestry.

This exhibition closes 4/15/23.

Feb 212023
 

Nastaran Shahbazi, “In The Cold Nights, We Were Red As Blood”, 2022

Sung Hwa Kim, “When The Evening Song Begins, Everything Turns Into Nothing. From Nothing, You Find Everything.”, 2022

Sung Hwa Kim, “When The Evening Song Begins, Everything Turns Into Nothing. From Nothing, You Find Everything.”, 2022 (detail)

Lindsay Merril, “Come To Me”, 2022

Krzysztof Grzybacz, “Affection”, 2022

Jason Birmingham, “Path of Totality”, 2022

Dan Attoe, “Full Moon Rock Harvest”, 2022

Susan Metrican, “Cast, Cast”, 2022

For The Midnight Hour at The Hole NYC, curating team Scroll (Julien Pomerleau and Rachel Ng), assembled a gorgeous selection of paintings- it was difficult to narrow down which ones to post.

From The Hole’s press release-

The Midnight Hour is about nighttime rendered in landscape, domestic settings, still life, and portraiture. In these paintings, darkness is uniquely dimensional, with celestial blues and blacks composed of—and deepened by—a range of hues. Here you’ll find the coolness of the night sky offset by the warm incandescence of street lights and shop windows, or the silvery light of the moon. Inside glows a candle or a lamp.

The works depict all facets of the night, from nocturnal contemplation and solitude to after-hours festivities, some barely glimpsed in the shadows, some vivid and bustling. Not all the subjects in these paintings appear to partake in the recommended eight hours of sleep. Instead, The Midnight Hour presents happenings mostly outside of the bedroom, from Dan Attoe’s moonlit foragers to Paul-Sebastian Japaz’s late-night cigarette smokers. Whether through interpretations of dreams or by picturing the people we become once the sun sets, the exhibition reveals all that goes unseen during the day.

The lineup of artists welcomes both new talent and familiar names: Olga Abeleva, Dan Attoe, Jason Birmingham, Jose Bonell, Krzysztof Grzybacz, David Hamilton, Anthony Iacono, Paul-Sebastian Japaz, Claudia Keep, Sung Hwa Kim, Jean Lee, Lindsay Merrill, Susan Metrican, Keita Morimoto, Francesco Pirazzi, Cait Porter, Nastaran Shahbazi, Masamitsu Shigeta, Aaron Michael Skolnick, Mai Ta, James Ulmer, and Mikey Yates.

Founded by Julien Pomerleau and Rachel Ng, Scroll is a New York–based curatorial project focused on fostering community and uplifting the works of emerging and overlooked artists. Following first exhibitions in September and November 2022, The Midnight Hour is its largest show to date, bringing together twenty-two artists from around the world.

 

May 252020
 

Ryan Brown’s Praia do Sancho (2015), from the 2015 group exhibition Extraction at Steve Turner in Los Angeles. For this work he used the structural components of stretched canvas to create this large work that resembles a beach chair.

Jan 042014
 

arthur-rothstein-girl-at-gees-bend-web

Arthur Rothstein- Gee’s Bend, Alabama (Artelia Bendolph)

At the Window: The Photographer’s View is also at the Getty Museum until 1/5. It showcases various famous photographers (including Gregory Crewdson, Éugéne Atget, Walker Evans, Shizuka Yokomizo and Uta Barth, among many others) who used windows as their framing device.