Sep 202021
 

Jake Troyli, “Shhh…this is the best part!”, 2018

Jake Troyli, “Shhh…this is the best part!”, 2018 (detail)

Jake Troyli, “Shhh…this is the best part!”, 2018 (detail)

Jake Troyli, “Shhh…this is the best part!”, 2018 (detail)

Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration, is the second iteration of a joint exhibition across four institutions that highlights contemporary art created in the Central Florida region. Artists selected by a jury are from five counties- Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota. The exhibitions are an excellent sampling of the work being made in the Tampa Bay area.

The works shown in this post are from the exhibition at the The Ringling in Sarasota. I’ve included links for these artists as well as those not pictured.

Heather Rosenbach, “American Dream Byproduct”, 2018

Heather Rosenbach, “Class Warfare Shooting Star”, 2019

Eric Ondina, “Miss 911”, 2018

Eric Ondina, “Miss 911”, 2018 (detail)

Eric Ondina, “Palms”, 2020

Eric Ondina, “Keep the Change”, 2020

Ya Levy La’ford “American/Rōōts”, 2021

This exhibition closes 9/26/21.

 

Aug 132021
 

Dolores Coe “Perimeter”, 2019

Dolores Coe, “Borderland”, 2020

Dolores Coe, “Borderland”, 2020 (detail)

Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration, is the second iteration of a joint exhibition across four institutions that highlights contemporary art created in the Central Florida region. Artists selected by a jury are from five counties- Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee, and Sarasota. The exhibitions are an excellent sampling of the work being made in the Tampa Bay area.

The works shown in this post are from the exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. I’ve included links for these artists as well as those not pictured.

Gabriel Ramos, “Mi Isla”, 2021

Gabriel Ramos, “Mi Isla”, 2021 (detail)

Savannah Magnolia, “Chemical Inhalation”, 2019

Savannah Magnolia “In Big Pharma We Trust”, 2019

Savannah Magnolia “In Big Pharma We Trust”, 2019 (detail)

Savannah Magnolia “In Big Pharma We Trust”, 2019 (detail)

Keith Crowley, “Rain Season”, 2019

Keith Crowley, “Nocturne”, 2020

Bassmi Ibrahim, “Awareness 41”

Bassmi Ibrahim, “Isness 158”

Bassmi Ibrahim, “Isness 158” (detail)

The exhibition at this location closes 8/22/21.

Jul 202021
 

Hartley, 1966.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently showing Alice Neel: The People Come First, the first museum retrospective of the artist’s work in twenty years. It’s an impressive body of work covering a wide range of subjects, focused predominantly on her portraits.

From the museum’s website-

Alice Neel: People Come First presents Alice Neel (1900–1984) as one of the twentieth century’s most radical artists, a champion of social justice whose long-standing commitment to humanist principles inspired her life as well as her art. “For me, people come first,” Neel declared in 1950. “I have tried to assert the dignity and eternal importance of the human being.” In keeping with the ethical foundations of humanism, Neel dedicated herself to painting what she called “pictures of people.” The artist focused especially on individuals who had experienced injustice as a result of sexism, racism, and capitalism as well as those who combated it. Democratic and inclusive, Neel painted people from many different backgrounds and walks of life.

New York was Neel’s greatest muse and the stage for a human drama she began capturing in the early 1930s. Neel’s life and art were inflected by the tumultuous events of the twentieth century, including the Great Depression, the rise of Communism, and the feminist and civil rights movements. For this reason, she described her work as a kind of history painting. Mindful of the formal and sensuous possibilities of paint, Neel applied her incisive eye to all her subjects, whether people, urban landscapes, or still lifes. Her riveting portrayals of life in New York, whose gritty beauty persists even in precarious times, make Neel’s art even more relevant in 2021.

Below are a few selections from the exhibition, but it’s worth going to the museum’s website (even if you see the show), where all the paintings and their descriptions can be found.

 

Robert Smithson, 1962

This painting of artist Robert Smithson is worth noting for the detail Neel put into depicting Smithson’s skin condition, and her decision not to shy away from showing these aspects in her portraits.

The Black Boys, 1967

The New York Times has an interesting story about Jeff and Toby Neal, the boys from the picture above, and the search for the painting they sat for so many years ago.

Jackie Curtis and Ritta Red, 1970

Ginny, 1984

This moving portrait is one of her last paintings, and captures Neel’s daughter-in-law Ginny’s grief after her mother’s passing.

107th and Broadway, 1976

Black Bottles, 1977

This exhibition closes August 1st, 2021.

Dec 052020
 

Shirley (Spa Boutique2go), 2018

Lean, 2018

Charles, 2016

Miles and Jojo, 2015

Jireh, 2013

Currently at the New Museum is Jordan Casteel: Within Reach, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in New York City. It includes paintings from her series Visible Man (2013–14) and Nights in Harlem (2017), and recent portraits of her students at Rutgers University-Newark.

From the museum’s information page-

In her large-scale oil paintings, Casteel has developed a distinctive figurative language permeated by the presence of her subjects, who are typically captured in larger-than-life depictions that teem with domestic details and psychological insights.

Portraying people from communities in which the artist lives and works—including former classmates at Yale, where she earned an MFA; street vendors and neighbors near her home in Harlem; and her own students at Rutgers University-Newark in New Jersey—Casteel insists upon the ordinary, offering scenes with both the informality of a snapshot and the frontality of an official portrait. In these richly colorful works, Casteel draws upon ongoing conversations on portraiture that encompass race, gender, and subjectivity, connecting her practice to the legacy of artists like Alice Neel, Faith Ringgold, and Bob Thompson, among others. Casteel’s studies in anthropology and sociology also inform her works, which can often be read as a reflection on the presentation of the self in everyday life and as an investigation of the relationships that tie together intimacy and distance, familiarity and otherness.

Casteel’s subjects, who are frequently black men looking directly at the viewer, are self-possessed and casually posed, but, as they stare in the distance, they also seem to ponder questions about masculinity and class, belonging and displacement. In the exchange of gazes between the sitters, the artist, and the viewers, her paintings blur impulses and aspirations to compose a nuanced portrait of daily life in the US.

From her earliest series, Visible Man, Casteel has challenged conventional depictions of blackness while simultaneously reconfiguring stereotypes and expectations around femininity and desire. In Jiréh (2013), a student from the Yale School of Drama appears unclothed and in repose at home, gazing tranquilly at the viewer from a patterned couch. More than on any sense of erotic tension, the painting rests on a sense of empathy and quietness. In later works, Casteel’s encounters with her subjects are animated by a different sense of place: in Nights in Harlem, Casteel shifts her attention outside, to men and women who populate the streets of her neighborhood. Posed in their environments, these figures reflect the communal spaces and social relationships they inhabit.

Along with her depictions of life in Harlem, Casteel also explores scenarios in which anonymity and individuality seem to coexist. In her cropped “subway paintings”—one of which lends its title to the exhibition—she zooms in on the everyday gestures she observes on New York City trains. Even against the anonymous weight of strangers clasping cell phones and huddling near doorways, the body still remains legible, its identity concealed but its inner life nevertheless present. In these, as in many of her works, Casteel captures the sensory experience of life in the city, while conjuring the complex emotional landscape of her sitters.

This exhibition closes 1/3/21.