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.

Jan 202024
 

Calvin Marcus’ Tall Snowman, 2019, (Watercolor and vinyl paint on linen), was one of several of his large paintings included in Whitney Museum’s 2019 Biennial.

He and fellow Los Angeles artist Laura Owens will be in an exhibition together at Gaga gallery’s Guadalajara, Mexico location, opening 2/2/24.

Jul 212023
 

“You’re Fired”, 2015, Concrete, grill, shredded office documents, charcoal

This sculpture by Josh Kline was located in the Various Small Fires Los Angeles courtyard in 2015.

From the press release-

In the warm breeze of Southern California’s endless summer, the 20th Century dream of life in the early evening after work: a large backyard covered in concrete and grass, a hammock or a lawn chair, cold beer, and a blazing grill. Ground meat sizzling above a glowing bed of charcoal soaked in lighter fluid. Underneath the avocado tree. Or the oak tree. Or the whatever tree. Putting the last 8-10 hours of your day out of your mind and enjoying your “free” time. A nuclear family fantasy repeated across hundreds of millions of suburban and semi-suburban homes and half a century of North American lives.

Pattern recognition is the primordial ooze from out of which living consciousness and intelligence crawled into the minds of animals. The ability to recognize repetitive relationships and recurring phenomena. The habits of food, the faces of your loved ones, and the sounds of human language. From automobile factory assembly line and the discount drug store cash register today to the taxi cab’s driver seat and patent lawyer’s office tomorrow: unconscious software is slowly and not-so- slowly aping the abilities of the living mind.

Reading without eyes. Recognizing without consciousness. The outsourcing of understanding. You’re Fired!

The first U.S. museum survey of his work, Josh Kline: Project for a New American Century, is currently on view at the Whitney Museum in NYC.

 

Mar 022023
 

Iulia Nistor “Evidence L3 W2 P8”, 2022, oil on wood, 50 x 40 cm

Iulia Nistor “Evidence L5 W8 P1”, 2022, oil on wood, 50 x 40 cm

Iulia Nistor “Evidence L/E0 F4 A5”, 2022, oil on wood, 50 x 40 cm

Iulia Nistor “Evidence L6 F2 A9”, 2023, oil on wood, 50 x 40 cm

Currently at Mendes Wood Gallery in NYC are Iulia Nistor’s paintings for her solo exhibition properties without object. The new works are part of her Evidence Paintings series. Each painting is the same size and titled with coordinates “suggesting not only the representational function, but also documentary specificity, of paintings which rarely picture anything we can automatically name”.

More from the gallery’s press release-

Paint is used with a diverse range of techniques, applied with a fine brush in painstaking detail or with broad gestures. Hard-edged forms cede to organic scumbling. Deep illusionistic spaces, evoked by geometric lines of perspective, contrast with marks which emphasize painting’s limitations to its surface. Trompe l’oeil plays sly games with our habitual perceptions. Dried paint is removed with a sanding device, subverting Nistor’s intentions, producing unforeseen configurations and textures, and reducing multiple layers of paint to ground.

Irreducible to any singular style, these expressive resources are positioned to represent the properties of certain things, perhaps an observed aspect of an object, a place, a person, or the space between them. Nistor’s purpose is not primarily to represent the things themselves but the qualities which they possess. This aim makes her paintings register less as representations than inquiries into the nature of representation itself, questioning the opaque relation between how something appears, how it is perceived, and how that duality can be pictorially rendered. How much of what we experience is a given of the environment, and how is it changed by the subjectivity which accompanies it? Does a painting, unlike a photograph, need to depart from the ostensible form of its subject to, paradoxically, achieve a true likeness of it?

Nistor often proceeds through gestures of subtraction, isolating a property of an object by eliminating aspects of it. The specificities of her practice correspond to the specificity of the phenomena they are used to capture.

Alongside her paintings, for the first time, Nistor exhibits a pair of photographs, each showing one side of an A4 sheet of paper, upon which a sequence of propositions is printed. These are attempts to define the relationship between objects and the properties which seem to adhere to them. The spare sentences, phrased in objective, philosophical language, have been edited by queries and remarks, written in pencil and ballpoint pen, in the artist’s hand. This process of revision and redefinition, preempting the demand for a categorical answer, reflects the artist’s process in painting.

In both photographs, the sheets appear on a black studio surface. One rests parallel to its frame, resembling an aperture, while the other lies tilted, negating this illusion. The abstractions of language qualify—or are qualified by—the materiality of the wooden surface, much like those upon which Nistor paints, stained with traces of the artist’s process. A window into Nistor’s conceptual method doubles as a formal metaphor for the axis, central to her practice, between the given and the made.

Iulia Nistor, “Untitled (properties without object)”, 2023, photo on cotton paper (image via Mendes Wood )

This exhibition closes 3/5/23.

Feb 222023
 

Diana Al-Hadid “The Long Defeat”, 2017-2023

Diana Al-Hadid “The Long Defeat”, 2017-2023 (detail)

Diana Al-Hadid “The Long Defeat”, 2017-2023 (detail 2)

Bianca Bondi, “The Antechamber (Myths of descent and return)”, 2023

Bianca Bondi, “The Antechamber (Myths of descent and return)”, 2023 (detail)

Bianca Bondi, “The Antechamber (Myths of descent and return)”, 2023 (detail)

Closing today at Kasmin in NYC, is Shades of Daphne, curated by Stephanie Cristello. It is a “timely survey of painting, sculpture, installation, and film by a group of 11 international and intergenerational contemporary artists, many of whom have not previously exhibited in the United States.”

From the Kasmin gallery website-

Bringing together recent and historical works spanning over three decades from the 1990s to the present, the exhibition includes new commissions, site-specific performances and installations that respond to the architecture of the gallery space.

Celebrating the spirit of resistance and revolt, the exhibition takes the figure of Daphne—the Ancient Greek nymph who turned herself into a laurel tree to escape Apollo’s pursuit—as metaphor to explore work that engages with hybrid figures, metamorphoses, and suspended states of becoming. Highlighting deconstructed impressions of the body in relation to mythologies of transformation, the exhibition focuses on work that features remnants of presence even when the figure is absent—objects that hold the memories of living things. Acting as portals, thresholds, and containers of shifting states, each work also engages with architecture as a framework, both in reference to the body and to spaces constructed for both personal and collective ritual.

Information on Diana Al-Hadid’s sculpture, The Long Defeat

Diana Al-Hadid’s (b. 1981 Aleppo, Syria) sculpture takes the Flemish primitive painter Hans Memling’s Allegory of Chastity (c. 1475) as a starting point. The work pictures the bodice of a female figure, her head bowed, hands interlaced at the waist, surrounded by the mouth of a volcanic mountain. Al-Hadid’s first interpretation of the painting culminated in the monumental sculpture Citadel (2017–18), a hollowed silhouette of a woman framed by the base of an embankment whose porous mass extends like a root system toward the ground. Her face is vacant of features, delineated instead by two severe lines like one would find in the initial sketch of a portrait artist, that indicate her gaze remains lowered. Yet in contrast to the demure painting, the massive scale of the work allows for her downcast eyes to stare straight into those of the viewer below.

Information on Bianca Bondi’s installation, The Antechamber (Myths of descent and return), 2023-

An iteration of Bianca Bondi’s (b. 1986, South Africa) installation for Busan Biennale 2020, The Antechamber (Myths of descent and return), grew from a translation of Kim Hyesoon’s poem, “Tundra Swan.” As Bondi states: “salt is essential for life but too much brings death.” Taking inspiration from paintings such as Henri Gervex’s Rolla (1878) or John Everett Millais’s Ophelia (1851–52), we observe a clinical but feminine bedroom setting composed of a bed with a pond at its center, echoing a circular mirror above a dresser at the end of a pathway through the tundra. Salt surrounds the installation, representing both preservation and resurrection. A swan stands alone, symbolizing the force of art and poetry. This is the third chapter of the installation, following the Thailand Biennial in 2021.

 

Feb 212023
 

Ted Gahl “Purgatory (2)”, 2022

Ted Gahl “Woman Putting on Jacket”, 2022

Ted Gahl’s paintings for Le Goon at Harkawik Gallery draw you in the more you look at them, revealing layers of imagery.

From the gallery’s press release-

Building on imagery he developed in “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea,” here he delves further into an ocean of muted memories and historical associations that are legible only as hazy apparitions. Gahl charts a course through an emotionally charged landscape: a trench where isolation and connection embrace, where melancholic figures strain to make contact with an ineffability beyond the border of the canvas. Through a dialogue between small, mid-size, and large-scale paintings on unstretched canvas, Gahl implores us to look under the surface, offering attentive viewers the gift of conjuring new meanings over time.

The frames on Gahl’s smaller paintings are composed of chopped paint stirrers, a nod to the artist’s youth spent painting houses and lattice framing techniques of the past, as well as an interest in blending high and low culture. He juxtaposes smaller figurative works with gargantuan 8-feet tall paintings that cascade down unstretched canvas, rooted in abstraction inspired by landscape. These large paintings are intuitive, with one movement or color influencing the next, allowing the artist the physical space to deepen his investigation of consciousness. He calls these works “tarps,” a nod to the cloths thrown down to catch errant paint drips. Here, he deepens his ethical engagement with the many modalities of paint and creative labor.

The artist employs figuration as a vehicle to explore abstraction, seamlessly gliding between the two methods. Figures are adorned in coats that serve as portals into another dimension, brimming with thin layers of muddy greens, sky blues, and merigold oranges that feel plucked out of a Post-Impressionist painting. Within Gahl’s controlled confines of abstraction, the world enlarges, revealing traces of the night sky, throngs of people, fish in a stream.

Gahl’s work is intensely cinematic, as if projected onto a screen or trapped inside an unraveled roll of film. Several scenes unfold within a single painting, allowing a multitude of emotion to erupt. Fleeting moments of tension abound. Two nude women emerge from a body of water reminiscent of a Georges Seurat or Milton Avery landscape, but their togetherness is fractured by a hulking tower of darkly-hued abstraction. A translucent trio bathing in a deep Rothko red exudes a biblical aura; an outline of an angelic body reaches towards the top of the canvas. Gahl’s airy yet deft brushstrokes feel like wading into a pond, while a ghostlike figure dissolves into the landscape, as if imprisoned in the sparse solitude of a Norbert Schwontkowski painting. The artist plays with the horizon, causing us to question if the shadowy form is sinking into water or simply lying in the grass. Are we above or below ground? Is this death or relaxation? Are they the same thing?

At the heart of Le Goon lives a yearning for connection. Mortality cannot help but leak through the canvases and become personified. Gahl’s work invites us towards intimacy, towards deeper questioning. The answers emerge from the water and evaporate towards the heavens before we can touch them, leaving us only with the feeling of the mist kissing our skin.

—Lauren Gagnon

 

Also at Harkawik are Eli Hill’s recent paintings for Some Days I Taste The World, a series of works that use the natural world to approach topics of identity.

Eli Hill “Wineberry Sight”, 2022

Eli Hill “Decidousness”, 2022

From the gallery’s press release-

Comprised of nine mid-size works, Some Days evidences Hill’s fascination with the way in which humans order and classify the natural world. His paintings speak to the problematics of anthropology, the subversion of the naturalist’s impulse to categorize, and the painter’s age-old communion with nature. Hill proposes a fascinating configuration of personal, political, and scientific concerns and draws parallels between the transgender body and planet Earth. Hill’s canvases merge figurative and landscape traditions, calling attention to the ways in which bodies—celestial, earthly or otherwise—are routinely subject to binaries, alienation, hierarchy and the struggle for survival and self-actualization.

The majority of the exhibition’s paintings are derived from the artist’s long distance runs and environmental work in the leafy Queens oasis of Forest Park. Here, we bid farewell to the gray grit of the city and emerge into a landscape that is simultaneously natural and hallucinogenic. Verdant greens and earthy browns mingle with pale lavenders and silvery blues. The umber shadows of trees streak the soil, basking in the blood orange glow of an artificial sunset. Fluid brushstrokes waterfall down the canvases. Hill’s paintings of the natural world are borderline devotional; he is imploring us to worship the beauty and drama of nature in its fullness. Not unlike the still-lifes of Rachel Ruysch, insects creep out and leaves decay and decompose back into the earth. Split depicts a tree the artist passes by, an image so striking you can almost hear the sound of bark cracking. The branches are split in half and upheld by the flora around it. Community, mortality, and the life cycle are omnipresent.

While some of Hill’s paintings engage traditional modes of depiction, others shift between recognizable and unrecognizable subjects. In Wineberry Sight, the invasive wineberry shrub masquerades itself as a raspberry bush to ensure survival. But are we peering through an eye of vines or veins? By creating images that refuse us easy associations, he provides an opportunity to find pleasure in images we cannot name or categorize. Under every branch we find trickery, performance, preservation. The notion of the “invasive species” itself calls attention to the ideological structures at play in our understanding of what’s “original,” “natural;” what has a right to proliferate and thrive.

The exhibition title is a line from a CA Conrad poem, as well as an homage to the influence of the poet’s writing and spiritual practice in Hill’s work. Revolutionary care permeates Hill’s depiction of the figure; whether his own body, a tree, or a friend, he actively opposes mining, objectifying, or exploiting his subjects. In The Artist as a Naturalist, a self-portrait is accompanied by two paintings within a painting of colorful moths. The work demands time and effort, as awkward cropping abstracts the body, consequently resisting commodification and denying easy consumption of the work from a historically cisgender gaze. Like German-Swedish figurative painter Lotte Laserstein’s Portrait With a Cat, Hill consolidates naturalistic observation with a figure that gazes back at the audience. The painting itself possesses a sort of agency, as multiple pairs of eyes appear, aware we are observing them, and throwing into uncertainty the subject of the examination; them, us, something else?

Some Days I Taste the World is like walking through a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay, where beauty takes on a cosmic quality that transcends the experience of individuals. Hill offers us a fascinating configuration of previously known quantities, suggesting a natural place for things like radical queer joy. Through a dense canopy sunlight streams through, lighting up our faces.

 

Feb 212023
 

For Adam Putnam’s recent exhibition Holes at P.P.O.W gallery in New York, he takes the visitor on a multimedia journey into the self.

From P.P.O.W’s press release-

Through the building up of imagery by means of photography, drawing, sculpture, film, and performance, Adam Putnam continues an ongoing exploration of the boundaries between architecture, nature, the physical and the internal self, often using one as a stand in for the other.

A single, hand-carved wooden finger beckons the viewer toward a labyrinth of 365 “visualizations.” Initiated during the long months of lockdown, this mass of miniature drawings takes on an elusive arrangement, like an archaic diagram of the unconscious mind, with patterns emerging and dissolving as the visitor weaves through the space. Accompanying this accumulation are a new series of drawings and photographs, depicting architectural inversions and other implements such as a crumbling brick column and a rusty sword.

The labyrinth ultimately leads to a shadowy monolith vibrating with light, smoke and bubbles. Based on a 2022 site- specific, multi-sensory work commissioned in response to the experiential interests and preferences of a small group of people with Profound Mental and Learning Disabilities (PMLD) living in Midlothian, Scotland, the tower, which can be viewed alternately as a lighthouse, clocktower, steeple and sundial, aims to connect through touch, scent, light and sound. As we enter a post-pandemic world, Holes offers an opportunity for collective experience and contemplation of the otherworldliness imbedded in the everyday.

Putnam’s Instagram is currently private, but you can check out his Tarot influenced artwork here. He was giving Tarot readings throughout the duration of the show using his handmade cards.

Jan 202023
 

Artist Alex Katz created this mural, Bill 2, a portrait of modern dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones, in 2019 for Murals of La Jolla in San Diego. Murals of La Jolla is a project started in 2010 by The Athenaeum and the La Jolla Community Foundation. It commissions artists to create work to be displayed on buildings around La Jolla. A map of all the murals currently on view can be found here.

From the Murals of La Jolla website about the work-

Alex Katz’s mural, Bill 2, celebrates Bill T. Jones, one of the most noted and recognized modern-dance choreographers of our time. Executed in Katz’s bold and simplified signature style, Bill 2 depicts Jones’ visage, through a series of distinct expressions. The repetition of his face has a cinematic and lyrical quality, reinforcing his place in the world of dance, music and film. Portions of the face are dramatically cropped, giving the viewer only quick and gestural glimpses of Jones. Bill 2, is a striking homage to two artists, Katz and Jones, both renowned in their respective fields of visual and performing arts. The mural’s proximity to the new Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center gives a nod to the interconnected worlds of art, music, and dance.

The Guggenheim museum in NYC is currently showing Alex Katz: Gathering, a retrospective of the artist’s work from the late 1940’s until the present. The exhibition will be up until February 20, 2023.

From their website about the exhibition-

Emerging as an artist in the mid-20th century, Katz forged a mode of figurative painting that fused the energy of Abstract Expressionist canvases with the American vernaculars of the magazine, billboard, and movie screen. Throughout his practice, he has turned to his surroundings in downtown New York City and coastal Maine as his primary subject matter, documenting an evolving community of poets, artists, critics, dancers, and filmmakers who have animated the cultural avant-garde from the postwar period to the present.

Staged in the city where Katz has lived and worked his entire life, and prepared with the close collaboration of the artist, this retrospective will fill the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright rotunda. Encompassing paintings, oil sketches, collages, drawings, prints, and freestanding “cutout” works, the exhibition will begin with the artist’s intimate sketches of riders on the New York City subway from the late 1940s and will culminate in the rapturous, immersive landscapes that have dominated his output in recent years.

Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has numerous performances every year. Conceived and directed by Bill T. Jones, and choreographed by Jones with Janet Wong and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, the latest work, Curriculum II, will be performed at on March 10, 11, and 12, at the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston.

Jones also hosts the series Bill Chats at NYC’s The New School. On January 30th, he will be in conversation with Bessie Award-winning theater director and performance artist, Niegel Smith and curator, producer, and director, Kamilah Forbes. For more events check out the New York Live Arts calendar.

 

 

Jan 052023
 

Héctor Zamora’s site-specific installation, Lattice Detour, located on the roof of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2020. It opened at the end of August of that year after being delayed when the museum shut down due to the pandemic.

The installation’s curved wall of terra cotta bricks measured at 100 feet long and 11 feet high. The bricks were not solid, as they first appeared, but hollow so viewers could see through to the other side. Throughout the day light would pass through the wall creating different patterns and shadows.

Zamora discusses the work in the video below from The Met’s website

 

Dec 172022
 

“Tower, Houston”, 2020

“Tower, Houston”, 2020 (closer look)

“City Square at 4 am (Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, Large Version)”, 2020

“Midtown, NYC”, 2020

The paintings above are from Daniel Rich’s 2020 exhibition at Miles McEnery Gallery in NYC.

From the gallery’s press release-

Daniel Rich’s reticulated cityscapes and slick façades appear at first glance to be quite literally superficial. Whether it is a geometric exterior pressed close to the picture plane or a cluster of multiple structures glimpsed from a distance, we experience architecture in his painting as a wholly exteriorized phenomenon— looming close up or made smaller through a bird’s-eye view.

His process-oriented paintings offer windows to different parts of the world— some figuratively, others much more literally—and can evoke a distorted experience of temporality for the viewer. Like compositions by Bernd and Hilla Becher or Andreas Gursky, Rich’s artworks offer clinical, complex architectural views onto the world that are filled with subtleties. However, Rich differs from Becher or Gursky in his painstaking, intricate process of translating found images into painting. The works also evoke early 20th century European Modernism, recalling Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical cityscapes and Germany’s Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) artists of the 1920s and 1930s.

Architecture, as it is commonly understood, is designed and implemented to house the human and is itself the manifestation of our constructed realities. When all signs of life are missing from buildings and spaces, as in Rich’s paintings, the result is an unsettling subversion that upends and questions what we have come to expect of both architectural spaces and the organized linearity of time. Rich probes viewers to consider what lies beyond the surface.

Rich also uses his anonymous architectural imagery to talk about history and politics. He speaks of his scenes as “failed utopias” and “changing political power structures.” In their seeming permanence, the fixed and rigid edifices that populate his work speak to a late capitalist urbanism that sees its monuments not as contingent, but as immovable and eternal.

His newest paintings are currently on view at the gallery for his exhibition Flat Earth on view until 1/28/23.