Sep 122023


Above are two of the works from Athena LaTocha’s The Remains of Winter (Battle Hill, East), 2022, currently at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

From the cemetery’s website about the work-

Athena LaTocha creates large-scale works inspired by her close observations of the natural world, from the deserts and mountains of the Southwest to the Great Plains. She often incorporates elements of these environments, including soil, sand, bark, and rocks. Recently, she has been particularly drawn to trees, considering them as record keepers that bear the markings of time.

Inspired by Green-Wood’s centuries-old trees and its legacy as a place of remembrance, LaTocha has created The Remains of Winter. She cloaked the remains of two massive European beeches on Battle Hill in thin sheets of lead, a material that has been used for centuries in coffins to slow the decomposition of the body. By hand-forming this malleable metal onto the trees, LaTocha captures the unique details of their shapes and forms, even as they slowly degrade beneath the lead.

All around these sculptures, the Cemetery is in a continuous cycle of transformation. Felled trees are turned into mulch for new plantings, earth is removed then replaced for each new burial, and even the stone monuments themselves slowly erode. Through The Remains of Winter, LaTocha memorializes these shifts and changes while also raising profound questions about what we choose to commemorate and mourn—whether it is what we can witness before us or that which, like the movement of continents and land masses, unfolds over lifetimes.

The sculptures will remain on view through September 2023.

May 032023

“Sun and Moon Spectrum”, 2022

“Sun and Moon Spectrum”, 2022 (detail)

“Radiant Sun with Trees (Yellow, Pink, Green)”, 2023

“Gingko Trees (Gold and Violet)”, 2023

It’s the last few days to see Amy Lincoln’s exhibition of dreamy paintings at Sperone Westwater.

From the press release-

These large-scale seascapes and landscapes reference atmospheric elements—air, water, light and clouds—and engage concepts of light reflection and refraction. Working in a more expansive format, Lincoln continues her exploration of the cosmos.

Lincoln covers each of her wood panels with acrylic paint in gradations of colors from light to dark to develop a precise perspective and imply the illusion of space. Sun and Moon Spectrum, the centerpiece of the exhibition, measures over 11 feet wide, her largest seascape to date. “This painting moves sequentially through the colors of rainbow, starting at yellow, then to orange, red, magenta, purple and blue,” says Lincoln. “Bands of color progress from and divide the two glowing orbs of sun and moon, shifting from light to dark and back to light again, while also moving from warm to cool colors.” The visual conceit of moving through a color spectrum references Ellsworth Kelly’s work, a nod to the minimal abstraction that has influenced her recent practice.

In this new series, Lincoln also utilizes as subject matter botanical and forest imagery (for example, Radiant Sun with Trees (Yellow, Pink, Green), 2022). Like the waves in the seascape paintings, the fir and gingko trees repeated throughout the foreground and background serve to enhance depth and perspective. “This creates an overall simplicity and focus on color, pattern and space,” says Lincoln. “I also didn’t want to be too dependent on the seascape imagery as a formula. I wanted to apply the inventive approach to color I had learned in making the seascapes to a different set of imagery.”

This exhibition closes 5/6/23.

Mar 282023

Charles Gaines’ work never fails to impress and his recent exhibition, Southern Trees, at Hauser and Wirth in NYC, is no exception.

From the press release-

One of the most important conceptual artists working today, the show explores the evolution of Gaines’s complex practice, demonstrating how he has continued to forge new paths within the innovative framework of two of his most acclaimed series, Numbers and Trees and Walnut Tree Orchard. The exhibition’s title, ‘Southern Trees,’ alludes directly to the 150-year-old pecan trees pictured in the new works, and symbolically to the opening lyrics of ‘Strange Fruit,’ Billie Holiday’s haunting protest anthem from the 1930s.

The image of the tree has been central to Gaines’s practice since he first began the Walnut Tree Orchard series in the 1970s. In ‘Southern Trees,’ Gaines advances the series using pecan trees photographed on a visit to Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston County, South Carolina––not far from where the artist was born and lived until he was five years old. Presented alongside a key early example from the walnut tree series, eight new triptych works on paper revisit and expand upon this significant original body of work.

‘Walnut Tree Orchard: Set M’ (1977), on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, pairs a black and white photograph of a walnut tree with two drawings derived from it––an ink outline of the same tree and a grayscale grid that plots all of the trees included in the series up until that point. The newest series, titled Pecan Trees (2022), begins similarly, with a stark black and white photograph of a tree; yet in the drawings that accompany it, Gaines has filled in the outline of the tree with solid ink and used vibrant watercolors to plot all the previous trees in the final drawing. These successive modifications to scale, color and background demonstrate Gaines’s theory that while ‘the system has never changed, the outcome is always different.’

This extends to Gaines’s new Numbers and Trees Plexiglas series, which begin with the artist assigning each tree a distinctive color and numbered grid––breaking down the composition into individual cells that reflect the full form of the tree depicted in the photograph on the surface. However, Gaines reverses his signature process in this new series by overlaying the forms of the trees one at a time and in progression on the back panel of the work rather than on the front. He then brings the photograph to the surface by printing an enlarged detail of the most recently added tree on the work’s Plexiglas surface. This approach brings the tree’s shadowy branches to the foreground, highlighting its textural details and contrasting tones while obscuring the colorful numbered grids painted underneath it. This reversal produces a dramatically different effect, igniting a more somber, yet stirring, reaction to the work as the austere branches, dripping with moss, dominate the picture.

Created through carefully considered systems rather than through the artist’s own imagination or intuition, these new works remove the artist’s subjectivity by following a set of self-determined rules and procedures. The works call into question both the objective nature of the trees and the subjective natural and material human actions that surround them. The fastidious layering process allows Gaines to reveal the differences between the trees’ shapes where the forms do not align. These differences, highlighted by the artist’s systems, suggest the arbitrary nature of other manufactured systems in our society––such as politics, gender, race and class.

This exhibition closes 4/1/23.

Mar 282023

“Oil Bunkering #9, Niger Delta, Nigeria”, 2016

“Gold Tailings #1, Doornkop Gold Mine, Johannesburg, South Africa”, 2018,

“Salt Ponds #1, Near Fatick, Senegal”, 2019

“Salt Ponds #1, Near Fatick, Senegal”, 2019 (detail)

“Uranium Tailings #13, Husab Uranium Mine, Namibia”, 2018

Edward Burtynsky’s photographs are visually arresting and often made more so by the need to look closer to discover what exactly is being captured. Some look like paintings at first glance before you realize there are roads or other man made structures contained within them.

From the Sundaram Tagore’s press release-

Since the early 1980s, Edward Burtynsky has been photographing industrial landscapes across the globe, documenting in remarkable detail the human imprint on the planet through terraforming, extraction, urbanization and deforestation. For African Studies, premiering in New York simultaneously at Sundaram Tagore Gallery and Howard Greenberg Gallery, he focused on Sub-Saharan Africa, traveling to Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar and Tanzania between 2015 and 2020.

Burtynsky’s interest in Africa was sparked 20 years ago while he was working on his landmark 2004 photographic project China, which explores the country’s rapid globalization and the construction of the Three Gorges Dam. The series, and subsequent award-winning documentary film by Jennifer Baichwal, Manufactured Landscapes (2006), chronicle China’s transformation into the world’s leading manufacturer and depository for its waste. Burtynsky witnessed firsthand the immense environmental—and by extension, human—cost of development, and he predicted Africa would be the next, and perhaps the last, region to undergo major industrial expansion.

Presented in large-format photographs, African Studies conveys the fragility of the natural world, bringing together images of lush, undisturbed landscapes and environments irretrievably altered by industry. The series was largely photographed from aerial perspectives, a viewpoint that distills the continent’s diverse topography into graphic patterns and gradients of sumptuous color. The resulting effect seemingly transforms the marks of human infrastructure into painterly abstract compositions. In these images, as in all his work, Burtynsky skillfully integrates critical reporting with sublime visual aesthetics creating a harmonious balance between content and form.

“With this project I hope to continue raising awareness about the cost of growing our civilization without the necessary consideration for sustainable industrial practices and the dire need for implementing globally organized governmental initiatives and binding international legislations in order to protect present and future generations from what stands to be forever lost,” Burtynsky said.

Also on view in another section of the gallery are works from his series, Natural Order. The photographs were taken in Grey County, Ontario, during the lockdown in the spring of 2020.

This quote from Burtynsky was on the wall nearby in regards to the series-

“From the frigid sleep of winter to the fecund urgency of spring, these images are an affirmation of the complexity, wonder and resilience of the natural order in all things. I find myself gazing into an infinity of apparent chaos, but through that selective contemplation, an order emerges an enduring order that remains intact regardless of our own human fate.”

This exhibition closes 4/1 at Sundaram Tagore Gallery and 4/22 at Howard Greenberg Gallery.


Mar 162023

Cy Gavin, “Untitled (Yellow pine),” 2023

Cy Gavin, “Untitled (Crossroads/meadow), 2022

Cy Gavin, “Untitled (Crossroads/meadow), 2022

Cy Gavin, “Untitled (Crossroads/meadow), 2022 (detail)

It’s the last week to see Cy Gavin’s painting exhibition at Gagosian’s 21st location in NYC.

From the gallery’s press release-

Gavin’s landscape paintings transmute subjective responses to specific places into expansive works with striking palettes and fluid, gestural brushwork. Composed in dimensions that are in keeping with the scale of experience, these paintings interpret the sites and processes of the natural world. In this body of work, Gavin concentrates on subjects he finds in the vicinity of his studio in New York’s Hudson Valley. He proposes a conception of landscape in relation to his status as a citizen and steward of the land, developing ways to explore themes of growth, renewal, and belonging.

Gavin’s paintings respond to the land as he finds it, which he endeavors to preserve and rewild. Made following the artist’s move to his current studio in early 2020, these works are also undergirded by the tensions of our time, which are marked by periods of solitude and upheaval.

Operating both as a gestural abstraction and as a painterly interpretation of a patch of ground near his studio, Untitled (Crossroads/meadow) (2022) depicts the intersection of paths bordered by tall grass in a fiery palette dominated by yellows, oranges, and pinks, evoking the blazing heat and brightness of the late summer sun. Along with the traditional symbolism of directionality and decision-making that is inherent to crossroads, this view presents a previously manicured lawn that the artist allowed to regrow into a meadow, with mown paths allowing access through it.

The verdant Untitled (Paths in a meadow) (2022) revisits the motif, placing the viewer low to the ground so that burgeoning grass and wildflowers divide the picture plane. Untitled (Paths, crossing—blue) (2022) is a nocturnal scene that conveys the enveloping darkness of a moonlit night. Gavin composed the painting with shades of blue that range from the diffuse washes over raw canvas in its foreground to dark, opaque passages that demarcate a tree line and open up to a star-filled sky. In a related palette of blues, Floor Painting #1 (Natural spring) (2023) is a mural-size work inspired by the dynamic waters of a spring. Displayed horizontally, the painting’s surface conveys the experience of looking down into the roiling currents, light variably revealing its depths and movements.

The themes of boundaries and borders are also prominent in Untitled (Rhododendron border) (2022), a painting in which sweeping brushstrokes describe the leaves of a woodland shrub on a dark ground, beyond which nothing can be seen. Its opacity expresses its function: the privacy achieved by a hedge the artist sited along the thoroughfare adjoining his property.

Other conceptions of time, place, and growth emerge in Untitled (Baldcypress) (2022), a painting in complementary hues that expresses the robust growth of one of the many saplings that Gavin has planted on his property. Outside its current natural range, this ancient species of tree once thrived in New York State, with this specimen now brought back to the area. Reflecting a mix of natural forces and the history of human interventions that defines the land, Untitled (Grass growing on a weir) (2022) depicts currents of water as they pass over the concrete slabs of a former dam that is now fully submerged. Simultaneously revealing and concealing visual information, the painting exists as an amalgam of past and present that defines the specificities of this place.

This exhibition closes 3/18/2023.

Dec 022022

The Divided Cell (paravent), 2015, by William Monk, part of his exhibition, The Cloud is Growing in the Trees at Kohn Gallery in 2015. This was the artist’s first exhibition in California.

From the Kohn Gallery’s press release-

…This exhibition is the culmination of Monk’s practice over the last few years during which time he has created universes within his paintings that reflect on the relationship of the object and spectator.

In Monk’s paintings a sense of repetition breaks down the figuration, creating visual mantras in which the human scale of the work increases this subtlety rather than amplifying the model. This rhythm happens throughout Monk’s work, surrendering figurative logic to arrive at something stranger and more powerful. Beautifully atmospheric and energetic, these paintings invite a more direct physical connection, drawing in the space between our inner and outer realms of experience.

The artist’s unique relationship to image and paint lead him to enigmatic subject matter such as forests, galaxies, and the open road. The Cloud is Growing in the Trees underscores this mysterious, almost psychedelic relationship that invites the viewer in as an active participant.

Monk is now represented by Pace Gallery and will be part of their booth at Art Basel in Miami. You can find more of his work, including what is at Art Basel, on Instagram.