There was a time, over a century ago, when the idea of a purely abstract painting, one which referenced only the means of its creation, was a far-off goal, a seemingly unattainable dream. In the following decades this idea was tested, tried, worked, and re-worked until the project engendered many and various permutations. Post-modern, appropriational, deconstructed -- the list of approaches to this idea is legion; yet there endures some compulsion, some drive that seems hardwired, to create paintings of pure visuality. Just when we think we have come to the end of this story we find new characters waiting in the wings, new gladiators wanting into the arena. In C. Michael Norton’s current exhibit at David&Schweitzer Contemporary we see that this project still has viability. Indeed, Norton seems to open new fields of exploration. Read more »
Dona Nelson is showing new paintings at Thomas Erben Gallery. There is no other artist in America that is a "modern painter" in so many different ways without losing her centre.
Trying to subvert its meaning seems to be part of the definition of what modern art is. There doesn't seem to be an accurate way to define an activity that is made up of a system or interelating systems that has occasional contradictions built into it, But art doesn't seem the worse for it. Modern painting in particular is like a series of interconnected temples where people are constantly entering and trying to knock down a load bearing pillar to see if it still stands or if it's now something else. It's quite often a sign that that particular approach is thriving. Read more »
The exhibition “Blurry Scene” presents atmospheric landscape works where wild pristine nature is shrouded in falling snow and low misty clouds hover over the horizon, establishing a sense of silence and solitude. While Lim’s touch with ink on paper is steeped in the tradition of the Asian masters, his art is linked as well to the landscape tradition of Western artists whose longing to be one with nature strikes a cord with Lim’s vision. In many cultures, mountains are said to represent the spiritual forces that inhabit the landscape where earth and heaven are believed to merge. Cézanne’s preeminent connection with the iconic Mont Sainte-Victoire parallels Lim’s attraction to the vertical sweep of the mountain in his snowy vista (“Dong River,” oriental ink mounted on rice paper with sealed white porcelain powder, 2016) that dwarfs a small figure by its majestic towering tiers. Read more »
I'm not going to write a bad review of Julian Schnabel's show of roses painted on smashed plates up at Pace Gallery. I don't believe it matters what I think of them. The parameters that embraced what was good and rebuffed what was bad are mostly no longer in place. The people who will buy these paintings for $900,000 are as far from me as the people who built the pyramids were from those inside them. Read more »
Dong Yeoun Lee's series of female portraits features standing and sitting young women in traditional Korean dress who display a range of technological devices. Although the scroll paintings elicit a definite Asian sensibility (oriental coloring on oriental paper), they are reminiscent of the art of Thomas Gainsborough who produced sympathetic portraits of female subjects, which penetrated their social "masks" to reveal the truth of their character. Lee’s works are shorn of site-specific ornamentation; they hone the essence of solitary or dual figures situated on empty formats, which accentuate their faces and poses.
The young women exist in isolation within the confines of the vertical design as they quietly assert their presence. The figure in "Clear Girl" displays a contemplative smile, mysterious and inward, not unlike a "Mona Lisa" smile in its enigmatic purity and elusiveness. The girl in "Redefining Contemporary Beauty 5" (2012) dresses traditionally but her preoccupations appear to be thoroughly modern as she listens, presumably, to music with headsets, wears a digital watch and seems to be using a Bluetooth device with her cell phone. Her Hanbok garment signifies the ability to participate in the customs of historical eras as well as present day trends. The girl's modest reserved demeanor might suggest that she is "old-fashioned" apart from her display and use of contemporary devices. The subjects are out to communicate on whatever level they are functioning on at the present moment.
The communication tools infuse a narrative element into several of the works; the females in "Redefining Contemporary Beauty 1," and "Redefining Contemporary Beauty 5" convey the impression that they experience no strife or conflicts, but accept the intersection of past and present, navigating diverse cultural expectations in a hybrid life. Read more »
In modern idiom the term "limbo" refers to a condition of uncertainty, an intermediate stage in individuals’ lives and feelings. The word originates in the Christian tradition where the souls of unbaptized babies remain in a state of Limbo, separated through eternity from God due to "original sin." The show’'s name '"Limbo” brings focus to the significance and intentions of this exhibition of immersive large-scale photographic images curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos, Phd. and Suechung Koh. The Korean artist Kang, in collaboration with eminent actress and model Suae, creates photographs that submerge her in an enigmatic watery world where she strikes various poses wearing diverse garments. In some works, the perplexing iconography of tortuous underwater confinement yields inklings of contorted features that subtly suggest the torments of Hell itself. In one view the figure appears to dissolve into a funnel of black smoke as the "spirit" wafts upward, conceivably fated for an arduous end. While the show highlights the intimations of scenes where Suae rests sitting or lying inert in a pool, some of the works on view have political underpinnings as well. Read more »
Mark Sheinkman sets up his canvas with an oil and alkyd ground and polishes and reprimes it again, until it looks like Carrera marble, so that it can take the thin black oil paint. He wipes off and lays in. Many of the pieces deal with tropes of painting and design. Squiggles and spots, diamonds on what appears to be a spinning disk. Cross-hatching becoming unmoored and floats away, Some are pure muscle memory. Lines just moving and corresponding. Like the way Coltrane drops off the theme and into the solo on "Ascension," responding to a shifting background of changing modality with a thin free line twisting in the void. Read more »
Am I looking at an image of a dress on the ground covered with leaves? Is it from a lover’s tryst, or is something more sinister going on, and why would I think that?
On the whole, media and society have turned darker and more aggressive as we’ve moved into the 21st century. Being besieged with nominally factual content has constrained us all to a different type of viewing, more of a true-crime voyeurism than ever -- inundated with reality or its simulacrum on television and computer screens on a daily basis, we wonder how we ended up here. When did we start needing to see unedited live-steamed reality of life’s most horrific moments? The true-crime program America’s Most Wanted premiered in 1988. I remember it well because I was studying video and art history for my undergraduate degree at Tufts -- it was hard to ignore the fact that a social boundary had been crossed when watching videos of real criminals being hunted down for horrible crimes, as well as listening to their victims and families reliving events for an audience hungry for only its most salacious details. Read more »
I have often wondered if contemporary American artists accept the idea of a "point" in their work as being at all legitimizing. Preferring the physical presence of the work to be its own witness. Perhaps it's the legacy of the "semiotexters" in colleges and art academia. Identifying and discrediting as they go forcing 'fabulists! Like David Humphrey to dance clear of any obvious "read". Read more »
Heide Hatry's show at Ubu Gallery is a series of portraits made from cremated ashes based on photographs of the deceased selected by family members or loved ones who have provided her with their ash remains. These are objects made in the spirit of the Consolatio, the ancient tradition of honoring the dead and consoling the mourners. Read more »
"A Fine Line," the inaugural exhibition for the newly launched Gallery 100 New York, presents an amalgamation of the varied but related works of four international artists, who use straightforward natural materials with telling effect. The show curated by gallery director Michelle Loh, features Wang Huangsheng, Oliver Catté, Mahmoud Hamadani, and Alan Sonfist. An express emphasis on paper unites the installation; there is an aura of purity emanating from the white paper of the drawings on view that permeates the space. Color plays an important tandem role; hues glitter in conjunction with the brown cardboard works, and in the nature-based leaf piece entitled "Leaves Frozen in Time: Spring." The abstract drawings explore the essential delicacy of paper as it comingles with ink flowing irregularly over the surfaces, while the creative potential and durability of cardboard come sharply into focus in cityscapes that radiate urban exuberance. Traditional underpinnings resound through the exhibition; the use of ink, which is made from tree bark, is a medium used for millennia in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. Read more »
In November I was at LICHTUNDFIRE joining in with the many artists and collectors for their first year celebration and it was exactly as I expected an event that showed the unity and support I stick around for in the New York art world. Oh have I surprised you? Well yes, its hard to see it in the break neck virtual pace of todays self promoting internet everything but at one point there was a great deal of support amongst us all involving hard work with heavy with compassion and a physical presence out there among fellow contemporary dealers and the artists that they represented. This is what makes LICHTUNDFIRE unusual in the sense that it is a computer platform that attracts a community presence. Read more »
On occasion Linus Corragio resorts to commercial mores, such as with his motorcycle, "chopper," motif, and with his forgivably money making furniture. But, on the whole, he has an absolutely intuitive natural talent for design and composition as well as an artisan's tactile sense for material applied with abstract expressionist fluidity. Read more »
Gallery d'Arte presents "Grafting To: Joohyun Kang," an exhibition of wall works, paintings and ink drawings that display natural imagery imbued with mythological motifs, narrating tales which source the genesis of humanity, and our struggle to forge beauty and meaning in life despite inexorable odds. Paradoxically, the works sparkle with sequins and beads, materials that suggest inspiration from the fashion industry. It is as if the insights of fashion and art fuse to express an expanded statement. Although the artist has lived in the US for twenty years and received an MFA from a Korean University as well as from Pratt Institute, the forms in this body of work clearly originate in Korean culture. Kang taps various references including beautifully articulated knobby tree trunks and roots that comingle with domestic pagodas. Dragons, which are a Korean power symbol, chase each other in circular movements in an endless feud to establish dominance. These forms symbolize her experience of establishing herself in a demanding life in a new country. Read more »
The exhibition "Woman: Mother, Daughter, Wife, Friend," curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos, investigates the diversity and complexity of women’s multiple roles in their private and public lives as they confront societal constraints, requirements and misconceptions with their own strategies. The participating artists, George Pol. Ioannides, Orestes Kourakis, Lena Morfogeni, Dongyeoun Lee, Vangelis Rinas, Frandy Jean, Jason River and Helene Pavlopoulou, respond to the theme with images that resound with deep sincerity, sympathetic rendering, and uncliched, unbiased depictions. The eight international artists, who hail from Greece, Haiti, America and South Korea, bring their individual cultures into focus, bypassing the generic stereotypic impact of "globalization" in art. There is no trace of the usual gratuitous images of sexuality or abuse, ubiquitous when women’s issues arise. There are no nudes on view. Read more »