Art Review http://culturecatch.com/index.php/art en Who Cares For Planet Earth? http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3733 <span>Who Cares For Planet Earth?</span> <span><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Anonymous</span></span> <span>July 9, 2018 - 11:28</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3733" data-a2a-title="Who Cares For Planet Earth?"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/509" hreflang="en">Morean Arts Center</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-07/01_s_roman_untitled_bend.jpg?itok=VyNDUrM3" title="01_s_roman_untitled_bend.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Selina Roman , Untitled (Bend), 2011, Archival Inkjet Print. Photo courtesy of the artist.</figcaption></figure><p>Considering the scope of climate change, it really begs the question why more artists aren't tackling the subject.</p> <p>Fortunately, we're seeing a sea change. Artists from the Sunshine State (and others) are assuming the mantle for bringing attention to a subject that is as dire as it is censored -- heck, the words "climate change" are even <a href="https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/environment/article208967284.html" rel="noopener" target="_blank">forbidden</a> from being included in official documents, a mandate from Gov. Rick Scott.</p> <p>At the <a href="http://moreanartscenter.org/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Morean Arts Center</a>, the comprehensive exhibition <em>Water over the Bridge: Contemporary Seascapes </em>displays both accessible and challenging works in a staggering variety of media. Curated by <a href="https://www.ddlombardi.com/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">D. Dominick Lombardi</a> of Valhalla, N.Y., and Amanda Cooper, the Morean's Curator of Exhibitions, it's a must-see for anyone who cares about supporting visual art and gaining perspective on the environment.</p> <p>"Contemporary artists can very often be like the canary in the coalmine warning of the presence of deadly gases," Lombardi wrote in the exhibition's program.</p> <blockquote> <p>"Artists can bring to light the changes in sea levels, and the industries that contribute to the problem by simply exposing, with visual and written references, a very troubling reality that we are in the thick of a political battle for our very future, and the futures of the animals and plants we love."</p> </blockquote> <p>Artists helping meet Lombardi's objective include <a href="http://katehelms.squarespace.com/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Kate Helms</a>, <a href="http://www.kennyjensen.com/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Kenny Jensen</a>, <a href="http://selinaroman.com/home.html">Selina Roman</a>, Anne Bowen, <a href="http://creativepinellas.org/magazine-items/guest-editor-babs-reingolds-roots-of-inspiration/">Babs Reingold</a>, Carolina Cleere, Margaret LeJeune, Rieko Fujinami and William Thompson.</p> <p>While some  may flinch when invited to a climate change-focused exhibition for fear of a heavy-handed downer experience, "Water over the Bridge" does much more. It elevates the discussion, offering as much that's life affirming as is foreboding. It provides humor and whimsicality as well as punch-you-in-the-gut pathos.</p> <p>"If you look at works by Don Doe, Bill Gusky, Scott Hatt, Dale Leifeste, China Marks and Selina Roman, you will see that they are raising our awareness of rising sea levels with a bit of humor," Lombardi elaborates. "I also believe that we have to be thankful for the not-for-profit institutions like the Morean that will mount challenging shows that raise important issues like climate change. Since not-for-profits do not have to rely on selling the work they exhibit, they can show art that goes beyond saccharine seascapes and landscapes. Living in New York I am no stranger to rubberneck delays on highways. It's a shame there is such great interest in slowing down to look at the carnage of a car accident across a roadway, while issues about the environment have become a nasty political battle."</p> <p>According to her artist statement, Kate Helms calls attention to the "parroted paradise ... born of stout St. Augustine grass, primly planted medians, perfectly spaced palms, and gracefully arcing sprinkler showers." Her works are "united by a desire to question cultural attitudes about the fabricated environments we inhabit and fetishize to the point of precarious delusion."</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="856" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-07/nature_conversasy_art-14.jpg?itok=fLspQDOS" title="nature_conversasy_art-14.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Kate Helms. Colony 1. Photo credit: Daniel Veintimilla. </figcaption></figure><p>Her installation <em>Colony 1 </em>(created with resin, cloth, sandpaper and found chaise, measuring 74 x 28 x 35 inches) proposes a creepy hypothetical scenario; it foresees the future state of an antique chair in an opulent Florida living room after it's been submerged for decades -- the chair's once opulence is reduced to an absurd oddity as realistically crafted barnacles overtake it. It's both a poignant and humorous look at how nature may conquer us if we don't stop abusing it.</p> <p>"I haven't lost all hope and you shouldn't either," Helms said during her recent gallery talk at the Morean, adding that her work is not intended as a death knell but a call to action.  A Stormwater Program Administrator for the City of Largo, the scientist/artist has painstakingly tracked the effects of runoff and expresses no doubt that climate change is human-influenced.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="811" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-07/nature_conversasy_art-5.jpg?itok=_ESY-byM" title="nature_conversasy_art-5.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Babs Reingold. The Last Sea, 2018, mixed media and variable dimensions.</figcaption></figure><p>Babs Reingold's mixed-media installation <em>The Last Sea</em> mirrors a more current reality, one that harks viral videos of wildlife strangled by plastic bags -- a canoe filled with flaccid, nondescript small stuffed animal corpses and strewn with plastic litter. In addition, one of Reingold's Luna Ladders hangs overboard. From one perspective, it denotes a "jump ship" attitude like those of wealthy people who believe they can just colonize Mars. On the other hand, the ladder could intimate one last hope for survival. Adding a touch of dark humor, the boat's name, the piece's title, spelled out in a boat name painted whimsically in a recognizable 1950s-style semi-cursive font. It's a light touch on a dark piece. Ultimately, <em>The Last Sea</em> offers a chilling scenario, a proposition of the last major body of water on Earth. Its theme, a progression of Babs Reingold's series <a href="https://www.babsreingold.com/gallery/gallery.php?MT=6" rel="noopener" target="_blank">"The Last Tree,"</a> takes its inspiration from <a href="https://www.ted.com/talks/jared_diamond_on_why_societies_collapse">Jared Diamond</a>'s 2004 TedEx talk, when he asks, "What was the person who cut down the last tree on Easter Island thinking?"</p> <p>The ideal exhibition to bring teens and tween students to, Water over the Bridge engages and elicits critical thinking and discourse; a highly prescriptive antidote to reactive social networking and comment-board trolling.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1750" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-07/nature_conversasy_art-10.jpg?itok=ks4mlLwP" title="nature_conversasy_art-10.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Kenny Jensen. Dominion Under (Bound and Loosed), 2018, mixed media, variable dimensions.</figcaption></figure><p>"This exhibition does succeed as a kind of protest," Co-curator Amanda Cooper says in the brochure for the show. "If you ever thought about land conservation and wondered why it was important or whether you should care about it -- one only has to look at these paintings to see what we stand to lose. Sometimes a beautifully and lovingly crafted work of art speaks louder than a megaphone."</p> <p>In tandem, The Morean Arts Center is also presenting a solo exhibition by an established artist who places an emphasis on the joy and wonder we feel while encountering nature. "Leslie Neumann: Manna from Heaven … and Earth," shows the trajectory of an established artist and conservationist‘s work over a long period of time, focusing on the beauty of nature vs. our troubling current events.</p> <p>Arguably the world's most urgent problem, climate change not only hits close to home on both the figurative and literal level, but offers a number of philosophical quandaries to explore -- from the most elemental of human needs to more abstract, complex issues around stewardship of our planet, morality and evolution. -<em> Julie Garisto</em></p> <p><em>Ms. Garisto is an assistant editor/contributor at the central Florida nonprofit arts agency <a href="http://creativepinellas.org/">Creative Pinellas</a>, where she covers arts and music events. Julie also contributes to the Tampa Bay Times as well as other publications. She served as arts and entertainment editor for Creative Loafing (2010-2015). </em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3733&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="4XABYKhy8BmqunupOpcnmRGuMY3zqORQ39XkLdc0ZOo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 09 Jul 2018 15:28:25 +0000 Anonymous 3733 at http://culturecatch.com Dramatic Constructs http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3729 <span>Dramatic Constructs</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/kathleen-cullen" lang="" about="/index.php/users/kathleen-cullen" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Kathleen Cullen</a></span> <span>June 29, 2018 - 21:58</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3729" data-a2a-title="Dramatic Constructs"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1202" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/time_to_wake_the_monkey_6_x_6_inches_oil_acrylic_on_wood_2017.jpeg?itok=yXE0BV-t" title="time_to_wake_the_monkey_6_x_6_inches_oil_acrylic_on_wood_2017.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Bobbie Moline-Kramer, Time to Wake the Monkey (2017), oil &amp; acrylic on wood, 6 x 6 inches</figcaption></figure><p>The <em>Parallel Fields</em> exhibition takes place at <a href="http://www.lichtundfire.com" target="_blank">Lichtundfire</a>.  It is a different sort of space in which curators, artists representatives, and the community can present new ideas and mount exhibitions. Having looked at some of artist D. Dominick Lombardi's projects for a few years I was hoping that he would maintain the same passion in moving forward as curator. Yes, I believe he has ventured in a new direction to formulate <em>Parallel Fields</em> using the exhibition as a dramatic construct. It's a tale to inspire us about life lessons and focus "on the mundane to the miraculous (which) is what leads to exceptional thought, creative foretelling and compelling art in modern and contemporary times." </p> <p>Plutarch's <em>Parallel Lives</em> was a work of considerable importance held up to illuminate the lives of famous men.  Such biographies illuminated the common morals or failings of their lives at the beginning of the 2<sup>nd</sup> century. A passage from Plutarch's <em>Life of Alexander</em> reads:</p> <blockquote> <p>"I write not histories but lives: the showiest deeds do not always delineate virtue and vice; the showiest deeds do not always delineate virtue and vice, but often a trivial action, a quip or a prank , will reveal more of character than the fiercest slaughters, or great parades or sieges of cities. Thus just as portrait painters attempt to establish a likeness through the features or a look in the eyes (where character is revealed), taking far fewer pains with the rest, I must be allowed to devote myself mainly to the signs of the psyche."</p> </blockquote> <p>Lombardi creates a discourse that makes a complexity about the three artists.  This is an ideal case scenario -- to balance the work of three artists and try to create a habitat around the issues.  There is a broader field here and Lombardi takes a broader stance with the title and alternatively the political, the painterly, and the wider scope of the food chain.</p> <p>The three artists in this exhibition Kathleen Elliot, Kaethe Kauffman and Bobbie Moline-Kramer have each defined themselves over the course of the last four or five years by their particular subject matter and accurate portrayal of people or subjects pertinent to our time. These three artists have mined the issues that were important to each of them in their own voice outside the cacophony surrounding the marketplace.</p> <p>When you paint from photographs you create a stylized version and you present as much as you can about the truth of the image without giving the viewer the whole of it.  With these newest works Bobbie Moline-Kramer is in a relationship with the paint and not the underlying image.  The series originally started with intense portraits, electric eyes that go straight for the viewer and keep their eyes straight on them. The portraits are small and intense is as if the sitter is seeking to bust out of the painting.</p> <p>Abstraction is a curious paradigm in postwar culture and has its own sense of beauty very different from virtuoso painterly execution of realist painting. I want to guess that Bobbie Moline-Kramer starts with the idea of the mood that she is trying to create.  She takes these very academic realist paintings, and then paints over the figures giving them a strangeness and otherworldliness. Wrestling with abstraction and the momentum of it Moline-Kramer allows herself to let go and combines both modes of expression in these latest works. Moline-Kramer states: </p> <blockquote> <p>"The elaborate decorative backgrounds in my portraits work with the faces they frame. It's a structure that allows me to create a drawing, which is also about mark-making, color, pattern and texture. I like using the immediate recognition of a face as a starting point. I like the fact that you literally have eye-contact with a portrait."</p> </blockquote> <p>In works like the <em>Guilted Cage</em> (shown above) Moline-Kramer uses plastic wrap and squeegee to paint in a manner like Richter.  It's the great smear effect (by using plastic to blur the abstraction in a more mechanical way). She thus creates a tension between the real and the abstract. This is what's exciting, especially if you make a mistake. Mistakes are often the best moment -- you have to creatively deal with them, and that's when you often do something completely new.</p> <p>My favorite work in the show -- <em>A Garden Smiling</em> -- looks like a tribute to the great painter Joan Mitchell's palette and technique. Who is this a figure of? What is the relationship of the artist to this individual and the painting?</p> <p>Having immersed herself in alternative spiritual practices of Carlos Castaneda and multiple dimensions of reality, Kathleen Elliot's work has evolved over the last 6 to 7 years to address the issues of food production. To paraphrase the exhibition press release: "The sensitive issue of food production is an interdisciplinary field that provides ethical analysis and guidance for human conduct in the production, distribution, preparation and consumption of food.”</p> <p>The masterpiece in the exhibition is the <i>Glyphosate Corn, </i>which<i> </i>calls out the evil found in our processed foods. Genetically modified corn has been sprayed with Glyphosate in products like Doritos and Cheerios. The work has become so much more conceptual than her glass fruits and flowers of 2012. Is the giant strawberry sculpture symbolic of the struggle of the Mexican farmworkers? Much like Claus Oldenburg, Elliot repeats her motifs, working with persistence, with serial accumulation and multiplication.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="938" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/questionablefoodsstrawberry4.jpg?itok=rnZMB-MK" title="questionablefoodsstrawberry4.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="750" /></article><figcaption>Kathleen Elliot, Questionable Foods #4, Strawberry (2017) oil &amp; acrylic on wood, 33 x 30 inches</figcaption></figure><p>Like Orozco, Elliot comments on the status of object production with works such as <em>Questionable Foods</em> <em>#3</em> (2013) where she tries to extract the magic of assimilated exchange value in the massive object experience of strawberry production because all objects are subject to the same principles. As with the work of Gabriel Orozco, objects belong to a specific place and have to do with accumulation. As a result, we have a dramatic redefinition of object because it's no longer relevant. It has become something else.</p> <p>Kaethe Kauffman's <em>Muscle Movement Meditations</em> range from macro photos of thumbs, backs, knees and toes which look as if they have been bound or cauterized.  Kauffman translates her experience with the real world and her spiritual studies, analyzing the body as a beautiful thing and transforming it in a serial progression of images that analyzes the taxonomy of that particular part of the body.  Kauffman speaks to the modalities of mind in pursuit of a message -- in Buddhism the mudra activates other parts of the body to communicate with the divine. The mudra links the individual self with the universe as evidenced in one's experience of the body.</p> <p>Kauffman's work operates in different ways the duality of the micro and macro structure driven by the desire for elusiveness / the peculiar desire to go onto enlightenment.</p> <p>The most important issue for Kauffman is the constant question of the body -- multilayered issues and suspended narrative about muscles, energy, containment and the interior body.</p> <p>The resulting mystical images are neither directly figurative nor abstract. Those leaning more towards abstraction still appear to be something -- perhaps visions experienced by the meditating. Kauffman's work can be seen as a singularly crafted semiotics, and of how meaning is constructed and understood. Heretofore, the human body was considered an embodiment of signs, but with virtual realities, artificial life, and simulated bodies, the disembodiment of these signs is garnering prominence within the field. Kauffman’s notable works stand on the cusp of this transition.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="928" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/23_wrist_black_white.jpg?itok=ocrgktds" title="23_wrist_black_white.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Kaethe Kauffman, #23 Wrist, Black and White, color photo collage, 36 x 48 inches</figcaption></figure><p>What is her relationship to the photo? It's as much about seeing and using a very simple subject and fixing it or literally tying and containing it. Kauffman keeps coming back to the symbol of the rope or the knot.</p> <p>The practice of mindfulness of breathing is one of many Buddhist techniques for developing the stability and vividness of attention, culminating in the highly refined state of meditative quiescence (Samatha), in which the mind can remain perfectly focused for hours on end. The development of quiescence is closely linked to three kinds of "signs" (nimitta) that are the objects of meditation. The first of these is the sign for preliminary practice, which in the case of the mindfulness of breathing consists of the tactile sensations of the respiration. The second is the acquired sign (udgraha-nimitta), which may appear to different people like a star, a cluster of gems or pearls, a wreath of flowers, a puff of smoke, a cobweb, a cloud, a lotus flower, a wheel, or a moon or sun disk. All these signs of the breath arise from the space of the mind, and their various appearances are related to the mental dispositions of individual meditators.</p> <p>I will leave you with this.... The essence of Buddhism sees the world as drama; it is what it is -- to grow to expand to swell. The self plays hide and seek with itself -- each one of us must go ahead and get lost for the fun of it. Wouldn't it be nice if you could wake up to one of these muscle movement meditations?  This is stuff that matters... the link between us all. - <em>Kathleen Cullen</em></p> <p><em>Ms. Cullen is a media consultant, art advisor and art dealer with 30 years art market experience.</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3729&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="tzWUF6nDYK78YzvWOmxHZ3h_i9_gNhy-ckFcGyPA2xg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 30 Jun 2018 01:58:53 +0000 Kathleen Cullen 3729 at http://culturecatch.com Paint It, Black http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3725 <span>Paint It, Black</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/529" lang="" about="/index.php/user/529" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bradley Rubinstein</a></span> <span>June 24, 2018 - 16:37</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3725" data-a2a-title="Paint It, Black"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/203" hreflang="en">painter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/ajamu_kojo_image6.jpeg?itok=LFX0vR8V" width="1200" height="921" alt="Thumbnail" title="ajamu_kojo_image6.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Ajamu Kojo is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas. Kojo attended Howard University where he majored in Film and Television Production and minored in Theatre Arts.  In 2002 Kojo exhibited for the first time at GUMBO -- a group show with curators Patrick -- Earl Barnes and Lawrence Joyner.  In 2004, he exhibited with Carol Jones at the Atelier International Art Group.  In 2014 Kojo presented his series of portraits entitled <em>The Otherlies</em>, at The Governors Island Art Fair, curated by Nicole Laemmle, Jack Robinson and Antony Zito.</p> <p>Mr. Kojo splits his time between developing independent film projects, working as a scenic artist with USA Local 829 and concentrating on his fine art works. In addition to working on such projects as <i>Law &amp; Order</i>, <i>Boardwalk Empire</i>, <i>Vinyl </i>and <i>BULL</i>. Mr. Kojo is continuously developing works which take on a critical view of social, political and cultural issues through story, slices of life and moments of voyeurism. The Gallery at The Sheen Center exhibited Kojo's <i>Black Wall Street: A Case for Reparations</i>, a socio-political collection created to shed light on a nugget of American history, Black Wall Street (Tulsa, OK).Mr. Kojo lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.</p> <p>The Gallery at The Sheen Center (18 Bleecker Street, NYC) presents <em>LR9: 1957</em>, a multimedia group exhibition inspired by the Little Rock Nine. Curated by Ajamu Kojo, the exhibition includes oil painting, collage, sculture, found-object art and projected film works by artists including Patrick Earl Barnes, Kimberly Becoat, Paul Deo, Aimée Everett, Chet Gold, Aaqil Ka, Ajamu Kojo, Roni Nicole and Valincy- Jean Patelli. The exhibition is open to the public through August 3.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/ajamu_kojo_image4.jpeg?itok=lf2B8w1Y" width="1200" height="1200" alt="Thumbnail" title="ajamu_kojo_image4.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><b>Bradley Rubenstein:</b> So, just starting at the beginning, you grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas…</p> <p><b>Ajamu Kojo:</b> I did. In quite the patriarchal environment. I'm not even sure why I felt the need to point that out except that it may shed some light on who I am as a person. The men in my family were a strong influence on my upbringing. In my mind, as a child, all of my uncles were the definition of cool personified. I come from a line of educators, farmers, ministers, entrepreneurs, attorneys... I grew up privileged enough to never need much, yet aware the privilege could be taken away at a moment's notice.</p> <p>My pop grew up on a farm. My mama did not. My paternal grandfather was a farmer and my paternal grandma, an educator. Both of my mama's parents were educators. My maternal grandfather was a jazz and blues lover. I used to go into his man cave and listen to his 45s and full-length albums as a youth, which is what ultimately lead to my love for jazz music. We were exposed to a bit of everything growing up. My mama would enroll me and my siblings into summer arts programs, and my Pop would instill the importance of hard work. I'll never forget the summer he and my cousin Vernon got me a job cleaning school buses during the dead of summer. I learned very quickly I wasn’t about that life. One summer was enough for me. Yard work and a paper route would suit me just fine!</p> <p>But I digress…</p> <p>I seem to recall discovering Miles Davis <i>Kind of Blue</i> and <i>Bitches Brew</i> LPs in the man cave. The <i>Bitches Brew</i> LP cover blew my mind. It was freaky to me. Beautiful, but freaky. I didn't see that image again until I entered college, and that's the moment I knew it was just as special to me as the music inside the album cover's sleeve. The artist's name is Mati Klarwein, and little did I know at the time, my fascination with his work would lead me to Vienna. Up to that point, I'd never set foot inside Europe.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/ajamu_kojo_image3.jpeg?itok=nULN_8T4" width="1200" height="1829" alt="Thumbnail" title="ajamu_kojo_image3.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Yes, Klarwein's works can be attributed directly to my studies in Austria. The hills and mountain regions of Austria reminded me somewhat of Arkansas. Of course the ice cream there is far better. I didn’t formally attend art school under a university setting. I'm primarily self-taught, not to be confused with never having been instructed. I took a summer art course during elementary school and attended art class during high school. I've also been drawing since childhood. But it wasn't until I traveled abroad that I found myself seriously focused under academic tutelage.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> Before getting into your painting, you also went to film school, which I think is really relevant to the <i>Black Wall Street</i> series.</p> <p><b>AK:</b> It is indeed relevant. I studied film production during my undergraduate years at Howard University. I spent many hours writing and imagining what it would be like to make a living as a filmmaker. I'd been interested in some aspect of storytelling from a young age. I recall being very interested in <i>Archie and Jughead</i> comic books as a youth. That same interest later developed into a fascination for science fiction and fantasy comics like <i>Heavy Metal</i> during my adolescent years. So, yeah, the element of art and storytelling has been a part of my life since early on.</p> <p>When I began taking on the <i>Black Wall Street</i> series, I knew from the very beginning that the most important element would be the story. What is it that I want to say? Why is it important? And how do I make it universally relatable?</p> <p><b>BR:</b> That is something that really comes out in your work, the importance of narrative.</p> <p><b>AK:</b> Each painting acts as a single frame out of the 24 that it takes to make up one second in film.</p> <p>There were many things I experienced while living in D.C. that can be attributed to my fondness for the art of storytelling and film, but there was a very specific moment I seem to remember being directly related to the story of <i>Black Wall Street</i>. I made note of it and filed it away. I knew I'd come back to revisit the idea one day. However, I had no idea when or what form it would eventually take on.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> Can you talk a little about that. Not just about the series itself, but all the steps along the way. I think your process is highly conceptual in a way that is very strong.</p> <p><b>AK:</b> Well, I initially thought of producing a film on the subject matter, but by the time I was to give it any serious consideration, I was heavily engrossed in my career as a painter. So, I decided perhaps I could mix the two to a degree.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> And you do already actually work in the film business, so you are coming at the project with a lot of that knowledge.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/ajamu_kojo_image2.jpeg?itok=PUJ2ZHCk" width="1200" height="1205" alt="Thumbnail" title="ajamu_kojo_image2.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><b>AK:</b> Indeed. Having worked in production years prior and now working in pre-production, I’ve been exposed to the broad strokes of what it takes to create a film on a professional level.</p> <p>I decided to create a small-scale BTS film documentation of my process. I wanted the portraits to be personal not only for myself and the subjects, but also for the audience. So I decided to enlist the services of my comrades, fellow artists, and friends to encapsulate the spirit of the ancestors that lived before, during, and after the devastation of the Black Wall Street massacre. A good friend of mine served as the production designer. We dressed the set, which was located inside my apartment, and scheduled sittings throughout a 12-hour period. The day was catered, and once I got the last shot, everyone stuck around for a mini wrap party.</p> <p>There was a lot of hard work involved, and I loved every moment. This of course would be considered the pre-production stage, which was followed by the actual production of creating the paintings, and then of course the post-production/exhibition phase of the works themselves.</p> <p>The payoff has been extraordinary.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> One of the things I find really impressive in the series is how theatrical they are, in the way, say, David is theatrical. You are taking this historical content but adding layers both physically, but also with regards to different disciplines—your photography, art direction, and whatnot. We were talking in your studio about the black pours for example.</p> <p><b>AK:</b> Ah yes! The black pours. The mystery. I think what’s been most interesting about the black pour element of the paintings is listening to people’s interpretation of its meaning. Therefore, I don't want to give away too much during this interview. I would however like to share an anecdote about the black pours which frame my canvases: I had a gentleman approach me during the opening and express how the ancestors must have guided the way in which the paint rolled down the canvas as not to obstruct the visage of my subjects. I was both flattered and amused. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I manipulated the canvas in such a way as to control the flow of the paint. But is that not part of the mystique behind art? Create the illusion and wow the audience? It makes sense why I'm such a huge fan of magic; especially sleight of hand.</p> <p>You mentioned the works being theatrical, and I thank you for the compliment. I must admit, this has been one of the more challenging components to the compositions. In the past, I’ve embraced a more candid approach to my portraits. I enjoy cracking the veneer of my subjects so that the final result feels less contrived. And so, being that the very nature of these portraits lends itself to a more rehearsed composition, the challenge for me is finding a happy medium between that and something far less prepared. Part of that obstacle was overcome by using people I know. That familiarity was helpful. I still feel I can push even further. I'm pleased with the results, but...I dunno.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> You have a body of work going which deals strictly within a very traditional history of figure painting…</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/ajamu_kojo_image5.jpeg?itok=yoXTBESV" width="1200" height="1396" alt="Thumbnail" title="ajamu_kojo_image5.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><b>AK:</b> My time abroad was spent learning a very specific technique of mixing egg white tempera and oil paints known as the <i>mischtechnik</i>. It is believed to be the closest to the formula that the Dutch and Flemish masters used in their own works. When I initially discovered the art of Mati Klarwein, I wanted to paint like him. I was schooled under the tutelage of Maestro Phil Jacobson, who was taught by Ernst Fuchs. Fuchs also taught Mati the magic technique as well.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> That focus on materials and sense of the history of painting is important, especially in the last ten years or so where much painting is being made that is either satirical or emphasizes the "deskilled" artist.</p> <p><b>AK:</b> Yea, I mean if I’m gonna be perfectly honest about it, I practice the discipline mainly because it caters to my meticulous nature. I also like the way the paintings look, not quite like traditional oil paintings.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> I think approaching the figure is also a political form at the moment. I just saw a piece in <i>New York Magazine</i>, a sort of discussion on the politics of painting the nude right now.</p> <p><b>AK:</b> Well, I just so happen to have begun a series of nudes about four years ago. I've created it mainly for two reasons: my appreciation of the human form, in this particular case, the female form; and the lack of Black nudes, people of African descent, in galleries and museums. You’d think there were no Black people deserving of being documented in this way. When you study art history, or visit museums across the globe, nudes are a major inclusion. What's noticeable is a large absence of Black people. These museum walls need some color on them, and my hope is to swamp them with Black bodies. That'll be a nice contribution to American history. Now, if that’s political, so be it, but it damn sure will be beautiful.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3725&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="6Fvcyu2Ac2f15fMJzv2ZUdYqBzH-7K6u1D1n0NJxxDM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 24 Jun 2018 20:37:23 +0000 Bradley Rubinstein 3725 at http://culturecatch.com Free Festival http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3723 <span>Free Festival</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/index.php/users/millree-hughes" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Millree Hughes</a></span> <span>June 21, 2018 - 10:00</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3723" data-a2a-title="Free Festival"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="955" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/cc_ccjcjoioflyfe.jpg?itok=Y8aUDRkV" title="cc_ccjcjoioflyfe.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo credit: Crush Curitorial. "Joi of Lyfe," Chandler and Coates, 2018.</figcaption></figure><p><em>Electric Mayhem</em>: Caroline Wells Chandler and Jennifer Coates</p> <p><a href="www.crush-curatorial.com/" target="_blank">Crush Curatorial,</a> Chelsea, NY</p> <p>May 24 - June 23, 2018</p> <p>In Frank L. Baum's translucent American dream book <em>Ozma of Oz</em> (1907), Princess Langwidere has a chamber filled with heads that she can attach to her body. Jennifer Coates recent work feels like she is able to approach an existing subject or genre of painting but with another head on. Her last show was of trees. But not "of" any where or "of" any species. As if "trees" were just another idea in one of her heads. Caroline Wells Chandler too approaches pop imagery but with a knitter's head on. </p> <p>These two artists are interesting enough on their own but their collaborations at Crush Curatorial  fills this small gallery with a high key, mad, sexiness -- conjoined bodies wearing more heads than the Hydra.</p> <p>American women appear to be able to carry fond characters from childhood into adulthood. Cats, stuffed animals and cartoon critters are meant to be seen ironically, of course. But they are not gutted of affectionate feelings in the process. American men don't seem able to do this; at puberty their loved cuddly objects remade as kitsch, suffer from sarcastic indifference . Compare Hello Kitty t-shirts on young women and say, the recent use of sloths in memes and on t-shirts. Funny for the oddness more than for the furriness.</p> <p>In Coates and Chandler's collaborative drawings they push each other to higher and weirder climes in these think-ettes of comics, indie-porn, psychedelic disco covers, '90s rave flyers, and God knows what-all. It's not of a secret act in a secret place spied on by the artists. It's out in the open in an imaginary world (part video game, part children's book, part hallucination) that are on ostentatious display. Vaginas are splayed, creatures dance by in bobbing brightly coloured strap ons. Areseholes are up on view.</p> <p>The penises are sometimes crayons, sock puppets or rockets. Hilarious dildos, perhaps (dildos can be humorous) Everything is on display.<em> (See image top.)</em></p> <p>This drawing reminds me of the Sheelagh Na Gig, the Celtic pussy-opening goddess of fertility seen on Medieval churches.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1600" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/cc_chandlercoats_texasholdem.jpg?itok=0bfAX-u-" title="cc_chandlercoats_texasholdem.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>"Texas Hold Em," Chandler and Coates, mixed media on bristol, 12 x 9 in., 2018</figcaption></figure><p>The artists reject gender binary constructs. Pro forma sexual acts. The immediately non-sexual drawings are filled with eyes.</p> <p>Look at what your body sees, stop thinking about what you think you want.</p> <blockquote> <p>"If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps this construct called 'sex' is as culturally constructed as gender." Judith Butler</p> </blockquote> <p>This drawing is an extrapolation on a childhood favorite <em>Frog and Toad</em> book series. But here one of them has become a set of brown skinned testicles.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/frog-toad.jpeg?itok=9TORP6SS" width="1200" height="1053" alt="Thumbnail" title="frog-toad.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>So why is there no penetration, no actual acts of intimacy here? They read more as sigils of sexual energy. The body leading the way.</p> <p>Jennifer and Caroline's paintings and drawings are displays of sex but not of fucking. They are not about what is desirable as much as they are about what is possible.</p> <p>They flip the familiar maxim so that it reads: "Free your body and your mind will follow." - <em>Millree Hughes</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3723&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="PR_S68AfxzO018pn2AtrtqvLnJKFBo4oD0lzIKxfYrg"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Millree Hughes 3723 at http://culturecatch.com Unhalfbricking http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3722 <span>Unhalfbricking</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/index.php/users/millree-hughes" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Millree Hughes</a></span> <span>June 19, 2018 - 22:19</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3722" data-a2a-title="Unhalfbricking"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/overall_shot_outside.jpg?itok=zFMZ6YHz" width="1200" height="663" alt="Thumbnail" title="overall_shot_outside.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Clive Murphy: <em>Random Composition Generator </em> </p> <p><a href="https://www.elijahwheatshowroom.com/" target="_blank">Elijah Wheat Showroom</a>, Bushwick, NY  </p> <p>May 19 -June 24, 2018</p> <p>Clive Murphy is a modernist, or at least he knows what one is and will give it a go even if he's not sure if it's worth it.</p> <p>He has a suite of small-scale sculptures and a larger collaborative piece at Elijah Wheat Showroom in Bushwick that lead me to think that I know how he feels about the modern world's intrusion on rural life. Like me he grew up in the middle of nowhere. He in Ireland and me in Wales. At least a "somewhere" whose lack of political heft created a particular ambiguous attitude to change. The "New" was threatening.</p> <p>There was this sense of the landscape being viewed as material to be exchanged and used without being sustained. As the memory of the War receded, progress and avarice traveled together across the countryside.</p> <p>Post -war Britain was still pushing its modernist agenda in the '60s and '70s. In '68 the English government flooded the village of Capel Celyn to create a reservoir -- Llyn Celyn -- in order to supply Liverpool and Wirral in England with water for industry. The event helped create militant wings of the Plaid Cymru nationalist party. English holiday homes were burned and low level dissension simmered until the creation of a Welsh Assembly in 2006. The relationship between the needs of the government and of the people became progressively more devastating for the Irish.</p> <p>I equate this image:</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1200" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/untittled-9_0.jpeg?itok=3o3Mfx_d" title="untittled-9.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>untitled #9</figcaption></figure><p>"Untitled (#9)" with the conflicting needs of the "at that time" new technology and those of "the auld sod."</p> <p>TV, of course, had a role in this. Forming the gobbledygook into mouth-sized dumplings. Britain had the most comprehensive world news access as a result of its overseas diplomatic and spy service. And the sense of the new technology bringing the news from around the world was most finely felt by those in the corners of the country</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1408" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/untitled_4.jpeg?itok=VFysn3ug" title="untitled_4.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>untitled #4</figcaption></figure><p>Untitled (#4)</p> <p>This sculpture, made from matchsticks, could've featured in a '70s magazine show like <em>That’s Life</em>. Showing quaint "hands on" skill in praise of the march of information. Modern artists didn't understand how their ideas would be used by those in power. Courbusier's working class flats would become the template for dirty, dangerous housing estates presided over by a massive, very unfemale Henry Moore bronze.</p> <p>Murphy adopts the persona of the naive potting shed hobbyist attempting to take on the tropes of contemporary art with matchsticks and ceiling wax.</p> <p>He has made a group of beautifully made, often hilarious sculptures that bring to mind all kinds of other art works but in the lowliest of materials. They are self consciously "small ticket" items that critique the filmic grandiosity of International Blue Chip Art by looking local and handmade. </p> <p>The centerpiece of the show is a piece that lampoons the Surrealist "Painting Machine" concept. But <em>Random Composition Generator</em> instead of revealing the subconscious through random image making argues that there is nothing of value to be said by the unconscious. It relies on the beauty of process for content. You can randomly generate an image right there in the gallery and come away with a polaroid of your "painting."</p> <p>I wont spoil it by describing it to you.</p> <p>Go there and make one!</p> <p>And anyway, small galleries like Elijah Wheat Showroom run by Carolina Wheat-Nielsen &amp; Liz Nielsen and that stage socially aware art projects should get your support.  - <em>Millree Hughes</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3722&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="qFknGImEWHIPkgAP97djFsWsVvNTPWjj5skJovooy0I"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 20 Jun 2018 02:19:02 +0000 Millree Hughes 3722 at http://culturecatch.com Beyond The Surreal http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3716 <span>Beyond The Surreal</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/maryhrbacek" lang="" about="/index.php/users/maryhrbacek" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mary Hrbacek</a></span> <span>June 17, 2018 - 10:00</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3716" data-a2a-title="Beyond The Surreal"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/420" hreflang="en">Giacometti</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/421" hreflang="en">Guggenheim Museum</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/giacometti_dog.png?itok=5ti6dBw2" width="1200" height="802" alt="Thumbnail" title="giacometti_dog.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Giacometti</p> <p><a href="https://www.guggenheim.org" target="_blank">Guggenheim Museum</a>, NYC</p> <p>June 8 - September 12, 2018</p> <p>The meticulously curated Giacometti exhibition on view at the Guggenheim Museum spans the artist's early years during his involvement with the Surrealist group (1920s) through his later period when he became associated with the French Existentialist movement in the 1940s.  The exhibition is organized by Megan Fontanella, Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Catherine Grenier, Director, Fondation Giacometti, Mathilde Lecuyer-Maillé, Associate Curator, Fondation Giacometti, and Samantha Small, Curatorial Assistant, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.</p> <p>Alberto Giacometti is thought in many quarters to be the epitome of what has come to be considered a "fine artist."  His practice is highly focused and selective, extremely decisive yet open to the messages his subjects transmitted to him.  One might infer, based on the intensity and angst of his art, that Giacometti was a loner, someone who was prey to anxiety and strain; yet in fact it seems the he was socially connected with friends he saw regularly, he was a married man, and he was an artist who worked diligently in his studio, often into the depths of the night, habitually from a model.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/giacometti_walkingman.png?itok=7QsaGj6y" width="1200" height="1948" alt="Thumbnail" title="giacometti_walkingman.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>That Giacometti's art is unique and insightful is well established; he gained inspiration from the art of Oceania, Egyptian art, Cycladic art and the art of Africa.  It is possible that he was inspired by the physical stature of the Watutsi tribe of Africa that bears a strong resemblance to the artist's fragile, slender "walking" and "standing" man images.  His bond with Egyptian art brings a special emphasis and spirit of the divine to his artwork.  His "Standing Man" bronzes, attenuated into apparently tormented refashioned forms, appear free of all but vital, enduring elongated spirit.  An inventive diversity of scale plays an important part in his art; some of the heads are very small, bordering on the minute, while other standing figures, legs fused into one form, present themselves as much more statuesque than their actual height implies.  The power of the pale plaster pieces is relatively diluted compared with the impact of the regal black bronze works.  The artist was drawn to the teeming energy generated in city squares; his figures walking through plazas seem optimistic and purposeful as they pass close by one another, free of distracting concerns of the moment.  Giacometti's compelling series of maimed broken busts, with forms cut at the shoulders, all have heads that resemble regenerated tribesmen who have endured the ordeal of a rite of passage.  With some exceptions, Giacometti's art encapsulates the post-war era of fear, in which the planet was threatened by the prospect of a nuclear holocaust.</p> <p>The revealing documentary film on view, by Ernst Scheidegger, features Giacometti in his studio as he works from a model before public scrutiny; his art revolves ostensibly around the theme of visual perception.  In his practice he tries adamantly to reproduce the entire subject faithfully, but the more scrutinizing he becomes, the more impossible it is for him to capture the figure in its entirety, true to its visual scale.  The torso may become massive in relation to a head, which has become increasingly flat in front but wide to the side.  He works obsessively with the goal of total truth in the rendering of his models. Through his probing, deliberate and searing search for perceptual authenticity, he finds a working method that enables him to achieve a result that replicates the process of the strengthening of the spirit that is at the core of earthly existence.</p> <p>Giacometti's genuine subjects are bodily pain and endurance.  The artist requires absolute stillness from his sitters, sometimes for five hours at a stretch, in a working mode whose fierceness seems to become an integral part of the final artwork, as he searches for something beyond physical matter.  The film discloses that he feels the eyes to be the only aspect of the model that truly speaks of reality and are as such the dominating part of the subject's personality.  The artist seeks something well beyond a resemblance; he is after universality common to all humankind.  This universality comprises the need in life to endure pain and suffering, but to bear it as part of the higher plan.  Some believe that our human spirits are honed by hardship in readiness to meet our maker in life’s non-physical phase of existence.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/gen-press_giacometti_caroline.png?itok=Vnr2GQG7" width="1200" height="1696" alt="Thumbnail" title="gen-press_giacometti_caroline.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Giacometti puts his materials, his clay, through tremendous paces (as seen in the film) by reworking and remodeling the shapes and contours, cutting repeatedly into the grooves and curves to make the energetic marks reach deep into the soft clay to bring the forms to their essence.  He impersonates God in his studio, capturing in the expressions of his models' faces the aches and physical tension of endurance that sharpen and strengthen the spirit.  Often the discomfort that the models' features exude supersedes the appearance of their physical traits, so that all his models have a similar attitude and energetic dispersion of their pain and perseverance.</p> <p>Giacometti reproduces the sculptural stance of the Egyptian god kings by melding his statues' legs and feet into one form, infusing an aura of the divine in his standing figures.  He prepares his material, reworking his sculptures, as one can perhaps imagine the priests within the innermost chamber of the pyramids prepared the pharaoh’s body for its ultimate transcendence to the afterlife.   </p> <p>The artist's connection with the Existentialists (he was a friend of Jean Paul Sartre) brought a heightened awareness that humans exist on the edge of belief, shifting from being into a lack of being, or a void of nothingness.  He sought in his work to counter this void by extracting from his model the essential battered, shattered individual spirit, refashioning it in clay to its tormented but new form.</p> <p>The exhibition is admirably curated, providing spare informative wall texts that do not convey overly esoteric content.  It is focused, clear and comprehensible to the informed public at large, placing this art in a transparent context.  The show brings to light the surprising information that this ambitious yet humble man believed he was never able to accurately achieve his intensions in his work.  To consider "deconstructing" an artist of such a specific and personal focus would be not only inflated, it would be an act of undue hubris.  This exhibition demonstrates the authentic expressions of a totally honest, profoundly driven 20<sup>th</sup> century icon of anxiety and truth. - <em>Mary Hrbacek</em></p> <p><em>Ms. Hrbacek is a member of AICA-USA (International Association of Art Critics) and has been writing reviews of NY art exhibitions since 1999. She has covered shows in almost every museum in town.</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3716&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="LDfg6EX9lQ1_4KZ4RXnk9RhnYAPgjodUJfVoLDqos84"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 17 Jun 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Mary Hrbacek 3716 at http://culturecatch.com Industry City Meets M. C. Escher http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3713 <span>Industry City Meets M. C. Escher</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/349" lang="" about="/index.php/user/349" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dom Lombardi</a></span> <span>June 13, 2018 - 11:04</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3713" data-a2a-title="Industry City Meets M. C. Escher"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/354" hreflang="en">M.C. Escher</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/359" hreflang="en">artist</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1203" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/relativity.jpg?itok=sTR1EGWK" title="relativity.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>M. C. Escher, Relativity, Lithograph, Private Collection, Usa, All M. C. Escher Works @ 2018 The M. C. Escher Company.</figcaption></figure><p>M. C. Escher (1898-1972) has been a favorite of mine since the 1960s when that decade's psychedelic, counter-culture mindset saw common ground in his transformative work. Escher’s art made it possible for all of us to see the impossible, to experience dimensions of space and time that were previously unimaginable. He combined math, architecture and science with a unique aesthetic in viewing the world around him, as it all coalesced in his brilliant mind resulting in the creation of a good number of incredibly iconic images.</p> <p>I was lucky enough to have visited galleries in SoHo as a young man in the early to mid 1970s when the Vorpal Gallery on West Broadway held a handful of Escher exhibitions. Just beginning my journey as a fine artist, I was fortunate to have seen his brilliance at a time when I had such a great need for seeing anything and everything profoundly intriguing, wildly enlightening and fully thought provoking and Escher's art fit those categories perfectly.</p> <p>So here I am, almost 45 years later in an adjacent borough in Industry City Brooklyn, where I find myself at the press preview of <i><a href="http://www.arthemisia.it/en/escher-nyc-2/" target="_blank">Escher: The Exhibition &amp; Experience</a> </i>thanks to my correspondence with fellow art industry professional, Loredana Amenta. The exhibition, which winds through a number of adjoining rooms is beautifully installed and perfectly lit to maximize the experience of seeing such a vast array of the master's work. Curators Mark Veldhuysen and Federico Giudiceandrea, working with Italy's premiere elite exhibition producer Arthemisia and Architect Corrado Anselmi the exhibition comes alive with interactive and participatory highlights that get visitors right into the middle of the mindset.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1771" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/hand_with_reflecting_sphere.jpg?itok=T-hsS6zd" title="hand_with_reflecting_sphere.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>M. C. Escher, Hand with Reflecting Sphere, Lithograph, Private Collection, USA, All M. C. Escher Works @ 2018</figcaption></figure><p>Most successful is the clear and intuitive timeline used that includes Escher's most famous mind-bending works such as <i>Drawing Hands</i> (1948); <i>Metamorphosis II</i> (1939-40), a woodcut that took 20 blocks to produce this miraculous mix of patterns and transitions across a span of over 12 ½ feet; the hauntingly precise <i>Eye</i> (1946); <i>Relativity</i> (1953), along with similar works represented here that have influenced many artists since, including the makers of the feature film <i>Inception</i> (2010); the mesmerizingly beautiful <i>Three Worlds</i> (1955); and perhaps his best known work <i>Hand with Reflecting Sphere</i> (1935), which is accompanied by an interactive installation where visitors can see themselves in the same composition.</p> <p>But don't get me wrong, this noble effort and installation is not just Escher's greatest hits. This exhibition is a fully realized; an all-inclusive retrospective featuring everything from his early stunners such as <i>The Second Day of Creation (The Division of the Waters)</i> (1925), where you can feel the cold conundrum of a violent sea being ravaged by rain; to <i>Print Gallery</i> (1956), where Escher himself could not solve the center of this twisting composition. There are preliminary sketches where he is working out his composition and the woodblocks themselves, where you can see just how, why and where he made his incredibly precise cuts. I could go on and on, but my best advice is not to miss this most important exhibition. We all need some time to get away from the day-to-day politics and general upheaval on all sides and get our sense of wonder back and this is the place. - <em>D. Dominick Lombardi</em></p> <p><i>Escher: The Exhibition &amp; Experience</i> is located at <a href="https://industrycity.com/" target="_blank">Industry City</a>, 34 34<font size="2">th</font> Street, Building 6, Brooklyn, NY.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3713&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="qyNizuQBMlchExfNvm26U1Gq7Fv9PsgypCi_VVRqMug"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 13 Jun 2018 15:04:58 +0000 Dom Lombardi 3713 at http://culturecatch.com Little Q + A: Carroll Dunham: Millree Hughes x Dennis Kardon x Bradley Rubenstein http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3710 <span>Little Q + A: Carroll Dunham: Millree Hughes x Dennis Kardon x Bradley Rubenstein</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>June 12, 2018 - 10:00</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3710" data-a2a-title="Little Q + A: Carroll Dunham: Millree Hughes x Dennis Kardon x Bradley Rubenstein"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/307" hreflang="en">Carroll Dunham</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/308" hreflang="en">Gladstone Gallery</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/267" hreflang="en">NYC</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/309" hreflang="en">Bradley Rubenstein</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/310" hreflang="en">Millree Hughes</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/46" hreflang="en">dusty wright</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/224" hreflang="en">Culture Catch</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/cd_bgg2018_install_12_e_0.jpg?itok=Hp7JjOfF" width="1200" height="838" alt="Thumbnail" title="cd_bgg2018_install_12_e.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Carroll Dunham, <a href="https://gladstonegallery.com/" target="_blank" title="Gladstone Gallery, NYC">Gladstone Gallery</a>, NYC | April 20-June 16, 2018</p> <blockquote> <p>"<i>Sailors fighting in the dance hall<br /> Oh man, look at those cavemen go<br /> It's the freakiest show." </i>David Bowie</p> </blockquote> <p><b>Millree Hughes:</b> What is it? How do I know it's good? In the old days the paper would tell you, the TV would tell you. If it was cultural there was one station that specifically dealt with that Now, unfortunately, it is hard to tell. There are too many voices vying for your attention. Which one is trustworthy? If you are an artist or a musician, an actor, or a writer, you can use your judgement. But if you're not, how can you tell, for example, if a painting is worth looking at?</p> <p>Carroll Dunham has never been willing to talk about what his pistol-penis packing Puritans or his funky female figures are actually about. He has only ever talked about his work formally and how it relates to Art history. How his female figures relate to Cezanne's bathers for example. But I found myself at his last show asking: "Can we talk about the assholes?".</p> <p>This time is no different. Painted in 2017 they are not necessarily about the American election. Despite that many of the paintings are of two cavemen with bushy manes and floppy dicks battling it out in the woods. I see the wrestling figures from Poussin's <i>Rape of the Sabine Women</i> of 1612 and something of the simplicity and figural dynamism of Picasso's <i>Figures on the Beach</i> of 1931. Dunham creates a great, in the middle, in your grill, physicality. He has stripped the figure back to grubby white canvas contained by a thick black line.  There's a tree green and a sky blue.  But after that there’s not much left on your plate to eat, other than the meat and two veg.</p> <p><b>Bradley Rubenstein:</b> That flora and fauna are crucial here. He has painted those with a different hand, they seem more layered on a la David Salle's work than actually part of the scene. And that dog is such weird combination of kitsch cuteness, and a schoolboy reference to dog’s licking their balls. It is that combination we saw with his last show at Gladstone, a Lady Godiva on a horse. There was a series of working drawings that rendered the scene over and over, until gradually you had a childlike drawing, a sort of set of notes on regression therapy, or the kind of children’s drawings of nude family members where the parent is like, "Do I need to worry about this?"</p> <p>But there is humor here that is both course and refined at the same time. There is a dyptich, or two variations on a theme, of a rear view shot of testicles and anus. In one the anus is on top, in the second, it is balls up. One the one hand it is an almost Picasso-like abstraction, integrating the body into the landscape, like in his late paintings. On the other hand it reminds me of an old Joan Rivers joke:</p> <blockquote> <p>"So I am in bed last night and my husband says, 'Joan, your box is too tight and your ass is too loose.' And I say, 'Edgar get off my back.'"</p> </blockquote> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/cd1456_framed_0.jpg?itok=cicOYLRM" width="1200" height="1329" alt="Thumbnail" title="cd1456_framed.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><b>MH:</b> American artists frequently tell you that what you are looking at it is not what they meant you to see. Chuck Close claims that his work is about the formal language of painting. He's just been practicing on what is closest to him. They just happened to be the famous artists of the day. Vanessa Beecroft exhibited a room full of beautiful naked women in Prada heels but only ever talked about them as if they were objects. Jeff Koons is particularly good at pinning some glorious "advert bullshit" to his masthead. It's about desire! It's about beauty! Anything other than what you are actually looking at.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> There is something about Dunham's nudes that kind of seem timely now. There are younger artists who deal with the same ideas but in some cases their simple act of painting the nude is political. Noomi Roomi, a Moscow artist said: </p> <blockquote> <p>"If we will look back at ancient Greece for example, where homosexuality was common, we'll notice how inspirational was male's body for artists of that time. They depicted both female's and male's beauty because they didn't have any non-hetero taboos, they were opened to both genders.  I guess, the problem of not drawing bodies in sexual context can be seen as that we still have this fear, we still perceive male's nudity as something 'gay.'  Also, women do reflect on themselves -- maybe that's why they paint female's bodies more often, although I don't understand why modern female artists don't explore the male as much. But, it should be noted that my art was never exhibited in galleries or on festivals in Russia because no one dared exhibit them. I only got positive responses from Russian audiences, but never got any permission to show my works publicly. Also, I was rejected when I wanted to print my books in Moscow, because my art was seen as dangerous, prohibited… people are clearly afraid."</p> </blockquote> <p><b>Dennis Kardon:</b> Dunham's new paintings are sexual, but not homosexual. They are very much about a white straight guy trying to come to terms with his attitude towards male bodies, starting with his own, as expressed by the fact that the two figures are almost the same, so I assume they are aspects of himself in turmoil, or at least wrestling with the idea of his maleness. In the last two shows, one of which I reviewed for <em>Art in America</em>, the female body was seen as an <i>other</i>, or as a muse, and always depicted alone, so I guess accessible to artist/viewer. The paintings of trees on the other hand seemed a stand in for the male body. And they still have a formal metonymy with cocks and balls.</p> <p>The history of body depictions in Western painting is usually that women's bodies are objects of desire and men's bodies are objects of torture or competition, with the exception of Caravaggio or David. Manet's <em>Jesus Mocked by the Soldiers</em> is a great example of the different male attitudes of masculinity. In Dunham the wrestlers do not touch each other erotically, though there is a certain tenderness expressed that is just short of a caress. Penises are never erect or semi-erect.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-06/cd_bgg2018_install_12_e_0.jpg?itok=Hp7JjOfF" width="1200" height="838" alt="Thumbnail" title="cd_bgg2018_install_12_e.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>The abundance of assholes, feels to be about fear of penetration, and dominance. I keep waiting for one of the wrestlers to stick a club in one. When a lone male is lying down, the painting is titled <i>Left for Dead</i>, which is telling, as if abandonment is the issue, and the competition is not innocent. I did find it interesting that he eroticized men's nipples, making them erect and pink, and pretty much the way he paints women's nipples.</p> <p><b>MH:</b> Why are American artists so evasive about content? Why do they put something right in your face and then pretend that they don't see. The separation between content and intent that is endemic to really successful American art begins when it leaves the studio. The galleries attempt to legitimize the art. If the painting is worth a lot of money It must be on a continuum with everything else that rich people buy. It needs to be placed in history. Something is good because its like something else that has already proved itself.</p> <p><b>DK:</b> I disagree with your idea about content as a visual narrative that a painter should verbally address. Content occurs in the ambiguity that a painter establishes, and is something that viewers could address verbally, but it is not the business of a painter to spoil for viewers. So instead painters address their physical actions in the creating of the painting, or even the feelings that that might arise, which is why the formal structure is safe to talk about. I think artists today talk way too much about content or subject matter in their work which should be left to a viewer to try to come to terms with.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> The last thing I want to bring up is that Dunham is dealing with depictions of sex, and in an odd way with the sexuality of painting. I like what Mira Schor wrote:</p> <blockquote> <p>"I would lay claim both to being polymorphously perverse, because after all why shouldn’t painting benefit from the input of more than one sense, and also to having the very same body part, connecting my optic nerve and my hand to my sexuality, especially if sexuality is defined as not just the province of genital intercourse but as a profound life/death drive. It is in fact precisely this intersection of visuality, sexuality, and manual impulse that makes me a painter. And I would add something left out of this particular biological theory, that is, the connection of optic nerve, sexuality, and hand to intellect."</p> </blockquote> <p>I think there is something of late Picasso in Dunham's work. That acting out or recreating sexual encounters on canvas.</p> <p><b>DK:</b> The day Dunham really ups the ante will be the day when one of those guys is black, and I will be interested in how he will depict <i>his</i> dick. All the people in Dunham's recent paintings are as white as can be; the white of the primed canvas.</p> <p><b>MH:</b> So stop focusing on the cocks, the pussies and the assholes they are in Dunham's work to get the punters in the door. Once they are there they should be looking at how the paintings are made and what other artists they refer to… right?</p> <p><b>BR:</b> Yeah, "boys keep swinging, boys always work it out!"</p> <p><em>Mr. Rubenstein is NYC-based painter, story teller, and smart culture aficionado.</em></p> <p><em>Mr. Hughes was born in North Wales in 1960, son of an Anglican priest. He began making art on the computer in 1998 in NYC.</em></p> <p><em>Mr. Kardon has been valiantly applying CPR to painting, which once had as its heart the means to express of specific feeling, for several decades. Mr. Kardon has recently found it a good idea to put into print some of his more pointed ideas about his practice.</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3710&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="LEf4gu7dzfWJ8YP9yfsBzmnuF_BjQVtPORzgJyKcdvE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 12 Jun 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Dusty Wright 3710 at http://culturecatch.com Wrecks & Effects  http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3703 <span>Wrecks &amp; Effects </span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/index.php/users/millree-hughes" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Millree Hughes</a></span> <span>June 6, 2018 - 10:00</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3703" data-a2a-title="Wrecks &amp; Effects "><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/63" hreflang="en">Jim St Clair</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/64" hreflang="en">Hudson Valley artists</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-05/derelicts_st_clair.jpg?itok=BOvJ3ZYY" width="1200" height="918" alt="Thumbnail" title="derelicts_st_clair.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p> Jim St Clair: <em>Wrecks &amp; Effects</em><br /><a href="http://www.waterfrontmuseum.org" target="_blank">Waterfront Museum</a>, Brooklyn</p> <p>How can representative landscape painting be new? Jim St Clair has chosen the seascape as his subject for the whole of his painting career and one palette made from about ten significant colors.</p> <p>The waterways and backwaters of New York and its environs rendered in late afternoon colors; laid on in a thick, sticky, stodgy oil paint that evokes the slurry milling beneath the surface of the Hudson River.</p> <h4>It means that a St Clair is as recognizable as a Guston.</h4> <p>Imagine a kids cardboard kaleidoscope that when you looked into it instead of representing the world in an ever changeable Um... kaleidoscope of colors and forms did the complete opposite. Turned the world into an imperceptibly moving water and building scape of sky dinge, rust orange and water vapor veiled sap green. </p> <p>Kids regularly look through cardboard tubes to view one thing in particular. But for this show you don't need one. The sense of being out there on the water is realized by the show being staged on a barge moored in the Upper New York Bay. The Waterfront Museum is next to the Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn. </p> <p>Unfortunately, the last time you can see this show is on Saturday, May 26 from 10 am until 6 pm.</p> <p>But there will be some of Jim's paintings in the space for a while.</p> <p>Jim has a boat, he goes out for a few hours at the end of every day. All the paintings have been made there on wooden panels for over thirty years. They are painted, propped on the side and sometimes wash about in the gunnels. </p> <p>Many of the works in this show are of a stretch of water in the Bronx which is a ships graveyard. The wrecks that bob on the surface mask wrecks underneath them. Different time periods rise to the surface at different stages of decay. This moment where breakage operates as a stage for abstraction is ideal St Clair territory. The relationship between damage and abstraction had been made by artists through the use of the figure. But water traffic as a metaphor is new territory.</p> <p>One particularly long painting does all the things that his work does. A dilapidated pier fills the canvas. A hive of unsteady crosses represents the broken struts of the pier. Spasmic twisted lines break up the space, leaning hopelessly. In the hands of a more literal painter the references to gestural abstraction and to the decorative signs that abstraction has co opted would be front and centre. But in Jim's paintings they are subplot. The main event is color as subject matter and how the materiality of the paint acts out the subject.</p> <p>This only happens in the "language" (perhaps not the right word) of paint. It is not a literal transference of information. It is painting and it communicates itself in its own terms. It’s no semiotic trick.</p> <blockquote> <p><em>"Can what I painted on this canvas be put into words? Just as the silent word can be suggested by a musical sound."</em> Clarice Lispector, 1972</p> </blockquote> <p>This is what makes it new. The idea that all of the parts of the painting can reflect the subject is postmodern. It separates Jim from the representative painters who want to paint only what they see. The context, the paint, the way the paint is put on and the kinds of vistas that he represents are all aligned. He’s not attempting to paint beautiful views. He wants to  evoke time past. An America gone by, but not out of nostalgia but so as to use decay as a material that allows him to play figuration abstraction and mood in concert. - <em>Millree Hughes</em></p> <p><em>Mr. Hughes was born in North Wales in 1960, son of an Anglican priest. He began making art on the computer in 1998 in NYC.</em></p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3703&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="66D_qlWd3v-8_izvuW0OfZtoScEdX5UBPLG06sjxaJk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 06 Jun 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Millree Hughes 3703 at http://culturecatch.com Portraits of Women http://culturecatch.com/index.php/art/persona-process-portraiture <span>Portraits of Women</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/349" lang="" about="/index.php/user/349" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dom Lombardi</a></span> <span>April 24, 2018 - 10:59</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/index.php/art/persona-process-portraiture" data-a2a-title="Portraits of Women"><a class="a2a_button_whatsapp"></a><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_email"></a></span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/100" hreflang="en">Persona: Process Portraiture</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-05/persona-1.jpg?itok=CtPfCwFT" width="1200" height="900" alt="Thumbnail" title="persona-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><em>Persona: Process Portraiture</em></div> <div><a href="http://www.bklynartcluster.com/the-cluster-gallery/" target="_blank">The Cluster Gallery</a>, Brooklyn</div> <div>Through April 28th</div> <div> </div> <p>Curated by T. Michael Martin, <em>Persona: Process Portraiture</em> features four distinctly different artists who embrace, reflect upon and reject the preconceptions of identity. A smartly installed exhibition, it includes numerous works in a variety of grids and patterns without ever looking too crowded or overwhelming. I was even reminded, when I first arrived at street level to ascend the two flights of painted gray and well worn stairs, of the heyday of '70s SoHo art scene when it was common to visit 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floor galleries by climbing creaky, uneven battleship grey stairs.</p> <!--break--> <p>Getting back to the art, Marcia Goldstein offers a number of small, stitched black, white and gray portraits of well-known female artists. Goldstein chooses her method and media to make commentary on those old adages about woman's work, however I never felt that these works were as politically and socially oriented as she intended until I read the press release. I saw them more as an intimate and laborious tribute to the lives and times of the important artists depicted. Perhaps this has something to do with my knowledge of the work of Ray Materson, and how he survived a 15-year stint in prison by taking apart his colorful socks stitch by stitch in order to create intimately stitched portraits and scenes based on his life and interests prior to his incarceration when he lived beyond the prison walls.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-05/persona-5.jpg?itok=GKEH6AB5" width="720" height="1010" alt="Thumbnail" title="persona-5.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Judith Page is an artist whose work I know quite well. Her <em>Portraits in Plasma</em> series, which are photographs of prominent personalities obscured beyond recognition with shiny, muddy pink and acid green paint, are always stunning no matter how often I see them. By leaving only the eyes, mouth and an occasional nostril untouched, Page intensifies the space between what we wish others will see in us, and the real truth about us as flawed individuals. On the other hand, her "painted" portraits look like some sort of future race from an odd science-fiction movie that was working with a great script and a low budget yet managed to create something quite memorable and profound.</p> <p>Leah Schrager's art begins with her own image, which is either a selfie or one taken by a studio assistant, which is later partially painted or decorated. All of the original imagery here is at least in part about body beautiful and sexuality, while the second stage of painting or covering over of certain areas gives the work an obsessive quality -- as if they were created by an admirer who is a little unstable or perhaps even dangerous. The artist intends to address censorship, which does come through, while her psychological investigations into self-portraiture are as much about her as they are the on-looker.</p> <p>Gail Skudera follows suit by also beginning with a photograph, only in her case we are looking at vintage, sepia-toned found and family photographs. Skudera changes the pre-existing by cutting up, weaving, stitching and decorating them with a variety of media including hand-painted patterns or pre-existing wallpaper borders in some instances, to both focus and complicate the narrative. Overall, there is a subtle reshuffling of the visual data here that is not unlike what we have come to know in the digital world, sans the time and texture. - <i>D. Dominick Lombardi</i></p> </div> <section> </section> Tue, 24 Apr 2018 14:59:54 +0000 Dom Lombardi 3695 at http://culturecatch.com