Art Review http://culturecatch.com/art en Free Festival http://culturecatch.com/node/3723 <span>Free Festival</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/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/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="/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="/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/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/node/3722 <span>Unhalfbricking</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/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/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="/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="/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/node/3716 <span>Beyond The Surreal</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/maryhrbacek" lang="" about="/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/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="/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="/taxonomy/term/420" hreflang="en">Giacometti</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/421" hreflang="en">Guggenheim Museum</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/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/node/3713 <span>Industry City Meets M. C. Escher</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/349" lang="" about="/user/349" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ddlombardi</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/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="/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="/taxonomy/term/354" hreflang="en">M.C. Escher</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/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 ddlombardi 3713 at http://culturecatch.com Little Q + A: Carroll Dunham: Millree Hughes x Dennis Kardon x Bradley Rubenstein http://culturecatch.com/node/3710 <span>Little Q + A: Carroll Dunham: Millree Hughes x Dennis Kardon x Bradley Rubenstein</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/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/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="/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="/taxonomy/term/307" hreflang="en">Carroll Dunham</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/308" hreflang="en">Gladstone Gallery</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/267" hreflang="en">NYC</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/281" hreflang="en">art</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/309" hreflang="en">Bradley Rubenstein</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/310" hreflang="en">Millree Hughes</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/46" hreflang="en">dusty wright</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/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/node/3703 <span>Wrecks &amp; Effects </span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/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/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="/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="/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/63" hreflang="en">Jim St Clair</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/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/art/persona-process-portraiture <span>Portraits of Women</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/349" lang="" about="/user/349" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">ddlombardi</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/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="/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="/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 1970s 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> <p><img alt="dom" src="/sites/default/files/images/dom.jpg" style="float:right" /></p> <p><i><a href="http://www.ddlombardi.com/">Mr. Lombardi</a> is an artist with representation at the Kim Foster Gallery in New York, a writer with </i>Sculpture and d'ART<i>, and an independent curator.</i></p> </div> <section> </section> Tue, 24 Apr 2018 14:59:54 +0000 ddlombardi 3695 at http://culturecatch.com Vir Heroicus Sublimis http://culturecatch.com/art/vir-heroicus-sublimis-twombly-kirkeby-devincentis <span>Vir Heroicus Sublimis</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/529" lang="" about="/user/529" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bradley Rubinstein</a></span> <span>April 22, 2018 - 14:08</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/art/vir-heroicus-sublimis-twombly-kirkeby-devincentis" data-a2a-title="Vir Heroicus Sublimis"><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="/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="/taxonomy/term/105" hreflang="en">Per Kirkeby</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/106" hreflang="en">Mary DeVincentis</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/107" hreflang="en">Cy Twombly</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/108" hreflang="en"> Coronation of Sesostris</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/109" hreflang="en">Gagosian</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="1284" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-05/per-kirkeby-untitled.jpg?itok=03sNH-Q9" title="per-kirkeby-untitled.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Per Kirkeby "Untitled" (1989)</figcaption></figure><blockquote> <p><em>"The first man was an artist."</em> Barnett Newman</p> </blockquote> <p>Before there were fertile grounds growing olives and grapes, before the ages of kings and kingdoms, and long before the shifting of countries and armies when war defined the Valley, the caves were the locus of the wandering tribes who would one day be called "human."</p> <p>Star-Watcher, whose bright eyes glistened through patches of matted fur, punctuated by scars and untended infections, watched from the cavern’s oculus as a rag-tag hunting party set out under the rising sun. Moon-Watcher, taller than the others, with his massive brow and a determined set to his eyes and mouth, thought only of the day’s hunt. With the receding of the ice, and the end of the giant lizards, the world had come to look more and more like a giant buffet than a fear-filled world of terror, an alternate world to the safety of the cave. Star-Watcher had once gone along on the hunt. Her spear had brought back the reindeer, rancors, and mynocks that the tribe survived on. The scattered piles of bones attested to her prowess.</p> <p>Star-Watcher allowed her gaze to linger on the diminishing forms of her cave mates scattering and hiding, awaiting the careless gazelle or dozing nocturnal mynock on a low-hanging branch. She turned back to the darkness of the cave and paused. Drawings of running reindeer and stags, a large cat taking down a buck, and dozens of bison, bears, and large cats filled the great entrance to the cave. Star-Watcher paused before a large etched and colored image of a rancor. The beginnings of a memory stirred. It had been a long hunt. The tribe was tired when they came upon the massive rancor, and the hunting party, which had started out as a group of seven when the sun had risen, returned with the beast as a party of two. Moon-Watcher and Star-Watcher had lived to tell the tale over the fire, then Star-Watcher, still holding a delicious hoof, scratched the beast into the wall of her menagerie.</p> <!--break--> <p>Snapping back from her reveries, Star-Watcher searched around the cave. She had secreted handfuls of colorful pigment, which she had dug from the cave, from under trees, or from small rocks she had crushed. She knew the importance, though she did not yet understand it, of keeping track of the hunts. How else would they remember it was Long-Tooth that by himself took the giant mastodon? Or that Moon-Watcher had once brought back three mynocks from the frozen tundra, ending a month-long famine?</p> <p>Star-Watcher turned her attention to a wall of hand-prints. At some point she had realized that the comings and goings of the food-beasts could be more accurately predicted by watching the comings and goings of the Second Sun -- the Second Sun that also brought the blood. For her, each print represented the waxing and waning of the Other Sun and by her calculation portended a good hunt today, or guaranteed a hungry night. She chose a sulfurous powder from a mynock skin pouch and poured it into her hand. Pressing her other hand to the wall she blew on the yellow powder and then removed her hand. The outline stood out brightly on the glistening cave wall. Another hunt, another Other Sun. Star-Watcher did not yet fully grasp the concept of time, or the Suns and Other Suns.</p> <p>But her thoughts had begun to coalesce as her mural grew over the passing years. It was sometimes monotonous work, all this scratching and coloring. She had begun to envision other things, celestial things. As the ices receded, the tribe had found the bones of other creatures, things that no longer walked the Valley. Where did they come from? Where did they go? These questions hung in the back of her mind as she worked. Her handprint firmly fixed and finished, she carefully rewrapped the pouch, dusted off her hands, and stepped back to admire the outline of her hand. It always stopped her, every time, when she had finished her work. Her hand was there on the wall, yet not there. The bison with the running stags were there too, yet they had been eaten long ago. Yes, the beginnings of an idea were forming. But there was always tomorrow, always the bags of stone and color. She was not yet sure what it was that she would paint tomorrow, but that was a long way off, and she would think of something.</p> <blockquote> <p>****</p> </blockquote> <p>It is an exaggeration to say that the urge to paint is a primordial one, yet the evidence is there if we really want to imagine it. Abyssinian Kings realized the power of a carefully placed mural of a beheaded foe to inspire uncertainty in a visiting dignitary. And while the tales of Livy and Thucydides could be both exalting and terrifying, their existence depended on that thin thread of the teller and the tale. Paper, writing, printing, and broadcasting have made the word more tangible, but even in the metric age, political discourse is weak compared to, say, the image of President Obama wearing Heath Ledger’s Joker make-up.</p> <p>Let us digress a bit from the power of the image on the public and look at the power of the image for the artist. What is it about this most archaic form of language that still holds such sway? First there were cameras; they begat the news photo that begat the newsfeed of Instagram, Facebook, et al. Yet the urge to put pigment to the cave wall of canvas remains.</p> <div> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-05/untitled_gaeta.png?itok=lC4uhW1l" width="1200" height="1612" alt="Thumbnail" title="untitled_gaeta.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article> Cy Twombly: <em>Coronation of Sesostris</em></div> <div>Gagosian Gallery, NYC</div> <div>March 8 - April 28, 2018</div> <div> </div> <p>Several recent exhibitions, though unrelated in terms of style, content, and intent, show the tenacious grip that this art form still holds for painters. Cy Twombly, the Homer of Modern Art, whose cycle on Sesostris is a personalized revision of Herodotus’s account of the Egyptian King, exerts a primal pull on the viewer through its arcane pictorial language of scrawls and smears. It is rare to see the work of a septuagenarian, let alone one who is working at the height of his painterly powers (one thinks of Louise Bourgeois or Picasso in this same company). The aging Twombly replicated some of the idea of Herodotus’s epic travel adventure by painting these works in several locations, beginning in Gaeta, Italy, and finishing the series in Lexington, Virginia, his hometown. Sally Mann, the American photographer and a friend of Twombly, documented the artist for many years -- a sort of Boswell to his Dr. Johnson. We are moved by the power of the images in some small part by seeing the frail artist wrestling with his painterly problems on such an epic physical scale. It is a commonly accepted myth, the artist as hero, struggling with the monumental; it is quite another to see the frail human struggling for real to capture the heroic on canvas. The struggle is often overlooked, however, and possibly unmentioned because many seem to have lost the compassion to look at those human frailties that artists overcome in their desire to create.</p> <div>Per Kirkeby: <em>Paintings and Bronzes from the 1980s</em></div> <div>Michael Werner Gallery, NYC</div> <div>February 28 - May 5, 2018</div> <div> </div> <p>Per Kirkeby’s work bears re-evaluation after a fall in 2013 left the artist with severe head trauma and memory loss, which affected his ability to paint. Indeed, one of the most moving passages in cinema is in the opening scenes of <em>Man Falling</em> (2015), a film by Anne Wivel, which documents the artist post-accident. We see him looking blankly at his past work, unable to recall having painted it.</p> <p>Michael Werner presents an exquisitely curated show of the artist’s work from the 1980s, with massive slabs of color, skittering brushwork-filled paintings, and pounded and torqued bronzes cast from clay. One finds the work monumental, elemental even, and gives little thought to who made it, who brought these things into the world. Indeed, given his interest in geology, nature, and biology (talks with the artist largely revolved around trees), it is not carelessness that causes us to take the works as another part of nature; it was the artist’s intent that we take these works as nature. What Wivel’s documentary shows us is the artist learning to reinvent his work, and reinvent himself as a painter. While a gulf of nothingness separates the artist from his past, he continues to work, re-learning a vocabulary of forms and narratives. Wivel gives us an intimate portrait of an artist’s struggles made manifest through determination; the urge to continue to paint dominates, and though the accident’s tragic pause in the artist’s life pressed “pause,” it is painting itself that pushed “play.” Kirkeby’s running talk of painting through the film is a rare view of the mind recovering things that he still knows.</p> <div> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-05/dweller-on-the-threshold-web-medium.jpg?itok=2_PT-Dcu" width="1200" height="1500" alt="Thumbnail" title="dweller-on-the-threshold-web-medium.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article> Mary DeVincentis: <em>Dwellers on the Threshold</em></div> <div>David&amp;Schweitzer Contemporary, NYC </div> <div>April 6 - April 29, 2018</div> <div> </div> <p>There are other fine examples of making art in the face of adversity. The trials of Chuck Close are fairly well documented. Close’s career is an almost Job-like tale of overcoming physical travail. The dyslexia of childhood pushed him toward image making, though because of the medical condition prosopagnosia, commonly known as “face-blindness,” which makes facial recognition difficult, the artist chose to focus exclusively on portraits, in an attempt to “fix” through art what cannot be cured through medical treatment.</p> <p>We can also look at the work of Mary DeVincentis. Her paintings at David&amp;Schweitzer Contemporary create a magical realm in her show <em>Dwellers on the Threshold</em>. DeVincentis has a condition called aphantasia, a psychological phenomenon where the subject cannot visualize imagery without external reference. Commonly referred to as lacking “the mind’s eye,” the subject can verbalize memories and descriptions of people and things but can’t “picture” them. In DeVincentis’s work we see manifest the process of a painter creating an external universe of internal thinking. Of particular note are the pictures "Dweller on the Threshold" (2017) <em>(image above)</em>, a Rorschach-like cave or butterfly flanked by Casper-like ghosts; and "Under the Strawberry Moon" (2016), with a couple kissing, dwarfed by a yellow moon. Her works possess some of the uncanniness of the best of Francesco Clemente’s imaginary self-portraits, worlds where the internal and external are not so separate.</p> <p>What these artists have in common, perhaps, is not so special or unique. Medical conditions aside, when viewing the work we are struck by the power of the work, not the strength it took to create it. This, ultimately, brings us back to the fact that this urge to paint is the primordial urge Barnett Newman believed it to be, as he wrote in the essay "The First Man Was an Artist"  in 1947. In part it reads, “What was the first man, was he a hunter, a toolmaker, a farmer, a worker, a priest, or a politician? Undoubtedly the first man was an artist.”</p> <p>Newman begins the essay: "A science of paleontology that sets forth this proposition can be written if it builds on the postulate that the aesthetic act always precedes the social one. The totemic act of wonder in front of the tiger-ancestor came before the act of murder. It is important to keep in mind that the necessity for dream is stronger than any utilitarian need. In the language of science, the necessity for understanding the unknowable comes before the desire to discover the unknown."</p> <p>Newman was describing a being which, for lack of a better term, was “homo aestheticus,” the next step along the evolutionary line of those bipedal creatures scrabbling over the planet. If these recent shows have anything to tell us 70 years after Newman’s thesis, it is that this form of anthropoid is alive and thriving. - Bradley Rubenstein</p> <p><img alt="dom" src="/sites/default/files/images/bradley-photo.jpg" style="float:right" /></p> <p><em>Mr. Rubenstein is NYC-based painter, story teller, and smart culture aficionado.</em></p> </div> <section> </section> Sun, 22 Apr 2018 18:08:27 +0000 Bradley Rubinstein 3694 at http://culturecatch.com Natural Order of Things http://culturecatch.com/art/natural-impact <span>Natural Order of Things</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/users/millree-hughes" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Millree Hughes</a></span> <span>April 16, 2018 - 18:22</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/art/natural-impact" data-a2a-title="Natural Order of Things"><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="/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="/taxonomy/term/113" hreflang="en">Natural Impact</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/114" hreflang="en">Arsenal Gallery</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/62" hreflang="en">art review</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/115" hreflang="en">gallery show</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <div> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2018/2018-05/natural-impact.jpg?itok=E8ac9sbT" width="1200" height="1103" alt="Thumbnail" title="natural-impact.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><em>Natural Impact</em></div> <div>Curated by D. Dominick Lombardi</div> <div>The Arsenal Gallery, NYC</div> <div>Thru April 26th</div> <div> </div> <div>D. Dominick Lombardi has curated a great show at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park off of Fifth Avenue. On view through April 26th featuring the work of Tim Daly, Cecilia Whittaker Doe, Jodie Mim Goodnough, Brant Moorefield, Lina Puerta and Dominick Rapone. A show of work imagining that, although the relationship between humanity and nature is seen as having rivaling needs, here the two forces are depicted growing together in dialectical resolution.</div> <!--break--> <p>I know the painter Tim Daly's work from being a fellow scenic in the film industry. His favourite subject is New Jersey -- a state where the industrial and the organic sometimes contrast in the strangest ways. Some areas are a huge grassland filled with wildlife that is also home to miles of abandoned factory buildings. It's important to see the paintings so that you can experience the way the physicality of pigment on canvas contrasts with Daly's cinematic vision.</p> <p>As contemporary art has dropped its "isms," its singular ideologies for a preferred mixed approach, art making has become more like thinking. Not just about what an art work means but also about the material character of things. Lina Puerta's "Table" (<em>image below</em>) is a salad of objects on a table. Moss and plastic, printed fabric and artificial plants. A fantasy on a theme of furniture and living matter.</p> <p>Brant Moorefield's paintings successfully evoke an image of nature carrying or holding humanity. Or is it the other way round? He paints realistically but the compositions are abstract. They really do, do both.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/natural-impact.jpeg" style="width:560px; height:573px; float:left" /></p> <p>"Forest Therapy Trail" is a photograph by Jodie Mim Goodnough. "Yama no Furusato Mura" is in the region of Okutama in the hills outside of Tokyo. It is a "Woodland Therapy Centre." Another one of those brilliant Japanese ways of communing with the landscape in a slightly curated place that is only an hour and a half from one of the busiest cities on earth. Goodnough's photo reveals how the concept falls slightly short of the reality. Depicting what looks like a shabby minimalist sculpture on a rambly forest path.</p> <p>Peter Wohlleben's mind expanding book "The Hidden Life of Trees" introduces us to the idea of trees thinking. How the roots of a tree act like a brain and join together underground, with other trees to create a living, considering, feeling forest. The art in this show accepts the consciousness of plants so as to imagine humans and the outdoors communing. But Wohlleben proposes that this need not be a metaphor. That we do already think together.</p> <p>Hegel employed the dialectic to study thinking more than to study The Natural World. I wonder what he would have made of a thinking countryside? - <em>Millree Hughes</em></p> <p>The Arsenal Gallery 2 East 64th Street, New York, NY 10065 64th Street and Fifth Avenue inside Central Park. From 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Monday-Friday, closed on Saturdays &amp; Sundays</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> </section> Mon, 16 Apr 2018 22:22:30 +0000 Millree Hughes 3693 at http://culturecatch.com Postsensical http://culturecatch.com/art/unreality-bomb <span>Postsensical</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/users/millree-hughes" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Millree Hughes</a></span> <span>April 4, 2018 - 10:09</span> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_32 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="http://culturecatch.com/art/unreality-bomb" data-a2a-title="Postsensical"><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="/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="/taxonomy/term/128" hreflang="en">Unreality Bomb show</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/129" hreflang="en">FiveMyles Gallery</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/130" hreflang="en">art show</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/115" hreflang="en">gallery show</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/jake-brush.png?itok=_COY8jOQ" width="1200" height="659" alt="Thumbnail" title="jake-brush.png" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><em>Unreality Bomb</em></div> <div><a href="http://www.fivemyles.org" target="_blank">FiveMyles Gallery</a>, Brooklyn</div> <div>Thru April 15th</div> <p>Young Americans in their tweens have adopted a deliberate stupidity as a form of humor. You can see it on TV in shows like Uncle Grandpa. It's a simply executed cartoon where the protagonist talks and acts like an idiot but often with benign results. It’s a Post-sensical psychedelic show on Comedy Central. Fashion-wise girls wear sweatshirts that say -- "I'm sorry I'm late. I didn’t want to come"... Boys wear t-shirts with the wrong band name for the image. Like a Smiths shirt with a picture of Mark E Smith.</p> <!--break--> <p>Dumb is fun. Who can blame them? Currently the world is monitored, mediated and ruled by the stupid. They demand that arms should be available for everyone no matter how angry or ill they are. They watch Reality TV shows about dreadful narcissists. A medium that has successfully spawned one of its own to take the place of a President. A ludicrous figure who threatens us with Nuclear War via Twitter. The dopes are put up to it by the greedy rich who still don’t have enough money and want whatever’s left of the disenfranchised poor's. Considering the power of the truly thick how can you believe that intelligence has any value at all anymore?</p> <p>Painter Alex Sewell has curated a clever, funny show at FiveMyles Gallery in Brooklyn that features: Eric Ashcraft, Jake Brush, Dan Fig, Paul Gagner, Maggie Goldstone, Duy Hoàng and Jessica Tawczynski. It reveals that this humor has also struck Painting. Dumb jokes are the new ‘leather thing’. (Crash, bang, crash, ring)*</p> <p>FiveMyles is a young forward-thinking not-for-profit gallery in Crown Heights run by Hanne Tierney. The gallery prioritizes new art and the needs of its immediate community. It’s part of a group of galleries scattered throughout Brooklyn with more on their minds than Art Fairs and auction results. Sewell is a lucid young painter with Totah Gallery.</p> <p>Paul Gagner’s great painting "Argle, Bargle Brouhaha" <em>(image below)</em> seems to be calling us out, daring us to make fun of it. It’s a "parody" of a Guston, seemingly. His famous lone hand painting a single stroke on a canvas. The arm comes in from a window that opens onto a night sky. All around the easel that holds the canvas are the instruments of the studio: a level, a saw, a clamp light, and so on. All that for this one stroke? And the artist himself peering in at another window. Tears dripping from the corner of his eye, his face rendered more in the style of "The Fulbright Triptych of 1975" by Simon Dinnerstein. Like his other painting which depicts a full sized equestrian statue from some abandoned town square in his "Storage Space" (the title of the work). A place, like his studio, that he can’t afford to visit very often.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/paul_gagner_argle.jpeg" style="width:560px; height:642px; float:left" /><em>Paul Gagner's "Argle Bargle, Brouhaha"</em></p> <p>What every body liked about Guston was the primal quality of his line. As if it was drawn with a burnt stick on the cave wall. But here his ‘stroke’ is rendered with caution.</p> <p>Careful rendering is also present in the hopeless collection of objects in Eric Ashcraft's paintings. It’s not clear if these things are meant to be "read" or just, witnessed. One engrossing piece shows a cartoonish wooden frame down two sides of the canvas with rest of it a black background. Hanging off the corner of ‘the framed edge is a delicately executed spiders web in white. Woven into it are the words "Pay Attention."</p> <p>Caution too in the rendering of a large opaque painting by Dan Fig called "Cheap Studio." Is the lack of space for artists a theme? The delicate unsure mark is an antidote to the bold cocksure gesture of Modern Painting. Perhaps this work is distrustful of such surety. Fig's canvas is of a football and a clock whose quarters are marked by Magritte style rocks. Both floating against some cartoon rendered battlements. The studio as a a fortress. That you should be so lucky (or so rich) as to even have one in 2018 in New York and its environs!</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/dan_fig_cheap_studio.jpeg" style="width:560px; height:469px; float:left" /><em>Dan Fig's "Cheap Studio"</em></p> <p>The paintings in this show seem to reference Magritte's "Periode Vache." His work at that point championed stupid jokes, bizarre rendering, sometimes sloppy, sometimes overly careful paint handling.</p> <p>"We’d like to say shit politely to you, in your false language, Because we bumpkins, we yokels, have absolutely no manners, you realise." Louis Scutenaire in the catalogue to Magritte's show in Paris at the Galerie du Faubourg in May 1948.</p> <p>Jake Brush is also an absurdist but he may have his eye on something more confrontational. I recognized the influence of Leigh Bowery immediately. The high key colour of his video and the cheap plastic props. '80s London did not produce any radical underground painting (apart from Leigh’s partner in crime Trojan, whose paintings would’ve been right at home in this show) but video, performance, fashion and music hit a giddy peak. It was in response to Thatcher’s strident lack of support for Art and Culture and her disgust with the youth.</p> <p>Everybody gave up on the idea of becoming rich and famous and made what they liked. Leigh, as documented by Charles Atlas's videos, took liberties with performance and "dressing up" to diabolical extremes.</p> <p>Jake’s piece in the show is a video mounted over a fake grass shrine. He is on view manipulating red plasticine globs, he is surrounded by strawberries. It's all glossy and tactile but also intimating disease and the vulnerability of the body.</p> <p>Maybe it’s me but I can’t but see Maggie Goldstone’s pitiful dog paintings as a joke. I don’t find the humorous and the earnest mutually exclusive if it's a joke that I can get behind. Her paintings are made with a sloppy affection that can be read as satirical or pointedly deliberate.</p> <p>Alex Sewell writes, in his catalogue essay that these young artists have an increased sense of empathy and are backing away from the political to tackle the personal. Perhaps I’m missing something.</p> <p>What I take to be deliberately pathetic and obtuse for comic purposes is for them a sensitive read on contemporary Art. What I think of as the virtues of Modern American Art, its directness and "tough" painting style. Artists like Warhol, De Kooning and Joan Mitchell: seems to be too authoritative and patriarchal for this generation.</p> <p>Maybe the new market driven Art World is not for them. Perhaps they don’t want to make art that panders to the needs of the captains of industry. For the time being they’d rather hunker down and feel it out with the misfits than "make it" with the Art bros and their high rolling collectors. - <em>Millree Hughes</em></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/mr_hughes_artist.jpg" style="width:80px; height:80px; float:right" /></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> </section> Wed, 04 Apr 2018 14:09:52 +0000 Millree Hughes 3690 at http://culturecatch.com