Tuesday, December 10, 2019

She, Her: Amy Sillman's MoMA Room / Louise Nevelson Chapel

Louise Nevelson in The Shape of Shape, a brilliant installation of works from the MoMA collection by painter, philosopher and inspiration Amy Sillman. MoMA Link through April 2020. Sillman's  jewel of a show reminded me of Jessica Stockholder's The Jewel Thief at the Tang in 2010 Tang Museum Link 2010
On a stepped platform surrounding the space, prints, paintings, and sculpture perched in close proximity and visual rapport. Here, a Kirshner print I can't get enough of--with a raking yellow light flowing over three figures.
While nearby a beguiling Offili.
An Ann Truitt column loans chroma and energy to what is already a fantastic combination of works. 
The Kirshner and Offili in situ (to left, a Howard Hodgkin ink drawing)

Louise Bourgeois, a simply gorgeous drawing on a collage paper surface.
Carolee Schneeman
Christina Ramberg's obsessive figure.
Gorky and Caroll Dunham! Be still my heart with these visual linkages!
Sillman talks about the premise of her selection through shape. She says shape is not considered a hot topic, like color. She writes, "...shape-makers were also often outliers in modern art. Some of these artists were overlooked, or out of sync with their time. Perhaps this is because shape-artists tend to work with uncertainty and vulnerability instead of the self-assurance and dependability of systems. Doubling back to look at them now, in different configurations, can reopen old questions. We see how these artists explore the frailty of bodies, their marginalization, but also their revision and repair—making plain the political realities of having a body to begin with."

A gorgeous  aquatint by Bill Jensen
The install
Groupings, casual relationships that build and resonate long after one leaves the room.
Then over to Lexington and St. Peters Church: to view the Louise Nevelson Chapel (1977) recently renovated and open to the public. Chapel Link

Photos don't do it justice (check the link). The room is dynamic, yet restful, silent.

The furniture is comfortable, well-proportioned; the wall installations commanding arrangements. Thanks to artist Brece Honeycutt for suggesting the Nevelson Chapel!

Friday, December 06, 2019

Olive Ayhens

Olive Ayhens has a show at Bookstein Projects on the Upper East Side, through December 20, 2019. For years I have exulted in her urban observations--funny details the metallic paint on the subway, the bikers flattening behind the bridge are two examples here. Gallery Link
This painter's work holds way more power in person than in these photos.  There is no lack of ambition in translating the density of an urban environment, either. 
She shows oil paintings and watercolors. Seen IRL, the illusion of glass plated walls is powerful.

Her watercolors of New York date back to 1996, when she first moved to the city.
She does what she wants, and 

achieves a fascinating duality in space bifurcated by horizon lines. Here, a giant pre-camel perches near  the bridge.
Another rich, dense bifurcation.
I've been thinking about painting a lot lately, what it does, how it relates, its role in a world gone digital. I am so clear on what it used to do: the instantaneous communication of ideas, visual literacy through material application, and the conflation of history and presence. But do people still get that from painting?  I don't know.
But with paintings like these, or many others--its hard to imagine a greater pleasure (beyond painting, reading, traveling, etc.) than following someone's work through time (as I have with Ayhen). This makes for a slow process, life lived analogue, in which change is incremental. Painting becomes a human landscape, recording time in embodied actions. In this painting Ayhens exposes the original surface, diluted with turps creating fissures in the paint, to the hairy beasty forms. Whether or not it's a great move time will reveal, but it's interesting to note her shift in thought through the visual decision.
While observation does not make painting overtly interactive, for this viewer it remains a profound experience to rebuild the world, mark by mark, through another's inflection. This provides a proximity as intimate as conversation.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Figuring the Flora at Wave Hill

Nicole Awai's landmark ooze and flower shadows cast in Figuring the Floral in Wave Hill's Glyndor Gallery through tomorrow, December 1st. The exhibition is curated by Eileen Jeng Lynch.
Hyperallergic reviewed the show and selected different works, so check it out-- Review of Exhibition along with the exhibition PDF published by Wave Hill, downloadable here: PDF Catalog of Exhibition
Nicole Awai has a fantastic solo exhibition at Lesley Heller right now on the Lower East Side. In that show, her interest in ooze, drawing, paper and material conflation exacerbates in monumental statuary and drawings,so it's lovely to see this island of flowers and people.
Valerie Hegarty's tribute to her mother's wallpaper.
Hegarty again, bringing those forms to life and inspiring new ideas...
Simonette Quamina's handsome drawing merging blooming lilies, British colonial rule in Guyana, floral symbolism, and Wave Hill's reflecting pool.
Ebony G. Patterson: hands with bouquets
Saya Woolfak's hybrid heads, from the ChimaTEK series of 2015. I believe ChimaTEK re-imagines human experience through empathic healing energy, which visually transforms the body.
The re-formed body is called an Empathic. 

Sanford Biggers, close to my heart for his use of fabric, his LA to NY trajectory, love for and interest in travel. Called Quo Vadis? (2019) Biggers associates the quilts with the Underground Railroad and Catholic legend of St. Peter redirecting his path.
Beyond the gallery you find Cecile Chong's El Dorado: The New 49ers, a public art project about immigration, transformation, and community. Chong's guagua forms reference swaddling and in this installation, bloom as flowers. 

Fecundity: Stopa, Church, Kushner, Parlato

Seen at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston--an astounding Florine Stettheimer composition (Lake Placid), setting the tone for today's post  on fecundity: new combinations that surprise us into seeing differently. Digital file
Jason Stopa in the group exhibition, Breaking the Frame at Hollis Taggart
Gallery Link
Stopa. Interior space, illusion, abstraction, all of the above? Alluding to Mattisse's insouciant Nice paintings,  Patricia  Trieb, Trudy Benson, Howard Hodgkin. I wish there were more, but the show is on for two more weeks, until December 14th.

Two small Amanda Church paintings from her recent solo debut at High Noon Gallery,  Recliners.  Gallery Link 

Similarly to Stopa, Church converges a variety of perceptual forms in new combinations. She does draw from a rich history of posterized figuration, as one way to put it: Roy Lichenstein, Tom Wesselman, John Wesley.
Also Will Barnet.
In unexpected alliance with urban graffiti, wherein puffy letters become body-like.

At DC Moore, By My Window, the recent Robert Kushner show. Kushner is a master of the square and the inversion, both painterly concerns we share. From his earliest P&D performance work to now, he remains a light-hearted virtuoso. This painting shocked me in its immediacy of mark, a fluency of touch that seems almost raw compared to more projected-looking line. 
Robert Kuschner detail
Robert Kushner inversion. He is excitingly painting on fabric, returning to his early foundations.
Pictures don't do these paintings justice: Carolanna Parlatto in Catch and Release, her solo exhibition at Morgan Lehman on through December 14th. Gallery LInk
Mistress of the Pour. Big, blobby shapes that over the past years have increased in nuance to thick and thin, light and heavy weights.

The way we see has changed. Now proportions, weights, color blocks and techniques represent our increasingly fictionalized world. This bodes well for painting.