Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Figures in Space: Katherine Bradford at CANADA and Mernet Larsen at COHAN

Katherine Bradford at CANADA
Bradford/CANADA Link
In Hyperallergic, John Yau writes, "In her most recent work, Bradford has upped the stakes of her earlier work. For one thing, she has complicated her compositions by adding many more figures as well as dividing the ground in two or more distinct areas, water and sky, for example. The complications are the result of her pushing both the formal and imaginative further into a fictive domain without letting one get ahead of the other."

There is a luminescent backlighting in these paintings caused by vellaturas on top of vivid color, transparent and opaque balances and plain painterly magic.  On the top right of the painting, the whites of the waves are 'haloed' against the deep, velvety dark ground.

The treatment of form as another mark in space unites the figures and their spaces, reminding us that in fact the human body is some 70% water.

Interestingly Bradford is using acrylic, which reinforces her images of water, though the multiple layers and swipes of thick paint summon her oil painting background.

I have to go back to see this painting. It is a complete experience, clearly showing its history being turned all different ways, and the big, soft, fluffy Twinkie-like waves delight the eye to no end. At the same time the narrative is a bit foreboding, despite the candy color. 

Mernet Larsen at James Cohan. These are drawings in the back room. She describes her work in the Paris Review as, “old-fashioned narrative paintings ... statements of longing.” “What I use are these perspectival ploys—diverse perspective, parallel perspective,” she told The Huffington Post last year. “You’re always sort of moving around inside the painting; you can never quite figure out where you’re standing, so you kind of absorb it. Matisse does that too for me too. And a lot of Japanese art, from the twelfth century particularly. They bring you inside and outside the space, you have no particular position. You can't quite get your bearings. And yet, I want you to have a sense of orient, a sense of mass, a sense of depth.”

Larsen/COHAN exhibition Link.
My favorite Larsen composition except for "Aw," (a reversed perspective faculty meeting).

Larsen and I met at University of South Florida in 2003, her last year of teaching / my first.  Around that time she photographed faculty meetings, from which these paint sketches are inspired.

Weirdest painting in the show, with self-conscious painting in keeping with Larsen's constructed realities--but the most exciting part is the elongated figures and their odd bow and arrow dynamics. The blue disk flips between resembling a planet and a Turell-like skylight.

The space holds mind-popping characteristics of Fred Sandback or Robert Irwin installations in a totally hands-on way. 

A favorite detail from a family reunion. Arms really do that.

Sunday, February 07, 2016


History of Chinese New Year

Monkey King illustrations by Shotaro Honda, 1939



In Monkey year, activities are more successful when undertaken during hours favorable for the Monkey: the Rat, Dragon, Snake, and Monkey hours.
Rat hours are 11 pm – 1 am
Dragon hours are 7 – 9 am
Snake hours are 9 – 11 am
Monkey hours are 3 – 5 pm
(Susan Levitt.com)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Artist Interviews: Wang Xin, Bi Rongrong, Lu Zhengyuan, Gao Lei, Zhao Yi Qian

In 2014, I spent six months in Shanghai in residence at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel. During my time there, I interviewed five artists born after the One Child Policy (which was recently disbanded). The interviews are published on two different on-line magazines. Read about Artist-Hypnotist Wang Xin at Playspace Magazine - October 2015 and sculptor Lu Zhengyuan, painter Zhao Yi Qian, installation artist Bi Rongrong and sculptor Gao Lei at Artfile Magazine.

Bi Rongrong, study for Moving Greyscale, ink on paper, dimensions variable 2014

Gao Lei, R-312, metal caging on canvas panel, @ 40 x 30 inches, 2014

Zhao Yi Qian, Deja Vu, 2014, oil on canvas, 180 x 135 cm

Wang Xin, The Gallery at Westbund Art Fair, iteration 3

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bushwick and Canada: Jeff Schwarz, Elisabeth Kley

At Outlet in Brooklyn, Jeff Schwarz. Outlet Link

A New Yorker, Schwarz is inspired by graffiti, fashion design and shifting space

The works are wheel-thrown

And heavily glazed (this a detail from below)

In this duo, matt and glossy glazes intertwine

They are like paintings, though Thomas Michelli would disagree Hyperallergic review- glazed on tile

In the round, where

...surfaces can be matte, even peeling - 

View of front room works at eye level

Elisabeth Kley at Canada in Ozymandius.
Canada New York Link

These are hand-coiled and built, glazed with homemade mixtures

Inscribed with ancient Turkish and Chinese-inspired patterns

Wall works accompany the objects

Which face us like the Terra Cotta Warriors at X'ian

One example of a glossy layer

They look hand-inked, as if a ballpoint pen had bled...

Here with a wall mural Kley painted

William Corwin wrote movingly and thoroughly about this work in his Brooklyn Rail review. Read it here: Artseen/Elisabeth-Kley-Ozymandias