Friday, October 24, 2008

Under the Influence

Under the Influence

Lenore Gray Review: Uncommon Ground

Almost by definition, artists are people with a knack for keeping in touch with their inner child. But some artists do it better — or at least more diligently — than others.

A case in point is Elizabeth Condon, a Brooklyn-based artist whose dreamy, semi-abstract paintings are currently on display at the Lenore Gray Gallery. In her artist’s statement, Condon cites both Doctor Seuss and Chinese scroll-paintings as artistic inspirations. In lesser hands, that might be a recipe for disaster. But Condon makes it work, deftly fusing the free-flowing, nonlinear perspective of Chinese painting with the free-flowing, nonlinear logic of the Seuss books.

In Two Places, for example, a series of recognizable images — a house, a tree, a river — float in a sea of softly pulsing colors. The result feels like a dream or memory suddenly, if fleetingly made visible. Other works evoke fantastic landscapes, whether it’s a night sky filled with glowing stars and planets (Dispersion) a fairy-tale forest filled with wisps of sea-green fog (The Woods) or a swirling garden scene (Night Flowers) worthy of another age-defying artist: Paul Klee.

The show’s other contributor, Jerry Mischak, also has a Seussian streak. Indeed, Mischak, who teaches sculpture at the University of Rhode Island, is best known for using duct tape, a material that he can coax into almost any shape from sleekly geometric to sensuously organic.

It’s a talent that is on full display in City in Balance (Let’s Share a Place), a large duct-tape sculpture in which a miniature city seems to sprout from the limbs of a gnarled tree. Though the message — something along the lines of “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all live in harmony with each other and with nature” — is serious, Mischak’s approach is more playful than political.

Through Nov. 6 at the Lenore Gray Gallery, 15 Meeting St., Providence. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 10-4:30, or by appt. Contact: (401) 274-3900.
Bill Van Siclen

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wanting to see these paintings together...

Kingdom, 2008, acrylic and oil on linen, 24 x 39 inches; Bubble's Perch, 1998, oil on linen, 48 inches diameter.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Construction City

My neighborhood is a construction site...I am thrilled by the machinery, the construction sheds, the orange and white striped logs...and the way orange netting, men and machinery alter the flow of traffic, with simple barriers and interventions. It's dense and annoying, but also thrilling--a narrative without distinct plot or predictable outcome.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beautiful October Weekend

Friday, caught the Acela express to Providence for my and Jerry Mischak's opening at Lenore Gray Gallery.

Saturday, saw shows in Chelsea, among them these favorites:

Judy Glantzman - Betty Cunningham Gallery
Joanna Pousette-Dart - Moti Hasson
Sue Williams - Zwirner
Robert Bardo - Alexander and Bonin
Beatriz Milhazes - James Cohan
Morandi - Luc Schoormans Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art