Monday, March 27, 2023

Mary Jones at High Noon: Les Problemes du Confort

We start in the back room with small paintings distilling compositions from several larger works in the front space. The riffs on prior paintings yield alternatives that glow with precision. We are at High Noon Gallery tearing comfort apart to uncover spaces that acknowledge and reflect the double identity of the self in a capitalist world: simultaneously unconscious and hyper-conscious.
Paint becomes utterance troubling an already complex surface of interior, pour, print, and paint.

A dancehall or bar-like interior is disrupted by the un-nameable. What are these spears of light and gesture doing among printed pours and images? What are we looking at, where are we? We recognize landmarks, but it isn't so easy to know what the material is; we're thrust into a new kind of space that beckons vigilance.

Lavish swipes of paint are cut into the surface. We are both inside and outside. 

In a smaller painting color  leads us through gestures come alive like ghosts in the haunted rooms of former barons.

Looking out the window, an unfurling gesture and passing cloud hint at landscape, while patterns pile up inside the space.

In this masterpiece a curving pink inserts landscape  in the center of a salon, already altered by a mysterious ink gesture. The abundant interiors with fluted columns, indoor plants, and candelabra, can't keep unwanted gestures out.



Pattern and Presence: Jessica Weiss at 490 Atlantic and Robert Kushner at DCMoore

Jessica Weiss's Present, a show of recent paintings, through April 2 at 490 Atlantic Avenue Gallery, features new painting-collages. See Weiss' personal website for professional photos.
Weiss sifts through wallpaper patterns collected over the years, shifting scale by screenprinting the patterns.

This body of work transformed the animals in her 2016 Outlet exhibition into figures after travels to India and later, the pandemic. Old clothing, in tandem with paint and pattern, bring uncanny, compressed bodies to the work.

Painting with oil and hogs hair brushes, Weiss scumbles paint into the surface, similar to rubbing, thenfabrics are laid in. Everything flows and it's casual.

In a recent talk with Glenn Goldberg Weiss spoke of her Buddhist practice and the tenderness in her figures. True to Buddhism, lived experience isn't all bouquets and sunshine. Equal weight is paid to darker aspects of life via pressed clothing, postures, how pattern obliterates form then reveals it again.

See it!
Present counterpoints Then and Now, Robert Kushner's tour de force at DC Moore: a gorgeous installation owing to the museum-scale of Kushner's early fabric pieces. 
These hand-painted fabrics are detailed with swags and ties that drape like window treatments and clothing.

The paintings use both oil and acrylic, the oil as a barrier for acrylic pours.

Reversals of figure and ground keep the surface a surprise.

Beautiful balance of work in the space.

Lovely, surprising fabric works--

Unexpected patterns and textures

And swags.

Like a little ruffled blouse that's really a curtain, or

a painting, or a garden.

A favorite detail from the painting below.


Sunday, March 26, 2023

Chelsea Run: Bechtle, Humphrey, Frankenthaler, Oehlen, and Spero

California, 1960s and 70s in Robert Bechtle's posthumous exhibition at Gladstone. Portraits and landscapes recall suspended moments as California light saturates the air. They record the taste and smell of the light, the reflections, the shadows of that time.


 Los Angeles vignettes that despite the stylization are eerily accurate. My grandfather drove a Thunderbird just like that, with red leather seats...the lawns did look just like that in LA's flat suburban sprawl...

Presence pierces the surface of reflections. 

Beautifully painted and realized. 

David Humphrey's exhibition Ass Backward at Fredericks Freiser bestows Goya's Forgers with new meaning.
Half-portrait, half-doodles moving paint to reframe vision, 

Teenager doodles, abstract landscapes, juxtapositions

We are slightly uneasy.

Internalized assasins behind the happy face

Helen Frankenthaler (1990-1992) at Gagosian

Some selections from the 2022 Palm Springs Museum exhibition that first revealed HF's forays into heavier paint textures.

Sometimes the orientation of the paintings feels altered.

Another orientation as surprising decision.

The qualities in her woodcut prints, and afterimages in large, flat pours find form and texture in these late works.
Albert Oehlen at Gagosian, juxtaposing large, cartoony-type shapes with a multitiude of paint applications.


These are boistrous paintings, with very thin insertions of painting details within the painting surface.

Big lumpy shapes like these prove counterpoint to the flinging and dripping otherwise.

What I'm reading as Francis Bacon-like bodies distorted and simplified.  The yellow spray paint has a sweaty feel.

The body parts anchor more abstracted paint applications. 

A film shows Oelen painting (or jousting with the painting surface), 

and musing on the nature of making.

His compositions relate to Tom Burkhardt's paintings somehow--fracturing of pictorial space and genre into shards of color and shape.

Scale comparisons in the second room with Paul McCarthy's work
Nancy Spero's Woman as Protagonist at Galerie Lelong
The ground shifts while historical figures hold their own--her gift to us, an instruction manual for keeping on going.

Sheela-na-gigs hung out to dry.

Humor and bite.