Review

March 13, 2017, 12:34pm

Cinema Fatalité: Ben Murray at Monique Meloche

Up close, buried in it, approached with a loupe, it feels like … Christ …. like static on the wire, like the first crepuscular creepings of dextromethorphan—mucilaginous medicine the color old blood sloshing down sulci and optic nerves and then back up again—like a cataract, hot shimmering light and textual fuzz, an uncanny fading in, selachian skin rising up from a great obfuscating darkness—the darkness of the upstairs hallway when someone other than your parents had to put you to bed; the darkness of water the first time you are bifurcated by it; the darkness of every corner after a horror movie; the darkness of depths, of fainting, of dying—which is, despite its nature, because of it? you recognize the darkness, it's the door, but you don't know it, but it's shimmering, glistening, with promise and menace both—don't shark eyes glisten, and cobra hoods, and hypodermic needles, and freshly mopped floors, and sugars and fruits and feathers and halos?—and the simple fact of the matter is, presented with nothing but this great obfuscating black door, cruel Janus!, which seems to shine like the cheek bones of a post-performance circus artist and the soft spears of light the color of heliotropes, the gentle envoys of the blinding OR brightness behind the great obfuscating black door, you have all manner of reference points—a lifetime of them, memories and experiences and impressions and moments—but not a single solitary fucking cardinal direction; is the door holding something back? is it holding you back? should you go through it? should you hope and pray and scream and kick so that you never cross its threshold?

Do you die? – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Ben Murray | CLOSE – DOOR, 2017. Acrylic and ink on canvas, 84 x 78 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Listed under: Review

December 28, 2016, 10:20am

Rebecca Morris: On Blood and Abstraction

Here we have presented, in a perfect circle, as if in a petri dish or memorial china plate or a porthole—which, by the way, is the vanguard of windows, the aperture we gaze at when we want to be kept safely, securely, hermetically safe from whatever is on the other end of the thin pane we slick with the heat of our faces—the kind of pleasing gridded surface, so straight!, so soothing!, so perfectly correct and uniform!, bone white squares cut by aurelian lines ostensibly lineal but in actually imperfect, bulging a bit, a bit sloppy, like a military garrison on parade—so close to perfect, but still (for now) human!—or the grout lines in your bathroom … yes!, it's a bathroom floor, encircled in the petri dish, viewed through the porthole, bathroom tiles gridded out with gold, surrounded by marble (of course!), perfect save a pox, the red of dried blood—it's the brightest color in the whole room, really, this dried-deoxygenated-but-still-too-fresh blood, each splock with its own idiosyncratic hair style, pili radiating as is from the weakest sun, clumping into constellations, gentle parabolic forms like arched eyebrows, carrying in them a sense of ad-hoc exigency, the kinetic beautiful violence requisite for their application demonstrated in their forms, an abstract take on a passage from a Bret Easton Ellis novel—The bathroom reeks of bleach and disinfectant and the floor is wet and gleaming even though the maid hasn't started cleaning in here yet; Glamorama, pg. 256—a form of silent violence, an echo of a moment captured in all of its chaos atop a bone white grid, gleaming with gold, surrounded by marble, a porthole into God's own bathroom…- B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Rebecca Morris | Untitled (#01-16), 2016. Oil and spray paint on canvas, 68 x 69 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist and Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago

Listed under: Review

December 12, 2016, 8:58am

American Arts Writer Abroad: William Kentridge’s “Triumphs and Laments”

On a recent trip to Rome, Italy, I had the great fortune of seeing and experiencing William Kentridge’s Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome, a vanishing frieze along the banks of the Tiber river. Kentridge is a well-established South African multimedia artist best known not only for his beautiful drawings and animated shorts such as Felix in Exile (1994), but also for his keen humor and stunning ability to shed light upon the darkest of human nature, while ultimately highlighting our human capacity to reconcile, love, and laugh. - Ellen Caldwell, Los Angeles (Reporting From Rome)


Detail of William Kentridge | “Triumphs and Laments: A Project for Rome” | 2016, Tevereterno, Rome | Photo by Ellen C. Caldwell.

Listed under: Noteworthy, Review

November 26, 2016, 10:41am

Rebecca Farr's “Out of Nothing” is Everything

Multimedia artist Rebecca Farr’s fourth solo show Out of Nothing welcomes viewers into a personal journey and emotional recovery as she uses monumental oil paintings and sculptural installations to explore the process and aftermath of losing her father.

This deeply intimate work is touching, moving, and beautifully real. During the weeks following a divisive election, many Americans are left lost, angry, and vulnerable, in need of soul searching and nurturing — and Farr’s exhibit offers a safe space for both. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Rebecca Farr | Out of Nothing, installation view | 2016 | Courtesy of Klowden Mann.

Listed under: Review

November 25, 2016, 10:17am

Considering Painting’s Shelf Life with Boris Osterov

Since painting began to migrate from church walls to stretched linen, a painter’s niche within the art market had been carved. Not only was canvas friendlier to 16th century Venice’s damp boulevards, it also fit snugly on the walls of those with a few florins to spare, as it still does today. While contemporary speculators of our global art market are often praised for the integral role they play in driving new ideas and experimentation, the fact remains that painting makes up nearly three quarters of art sales today. And so those looking to make a florin for themselves often find extra incentive to take up the brush and canvas. - Brad Fiore, Chicago Contributor


Boris Osterov | Untitled, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 18 x 17.5 x 4.5

Listed under: Review

August 03, 2016, 4:49pm

Buoyed by Color at Stephanie McMahon’s Solo Exhibition at T+H Gallery

Stephanie McMahon’s first solo exhibition in Boston, and the first painting show hosted by T+H Gallery this year, “Close to Me” reverberates with the saturated colors of summer, from the blazing neon of flower gardens viewed at midday to the cool shadowed tones of the woodlands after rainfall. This contrast, seen throughout the galleries, can be summed up with Earthwork, a dynamic abstraction built with sheer layers of oil paint on panel. Soft-edged shapes work in tandem with more static, geometric forms, and engagingly lush brushstrokes hover in changeable depths of field. – Shana Dumont Garr, Boston Contributor


Stephanie McMahon | Earthwork, 2016, oil on panel, 59 x 47 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Listed under: Review

July 01, 2016, 10:42am

Joseph Noderer: The Appalachian Seahorse

There is constant irregular conflict behind the eyes—flash! electronic fusillades jumping viciously into the breach! burning, burning chemical warfare! psychological warfare, of the most personal and literal kind!—whether the brutal bedfellows Mercury and Mars, tussling for dominance and fucking to fuck you, or the constant recce and rendering benign of the dangerous and volatile thoughts accrued from the moment one awakes and slips into Society, or the punching of mirrors, or the delicate handling of nitroglycerin emotions, or the silencing of vicious tongues, or the bolstering of saintly patience, or the valiantly held redoubt, behind which happiness flies beautifully, vulnerably, the tattered and torn through—victim of a thousand missiles, from a thousand enemies, from a thousand directions—standard which, if all goes to plan (hah!) serves as both signal and spur … but few battles of the brain are more foundational, and therefore more potentially devastating, than the Soviet Spy style, low and slow, inevitable conflict between reminiscence and reality, the fungibility of memory a rose-colored radiation, seeping into every sulci, every incident, a terribly malleable foundation—Memory!—for us to build ourselves upon, leaving us all Houses on the Sand … – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Joseph Noderer | McConnells II, 2015. Oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches. Photo courtesy of Linda Warren Projects

Listed under: Review

June 06, 2016, 8:18am

Whitney Bedford: The Sinister Sublime

There are the trees, dark forms rising imperiously, and that's ok though, right?, a trick of the light, ombre over eyes, the natural failures of rods and cones—except they are so fucking black, atrous, really, black as coal, carbon, the remnants of fire, a sharp melange of serrations, selachian arcs, brachial bunches of alveoli, histological stains of striated muscle, pied abrasions, a forest seared into a wall, ashen memory, holocaustic photograph of a nuclear flash-lamp—and there is the sky, brilliant orange, too orange, unnaturally orange, not the color of monarch butterflies or poison dart frogs or innumerable other toxic lifeforms, not the color of citrus or lantanas or marigolds—dreadfully close to poppies, however—but safety orange, menacing safety orange, the kind commercial fishermen wear to be plucked from the black maw of the sea or hunter's place like a cuirass to protect against the accidental rending of human flesh, orange like the apocalypse, like literal and burning heat death, like the first and last glow of an existential risk, Nacarat Extinction, and it is apparent that East of Eden lies a place alien, fearful, sublime, hot and vibrating like catgut, verdant shoots even now erupting from the carbon and man-overboard-orange, and in the curve of the trees against the sky there is something pareidolic, a ghost in the nature, the SunSetter brow of an emaciated gorilla, perhaps, or, chest towards us, stereoscopic eyes thankfully looking away in majestic profile, the lean form of an ancient, savage, leopard, soft-gummed and eyeteeth innervate with pain, the kind which drags us, supposed Apex Animals, Fauna-cum-Gods, screaming into the impenetrable Cimmerian night, Jim Corbett save us!, sacred heart and sacred gun, the snuffing out of the flashes in the pan that turned the trees to cinder and the sky to fear. –  B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Whitney Bedford | The I do – I will, 2016, ink and oil on canvas on panel, 5 x 8 feet. Photo by Evan Bedford, courtesy of Carrie Secrist Gallery

Listed under: Review

May 31, 2016, 9:28am

Zach Reini: Ferocious Fun at Bill Brady Gallery

Zach Reini’s (NAP #96) solo show For the Fun Of It All opened at Bill Brady Gallery this May. Perhaps the exhibition is “fun” at a cursory glance. The candy-coated color, pop culture imagery, holographic shininess, and hard-edged painting draw your eye, giving the impression of a light-hearted space. However, nothing could be further from the truth. With additional viewing, the subject matter smacks you in the face with its dark irony. – Sherèe Lutz, Kansas City Contributor


Zach Reini | Crazy But Not Insane, 2016, Latex on canvas, 58 x 48 inches. Photo Courtesy Bill Brady Gallery, Kansas City, MO.

Listed under: Review

April 26, 2016, 10:16am

The Slippery Space of Grace Ndiritu’s “Bright Young Things”

Grace Ndiritu’s solo show A Quest for Meaning Vol. 7: Bright Young Things opened at Klowden Mann last week. Ndiritu’s work offers viewers a refreshing mix of definitive push and pulls to the viewer experience.

In a piece called “African Textiles,” for instance, Ndiritu presents viewers with a detailed photograph of textiles, printed on a fibrous paper, thus blurring the line between both textile and photography, representation and imitation. Similarly, in her “Abstract Expressionism” series, Ndiritu paints small works on felt using industrial paint, then she photographs the work, then blows it up, and finally prints it on canvas. This results in a work that then serves as both a painting and a photograph on canvas. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Grace Ndiritu’s installation view of “Bright Young Things” at Klowden Mann, 2016.

Listed under: Review

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