June 06, 2016, 8:18am
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
May 31, 2016, 9:28am
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
May 24, 2016, 10:05am
For the second year in a row, EAM is organizing the exhibition New American Paintings: Midwest Edition. Based on the acclaimed juried publication, an exhibition-in-print, this year’s version was selected by Kelly Schindler, associate curator at the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum, and features an equally diverse group of artists and practices from across the Midwest. The thirty-nine artists participating in this year’s NAP broadly span the spectrum of varying themes in contemporary painting, including figural representation, material studies, optical abstraction and spatial depictions, while continually redefining the limits of formal categorization. EAM’s exhibition includes a combination of works featured in the catalogue and new works by selected artists in an effort to expand our understanding of this most traditional and fluid of artistic mediums.
Issue #119...Cover Artist, Alex Jackson
April 26, 2016, 10:16am
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
April 25, 2016, 9:07am
Well now… and just what in the fuck are you doing here, hmm?, suspended or rising or, fuck, sinking, but underwater all the same, completely ensconced in this cool, sterile little personal void, a pet abyss in somebody's back yard, all over your head at the bottom of a David Hockney painting, the anti-body fluid which releases your limbs and evokes a feeling of weightlessness, even as you sink, cool, calm, muted, in color and temperature and tone and vibe and feel and yet you are burning, immolating?, burning in the eyes—those chemicals, the chemicals of preventive healing … the entire thing, the in-ground pool, is, after all, little more than a highly cultivated, perfect, meticulous planned, and violently executed wounding of nature, the leveling, the digging, the shattering of any earth which dares resit—Jesus, remember the mournful howls and paroxysmal wails of the car alarms, the whole development screaming and jabbering and chittering, like big frightened birds, when that massive jackhammer came down, down, cracked the obstinate, rattled walls, windows, pictures, homes, set those crying beasts shaking on their suspensions—and then, upon the wound's completion, the endless prevention of healing, the shoring up of the gouge with concrete, the endless application, testing, balancing, and application again of a myriad of chemical agents to kill, relentlessly, to remove life from your water, to create a private sea antiseptic, safe, unflaggingly beautiful—and burning, relentless, desperate burning in your chest, and you are alone at the bottom of that sea, a world of off-white filtered through water, tiles the horizon line between here, which is beautiful and cold and clean and where you most assuredly do not belong, and there, with its air, its sound, its sun, its unfiltered light … the light, the light dances across the tile line, some of it finding its way to the bottom, to you, some of it being arrested, locked into a dark form, on the deck, some of it hurtling quixotically towards the pool's surface, shattering itself against the top, exploding into clinquant little pieces, the brilliant light of sun, of the surface, of life … of hypoxia? - B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor
Suzanne Gold | The deep end, 2016, screen print on canvas, 65 x 41 inches. Photo by Cory Malnarick
April 19, 2016, 9:01pm
Camille Page’s underwater paintings blend a perfect amount of the figurative with the abstract. Painting with a palette knife in a kind of push-pull-combination of heavy applications of paint and fierce scrapings, Page creates large paintings that feel familiar and momentous.
In this series, Page captures her friends and daughter swimming and enveloped with water in order to paint from the images. With an underpainting below and the palette magic on the surface, she captures action, form, color, and light in a way that invokes a sort of contradictory feeling of both timelessness and yearning for time’s past.
On a recent trip to Kaua’i, I was able to visit her gallery and meet with Page, speaking to her about her underwater series, process, and inspirations. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor
April 19, 2016, 8:26am
The 8th Dallas Art Fair wrapped up over the weekend and with it came an exceptional gathering of international galleries and artists. I’m not so interested in picking top booths, name dropping who was in town for the parties or lingering on the Dallas Art Fair Foundation Acquisition Program, which provides the Dallas Museum of Art with $50,000 to acquire work by artists exhibited at the fair. Rather I wanted to give some quick thoughts on a group of selected paintings that stood out from the crowd. Some selections are consistent with what is being seen on the coasts and beyond but there were surprises and discoveries to be had. – Arthur Peña, Dallas Contributor
April 05, 2016, 9:10am
The last time I spoke with Sharon Arnold in her first gallery in Georgetown, I found myself surprised at my own sadness. Her modest space LxWxH, hovering over a pizza restaurant, was closing. Arnold wasn’t going far—she was moving on to collaborate with another well-respected gallerist, in downtown Seattle. LxWxH was small in scale and remote by comparison, two miles south of the city center, in Seattle’s historic, industrial neighborhood of Georgetown. But its presence had bored deep into the landscape of the community’s visual art, through not only the gallery that balanced the homegrown with the sophisticated so well, but also through the accessible boxed sets of small works that she sold to foster collecting in the city. I knew I would miss this gallery’s ideas when it was gone. - Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor
Tectonic, Installation View. Image courtesy of Bridge Productions.
March 06, 2016, 8:15pm
They hang long and heavy, something intimidating, candy-apple colored strips of heavy plastic and the mien they give off is industrial, a hint of alien aggressiveness, a slight soupcon of stay-the-fuck away like the lolling tongues of junkyard dogs or the K-9 unit on a high ride on the elevated train, breaking up Carrie Secrist gallery into … theaters, one supposes, Stage Left and all, and these massive curtains of heavy welding screens, beside making one think of the warehouse space in the back of a grocery store, besides adding immediate and indispensable curatorial heft and aegis for the observer—there is so much here, both conceptually and literally, Andrew Holmquist being an obviously inquisitive artist and Stage Left an ambitious undertaking, and having it all broken into more manageable sections is not only the smart thing to do, but the requisite thing to do—is to illustrate, in a simple, clever way that one will most likely not at first notice, the great thesis threading the whole thing together, that presentation and medium are to be bred like plants (or, of course, dogs!) and brought to heel, for the expression of various forms in various ways are inevitably linked, the old Marshall McLuhan idea, except played with, blown out, beautiful flowers on the old doctor's grave, and the easiest way to see this is to stand on one side of those heavy dog-tongue candy-apple screens, and look at the paintings Holmquist has placed on the other side—thrown into stark relief! defenestrated and tossed into a grey space of line and angle, soft ashen abyss—and then, most likely with gallery director/Holmquist elucidator Britton Bertran's encouragement, to push through the heavy curtains, which requires, let's not kid ourselves, a bit of work, definitely more than one would expect, being heavy as they are, and zap, the paintings scream to voltaic life, color and motion, no longer filtered through the heavy red, the medium and message—here, one supposes, the medium is the air, the rods and cones, the curtain, the space, the exhibition—instantly transformed, and one is, with apologies to Doctor Strange, beyond the crimson veil! - B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor
February 11, 2016, 8:54am
The needs and priorities of artists are in constant flux. Art historians have attempted to document this flux by identifying a series of seismic shifts in aesthetics and attaching to each its defining characteristics. This practice has provided us with a litany of isms that stretch back centuries. Art history will continue to roll on, but it very well may be that the age of the ism is behind us. That’s not to say that there are not, and will not continue to be, clusters of like-minded artists whose combined efforts can generate an aesthetic critical mass that historians are able to delineate. But with instant global communication, the time in which new ideas are disseminated, assimilated, and ultimately disregarded is so compressed that the enterprise has been, at best, reduced to trend spotting.
The medium of painting, in particular, has always been prone to noticeable trends. For the better part of a decade, the trend of note has been the overwhelming amount of abstraction that has circulated, in particular that of the provisional, or de-skilled ilk. While there are some talented artists working in this vein––Richard Aldrich and Joe Bradley, to name two––much of the stuff is so hopelessly bland and devoid of meaningful content that it has garnered the moniker “zombie formalism.” In the past two years, however, the winds have shifted. Abstraction is out, and the figure is in; flatness is out, as artists begin to embrace a space that lies somewhere between reality and a digital simulacrum of it.
Both of these trends were widely visible in 2015. As I wandered though the various art fairs that make up Miami’s art week in early December I was overwhelmed by the amount of figurative painting on view…much of if it at galleries that have rarely, if ever, exhibited such work. The figure is everywhere, and being addressed with all manner of stylistic intonation. Even more conspicuous was the number of artists who, whatever their subject matter, are conjuring a kind of space that seems teasingly “real,” yet clearly relies on life as experienced through the computer screen more than the living room window. Perhaps this is not a surprise, given that a generation of artists weaned on the Internet is now coming of age.
Before getting in to this year’s list of Artists to Watch, I want to say how pleased I am to see the success of all of the artists featured on last year’s list. Sadie Benning had a knockout show at Susanne Vielmetter in Los Angeles that was critically acclaimed. Katherine Bernhardt took it to the next level with her outing at Venus Over Manhattan. Daniel Heidkamp, who just gets better and better, was heavily in demand. Eddie Martinez, whose current show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash is his best to date, is now firmly on the radar of serious international collectors. Most exciting to me is the attention given to mature painter, Katherine Bradford. Bradford has been making her quirky, extraordinary paintings for years and, finally, the world has caught up. Her work looked completely of-the-moment at NADA Miami, and her subsequent one-woman show at CANADA in New York City was a huge commercial and critical success. – Steven Zevitas, Editor/Publisher