The work in “New Narrative Now,” curated by Michael David and Martin Dull at M David & Co. is united by a particularly muscular and aggressive kind of paint handling – unsurprising from a gallery well-known for cultivating abstract expressionist work. The paintings also share lyrical and mythical storytelling qualities. Recognizable figures flicker and bend across these canvases, wading through turgid waters, or wrestling with ropes of paint, or bathing in dreamy color. Animals and toys crowd some canvases, women stretch tortured forms across others. Personal mythologies illuminate and infuse each canvas, casting a mysterious spell for the viewer.
Step off of the gray pavement, step out of the chilly dullness of an impending New York City Winter, traverse the threshold of Next to Nothing Gallery, and indulge in the celebration of painting currently on view at 181 Orchard Street.
“Plush Paint: please do not pet, caress, fondle” features the work of Jason Stopa, Osamu Kobayashi, and Susan Carr in a bounty of paintings and sculptural hybrids that boast tenacious gestures, mysterious shapes, and amped up colors. As the eyes adjust to the stark whiteness of the minimalist space, at first glance the work appears as a collection of unearthly gemstones unified by candied commercial hues and vibrating combinations of paint. Robert Erani, Gallery Director and Curator employed the cohesion of color to serve as an “accessible commonality that any viewer can appreciate.” For Erani the visual pleasure of these works seduces the viewer to take a deeper look and discover less obvious nuances that distinguish the individual work of each artist.
On a rainy December night with little else to recommend it, I made my way to residential gallery Centotto to find it warm, lively, and packed with many of the luminaries of the cozy East Williamsburg scene. Although the weather was so cold and unpleasant that there were scant Christmas shoppers on the L train, artists and art lovers were packed snugly into Centotto for the opening reception of the latest exhibition, “Così via” (Italian for ‘so forth’).