Heather McLeod: Hide and Seek

In Dialogue with  Heather McLeod

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Heather V McLeod, Wreath IV, oil on canvas, 16” diameter, 2020. On view at and photograph courtesy of Trotter&Sholer.

Heather V McLeod is an artist exploring identity and the psychology by which we perceive others. Interested primarily in portraiture and representative work, McLeod creates pieces with the intent of capturing the character of the figure portrayed. She plays with the use of symbolism and concealment to enhance the narrative and evoke a playful yet ominous side to portraiture.

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Babs Reingold: Palette of Materials

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From left to right: Babs Reingold in the studio with Hair Nest ’01, Hair Nest ’16, Hair Nest ’15, photo courtesy of the artist

In her multi layered installations Babs Reingold‘s brings together drawing, sculpture, found objects, and at times video, to create potent environments alluding to the body, the environment, and the passage of time. Equipped with a fine tuned sensibility to materiality and an imaginative approach to spatiality, Babs Reingold’s installations inhabit spaces as an alternate force of nature and take a life of their own.

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Alexander Rutsch, The Voluptuous Eye at Kenise Barnes Fine Art

Sunset, mixed media on board, 36 x 44 inches, 1990s

My first encounter with the work of the artist Alexander Rutsch was through his daughter, the artist Alexandra Rutsch Brock (Alexi), a friend and one of my fellow co-founders of the London Calling Collective. I visited the Rutsch family home in Pelham where she grew up and where her mother still lives. The home, an eccentric, polymathic cacophony of hand-hewn art and embodied life, reflects my experience of Alexi as a passionate and energetic artist, teacher, and friend. A labyrinthine artist’s house- the type that real estate brokers abhor, is brim-full of paintings, sculptures, built-in furniture, object d’art, hand-tiled stone walls, curved nooks, hallways to a warren of rooms, and Alexander Rutsch’s overflowing attic studio, where the work from this exhibition came. I marvel at the fecundity of imagination a childhood in that house must have fostered. This history makes it a special honor to step back and review the exhibition, Alexander Rutsch, a Pop-Up, at Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont, NY, on view March 4-7 and March 11-14. 2021. The exhibition includes paintings on panel, works on paper, sketchbook pages, and whimsical bronze sculptures cast from industrial materials and found objects.

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Julia Kunin at Kate Werble Gallery

In Dialogue with Julia Kunin

The artist with Queen of Mars

Running through March 4rd, Julia Kunin’s exhibition Mechanical Ballet at Kate Werble Gallery features ceramic wall reliefs and caryatids that create an imaginary narrative of sexually charged figures. “They are at once fortresses in themselves, a merging of body, machine and architecture, ready to become weaponized,” the artist says. The works draw from the hard-edged geometric rhythm found in Art Deco objects and the relentless patterns pay tribute to Art Nouveau and Op-Art. Her most recent large wall pieces are made up of multiple sections, with the potential to be re-arranged and taken apart. Julia Kunin refers to them as sculptural drawings in clay, that vibrate with iridescence — “the destabilizing psychedelic color enables the figures to change and move in their ever-shifting narrative frieze,” she says.

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KODA – A Focus on Artists

In Dialogue with Klaudia Ofwona Draber

A person standing in a forest

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Klaudia Ofwona Draber at The Strange Foundation (https://thestrange.foundation). Photo by Willa Köerner

The idea for KODA has already germinated in Klaudia Ofwona Draber’s mind during her graduate degree at Sotheby’s Institute of Art New York. While researching extensively for her business plan, it has occurred to her that mid-career artists are not getting enough support and something needs to be done about it. She founded KODA in 2019 guided by her initial observation regarding the needs of mid-career artists. KODA focuses on artists who explore social related topics through rigorous research, providing them with exposure and enhancing their opportunities for scholarship through residencies, survey exhibitions, and community-based activities. Klaudia Ofwona Draber, KODA Founder and Board President, shares with Art Spiel the vision behind the organization and sheds some light on some of the affiliated artists.

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This Two: Sun You at Geary

In Dialogue with Sun You

No Title (detail), 2020

This Two, Sun You’s first solo show with Geary, takes place concurrently at Geary’s two locations: Bowery in the Lower East Side and Main street in Millerton, New York. Geary features You’s clay- based work which includes oven-baked polymer clay forms mounted on painted wood panels, sculpted clay forms in cardboard boxes, and a separate body of sculptures made of mixed media — metal wire, razor blades, beads, and artificial flowers “held by magnets and gravity”, as described by Michael McCanne in the press release. The show runs through March 5th, 2021.

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Mary Ann Lomonaco: With Every Fiber at Pelham Art Center

The artist and Mop with Delicas

Mary Ann Lomonaco began her artistic life as a papermaker after majoring in
Fiber art at Parsons School of Design . Ultimately this led to exploring the kitchen mop as a cellulose fiber she could use when making pulp. One day she started noticing the mophead itself as a potential sculptural element on its own. This insight subsequently led her to explore other recycled materials. Mary Ann Lomonaco recently completed commissions for Delta Airlines for their Executive Lounges in San Francisco, London, JFK, Seattle and Atlanta as well as a large piece for their Atlanta Headquarters. Her installation at the Westchester County Airport is comprised of 55 multiple pieces. Her work is also in the collections of the Neuberger Museum, Neutrogena, AT&T, PepsiCo and the World Bank Library among others.

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Greg Drasler: Crowded Places / Open Spaces at Betty Cuningham Gallery

In Dialogue with Greg Drasler

Crowded Places / Open Spaces installation Betty Cuningham Gallery

Greg Drasler came to be a metaphorical figurative painter when he lost everything he owned in a fire in 1978, except for two paintings. At that moment he decided to focus exclusively on painting — he was a painter and painting would be everything he needed. He began to rebuild his pictorial world with scenes from the self-help DIY magazines and for over 40 years has continued to explore and expand his visual vocabulary through several bodies of work. Greg Drasler says he identifies with the subjects of his paintings “as personal questions, metaphors, and allegories often responding to social and cultural topics.” His current solo exhibition at Betty Cuningham Gallery includes both works from his lengthiest series, the Hats Paintings, and some from his most recent series, the Road House paintings. Sparked by the effects of social distancing due to the pandemic, the paintings overall assume another layer of meaning.

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The Process of Weaving the Intentionally Fragmented at Transmitter

Installation of Patchwork at Transmitter, image courtesy of the gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2021)

The Brazilian educator and philosopher Paulo Freire speaks on the essential character of dialogue for revolution. Seen as the thread that connects communities to revolutionary ideas and actions, dialogue is a continual process. A continuum revolves visually and semiotically within the walls of Transmitter gallery these days with the new exhibition Patchwork. Time is of central significance as the theme of fragmentation provides illuminative access through each of the three artists in the show, highlighting complex pasts that beget the enormous project of both appreciation and reconciliation via understanding the significance of each layered memory.

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Mercedes Matter Awards Show at Margalit Startup City

Installation view

Artist, writer, and educator Mercedes Matter’s legacy is a memorable one. Matter studied and worked with many notable artists including Hans Hofmann, Lee Krasner, and Willem de Kooning during the 1930s and 40s, and then founded the New York Studio School in the tumultuous year of 1964. The Studio School became one of the defining institutions of the New York art scene and delivered high profile artists from that year on. One telling fact is that Leo Castelli and company were habitual goers, and this is still the case today.

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