In Steven Pestana’s imaginative mixed media installation at Peep Space, light, shadow, projection and reflection integrate through poetic transitions and passages. The show runs from May 20th through June 19th, 2022.
At 291 Grand Street, a bright red glow radiates from Home Gallery, a storefront window exhibition space in the Lower East Side. The light comes from large, fluorescent neon letters that spell out “Que no Quede Huella,” which are layered over a flat screen TV playing a rotating series of videos. The installation is the latest iteration of multimedia artist Jesus Benavente’s neon video sculptures, displayed in the exhibition Que no Quede Huella (Let There Be No Trace), curated by Elisa Gutiérrez Eriksen.
Hovey Brock’s current paintings are part of Crazy River, a larger project he has been developing since 2017. The paintings are based on his life-long relationship to the West Branch of the Neversink, which runs between Ulster and Sullivan counties in New York state. The project also includes text and videos, drawing on the artist’s experience and stories about the West Branch and the western Catskill mountains handed down through his family.
To kick off the Dumbo Open Studios Weekend in late April, Platform Project Space opened MOD, a five person show commanding strong appeal, curated by Sharon Butler. As the title and press release indicate, modularity, modernism and mods, or modifications in contemporary gaming, are all potentially at play both in the individual works and together as an installation. Each artist’s contribution holds a single wall or area in a small room that’s comfortable, easy, and open. The formal language of color and shape is nuanced to suggest personal and organic qualities and intimate spaces. No mystery here. Instead, curiosity openly hovers in close examinations of the human touch, in the detail and care given to small moments.
The time is passing but the image dwells. 47 men are posing to get their picture taken, completely still. These men in suits and ties are U.S. Attorneys in the year 1933, basking in their moment of power and glory. Above them, an old wall clock’s pendulum keeps moving from one end to the other, its ticking sound loud and clear. The moment is eternalized, and the power remains, even now. 89 years and the image is still relevant: White men are in charge. Artist Cat Del Buono’s video piece Time (2011) is an illusory work in between a video and a still, framed and hung like a photograph that uncannily moves, and it displays a perpetual stalemate.
Speaking on behalf of all the amazing artists I’ve interviewed over the past four years for this monthly Renewable Energy series, I think that one of the greatest compliments any of us could ever hope to receive would be to be described as a “superhero” by Olafur Eliasson.
I’ll start with a question: does a critic have an obligation to propose a solution to an enigmatic puzzle an exhibition might pose? What has led to this, is reading William Corwin’s catalog essay for The Agreement: Chromatic Presences, in which he ignores recounting the history of sculpture and color—deemed for a very long time to be irreconcilable like fish and cheese. It is now common knowledge, sculpture till the time of the renaissance was largely polychromed, but a neo-classical notion of purity and essentialism came to be imposed upon it to differentiate it qualitatively from painting. As a result, sculpture came to be limited to the colors of its materials—marble, bronze and wood. In the West, this formalism was institutionalized by the Enlightenment’s and was the excepted norm until the mid-20th century, when art’s traditional forms began to morph. Consequently, we must ask if there is a more contemporary issue concerning color and form at the heart of Corwin’s The Agreement: Chromatic Presences, and if so, what might it be?
Natalie Westbrook’s exhibition at ZYNKA Gallery in Pittsburgh features new paintings on canvas and drawings on paper. Westbrook depicts faces as thick lines immersed in saturated hot pinks, greens or monochrome gradations—altogether fluctuating between the monstrous and the angelic, the scary and the pathetic. Sometimes they are solitary and sometimes they indicate twins or perhaps a fragmented self. In her catalogue essay on Natalie Westbrook’s work, Larissa Pham observes that Faces “come for you, leering, grinning, mouths a garish lipsticked rictus of joy, embedded flat against the canvas, their features seeming to emerge from the psychological fabric of the painting itself.”
Susan Rostow’s sculptures resemble archeological artifacts with biomorphic characteristics, inviting us to probe into their origin, meaning and what they are made of. Textures of abrasive material such as clay and moss-like surface, along with graphic symbols such as linear markings of shore tides and other signifiers from old maps, fuse into hybrid forms where the lines between past and future, what is natural and what is fabricated, are seamlessly blurred.
Far from the palatial white cubes of Chelsea or the intimate townhouse spaces of the Upper East Side is a different type of gallery space – one that serves as a reminder of an earlier moment in the art world, and yet persists into the present – the SoHo loft. In his debut solo exhibition, Sam Spillman has created work that probes at this history in In Case Of Sam Spillman at Ulterior Gallery.