Blue As An Orange

Tristeza II, 2024, installation view

The mysterious elevator door facing the busy corner of Broadway and Canal takes you to the vast and brightly lit space of Ulterior Gallery, which is currently presenting Keren Benbenisty’s second solo show with the gallery titled Tristeza II. A continuation of a 2021 show by Benbenisty, named after the same lethal virus that infects citrus trees, comprises a series of new works in various media. At the center is a 14-minute video narrating the artist’s attempt at cultivating a blue orange, a project she has been occupied with for the past several years: The bluranj, as she named it, or Tapuchol, from the Hebrew word for orange, “Tapuz” and blue, “Kachol”. The video takes us through footage from her visits to an Israeli agricultural research institute, where she met with scientists who specialize in grafting new citrus species. They questioned her ambition – why a blue orange? Benbenisty does not offer a logical explanation but rather a poetic one. The works in the exhibition tell her personal story and provide a window into the larger narrative of the region.

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Harriet Korman’s Brutal Realism

Opinion
a hallway with paintings on the wall
Photo credit: Fernando Sandoval/MW

In Harriet Korman’s exhibition titled Portraits of Squares, the squares in question are either nested within the framework of a grid or stand alone as discreet entities surrounded by blocks of color. Her palette, in the main, is made of secondary and tertiary colors, which for the most part, are applied in an opaque and unmodulated manner — her surfaces tend to be flat and dry. Korman uses color both as a formal element to reinforce her composition’s structure as well as spatially. As one moves around the gallery, there seems to be no logical progression or sense to the paintings’ variations. The canvases, all of the same dimensions, are rectangular and are hung on the horizontal at eye level; their sequencing refuses to surrender an associative, conceptual, or anecdotal narrative. What one is left with is the fact they all, in part, reference squares and that they are all relatively different in approach. Subsequently, it is hard to determine if the “portraits” represent systemic deviations on a singular theme or if each painting was individually intuited. Behind the reception desk hangs a painting from 1979 whose forms are organic, their edges blurred, and whose surface is mottled. This painting stands as a reminder that Korman works thematically, and the present paintings are an aspect of her broader investigation of abstract painting’s various idioms.

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Man Bites Dog Bites Man

John O’Connor at L’Space presented in conjunction with Pierogi Gallery

Noahbot-colored pencil and graphite on paper. 83 x 69.5. 2013. Photo courtesy of John Berens

There is an astonishing amount of information in John O’Connor’s drawings. The work, currently on show in Chelsea at L’Space Gallery, explodes off the paper with words and numbers, names, logos, and dates. It’s information overload, and that is part of the genius of the show.

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On Henry Street, Tianyi Sun Works with Simulacra and Cuteness

Tianyi Sun and Fiel Guhit. “Bakery Story,” installed as part of FROM_LISTENERS, 2023. 30 x 18 x 32 inches, Laser cut and engraved acrylic, aluminium, LCD screen, webcam.

“I love it. I am all for kitschy stuff,” Tianyi Sun says, laughing, as she notices the iridescent glitter liquid phone case. In her practice, Sun engages with the cute and zany using these categories as an entry point to embody how we approach technology in our everyday lives—her work takes the form of installations and responsive environments activated by a reading or performance. With much of her work being modular, the audience moving through the space is as important as the work itself—“bridging the digital and the analog,” she explains. “I want to expose the aesthetics, the beauty, the politics without lessening the visceral response.” A central question of her work is: What happens with the human experience as we navigate technology?

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Jeanne Verdoux’s Female Vaisselle at Sculpture Space

previewing exhibition
A white and orange plastic mannequin

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Ballerina, Ceramics & glaze, 17x12x9.25”, 2023

Brooklyn artist Jeanne Verdoux’s latest exhibition, Female Vaisselle, at the Sculpture Space NYC from February 2 to March 2, 2024, marks her first solo show in New York City. Verdoux captures the essence of the female form through a blend of ceramics, drawings, monoprints, and video art. The title itself is a linguistic play, merging the French word “vaisselle” (meaning tableware) with the English “vessel,” reflecting the dual themes of domesticity and the female body as a container of multifarious experiences.

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Swoon – Hushed and Big Voices

In Dialogue

 All images courtesy of Tod Seelie.
Swoon, Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, photo courtesy of Tod Seelie

Brooklyn-based artist Caledonia Curry, known as Swoon, is celebrated internationally as one of the first female street artists in a male-dominated field. For over two decades, Swoon has explored human experiences through public art, museum exhibitions, and film. Her latest projects look at the ties between trauma and addiction, inspired by her own life in a family affected by opioid addiction. She works closely with communities, using art to show empathy and help people heal. Over the last ten years, Swoon has led important projects in places like Braddock and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, New Orleans in Louisiana, Venice, and Komye in Haiti, tackling everything from natural disasters to the opioid crisis.

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Ceramics+ Drawing Into Sculpture at LIC

photo story
A colorful paper ball with barbed wire

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Sok Song,- SoNoBe: Legermain Barbed and Coiled. Clay, paper, plastic, 16”x16”x16”.2023, Me, Mom, and the War on Identity. Acrylic, screen print, collage on paper, 36”x28” 2023 ( on wall)

The Long Island City Artists, an art non-profit known as LIC-A, is currently presenting a bold exhibition that brings together artists who work simultaneously in two media not always thought of as compatible. Curator Matt Nolen has gathered a fascinating group of artists from the NYC metropolitan area who work in both clay and drawing–one influencing and bouncing off the other. The synthesis is a fascinating and genre-bending exhibition.

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Watershed—Grace Mitchell in conversation with Mary McCoy

HOT AIR

A landscape with a river and a blue sky

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Grace Mitchell-Eternal Return IV, Oil on panel, 30”x30”, 2022

The deep, rich colors and textures of Grace Mitchell’s oil paintings will draw you in, but it’s often the title that sets you thinking. Interweaving layers of color glow through the marsh grasses in her newest series, Watershed Assessment. You could get lost in the sheer beauty of these paintings with their glints of tidal water and shadowy mountains looming in the distance, all saturated with a moist, misty atmosphere that seems to glow with fecundity. But the title gives pause. These lush, luminous landscapes are meant to be “assessed,” and careful observation finds them full of scars and flaws.

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The Immigrant Artist Biennial – In Dialogue

Portraiture, Archives, and Representation: Golnar Adili, Erika DeFreitas, and Jonathan Ojekunle

On the left: Jonathan Ojekunle. Shining Light, 2022. Oil, acrylic on canvas. 60 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist and The Immigrant Artist Biennial. Courtesy NARS Foundation. Photographed by Young Yu Don.

Oftentimes, in thinking about the representation of the human form in art, people can get very attached to the ‘abstraction’ versus ‘figuration’ binary. These respective styles frequently get coded as opposites, and certain kinds of politics are ascribed to each. For example, ‘figuration’ is coded as a kind of politics of representation, whereas ‘abstraction’ is a politics of refusal or resistance to legibility. However, the work of Golnar Adili, Erika DeFreitas, and Jonathan Ojekunle, all on view in The Immigrant Artist Biennial 2023: Contact Zone, functions beyond this binary in fresh ways. We interviewed the artists about portraiture and its relationship with archives and representation.

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A Story of Immigration, Heritage, and Identity: Invisible Bodies on View at Pennsylvania State University

Installation view, Invisible Bodies, at Penn State University (HUB-Robeson Galleries), 2023. Images courtesy of The Border Gallery and HUB-Robeson Galleries

Installation view, Invisible Bodies, at Penn State University (HUB-Robeson Galleries), 2023. Image courtesy of The Border Gallery and HUB-Robeson Galleries.

As one approaches “Art Alley,” part of the Hub-Robeson Galleries at Pennsylvania State University, it is the vibrant green walls that first draw one’s attention. Painted green for the “support for an open immigration system, allowing immigrants to contribute to the nation’s labor force, Invisible Bodies: An Exploration of Migrant Labor Through an Artistic Lens, curated by The Border Gallery and Emireth Herrera Valdes, brings together fifteen artists from diverse backgrounds to contemplate labor, immigration, and identity in the United States.

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