Re-Orientation at La Esquina Gallery

Carrying Herself as a Corpse (red), Samira Abbassy (2014) (oil on gesso panel), dyptych #2, image courtesy of the artist

The group show “Re-Orientations” at La Esquina in NYC features Samira Abbassy, Camille Eskell, Dhanashree Gdiyar, and Sheida Soleimani, 4 US based female artists who bring through figurative representation feminist perspectives rooted in the Near East and South Asia. The co-curators Natasha Stefanovic and Audra Lambert present these distinct feminist voices in context of “Orientalism,” the 1978 seminal and polemic book by renowned scholar Edward W. Said, a must read in Post-Colonial Culture Studies. Ranging formally from painting to embroidery, and thematically from identity to immigration, the images overall depict tragic and at times nostalgic moments rooted in the artists’ cultural background. Underscored with post-colonial sensibility, these intimate narratives humanize and defy the stereotype of what is “oriental.”

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Douglas Florian – Seeing Words

Douglas Florian, Beowolves, Oil on linen, triptych, 96″ X 95″ 2015-16

Douglas Florian‘s paintings resonate with hypnotic chants – repetitive texts or letters resemble spells or curses, a child’s scribbles, or ancient liturgical notes. His marks and vibrant pigments form altogether abstracted and rhythmic fields which entice you to take a close look, read, and simultaneously listen to your own inner voice. Douglas Florian shares with Art Spiel some background and ideas behind his work.

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Ben Pederson: Some Stuff You Forgot About at Ortega Y Gasset Projects

The Skirt “reality tunnel” installation. Image: courtesy of Ortega y Gasset Projects

“Please Watch Your Head” reads a curious sign taped to the metal door of Ortega y Gasset Projects in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Opening the door I realize how this instruction is essential to navigate the jewel toned gauntlet of brick-a-brack curtains cascading from the ceiling in a slender corridor that leads to the main gallery space. Ben Pederson’s solo show “Some Stuff You Forgot About” represents two mature bodies of work which reveal the depth of Pederson’s philosophical approach, as well as the synergy between the artist and the curator Eleanna Anagnos.

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Ashley Norwood Cooper – Grappling with Color of the Ordinary

Ashley Norwood Cooper, Deviled Eggs and Pink Cake, oil on panel, 16” x 20,” 2017, photo courtesy of the artist

Ashley Norwood Cooper is having a solo painting show at First Street Gallery in NYC. The show title, “The Likes of Us,” is taken from a line in “Waiting for Godot,” about the moon looking down on our ordinary lives. The first thing that caught my attention in Cooper’s work was the just right mix of raw quality and subtle sensibility to detail, depicting narratives that both intimate and universal. In this interview the artist talks about her process of painting from the imagination, her approach to color, and how she got to art.

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Nota Bene with @postuccio

Microscope Gallery, Underdonk, Transmitter, TSA New York, Studio 10, Amos Eno, The Border Project Space, Green Door Gallery, Scholes Street Studio

Microscope Gallery, Underdonk, Transmitter, TSA New York

Above are just a handful of hints and glimpses of notions of formal analogousness I noted among four quite different works by four different artists in four different excellent exhibits, all of which opened at the 1329 Willoughby building in Bushwick on the same night earlier this month. 

At top left, an instant of a video involving a ‘vectorial world’ by Lisa Gwilliam & Ray Sweeten at Microscope Gallery . At top right, one of Amy Butowicz‘s  amusingly alt-quotidian metamorphs in her bizarrely joyous solo show at Underdonk . This piece in particular seemed immediately suggestive of Humpty Dumpty’s pants, or The Penguin’s pants, or the pants worn by some bloviating politician in a parodical caricature by Daumier. I’m not sure if they’re supposed to be anything of the sort. I am sure I want pants, or I guess culottes, of just that sort. Moving along, the painting to which those pants, or maybe ‘pants,’ point is by Alessandro Keegan . It’s one of several strong works he’s showing in “Heed,” a winning two-person show at Transmitter  that features also very strong work by Angela Hiesch . At bottom left, a sculpture that seemed to imply a distilled tincture of time frozen still in atemporal liquid motion, or something of such a strangely wordable sort, in “Object of Desire,” a large group show curated by Amanda Martinez  at TSA .

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1947, Simone de Beauvoir in America

Coast to Coast, SONJ ©Esther Bubley, 1947

From de Tocqueville on, travelers have chronicled America, fascinated by its vast space, bustling cities, and diverse people, the gap between the idealized vision of itself and the version outsiders see. In 1947, before Jack Kerouac and Robert Frank took their famous road trips, Simone de Beauvoir took one of her own. Traveling East to West by trains, cars and Greyhound buses, she crossed nineteen states and visited fifty-six cities in four months, recording impressions that were published in 1948 as “America Day By Day”.

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Rutland: Real and Imagined

Ric Kasini Kadour, The Modern Is The Way, photo courtesy of the artist

Photography is inherently effective at telling a story of place. Not only of documenting its history, but also possibly of predicting its future – projecting how a place is or is in the process of becoming. For the group show, “Rutland: Real and Imagined,” which opens in January 31, 2019 at The Alley Gallery in Rutland, Vermont, artist and curator Stephen Schaub brings together eight internationally recognized artists who interpret through their use of photography what constructs a sense of place. Altogether, the resulting photographic imagery in this exhibition creates an engaging story about Rutland – not as a single place but rather many places that come together in the minds and lives of the people who live there.

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Elisabeth Condon – Responding to Contingency

Elisabeth Condon, Plant Life, 2018, ink, acrylic on parchment, 144 x 32, photo Jim Reiman

Elisabeth Condon is a traveler in life and art. Her large scale scrolls, installations, and paintings entice the viewer to join her in adventurous excursions of new and imaginative landscapes. The artist’s innate sensibility for color, pattern, and form, ignited by an insatiable curiosity for cultural intersections, have resulted in an outstanding body of work. For Art Spiel, Elisabeth Condon sheds some light on her dynamic mode of visual quest, and on-going projects.

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Valerie Hegarty – Memory of a Place

In Valerie Hegarty’s work, autobiography, history, and art history merge seamlessly into engaging installations with a distinct sense of place – visceral and subtle, layered and focused. An inquisitive rigor runs through her work, stirring in the viewer an appetite for more. Valerie Hegarty shared with Art Spiel some thoughts on art making, her own art journey, and some of her upcoming projects.

Portrait of artist while working on “Alternative Histories” for the Brooklyn Museum Image courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
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New Narrative Now at M David & Co.

Curated by Michael David and Martin Dull

January 11 – January 27, 2019

Opening Reception Friday Jan 11, 6-9PM

Co-curator Martin Dull pictured with Todd Bienvenu’s painting (left) and Jeffrey Morabito, Kave T-shirt (right)

All images by Sharilyn Neidhardt

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.

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