A Visit with Nancy Baker

Baker working with laser cut wood

Nancy Baker’s art is colorful and bright, with filigree shapes that fuse, multiply and pulse outward in vibrant, sweeping waves. Individually the panels seem molecular and scientific; layered together they suggest vast networks and digital flow, yet clearly are the work of an artist’s hand. The eye zooms in and picks out familiar details–a candy wrapper, a takeout tray–then moves out again to appreciate the larger whole.

Panel in Baker’s Studio (full and detail images)
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Lizbeth Mitty & Dana James: The Thread

at M. DAVID & CO. GALLERY extended thru APRIL 21st, 2019 and an artist talk on April 14th at 4PM with Lilly Wei

Lizbeth Mitty in her studio. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Dana James in her studio. Photo courtesy of Drew Reynolds

I met with rising talent artist Dana James and her mother, veteran NYC artist Lizbeth Mitty, prior to their joint exhibition, “The Thread,” which opened March 15th at M. David & Co. Gallery in Bushwick. It was late February, and the artists were trying to answer the lingering question: Which new works should we display?

The debate was an extension of a conversation that had been running for months. Throughout the creative process, alone in their respective studios, the artists had frequently exchanged feedback on works in progress, eschewing criticism for constructive, “technical” suggestions that served to “open the floodgates” and renew the other’s creative energy.

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Elisa D’Arrigo – From the Inside Out

Elisa D’Arrigo, P.G. On My Mind 2, 2018, Glazed Ceramic, 5 x 7 x 4 inches Courtesy of the Artist and Elizabeth Harris Gallery

Elisa D’Arrigo‘s upcoming exhibition, “In the Moment,” at Elizabeth Harris Gallery will feature her new body of ceramic work. Her vessel forms breathe with inner life, their cylindrical shapes are both tumultuous and vivacious – like a body, organism, or life itself. The artist shares with Art Spiel some of her thought and work processes as well as some insight on her upcoming show.

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Nota Bene with @postuccio [iv]

Knockdown Center, Orgy Park, CLEARING

Knockdown Center

Wonderfully striking in bright luminosities, diagonal analogousness, situational room-to-room parallels, transporting suggestiveness and subtly warmed circumstantial frigidities are the two installations ‘contained,’ in a way, by “A Continuous Stream of Occurrence,” an exhibition that opened a few weeks ago at Maspeth gem The Knockdown Center . 

At top is Luba Drozd‘s room. It both looks and sounds like a veritable spatial knot of brilliantly site-specific polyphonia involving significant degrees of multidisciplinarity, multimateriality and strata within circumstantial strata of shadow-play. It’s a tough but fun knot to look at and into, and listen closely to, to begin to untie just how it works with totality and relative simplicity, though not in ways simplistic in the least. 

Rather than necessarily site-specific or sonic, the active state of William Lamsom‘s installation in the adjacent gallery is like that of a shimmering, gradually phase-changing antechamber to Drozd’s comparative cavern; they scan instantly as visually coherent in many satisfying and still individualizable ways. Entering Lamsom’s room alone is like stumbling into an abandoned research lab in a yearless future. Seeing the rooms in tandem is like being dropped in some nicely mysterious nook on Krypton and having no idea why.

Great installations, great show. Curated by a duo going by the ‘name’ XP (@xaviacarin & @parkcmyers). 

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Ethereal Anaesthetic

Joanne Ungar at Front Room Gallery

All Photos by Sharilyn Neidhardt

Joanne Ungar at Front Room, partial installation view

Pain produces sharp, bright sensations or sometimes ripping agony. It’s often intensely specific. The substances that bring us relief often do so by blurring the hard angles of our pain, allowing us to focus elsewhere. Some substances can leave us in a disconnected fog, far away from the source of discomfort. Others mute and muffle the pain, giving the relieved a sense of floating in a cushioned world. Calibrating effective pain relief can be a struggle for balance between an alert connection to the present and a silencing of uncomfortable sensation. Continue reading “Ethereal Anaesthetic”

Nina Meledandri: Somewhere in Between

Nina Meledandri, starting w/(a) line: 7.27.18 – 8.3.18, 2018, 2018, watercolor and ink on paper, 5 x 7″ each, photo: Nina Meledandri

Nina Meledandri ‘s images mostly come in multiples. With sensibility that is both poetic and analytical, she creates series of photographs, paintings, and frequently a combination of both. Altogether her body of work forms a vibrant and imaginative internal dialogue. She shares with Art Spiel some of her thought process, what prompts her imagination, and what has brought her to art.

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Joanne Ungar: Pain Relief

Joanne Ungar, Modern Muse, 59″x48”, wax, board, paint, pigment, 2019, photo courtesy of © 2018 + 2019 Joanne Ungar

In recent years Joanne Ungar has transformed found boxes into translucent paintings by embedding them in layers of wax. The forms are abstracted, but the narrative is evident. These beautiful objects carry the burden of their histories – boxes of pain killers, packages of cosmetics, or chocolate wraps. While their vibrant pigments may encapsulate broken dreams and their origin most likely resonates waste, their sheer alchemy uplifts. Joanne Ungar talks with Art Spiel about “Pain Relief,” her current solo show at Front Room Gallery, which just opened in March 1st, 2019. She also elaborates on her process and some of her forming experiences as an artist.

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Nota Bene with @postuccio [ii]


SRO Gallery, M. David & Co., ODETTA, Klaus Von Nichtssagend

SRO Gallery

Cathy Diamond at SRO Gallery, photo courtesy of the gallery

Dozens of warmly chromatic landscapes with hints of fantasy and abstract intrigue are on view in “Unextinguished,” a kind of amuse-bouche of a genre-specific group show that opened at SRO Gallery a couple weeks ago. It features a great many paintings, and a great many relatively literal as well as apparently non-objective takes on landscapes by Sahand Tabatabai, Sheila Lanham , Cathy Diamond , Moses Hoskins, Cathy Nan Quinlan and Cecilia Whittaker-Doe. If you need a respite from the drudgery of winter (I always do), head over to SRO.

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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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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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