7.24.2015

"Summer Show" at dm contemporary

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Summer is a great time for group shows, and I'll have a few more to show you as the season progresses, but for now let me take you on a walk-though of the Summer Show at dm contemporary in New York City. Owner/director Doris Mukabaa Marksohn has brought together 23 gallery and invited artists. The show is up through September 19. Here's a look around:

Entering the gallery: On left, Willy Bo Richardson; David Aipperspach, Blinky Bellini, 2014, oil and flashe on linen; two by Karen Schiff, Writing Spaces: Golden, 2010, ink on laid paper,  and Writing Spaces: Pools, 2010, ink and graphite on laid paper.



Willy Bo Richardson, Three Muses 4, 2012, oil on wood
Now we turn left . . .

And walk through the center room (we'll return) . . .


 . . . to the room at the far end of the gallery. From left: Martin Mullin, Richard Bottwin, two by Matthew Langley, Rob de Oude (top) and Joanne Mattera; in alcove: de Oude painting, and vessels by the team of Nadia Pignatone and Fausto Pellegrini

Rob de Oude, Dicey Dissolve, 2014, oil on canvas; Pignatone & Pellegrini, Bicolor Bowls, multi-layer cast porcelain


More direct views of Martin Mullin, City Works, 2013-14, gold leaf on linen on wood; Richard Bottwin, Yellow Facade, 2013, maple, ash veneer and acrylic color; Matthew Langley, Tough and Avenue, both 2015, acrylic on paper


Closer views of Bottwin and Langley
Gallery photo
Foreground: Rob de Oude, Stretched Plaid, 2014, oil on panel. and Joanne Mattera; in distance: Linda Cummings

Joanne Mattera, Silk Road 257, 2015, encaustic on panel


Linda Cummings, On Course, 2014, archival pigment on cotton rag

With Cummings in distance, we turn to Pignatone & Pellegrini's Morandi Mood, 2011, wheel-thrown vessels

Second view below, with two by Vincent Marksohn on far wall
Gallery photos


Vincent Marksohn, Movement in Color 2, 2015, archival pigment print

Below: with Marksohn on left, looking into the center gallery
Gallery photos

In the center gallery from left: Steven Baris, Derrick Velasquez; and Pignatone& Pellegrini vessels, Drips: Set of 2 


Derrick Velasquez, Untitled 104, 2015, vinyl and wood


Steven Baris, Regardless of Topography, D1 and D2. 2014, oil on mylar


With entrance on right we head into the third exhibition space.
Here, right: two by Karen Schiff; on far wall, Ron Johnson, Swerve City, 2015, acrylic on panel


In the third gallery: Sun K. Kwak, Untying Pink, 2005; Jackie Battenfield, shown below; on pedestal: Zoe Keramea, Boxes


Jackie Battenfield, Abloom color study 2, 2012, acrylic on mylar panel


David Headley, Picasso #1, 20-15, acrylic on cradled canvas panel

More info on the gallery website 
More Installation and individual images the gallery's Facebook page

7.17.2015

Critical Mass., Part 3: Buddha in the Berkshires

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Installation view from The Immortal Present at the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Mass.


Cricital Mass. is the series I've posted in recent summers when I spend most of my time in Massachusetts. In this installment we visit the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield.

The Berkshire Museum is a small institution dedicated to art, science and history. Often overshadowed by the strictly arts-focused larger institutions in the area like the Clark Museum in Williamstown and Mass MoCa in North Adams, it has nevertheless attracted a following: artists, families, school groups, and the inevitable summer tourists. I was fortunate to be given a guided tour last week by my new friends, Van Shields, director of the museum, and the painter Peggy Rivers.


Entering the museum



There's a lot to see there, but I'm focusing on one show, the Immortal Present: Art and East Asia, and more specifically on a beautiful room of Buddhas. As you might expect of a room filled with objects of veneration, there was a welcome sense of centered calm. The exhibition, curated by Maria Mingalone, explores a range of images and objects. It's up through September 7.


In the great Hall, with video projections by Saya Woolfalk, A Fictional Species of Empathics, we see in the distance the installation by Long Bin-Chen that opens Immortal Present


Long-Bin Chen: Buddha and Wheel, phone books, 2008

Details above and below:  You can see how the figure is carved from Manhattan telephone books. I love that within its head it contains millions of names



Gonkar Gyatso,  Buddha, 2015, mixed media collage
This traditional seated Buddha is one with everything, including the images and snippets of contemporary culture

Detail below



This figure is shown facing the Buddha collage: Praying Monk, gilded wood, Burma, 19th Century

In a vitrine past the figure's left shoulder, we see the exquisite sculpture below:
Daoist Immortal Head, Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644, china, wood, lacquer


Standing Buddha, Japan, 19th Century, gilt wood


My favorite buddhas, more correctly known as bodhisattvas or avalokiteshvaras, are those of Guanyin. Boddisattvas delay their own attainment of nirvana in order to help alleviate human suffering. Guanyin is most often embodied as female, but sometimes as male--an interesting way to embrace duality

Guanyin, Japan, 19th century, collection of the Berkshire Museum
Carved from ivory, she is depicted as standing on a lotus blossom with dragons at her feet.

7.12.2015

Summer Nocturne

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There are some splendid dark paintings on view right now. What they share is not only the achromatic richness of night, but a reductive sensibility expressed via geometric means. 


Porfirio DiDonna: Paintings from the 1970s at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, Chelsea, through July 31
Porfirio DiDonna, Untitled, 1971, acrylic and graphite on canvas


Installation view above
Detail below

Porfirio DiDonna (1942-1986) had a short year career that left a long legacy. In Paintings from the 1970s at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery, we see a selection of large-scale and smaller paintings in which DiDonna's geometry is formed and delineated by dots. The work, which seems to have been painted with points of light, references music, mathematics, the heavens, perhaps infinity itself. A Brooklyn native, DiDonna showed regularly in Boston at Neilsen Gallery (where I first saw his work years ago) and in New York City at OK Harris. His 15-year career was cut short by a brain tumor.

Go spend some time with the paintings in this show. Look at the work on paper in the viewing room, too. Like Eva Hesse, one wonders what he might have done with another few decades.

Porfirio DiDonna, Untitled, 1970-71, acrylic and graphite on canvas,
96 x 60 inches
Detail below


DiDonna: An installation of three, shown individually below, whose compositional placement and cadence suggest music 

Untitled, 1970, oil on canvas

Untitled, 1976, oil and graphite on canvas

Untitled, 1974, oil on linen

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The 65th Annual Art of the Northeast exhibition  at Silvermine Arts Center, New Canaan, Connecticut, through July 26 

Installation view at Silvermine Arts Center


The exhibition, something of an institution in the area, was juried this year by Michelle Grabner and Brad Killam. Three works on the wall by Nancy Natale--back wall, image above--are shown individually below. To be honest, the exhibition doesn't merit a special trip, but if you're in the area, yes, go. However, I think Natale's work is terrific--very much worth seeing--if not here, then at Arden Gallery in Boston, and wherever else she might be showing.

The dot elements in Natale's assemblages are from tacks, which hold down strips of repurposed rubber or, here, leather. The smoother compositional elements come via encaustic. Together they form a kind of skin-versus-skin surface, but what really does it for me is the power of reductive geometry with a strongly material sensibility.

Nancy Natale: Flap, 2015, 18 x 18 inches

Passage,2015, 18 x 18 inches

Unveiled, 2015, 18 x 18 inches

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Don Voisine at McKenzie Fine Art, Lower East Side

A selection of Voisines in the gallery's back room, which is open for viewing

I missed Don Voisine's solo last month so I was thrilled to see a small selection of works on viewing shelves in the gallery's back room. A few are from the exhibition and a few had just arrived. Voisine's devotion to the reductive, to the dark, to the hard edge has been honed to exquisite precision. Squares, rectangles, and parallellograms are choreographed to collide or layer, matte against shiny, shape over shape. And those negative areas are like keyholes into a deeper space that suggests unexpected dimension behind the picture plane.

(The current solo is of sensually chromatic new work by Maureen McQuillan through August 15.)

Untitled, 2015, oil on wood panel, 12 x 12 inches
This and the following images from the gallery's website


Bluff, 2014, oil on wood panel, 18 x 28 inches


K, 2014, oil on wood panel, 22 x 24 inches


Ticket, 2014, oil on wood panel, 28 x 18 inches