In a recent foray to the galleries on the Lower East Side, I experienced spatial shifts, woozy geometry, surrealistic portraits and hallucinogenic patterns. Call it LSD on the LES. (I wasn't really tripping; it just felt that way.)
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Caetano de Almieda
Up through November 15, the Brazilian Caetano de Almieda pulls you into his dialog with geometric abstraction at Eleven Rivington . I particularly liked his hallucinogenic grid, below, which seems to breathe with you, inhaling and exhaling before your eyes.
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Martinez's first-time solo is at Christopher Henry Gallery through November 1. As suggested by the title of the show, The Pursuit of Happiness (Is a Warm Gun), the work mixes referents and ideas. Cowboys and Indians take you through a narrative that suggests historical struggle and cultural identity painted with what seems to be a mescaline-dipped brush. The smaller works are framed and glazed, so as you peer into the work, you catch a glimpse of yourself--another layer of history and identity. But are you adding something of your culture and history to the artist's? Or is he adding his to yours?
For his part, the self-taught Martinez says simply: "Inspired by my tripping through america/as an insider, as an outsider/revolving doors and cultural mores/dog bless america!"
Martinez at Christopher Henry: Under My Thumb, 2009, 42 x 108 inches; and Pillow Talk, 2009, 74 x 60 inches, both acrylic on paper
Below: Pillow Talk detail with an electric palette and retinally challenging pattern
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