Summer Solos, Part 4: Karen Schifano

Summer Solos, Part 1: Brenda Goodman   
Summer Solos, Part 2: Debra Ramsay  
Summer Solos, Part 3: Helen Miranda Wilson

I don't get to DUMBO often, but when I do I'm always struck by its 19th Century quality--the low buildings, cobblestone streets, and short walk to the East River (even though traffic is passing clamorously overhead on the Manhattan Bridge).

A corner of the gallery space with six gouaches on paper

In a similar way, there's something of an old-fashioned feel to the Melville House publishing company, and I mean that in a good way. Instead of a a 40th floor location in a steel-and-class building in the canyons of Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, it's a glass-fronted historic brick building on Plymouth Street, under the bridge. Books are set on wooden tables in the from room, which doubles as a gallery space, while editorial work take place in the back. It's quiet, and the room offers plenty of daylight for art viewing.

The art on exhibition is by Karen Schifano, whose reductive paintings pack a lot into their mid-side proportions. A previous series dealt with passages into or through implied space. In this new work, forms suggestive of cartoon thought balloons seem to hover slightly away from the picture plane. Schifano places rings or circles within these shapes, which themselves hover, or which conversely offer a glimpse into the space behind the flatness.  And then, because the shapes have that thought-balloon quality, there's the suggestion of dialogue.

Installation view

Below: Wide Open,  2014, acrylic on canvas

The show, curated by Emily Berger, is up through September 19. Info here

"Karen's work is inventive, intelligent and beautiful with a subtle sense of humor as well," says Berger, who is herself a painter. "I am very happy to have had this opportunity to feature her work at Melville House, thanks to Director of the Melville House Gallery, Jim Osman."

All of the Above on far wall

Additional notes:
. Schifano has on exhibition now a selection of small works on paper at Some Walls, in Oakland, California, an exhibition-and-essay project founded and curated by artist Chris Ashley, which is open by appointment
. DUMBO is home to a number of galleries on Front Street, including A.I.R., Minus Space, and Stephen Romano
. Look for the Trust Your Vision mural by Gilf at the anchorage of the Manhattan Bridge

1 comment:

annell said...

Love the post!