Jack Tworkov: Mark and Grid

View at the top of the stairs at Alexander Gray Associates in Chelsea

If you're in New York City and reading this today, stop what you're doing and head over to Alexander Gray Associates in Chelsea. The splendid exhibition, Jack Tworkov: Mark and Grid, 1931-1982, is up through tomorrow, October 24. If there's no chance of your getting there, read on.

There's an entire first floor of early work by Tworkov, including landscapes and still lifes--he had a 50-year career--but I was most taken with the work from the last two decades of his life. The title of the show, Mark and Grid, best describes the work on the second floor, which I'm showing you here. Gallery notes describe Tworkov in this period as "a forerunner of post-minimalism." I love that. The tension of the grid and the self-imposed limits of minimalism are here broken by the clear presence of the artist's hand. Marks, almost cursive, are contained within  geometric compostitions which are, in turn, laid over a grid. The illusion of space--fractured, unfolding, or deeply dimensional--is strong in these works. I've  included some details, because at-a-distance viewing doesn't reveal the subtleties contained within.

Born in Poland, Tworkov emigrated to the United States at 13 and studied at the Art Stuents League and the National Academy of Design. He lived and worked in New York City and Provincetown, and he had a definitive influence on the art of the Sixties and Seventies as a professor and then chair of the art department at Yale. Viewing this work, you would probably not be surprised to learn that Jennifer Bartlett, Brice Marden, and Robert Mangold were among his students.

Jack Tworkov: Mark and Grid, 1931-1982 was curated by the gallery in collaboration with the redoubtable Jason Andrew, who among his many curatorial projects manages the Estate of Jack Tworkov.

This is Tworkov's last painting. What a way to leave this plane, eh?
Compression and Expansion of the Square (Q3-82 #2), 1982, oil on canvas

Detail below, with mark and grid very much in evidence 

P73 #5,1973, oil on canvas

Gallery notes tell us that this painting is the first of ten works in a series painted in the artist's studio in Provincetown . It is to me the most architectural of the paintings in the exhibition, its space defined in perspectival terms. You see this painting from a distance in the opening photo in this post

 Details above and below 

At the top of the stairs looking left, with Note, shown below, on the far wall

Note, 1968, oil on linen

View of the opposite end of the gallery, shot with Note at my right shoulder

Closer view of the far corner, with Knight Series #8 (Q3-77 #2), 1977, oil on canvas and Alternative IX (OC-Q1-78 #5)

Alternative IX (OC-Q1-78 #5), 1978, oil on canvas

Gallery notes tell us that ten paintings make up this series as well, and that the gridded composion is based on "a Fibonacci sequence derived from a 3:5:8: ratio." Tworkov's aim was to use this sequence to create-- I think these are the artist's words-- "identical structures but make each one a totally different painting experience (through) the color and the brushing." I am lingering here because this series is my favorite of his oeuvre. 

(I have a fond memory of rounding the corner at the Cape Cod Museum of Art a few years ago and seeing this painting >>, clearly related, if not from the same series, on a yellow wall.)

And here we are where we started
I mean it: If you're in New York City, go see this show



No, Your-ami!

The over-the-top art fest that takes place in Miami the first week of December can feel wonderfully inclusive to all the artists participating in the two dozen or so fairs scattered throughout the city, but you don't need me to tell you that it can feel woefully exclusionary to everyone else. This year the embrace of opportunity extends a bit wider to artists thanks to two interesting initiatives.  

Both have specific offerings and terms, so here I'm describing the highlights and providing a link to the specific websites. Then it's up to you to decide whether and which you choose to enter. I'm posting info early because submission deadlines are approaching.

View from last year's edition of Square Foot at Projects Gallery, Miami

Square Foot Art Basel Miami Three
Projects Gallery, Wynwood
Submission deadline:  November 6, 2015
Exhibition Dates:  November 28, 2015 – January 9, 2016
Cost to enter: $60 for two entries
Full prospectus here

Allow me to quote directly from the gallery's Call to Artists: "Once again Projects Gallery will create a mosaic-style hanging that will cover all the walls in its Wynwood Lofts gallery in the Wynwood Arts District of Miami.  Last year’s event showcased over 300 works from around the world. The first 100 artists to apply will automatically have artwork on the wall. New this year: Twenty-four works will be shown in the gallery’s suite at the Aqua Art Fair, December 2-6."

A view into Projects Gallery suite at Aqua Art in 2014

The 24 works will be curated by dealers Helen Hyder and Frank Hyder from the works submitted. All artists working in all mediums are eligible, but there is a size and price limit. Works cannot exceed 12 inches in any dimension and must be priced at or below $1,000 retail. I like the inclusionary aspect of the submission process as well as the possibility of curatorial selection into Aqua Art, and I like that the gallery exhibition will continue into January.

(Just so you know, I have shown with Projects Gallery and will again have work with them at Aqua Art.)

. . . . . .

Art in America
Curated by artist and independent curator Julie Torres at The Satellite Show, one of 
40 rooms in Tiger Strikes Asteroid's event, Artist Run
Ocean Terrace Hotel, Miami Beach
Submission process: Ongoing as of this posting
Exhibition dates: December 1-6
Cost: There is no charge to upload an image to the exhibition website, but selected artists may be asked to contribute $50 toward the cost of the exhibition
Full prospectus here

Here's Torres describing her vision and plan for the show: "Art in America will assemble a constellation of artwork from across the U.S., featuring one small work per artist, representing every state plus Puerto Rico. The installation will act a visual and quite literal map of activity, documenting the current conversation of and about artmaking that is quietly taking place across the country, often among emerging, remote and in some cases under-exhibited artists. Art in America will provide an engaging survey of compelling work being made outside metropolitan art meccas, while highlighting commonality of surface, approach, material—and the rich visual language spoken in myriad dialects throughout the U.S."

Part of the page from the exhibition website

When you load your image onto the exhibition website, it becomes part of an enormous grid, so even work that is not selected will have visibility here before and after the show. Torres describes it as "a living document being viewed and shared by hundreds of visitors."

Geographical context for the exhibitions
Both exhibitions are situated near other fair venues. Projects Gallery is in the Wynwood gallery and design area near the Art Miami and Context fairs, as well as the Rubell and Margulies private collections. Aqua Art is short walk to the Convention Center where Art Basel Miami takes place, as well as to Untitled, and Scope. Torres's Art in America exhibition at the Ocean Terrace Hotel is a couple of miles up from the Convention Center, on the beach near Miami Project, Art on Paper, and NADA. 


September's Bounty: Color, Surface, Gesture

While hard-edge paintings were the subject of the previous post, here we look at surface and gesture --the lusciously messy and the rigorously sensual--from the Lower East Side to Chelsea and back.

Stephen Maine: Installation view of New Paintings at Hionas Gallery, with P15-0720, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 80 inches, in the foreground

We start with Stephen Maine at Hionas Gallery on the the LES. Two large canvases occupied the small front gallery, while smaller paintings were installed in several additional back rooms. All of the paintings have a kind of printerly surface. That's because Maine has made them in a printerly manner, adding color in successive layers with plates or stamps made from such unexpected materials as plywood and carpeting. The kiss of the paint-charged "stamp" on the surface embraces process and chance, resulting in a sensuous imprint that reveals as much as it conceals. Maine's shimmery, sari-colored palette--complementary tints or highly saturated analogous hues--are thrillingly retinal.

Though the show came down earlier this month, You can read more in The Brooklyn Rail and The New Criterion 

Detail of P15-0720

P15-0704, 2015, acrylic on canvas, 80 x 64 inches
Detail below

Installation of 10 small paintings in a smaller space within the gallery 


Dona Nelson: Installation view of New Paintings at Thomas Erben Gallery in Chelsea, with Ribbed Red, 2015, acrylic on canvas (two-sided), 78 x 83 inches, foreground; photo from the gallery website

Dona Nelson continues her ambitious exploration of two-sided paintings at the Thomas Erben Gallery in Chelsea. Nelson is fearless in her approach, splashing, dripping, slashing and stitching the works, which she sets into a metal stand that allows both sides to be viewed in the round as one would view sculpture. 

The exhibition is up through October 31.

Above and below
The Old Apple Tree, 2105, acrylic, acrylic mediums and cheesecloth on canvas 

Above and below
Coins in a Fountain, 2015, acrylic and acrylic medium on canvas

Black Points, 2015, acrylic and acrylic mediums on canvas; one side of a two-sided painting


Dan Christensen: Installation view of Dan Christensen: Retrospective at Berry Campbell Gallery in Chelsea

Dan Christensen, who died in 2007, is here given a museum-quality retrospective by Christine Berry and Martha Campbell in their newly enlarged space on 24th Street. The painter was as much a gesturalist as a color field painter, and a minimalist one at that. However one may describe the work, his handling of color was a brilliant constant.

The exhibition is up through October 17.

Couvade, 1979,  acrylic on canvas, 74 x 81 inches
Detail below


Keltie Ferris: Installation view of Paintings and Body Prints at Mitchell-Innes and Nash

Cleopatra, 2015, acrylic and oik on canvas, 96 x 130 inches

Keltie Ferris's new paintings at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in Chelsea feature a kind of macro pixelation that suggests they were computer generated or, perhaps, woven. There's also geometry to the compositions, and a strong sense of landscape. There's a lot going on. Up close you can see discrete brush strokes that make up the pixelated image, but there are also whole areas that are airbrushed. Her color is strong. Her compositions have muscle. I want to like them, but they don't quite flip my switch.

The exhibition is up through October 17.

Marksman, 2015, acrylic and oil on canvas, 72 x 60 inches
Detail below


Installation view: Alicia McCarthy at Jack Hanley Gallery on the LES

Provisional messiness doesn't flip my switch either, yet I really respond to Alicia McCarthy's work at Jack Hanley. She has a way with color and grid interlacement. I first saw her work at Pulse in Miami about six years ago. The weave paintings then were only about 24 x 20 but they were pulsing with power; you could almost see them expand and contract. The addition in this show of chromosomic X's unleashes a whole new subtext: women in paint. Or am I reading too much into them?

The show has closed, but you can read what both Roberta and Jerry have to say about it.

Installation view with details below. The paintings are untitled, mixed-media works that include colored pencil, latex paint and spray paint

Untitled above, with an installation shot below to give you some dimensional context (it's the painting at the far end of the wall)


Systems that Dazzle

Two current exhibitions--Gabriel Evertz: The Gray Question at Minus Space in Dumbo (through the 31st), and 1960s Hard Edge Painting: DC, LA, NY at D. Wigmore Fine Art on Fifth Avenue in Midtown (through Nov. 6)--afford us a look, spanning half a century and three major cities, of paintings in which flat color, pristine geometry and systematic compositions hold sway. 

Above: Gabriele Evertz, Intensification (Come Closer), 2014, acrylic on canvas over panel, 60 x 60 inches. Gallery photo

Below: Gene Davis, Royal Veil, 171, acrylic on canvas, 93 x 110 inches

We start with the contemporary painter, Gabriel Evertz. In her solo show, the veteran painter introduces an achromatic spectrum into her signature stripe paintings. The result is an undulating field of color inflected and affected by gray. What you may not see until you get up close, really close, is that while the chromatic stripes are rigorously parallel, the grays are painted at an angle. That is to say that in the thickness of one stripe, two extremely acute angles of slightly different values are painted; what starts out thick at the top tapers to nothing at the bottom, while what starts out thick at the bottom tapers to nothing at the top. It's subtle but potent. So now when you find yourself falling visually into the painting you'll know why.

By the way, the new Minus Space is sublime.

Evertz installation view looking to the back wall of the gallery

Below, the painting you also see at right in the installation view:
RYBG (Agent), 2015, acrylic on canvas over panel, 60 x 60 inches. Gallery photo

Here's a detail of RYGB (Agent)'s angled grays

Installation view looking toward the front. Lens distortion makes the painting in foreground look rectangular when it's actually square, which you can see below

RGB (Three Brothers), 2015, acrylic on canvas over panel, 60 x 60 inches. Gallery photo

At the venerable D. Wigmore Fine Art, Deedee Wigmore and Emily Lenz have assembled, as they do with each exhibition, a museum-worthy collection. Here it's hard-edge paintings from the 1960s (and 1970s). It's instructive to note the differences from these three big cities. While the Washington painters worked largely on unprimed canvas, the Los Angeles group worked in oil, and the New Yorkers in acrylic. Medium may not be immediately or even necessarily apparent so much as the result, which is optically compelling both compositionally and chromatically. You can read Emily Lenz's essay here

Installation view: Thomas Downing on far wall, Paul Reed, Downing, Tadasky, Julian Stanczak 

Three by Paul Reed, each 1962, acrylic on canvas, 34 x 34 inches
with detail below:

Thomas Downing, Tadasky, Stanczak with detail of Tadasky below

C-185 (Four Color Shift, 1965, acrylic on canvas, 56 x 56 inches

From farther back looking toward the front. Middle ground: black and white paintings by Bill Kommodore and Richard Anuszkiewicz; foreground, Frederick Hammersley and John McLaughlin

From mid gallery looking to the back: There's a better view of the Anuszkiewicz at left, and Bill Kommodore on the wall between the windows. Far right there's a peek at a small Gene Davis, which you can see better below

Gene Davis with detail 

Karl Benjamin, #36, 1964, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 inches

Two more by Benjamin

(The last interview Benjamin gave before he died in 2012 was to Julie Karabenick at Geoform. Read it here. You will also find interviews with Julian Stanczak and Tadasky)