Last week on a visit to New Haven, I stopped by West Cove Studios for a visit with Jonathan Waters. The unheated old industrial building, featuring an amazing view of New Haven Harbor, houses artists’ studios, a printshop collective, and a good-sized gallery. Waters, who graduated from the Yale MFA program in 1973, worked as a commercial fisherman for many years, but returned to his art practice several years ago. His new work, comprising luan plywood, flat black paint, and hints of brighter colors where the plywood panels intersect, references 70s minimalism, but with a more humanistic, handmade, imperfect approach. Physically imposing at eight-foot-square, the new black panel pieces are unintelligible at a distance and virtually impossible to photograph. Paradoxically, to experience this large-scale work, the viewer must move in close and walk along the surface–as if listening for a very quiet, but extremely important, whisper.
Next door from Waters’s studio, “Sameness-difference-variance,” a lively eight-artist exhibition that explores different approaches to serial imagery, is on display in the gallery through January 2. Organized by Eric Litke, the show includes paintings and photographs by John Bent, Cham Hendon, Keith Johnson, Eric Litke, Jeff Ostergren, Jessica Schwind, Mark Williams, and Robert Zott.
Also worth checking out if you’re in New Haven:
“Mind Sets” a thought provoking exhibition at Haskins Laboratories, curated by Cat Balco and Debbie Hesse with help from Steven Olsen. The curators pair artists with scientists to see if new initiatives and ideas might result from the collaboration. Artists include Fritz Horstman, Zachary Keeting, Lucy Kim, Eva Lee, Martha Lewis, Laura Marsh, Kim Mikenis, Carol Padberg, Dushko Petrovich, Cuyler Remick, Matt Sargent, Bill Solomon, Susan Classen-Sullivan and Paul Theriault. Through January 28, 2011.