A few things I saw on Spring Break

 I’ve been invited to organize a show at the quirky Hygienic Art in New London, CT, so when I stopped by to check out the space, I ran into “Canoe Ride Two,” (above) a small piece by Samantha Listorti. The painting looks a little washed-out in my lousy iPhone snap, but the vivid color captures a spooky, dreamlike environment. Listorti, a recent grad of the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts where the curriculum is based on rigorous perceptual study, says it’s hard for her to tell where reality ends and the subconscious begins.
Carl Dimitri, “Thinking About Charlotte Bronte and Shit,”oil on canvas, also in the show at Hygienic Art.
Judith Linhares, “Cave,” 2010,  oil on linen, 54 x 72,” at Edward Thorp Gallery through April 2. I loved these paintings because Linhares has a mad, inventive way with paint.
I visited my colleague Lula Mae Blocton‘s studio in the Connecticut woods where we managed to avoid talking about art department politics and focus on her art practice. Blocton’s paintings, which are  based on patterns from African textiles, will be included in the show I’m organizing at the Hygienic.

I also recommend Daniel Wiener’s show, Making is Thinking at Lesley Heller, which features sculpture made with Apoxie-Sculpt. Yes, I agree: making IS thinking. The pieces, which are surprisingly painterly,  look like gnarly, psychedelic-colored tree roots.  Wiener is giving a gallery talk on Sunday, April 3, the last day of the exhibition.

Samuel T. Adams, “Unearth,” 2011, acrylic, oil, and carborundum on layered canvas, 60″ x 48.” This collaged and layered piece was included in “Incipient Image,” curated by Stephen Maine at Lesley Heller. Lately I, too, have been thinking about incompleteness, and since Maine manages to articulate my inchoate thoughts so eloquently, here’s an excerpt from his statement about the thought-provoking show:

An image occurs when the transient world of appearances, with its randomness and indeterminacy, aligns with the beholder’s fond hope that vigilant trolling of the visual realm will yield trophies of meaning. We expect paintings, drawings, and photographs to provide those images and meanings, however veiled or fleeting. But what of works that point to multiple readings�more closely resembling the unorganized, undifferentiated visual world? Such works function associatively, accruing significance as the viewer assigns it, eluding verbal definitions.

I think of the work of these artists as a portal to polymorphous visual experience rather than a vehicle of a fixed and particular significance. The viewer relies on hunches, hints, and evidence in dealing with these works, which possess not a single, embedded meaning that needs to be decoded, but multiple meanings as a condition of their existence. They dodge rather than declaim their significance, asking rather than telling how to make sense of them….

The works here are not formally or conceptually unresolved, rather they are resolved in such a way that they retain the speculative spirit of the earliest, inchoate stages of their making in a sort of suspended animation. It is not that these works necessarily look unfinished (though some of them might) but that the degree of finish allows for doubt about the relevance of  an image to the array of issues each artist deals with….

In their work, these artists favor the discontinuous and open-ended, and leave it to the viewer to connect the dots. Their relation to imagery is bound up in a highly personal language with one initiate, one native speaker, who risks being the only audience. For these artists, the viewer’s bewilderment is a measure of their success, as they find deeper pleasure in the creeping twilight of ambiguity than in clarity’s shadowless high noon.

Dona Nelson, Untitled, 2008, acrylic, mediums on canvas, 80 x 80.” Included in”Incipient Image” at Lesley Heller.
And just think, only six more weeks until summer vacation.


  1. You make everything look so good, and sound great. You always make my day!

  2. I am with you on the works (both shows) at Lesley Heller!
    Thank you for sharing! Very happy moments for me (just a few weeks ago!).

  3. I really love the paintings by Lula Mae Blocton. Thanks for your wonderful and informative posts!

  4. Not only is Mr. Maine eloquent, but his own work is fascinating. Thanks for these spring notes.

  5. Looks wonderful! I especially liked the pink in Listorti's work. That sickly "Pepto" color is quite telling of the situation ahead or behind. I can't decide which but, it isn't good.

  6. Yes, letting the viewer "connect the dots" is a good idea though I wonder why it took so many words to say this:)

  7. Good finds. digging all of them for various reasons.

  8. Awe, thanks for sharing!!

  9. Good luck with the show. I loved Samantha Listori and Carl Dimitri's work in particular.
    Very nice post.

  10. Great to discover your site (through VenetianRed Twitter). "Discontinuous, open-ended…" the last sentence of your post brings a good enlightenment on those kind of artists who look honestly for a personal way to talk about the "unspeakable". Dots left, for the vewer to connect them… Looks like it is a hard and chaotic way. But… what else?!

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