John Yau: “There is a lot of very good painting going on these days”

At  Hyperallergic Weekend, John Yau starts a post about a visit to Louise Belcourt’s Williamsburg studio with a mini-rant about curators, galleries and museums:
Despite the hue and cry about zombie formalism, there is a lot of very
good painting going on these days. It is just that you haven�t seen much
of it in MoMA or the Whitney in recent memory, and frankly you should
not expect to. The apparatchiks are too busy either going to dinner with
a trustee or documenting painting�s demise, as evidenced by their
exhibitions of Elaine Sturtevant and Wade Guyton, to actually go out and
discover that appropriation is not the only game in town, and has not
been for a long time. Maybe the problem isn�t zombie formalism, but
zombie curators.

He’s right to shift the onus onto curators rather than blaming artists for the market-driven phenomenon that has come to be known as zombie formalism. Yau concludes that visiting artists’ studios is the only way to see the best paintings, most of which are not being shown in museum surveys because they don’t suit collectors’ (i.e. trustees’) tastes.

Museum curators may be in thrall to Zombist collectors, but plenty of galleries mount shows that are more compelling than the overly-produced, hotly-traded, undead variety. Here are a few paintings that stand out this week.

[Image at top: Louise Belcourt, Mound 25, 2015, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.]

Gary Petersen, Far Away, 2014; acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.  “Gary Petersen: Not now, but maybe later is on view at Theodore:Art through February 22. Petersen’s new paintings, still as elegantly fluid as previous work, rely less on skewed perspective and diagonal line and more on overlapping shape and color to add visual complexity and a promising narrative component.
Julie Karabenick, #13, 2013, 2013, acrylic on panel. Karabenick’s vivid geometric paintings are included in “A Few Conversations About Color,” a group show at DM Contemporary curated by the indefatigable Joanne Mattera, on view through February 28. Based in Michigan, Karabenick curates Geoform, a comprehensive online database for contemporary geometric abstraction. A catalog for the show is available here. It’s nice to see Karabenick’s work in New York!

Storefront Ten Eyck is featuring playful but emotionally dark paintings by Mie Yim through February 22. �As a child in Korea, I was weaned on Hello Kitty, Little Twin Stars and
various other hopelessly cute dolls and fluffy animals,” Yim writes in her statement. “Later, as an
art student in United States, I felt nourished by Philip Guston, Willem
DeKooning and Italian Baroque painters like Caravaggio and Pontormo.
Today, I like to imagine that if someone were to eat one of my
paintings, it would taste sweet and sour and leave a perplexing, tangy

Also on view are a series of life-sized, hand-pinched ceramic portrait busts by Elise Siegel. Standing in the gallery, I felt as though I was surrounded by a group of eccentric friends–well intentioned and lovably daft.

Brant Moorefield, Canopy, 2014, oil and acrylic on paper board over canvas, 30 x 24 inches. This little stunner is on view in “Fractured Atlas,” a three-person show of small-scale paintings in Storefront Ten Eyck’s Project Room. Moorefield’s use of saturated color, traditional technique, and an odd combination of objects and landscape imagery called out to me. Also on view are paintings by Anna Ortiz and Gretchen Scherer.

For more gallery listings, check out Andrew Ginzel’s List, with images selected by Two Coats of Paint. 

Related posts:
IMAGES: Louise Belcourt’s place in the world
Fervent geometry at McKenzie Fine Art



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  1. inspired choices or inspired art! thanks Sharon

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