Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Ben Godward is at home with bright colors and exotic shapes. The New York sculptor has for some time been producing boldly optic, resolutely asymmetrical pieces that render impressions of roiling urban excess into freewheeling mixed media, abundantly featuring foam, urethane resin, and Day-Glo hues. Much of his work’s appeal has resided in its swaggering abandon, which was no doubt derived, to some extent, from the cheerful sneer and boundless energy of the young artist. Judging by his new grabber of a show “2.5-D Realities and Tchotchkes” at Bushwick’s SLAG Gallery, Godward has lost none of the verve but some of the snideness.
It has yielded not to bland earnestness — never that — but to more controlled contemplation. Now making abstract wall-sculptures-cum-paintings, Godward has segued from his relatively loose and anarchical comfort zone to the spatial rigor of the grid. The newfound discipline evident in the visual art is rooted in an exacting process, though one that balances the finiteness of the picture plane with the freedom of liquid. Pouring the resin into a thin cavity between the two large rectangular plates in a five-sided Plexiglas box, Godward regulates the direction and density of each iteration of resin by timing his pour according to its viscosity, which varies over the course of several minutes. The results are visually striking but never incoherent.
At the same time, Godward succeeds in avoiding formulistic artmaking. Some pieces, like Casino Glow, are straightforwardly evocative, verging on referential. Others are more loosely suggestive. Paths Ahead, for example, implies without dictating the reassurance of the expected and the ominousness of the unknown, as hinted by the title. Other works are considerably more oblique. Wedged Core Convergence (Irrational Roots), say, seems purposefully mysterious and abstruse, and tends to open up the imagination instead of shepherding it. As for those tchotchkes, arrayed on a table in the center of the gallery, the small ones are oddly shaped diamonds but the big ones are all cubes, as if to recapitulate Godward’s larger shift away from impulse and towards deliberation more overtly informed by ideas.
In utilizing the pour, Godward is in the redoubtable company of Color Field painters like Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis. It’s a grounding kinship, but that additional half a dimension enshrines his own hybrid contribution. While his new work certainly marks a departure, it is a wholly organic development that relates back to earlier work and is the product of neither flailing towards distinctiveness nor surrender to safety, but rather of unabashed evolution. Godward probably wouldn’t be so stodgy as to call the salient quality “maturity,” and that’s a good thing. Even as he moves forward with resolution and purpose, his native brashness remains happily intact.
Even though making art is often an experience that happens in the solitude of one's studio, it rarely occurs in a vacuum. Artists rely on each other for support, reinforcement, inspiration, and challenge, forming communities to avoid feeling like fish out of water in this world. Tim Gowan was one of those artists who cherished […]
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Two Coats of Paint is celebrating National Daughter’s Day by honoring Lena, who some of you may recall was the mastermind behind our Social Media Services Project a few years ago. She has since opened her own business @honeyhomeofbeauty in #OldMysticCT. Love you @lena.alohalani ❤️🏆❤️ Daughter, visionary, and muse.
Latest post, link in profile / Elisa D’Arrigo: Between the beautiful and the grotesque / Contributed by Kay Whitney / There is a fundamental paradox at work in Elisa D’Arrigo’s ceramic objects – while they are unmistakably beautiful, they break every standard for what is considered “beautiful.” They are small, shambolic, eccentric objects lacking symmetry; they are not overtly colorful and don’t attempt to please. They are humble, not loudly announcing nor applauding their own appearance; understated and private, the viewer must come to them. Rather than exhibiting the mechanical surfaces of a wheel-thrown or machine-made object, her forms bear the imprint of her hands and in that way reveal the processes of their making. If there is any other artist with whom her work could be compared only George Ohr, the “mad potter of Biloxi,” comes to mind. His small “puzzle mugs” demonstrate the same sensibility — simultaneously humorous and serious, their extraordinary eccentric surfaces and coloration are reminiscent of D’Arrigo’s, exposing a shared aesthetic. Link in profile
“Something darkly set itself at our senses’ five thresholds without stepping over them,” a cinematic two-person show @bonnierskonsthall with Tulsa Lovell and Sara-Vide Ericson, is a haunting mediation on the past, the future, and the inexorable force of nature. In terms of craft and content, unlike anything I’ve seen in NYC. Or is it? Images are tagged.
Snapshot: Overlooking the Central Baltic Sea from @fotografiska.stockholm. We saw the @shirin__neshat and @therealpeterlindbergh shows — strange combo, but both moving in their own way. The place is dark and loud — more like a nightclub than a gallery. The bar on the top floor is beautiful.
Latest post, link in profile / Inside: Arthouse art house / Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The set-up of Vasilis Katsoupis’ slickly but somewhat facilely resonant feature debut Inside is deceptively simple. A high-end art thief is helicoptered onto the roof of a luxury Manhattan high-rise and, with the aid of a techie accomplice, hacks into the security system of an absurdly opulent penthouse, owned by a high-end art collector who is evidently away for a season or two. The thief is targeting several of Egon Schiele’s signature vampy drawings and a singularly valuable self-portrait. Link in profile
Swedish-born and UK-based, artist, activist, writer and eco-feminist Monica Sjöö (31 December 1938 - 8 August 2005) fought for freedom from oppression, but especially for women’s rights. “THE GREAT COSMIC MOTHER” @modernamuseet is her first retrospective. Swipe for the image that was considered blasphemous and obscene in the 1970s.
Rejecting abstract art as a Western male privilege, she asked: “How does one communicate women’s strength, struggle, rising up from oppression, blood, childbirth, sexuality – in stripes and triangles?”
In the studio of Prince Eugen Napoleon Nicolaus of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Närke (1 August 1865 – 17 August 1947) was a Swedish painter, art collector, and patron of artists. Swipe through for a wide angle of his attic studio. Yes, it has a water view :) #stockholmartist #Waldemarsudde #Djurgården #princeeugen #landscapepainting