Author: Two Coats Staff

Solo Shows

Don Dudley’s pure authenticity

Contributed by Adam Simon / Don Dudley’s minimalism has always had a West Coast flavor, more concerned with perception than objecthood. Like many artists of his generation, he has steered clear of expressionism, or anything that shifted attention from the object to the artist. His focus has been on the purely visual.

Dance

Twyla Tharp and Picasso

Contributed by Jason Andrew / That a work of art can mean something from generation to generation, that it can continue to reflect not only the time in which it was made but also make us think years later, is what makes it a masterwork. Seldom in the realm of dance, the most ephemeral of art forms, is a work appreciated across disciplines, its worth acknowledged by a broader audience than originally targeted. We are lucky that at any time we can wander into a museum and stand face-to-face with a masterpiece by Picasso, Matisse, or O’Keeffe. We can’t do this with dance. Perhaps as virtual technology continues to expand, we will be able to experience the great dances of our time as if breathing the same air of the performers. Until then, we must wait. It’s been sixteen years since I last saw In the Upper Room by Twyla Tharp.

MFA POV

Is there an art tax?

Contributed by Bonnie Morano / Years ago, when I first learned about the “pink tax” – the price mark-up on razors, deodorant, shampoo and other products marketed to women – I was outraged. A recent trip to the art supply store had me cursing the $96 price tag for Cad Yellow Deep (it is like a tube of sunshine, though) I wondered whether I was being charged an art tax. Oil paint, of course, is unique, but what about other art necessities? Do art supply stores charge more for materials that can be found elsewhere at lower prices? If so, would it be feasible to curb such price discrimination? After all, California just passed a law banning the pink tax. 

Ideas & Influences

Julie Wolfe: Hunting and gathering

Contributed by Sharon Butler / Conceptual artist Julie Wolfe’s show, “Opposing Forces,” at HEMPHILL in Washington, DC, is rooted in her practice of gathering images and data to explore the world around us and, just as importantly, our interior lives. Her intent is to guide the viewer through richly conceived systems of color, form, and language that often serve as markers of time.

Solo Shows

Serious fun with Miles Debas

Contributed by Liz Scheer / In his new exhibition “Sundowning“at Freight + Volume, Miles Debas utilizes a mixture of collaged and sculptural elements to create works that are at once whimsical and intellectually provocative. The press release says his hanging sculptures adhere to a “dream-like logic,” and that’s an apt statement. The bits of cloth and color are like snapped-off impressions – pieces of waking life – that cohere into a whole that implies but falls short of legibility. Describing a painting as “dream-like,” though, suggests that it is surrealist. With their floating symbols and jewel-toned colors, Debas’ constructions could certainly be so characterized. But there’s a way to read these pieces not as representations of the unconscious but rather as odes to moments of agreeable miscommunication: instances when conversation that leads nowhere in particular is nonetheless intensely satisfying.

Museum Exhibitions

When an artist becomes a community: The life and work of Benjamin Wigfall

Contributed by Laurie Fendrich / Understanding the work of the mostly overlooked artist Benjamin Wigfall (1930–2017) requires looking at far more than the art. Over the course of his lifetime he made numerous paintings, assemblages, collages, and prints, a number of which are on display in the large, thoughtfully curated survey exhibition “Ben Wigfall & Communications Village” at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz.

Solo Shows

Morgan Fisher’s non-conformity: Measured and potent

Contributed by Marjorie Welish / There’s formalism and then there is formalism. In his solo show at Bortolami Gallery, Morgan Fisher excels at both. He is faithful to the modernist credo of line, plane, and color synthesized through composition. But he is also intent on making his work serve logical propositions generated from the practice of painting itself. This conceptual formalism is his domain, and it rewards close attention. Fitful likes and dislikes begone!

Gallery shows Lists

NYC Selected Gallery Guide: October, 2022

Brooklyn has several strong shows this month, including Michael Ashkin and Patrick Killoran in “Cul-de-sac” at Cathouse Proper. Their email says the exhibition marks “the beginning of the end for the Cathouse FUNeral /Proper gallery project in its current form. ‘Cul-de-sac’ will be the first in a series of shows scheduled for the 2022-2023 season that will celebrate our ten years of art activity — and six years at 524 Projects — by meditating on cultural memory and its relationship to the art object as we bring the current gallery program to a close in June 2023.” Each week they plan to add a new artist to the show. We’re sorry to see Cathouse close, but look forward to the next iteration. In DUMBO, look for Jane Swavely at AIR and Gabrielle Evertz at Minus Space. On the Upper East Side, Claude Viallat has a series of new paintings on old military tarps at Ceysson & Benetiere. On Canal Street, you can’t miss the new expanded Magenta Plains — it’s the big, freshly-painted black building at the entrance to the Manhattan Bridge. Ken Lum, Liza Lacroix, and Chason Matthams each have solos on their own brand new, freshly spackled and painted galleries, one artist per beautiful floor.

MFA POV

Abstraction by the numbers

Contributed by Bonnie Morano / I’m a numbers person. Some say that’s atypical for an artist. But before I began my MFA in painting at Hunter College, I was in the financial world creating Excel spreadsheets. For the Northeast edition of New American Paintings, the springboard publication for emerging artists, 38 out of the 40 artists selected were representational painters. There were two abstract artists in the group – one painter and one artist who crocheted textiles. They accounted for 5% of the total group. I decided to cross reference this stat with the current MFA student directory at Hunter, 113 artists strong. Of that cohort, 53 chose a concentration in painting when they were accepted. The split between representation and abstraction was almost even. Why then was the New American Paintings finalist selection so skewed towards representation?

Gallery shows

Tom Bills’ ground truth

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Tom Bills, for decades primarily a large-scale sculptor, has recently translated that vocation into riveting compact-yet-monumental wall-mounted pieces now on display at 57W57 Arts in midtown Manhattan. Rectangles of modest size, their highly wrought finishes and elliptical narratives invest them with an improbably kinetic presence and stern gravitas that leave the viewer both sobered and assured.