Author: Two Coats Staff

Solo Shows

The evolution of Justine Hill

Contributed by Riad Miah / It is a pleasure to watch an artist evolve and see surprising changes, as in the case of Justine Hill with her current exhibition “Omphalos” at Dimin Gallery. Over the course of four solos, elements of her work have remained consistent. These include the cut-out shapes that jostle to fit together, and the color that complements (or contradicts) abutting forms. Hill’s earlier work has been likened to the masterful Elizabeth Murray’s. The comparison was apt enough insofar as she, like Murray, worked on irregularly shaped canvases, but it didn’t seem to go much deeper than that until now.

Solo Shows

Katherine Bradford: Heaven on Earth

Contributed by Rick Briggs / To one growing up Catholic, heaven and hell were in no way, shape, or form mere metaphors for possible destinations in the afterlife. They were very real places to spend all eternity, either heavenly salvation or eternal damnation. Forty years ago, Katherine Bradford proposed an exhibition to Chris Martin and me titled “3 Catholics.” While it never took place, the idea was to gather three lapsed Catholics who shared that particular cultural grounding and also similar painting values, and who were all now earnestly in pursuit of our new religion – Painting. This memory came wafting back to me the morning after viewing “Arms and the Sea,” Bradford’s solo show of remarkable new paintings at Canada.

Artist's Notebook

Stockholm exchange

Contributed by Kasper Nihlmark / During a two-week trip to New York City from my native Sweden, I had the chance to catch a glimpse of the city’s art scene firsthand. As a sculptor, I was predisposed to wander about sculpture parks and museums. The Pratt Institute’s Sculpture Park, which stretches across its campus in Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill, showcases more than 70 works and a wide range of techniques and materials. Notwithstanding its broadly educational purpose, each piece is well-chosen and nicely integrated with the rest. Among the most striking is Nova Mihai Popa’s Ecstasy, a joyful composition of positive and negative shape. 

Solo Shows

Ann Craven’s wistful nighttime tales

Contributed by Natasha Sweeten / As children, we learn that nighttime is for hushed voices, unlit rooms, and the chance to briefly disappear into our dreams. In her latest show “Night” at Karma, Ann Craven fully embraces the enchantment of the wee hours. Her paintings, swathed in darkness, capture quiet moments, and the imagery could easily have been conjured from bedtime stories. Yet they’re not all warm and fuzzy. 


Michael Brennan’s moving images

Two Coats of Paint invited painter Kim Uchiyama to sit down with Michael Brennan to discuss “Floating Weeds,” Brennan’s fourth solo show at Minus Space. In their wide-ranging conversation, they discuss Japanese film, Russell Lee’s photographs, Charles Olson’s poetry, Venetian lagoons, architect Carlo Scarpa, Homer, and more.

Gallery shows

An Italian American colloquy with Joanne Mattera and John Avelluto

On the occasion of “A Legacy of Making: 21 Contemporary Italian American Artists,” a sprawling group show on view at the Calandra Institute through January 12, 2024,  Two Coats of Paint invited John Avelluto, one of the artists in the show, and Joanne Mattera, the mastermind behind the whole project, which began as an online exhibition called “Italianità,” to talk about growing up in Italian families, and how the experience shaped their lives and their work. John currently has a solo exhibition on view at Stand 4 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, too.

Gallery shows

The uppercrust on display in “Wave Pattern”

Contributed by Jacob Patrick Brooks / The lofts of downtown New York occupy a special place in American art history. They functioned most importantly as incubators for Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, eventually giving way to the galleries of the 1980s and 1990s. Today, the spaces once occupied by Barbara Gladstone, Pat Hearn, and Willem de Kooning have been replaced with Uniqlo, Nike, and expansive apartments for the super wealthy. In “Wave Pattern,” a downtown apartment show on the sixth floor of an unassuming Broadway building, art world scions Dylan Brant and Max Werner provide some relief from this cluttered, big-box nightmare. 

Solo Shows

Stephen Whisler: Smoke signals

Contributed by Natasha Sweeten / In Stephen Whisler’s solo show “Past is Prologue” at 325 Project Space, I seem to have stumbled onto an archeologist’s record of discovery, showcasing a vanished world. Three large black-and-white charcoal drawings are straightforward portraits isolating simple, mysterious organic structures. The two cast-iron sculptures strike me as rendering long-lost implements whole again. This work is imbued with a somber sense often associated with scientific research. Yet lurking within is a playfulness, and a tender, vulnerable unraveling.

Solo Shows

Rebecca Morris: Resisting beauty

Contributed by Sharon Butler and Jonathan Stevenson / Rebecca Morris, a masterly abstract painter who could do pretty if she wanted to, insists that when a painting starts to look beautiful she catches herself on and pivots to more discomfiting territory. That kind of grim integrity and its visual realization has an austere appeal, but there’s no need right now to get into the niceties of infinite regress or meta paradox. Judging by her solo show at Bortolami, parsimoniously titled “#31” after the number of solo shows she has presented during her career, Morris does consciously resist the pursuit of visual beauty and representation. The large-scale oil-and-spray-paint works are all untitled, distinguished only by parenthetical number indicating the year and the order in which the paintings were made. Each canvas is replete with vivid color and divergent shapes but embodies an irresolute and disconsolate state of play. This could ramify for a given viewer in any number of ways – though not, presumably, as lovely.


Daniel Giordano’s sculpture: Memory fueled, magically sprouting

Contributed by Kari Adelaide Razdow / Daniel Giordano’s sculptures, some of them currently on view at MassMoCA and Visitor Center in Newburgh, NY, it is possible to decipher a deeply personal language ensconced in forms and symbols. His works defy easy classification while honoring memories that inhabit his industrially tinged studio in Newburgh, NY, once his family’s clothing factory. His freewheeling use of materials and evocative titles suggest a comprehensive embrace of sculpture as a repository of humor, narrative, and poetics, as well as a means of integration and rupture alike. There is a logic underpinning the wild combinations and ambiguous forms in his work. It resonates with echoes from the past and suggestions of the future, like a postcard from someone we have not yet met.