Contributed by Marjorie Welish / A Berlin-based Japanese artist well-established abroad, Leiko Ikemura is now having her first exhibition in the United States at Fergus McCaffrey in Chelsea. The show presents a range of her works to fine effect, including masks, figurines in terracotta, and others in cast glass. Her drawing and painting are of particular note. Ikemura pulls together antithetical forces to keep the drawing painterly, and the painting grounded in gestural drawing.
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.
Contributed by Riad Miah / The eleven oil paintings in Fran O’Neill’s solo show “Left Turn” at Equity Gallery traffic in vivid, vibrant gestures of color that form softly curved, ribbon-like shapes. While they bring to mind artists like James Nares, Karin Davie, and David Reed, O’Neill’s energetic but self-consciously controlled brushstrokes and honed sense of color and light more directly suggest instants of becoming or emergence. Reaching back so full-bloodedly to revisit gestural painting, and to exploit the expressive potential of abstraction and the flexibility of its formal attributes, somehow seems heroic.
Contributed by Mark Wethli / Years ago I was fascinated to read about a theory that the grooves on ancient clay pots, like the grooves on a vintage music cylinder, might be playable. Given the right audio equipment, we might be able to hear the voices and sounds of the potter’s studio the moment the pot was being made. This beguiling notion came to mind while I was looking at the most recent work of Tom Butler at the Sarah Bouchard Gallery in Woolwich, Maine.
Contributed by Kari Adelaide Razdow / The motif of time is deeply and deftly embedded in Christopher Knowles’s solo exhibition, STAND, at The Watermill Center…In his contemplation of time, Knowles provides a portal to pop culture from days of yore, with associations to language and sound.
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / “Dream Opera,” Mary Shah’s solo show at Rick Wester Fine Art in Chelsea, presents suavely dense abstract narratives that still unfailingly meet the visual priority of beauty. While the notion of an abstract narrative may seem paradoxical by its terms, if representation and abstraction are part of a continuum and not a stark dichotomy, the paradox isn’t too daunting to resolve. Abstract Expressionism, spiritual abstraction, and lyrical abstraction have long certified emotional and spiritual content in abstract painting, and opened the door to narrative as well. Shah confidently marches through it, and in fine style.
Contributed by Margaret McCann / Issy Wood’s paintings in “Time Sensitive” at Michael Werner gallery render transient facets of our daily simulacrum timeless. As though passed through a vintage filter, they seem to recall a. Claude glass, an 18th c pocket-sized, toned mirror that could turn any scrappy piece of wilderness into “a vision of painterly charm: framed and set apart from the rest of the landscape, color palette simplified, bathed in gentle, hazy light.” Aided by a new picturesque aesthetic that combined “the sweetness of the beautiful, cut with some of the sublime’s majestic terror,” ramblers who couldn’t afford the Grand Tour found beauty in local scenery with this handy device. Today one need not even venture outdoors to see anything new. Overstimulation awaits on a quick screen scroll, shifting from monuments to corrective braces to kittens to a Ukrainian battlefield in seconds. Woods slows this high-low flow, turning incongruous images fished from the cyber-stream into often amusing visual meditations with surprising emotional depth.
Contributed by Leslie Roberts / Gabriele Evertz’s new paintings are a song cycle in color. Some of her previous shows had singular emotional states as themes; “Rapture” and “Exaltation” are two. But in her new solo “Path” at Minus Space, six large square canvases extend the concept, forming a chromatic narrative – an emotional journey through the pandemic to the present. They start in despair and isolation, move through night with glints of hope, break sharply, and conclude, not with sadness but with strength in a belief in the urgency of color in life. Evertz, whom some might call quintessentially modernist, sees her new work as neo-Romantic.
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.
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!