Contributed by Sharon Butler / In “The Vulnerable Paintings,” on view at OSMOS Address through March 4, Michele Araujo has decisively found her voice. After working on rigid aluminum panels for years, Araujo has shifted to sheets of vellum, unapologetically embracing the beauty of color and the seductive nature of process. The result is a handsome and satisfying kind of arrival.
Stephen Maine’s hands-off abstraction
Contributed by Patrick Neal / Stephen Maine’s abstract paintings, on view at Private Public Gallery in Hudson, NY, hit you head-on with their optically charged surfaces and imposing presence. The gallery, which has a penchant for showing large-scale work, is exhibiting in its main space several of Maine’s signature “residue paintings” – spongy, all-over compositions with gorgeous, saturated colors in acrylic on canvas – that are over eight feet by six feet.
Li Trincere in context
Contributed by Saul Ostrow / Seeing a selection of Li Trincere’s works from 1986–90 and 2020-21, I realized to review her show one would have to establish a context for her work. Thinking about that, I realized she is part of a lost generation of abstract painters, which consist of various groupings of artists working in styles rooted in the hard-edge, geometric tradition. What these artists have in common is they resist the industrial aesthetic of Pop and Minimalism.
Multiple angles: Odili Donald Odita’s political inquiries
Contributed by Julia Bland / Odili Donald Odita’s abstract paintings in “Burning Cross,” at Jack Shainman Gallery, are bright and rhythmic, drawing from European and American modernists as well as textiles from Nigeria, his country of birth. Works like Represent and Opus, X complicate geometric patterning with subtle shifts and contradictions, continually setting and thwarting the viewer’s expectations.
Paul Pagk: Pure painting revealed
Contributed by Adam Simon / I almost decided not to write about Paul Pagk’s first solo exhibition at Miguel Abreu on the Lower East Side after reading Raphael Rubinstein’s eloquent press statement. Rubinstein articulated so much of what struck me about the exhibition that I wondered what I could add. One thing Rubinstein alludes to but doesn’t explore in depth is the chasm that separates an initial glance at a Pagk painting from longer consideration of his work in person. For viewers not attuned to the ways painters glean meaning from forms and materials, these paintings might appear overly reductive, mere diagrams on fields of monochrome. You tend to take in a Pagk canvas quickly, as a one-to-one relationship of image to ground without a lot of interacting parts. It’s easy to miss the many ways in which his false starts, reiterations, miscues, and reworkings belie his apparent minimalism and austerity.
Joani Tremblay: No rage against the machine
Contributed by Zach Seeger /As the story goes, James Rosenquist’s images were inspired by his experience as a sign painter in the late 1950s. Blue-collar toil transcended the quotidian and informed not only the scale but also the imagery of Rosenquist’s paintings. The work seemed the most obvious new iteration of modernist opportunism, embracing culture’s latest ready-made: advertising. It did not elevate the artist to greater marketability through grand exhibition, however, but merely led to the appropriation of popular images for display on canvas in galleries. While the paintings sought to deconstruct the PR of capitalism (recall Edward Bernays’ “add an egg”), they also served to keep the capitalist machine humming. In juxtaposiing 20th-century American abstraction and 21st-century images of 19th-century landscape painting, Joani Tremblay tries to avoid this kind of regression in her solo show “Intericonicity” at Harper’s Chelsea 512.
Claudia Keep: Glistening moments of quiet drama
Contributed by Martin Bromirski / I first saw Claudia Keep’s paintings in a recent Jay Gorney Instagram post of her current show “Aubade” at March, in the East Village. The first of the three images Jay posted is of a swimmer, the figure all dashes of refraction under green waves, and the third image a summery painting of a small white garage dappled in sunshine and shadows from a nearby tree. Jay wrote, “small tender paintings.” I went to the gallery website to see more and was happy to learn that she lives here in Vermont, and we were able to set up a studio visit.
Don Doe’s pulp fictions
Contributed by Margaret McCann / The covetous, dismissive, playful title of Don Doe’s 490 Atlantic show, “I’ll Have What They’re Having,” aptly conveys the work’s lively yet frustrated romanticism. Painting from collages, Doe mixes bodies and genders, scale and spatial orientation, subject and object, high and low culture – all held together in a solid but illogical cubistic order. The few sculptures included show sophisticated facility and prioritize the grotesque. The viewer is manipulated through surprising twists and turns.
Siobhan McBride’s canny intimacy
Contributed by Peter Malone / “Long story short” could describe many an art review, but here it is also the name of one of a growing number of pocket galleries along the section of Henry Street beneath the Manhattan Bridge. Long Story Short NYC recently hosted an exhibition of a dozen of Siobhan McBride’s small but compelling paintings, titled “Always Means Never Not” and curated by Stavroula Coulianidis.
Jeff Gabel: Subtext rules this fucker
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / There’s a Seinfeld episode in which Elaine, annoyed by the knowing ellipticality of a New Yorker cartoon caption, marches into the august magazine’s offices and confronts the editor – portrayed to preppy-geek perfection by the late Edward Herrmann – about its meaning. After offering several generic, pretentious, and abjectly unconvincing interpretations, he admits that he has no idea what the hell the caption is supposed to mean. Jeff Gabel – whose elaborately narrated drawings and paintings, a few site-specific, are presently on display in a solo at Spencer Brownstone Gallery on the Lower East Side and a group show at Jennifer Baahng Gallery on the Upper East Side – runs no such risk, abjuring obscure glibness for mordantly wise, sourly penetrating bloviation.