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Gallery shows

Letter from the Midwest: Fine value at The Bank

Contributed by Jenny Zoe Casey / I recently set out on a five-hour solo road trip from Chicago to Newark, Ohio, to see “Material Investment,” a group show opening at The Bank. I anticipated a first-rate exhibition and was not disappointed. Curated by Leslie Roberts, the show features eleven artists: Lisha Bai, Sean Desiree, Tracey Goodman, Ruth Jeyaveeran, Amanda Love, Alex Paik, Alisa Sikelianos-Carter, Vadis Turner, Kevin Umaña, Mandy Cano Villalobos, and Jeff Wallace. As Roberts notes in her curatorial statement, the artists in this show are “dedicated to particular materials, and each artist intently subverts or stretches those materials’ properties and typical forms.”

Gallery shows

Cathy Diamond and Laurie Fader: The romance of painting 

Contributed by Margaret McCann / Stylistic affinities hold the paintings of Cathy Diamond and Laurie Fader in “Luscious Wasteland” at Radiator Gallery in amicable rapport, before differences in sensibility emerge. Each painter mines the legacies of German Expressionism and American Abstract Expressionism, among other influences, as confident and direct impulses draw on banks of personal experience. Diamond’s airy but compact Woods in Vermont could have been painted from observation, but reads as an excited engagement with Modernist painting vocabulary more than with motif. Its accrual of rough yet precisely individual marks quickly bunches together. Our eyes dart around its prismatic surface, echoing how one might, in such a dappled thicket, quickly survey a way around the center bottom bramble to reach light. 

Solo Shows

Cora Cohen’s thoroughbred abstraction

Contributed by Michael Brennan / The virtues of some art emerge only when it steps out of its own time. Hilma af Klint’s 2018 retrospective at the Guggenheim is an example. Another is Lou Reed’s album Berlin, released and widely panned in 1973, only to be performed and filmed by Julian Schnabel 35 years later, celebrated by an unforeseen audience, and subsequently considered a canonical masterpiece. Cora Cohen did exhibit her work in the 1980s and has been showing regularly, at a high level, since the 1970s. She’s a well-known, well-regarded painter. But the eight large abstract paintings from the 1980s, now on display at Morgan Presents, haven’t been shown together until now. They are a revelation that couldn’t have fully registered in its own time. 

Museum Exhibitions Studio Visit

Fran Shalom: Finding weight and presence (with humor)

Contributed by Sharon Butler / I went to visit Fran Shalom’s studio in Jersey City on the occasion of her first solo museum show, “Duck/Rabbit” at the Hunterdon in Clinton, New Jersey. Continuing a conversation we’d started at “Groping For the Elephant,” Shalom’s 2021 solo show at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Chelsea., we discussed surface, shape, ambiguity, and the confidence painters develop over time. “Duck/Rabbit” was curated by Mary Birmingham and opens on October 2.

Solo Shows

Artist’s Statement: Vittorio Colaizzi

The paintings come from drawing—not finished plans but compositional ideas that make way for the painting process. Each shape is an instance of color and a dissolution of strokes that partially reveals its underlayers and the adjustments that led to its present condition. The initial linear-spatial impetus remains, as does the bare ground on which everything gathers…

Solo Shows

Hank Ehrenfried’s painterly erudition 

Contributed by Michael Brennan / “Fold Upon Fold,” the title of Hank Ehrenfried’s first solo exhibition in New York, at Auxier Kline on the Lower East Side, is an expression borrowed from a sonnet by French Symbolist Stéphane Mallarmé. It succinctly describes the creative premise behind every painting presented. Working in the trompe l’oeil style, Ehrenfried paints realistic images of his own collages, made mostly during the pandemic. Making the collages the subject of the paintings lends the show a lightly but distinctly meta character, reflecting both the claustrophobic intensity and the intellectual expansiveness of his endeavor.

Artist's Notebook

Five Things: Katherine Bradford at Portland Museum of Art

Contributed by Ellen Letcher and Julie Torres / We are huge Katherine Bradford fans, and when we told Two Coats of Paint editor Sharon Butler we were driving up to Maine to see her retrospective at the Portland Museum of Art, she invited us to share five things about the show, illustrated with photos. We aren’t writers, and at first this seemed like an easy way for us to organize our thoughts. Still, it proved too difficult because, flying between us, we had millions of complicated emotions. For an exhibition that feels so important, so timely, and so thoroughly moving, reducing the experience to just Five Things was daunting.


Short story: The Cat Sitter [Laurie Fendrich]

Hold on, hold on, Harry said to himself as he scrolled back up the web site.  

Academic couple in Westchester looking for reliable cat sitter for our cat. Must be willing to stay in our home, set on two private acres, mostly weekends but at times longer. Employment begins end of June and continues through fall. $100/day. References required. If interested DM me. Alice Wikam.