Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Rob de Oude’s exquisitely painted geometric abstractions, on display at McKenzie Fine Art on the Lower East Side, at once resist and invite scrutiny. Though wholly handmade, they are all composed of small squares that appear so perfect, calmingly symmetrical, and plain beautiful as to discourage a closer look: there’s nothing more to see here, and what you see is fine enough. But his patterns – both over the expanse of the canvas and within each rectangle – are so intricate and their variations so subtle that a hard look turns out to be compulsory and in fact rewarding.
NYC Selected Gallery Guide: January, 2023
It’s 2023, and we’re still publishing, thanks to all the readers who made generous contributions during our 2022 Year-End Fund Drive. In Brooklyn, former Two Coats Resident Artist Gyan Shrosbree has a solo at Ortega y Gasset Projects. Strong abstract painting shows include Paul Pagk in his first outing at Miguel Abreu and, at McKenzie Fine Art, Rob De Oude. There are also a slew of mega group-shows (we’re looking at you DC Moore), so everyone will be out and about. Seems like we’re off to a good start. Happy new year!
An exhilarating gut punch at Shoot the Lobster
Contributed by Jacob Patrick Brooks / I take it as a bad sign when galleries seize an opportunity to “respond” to something. At best, it’s slightly out of touch. The nature of putting on a thoughtful show is that it takes time and effort to pull off. Generally, the result is that it misses the moment. “New Images of Women” at Shoot the Lobster avoids this pitfall. It manages to be both provocative and timely. The work is carefully chosen, the message well-crafted and delivered like a perfectly timed punch in the stomach.
Hudson Valley Selected Gallery Guide: January, 2023
Here we are, at the beginning of another year, and we’re feeling kind of frisky with all the possibilities. If you’re flying out of the area, perhaps down south to warmer weather, don’t forget to stop by the Albany International Airport Gallery and check out “Lumen,” a show comprising work by Shaina Gates, Ben Godward, Heather Hutchison — all artists who engage with light in unusual ways. Honestly, though, everything looks good. Why not go see it all? Put Lizzie Gill and Kristen Jensen’s show at Geary in Millerton on your calendar. It opens at the end of the month.
Spencer Finch’s dazzling originality
Contributed by David Carrier / Spencer Finch’s new and recent work at Hill Art Foundation in Chelsea are set in dialogue with The Creation and the Expulsion from Paradise, a magnificent 1533 stained-glass window by Renaissance master Valentin Bousch. “Lux and Lumen,” the exhibition’s title, comes from Abbot Suger of the cathedral at Saint-Denis, who praised the power of stained glass to transform natural light, or lux, into sacred light, or lumen. Inspired by that medieval idea, and by his visit to Claude Monet’s pond and garden at Giverny, Finch’s Painting Air, an immersive hanging-glass installation, is a dramatic visual essay on light.
Past, present, and future: The complementary visions of Jodi Hays and Michi Meko
Contributed by Jenny Zoe Casey / In a fascinating and inspired pairing, “The Burden of Wait” at Susan Inglett brings together painters Michi Meko and Jodi Hays and explores the different ways in which inhabitants of a particular region – here the American South – can experience it. Landscape is an important influence for both artists, but their approaches are mostly in opposition.
Heidi Hahn’s bold challenge to figuration
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / On one level, in “Flex, Rot, and Sp(l)it,” a penetrating and conceptually cohesive show of paintings at Nathalie Karg Gallery, Heidi Hahn visually chronicles the tension between the unavoidable confinement of the body and the irrepressible expansiveness of the mind. While the so-called mind-body problem is as old as philosophy itself, to Western audiences it is perhaps most resonant in René Descartes’ exercise of systematic doubt, concluding with “I think therefore I am.” In terms of value, this ingrained formulation privileges the mind over the body. While philosophers are left to connect mental processes with gray matter, for painters and others it can be discomfiting to realize that although thinking is supposed to be the essence of being, a person’s mind is often prejudged on the basis of their body’s characteristics.
Firelei Báez: Uncharting charted territory, and vice-versa
Contributed by Julia Bland / The eleven canvases in Firelei Báez’s current exhibition “Americananana” at James Cohan Gallery continue her decades-long practice of painting directly on found maps and printed materials. By activating the surface with historical references, Báez calls into focus the dual nature of the painted gesture as both action and erasure. While considering what relevant details have now vanished behind an outstretched arm or pale yellow swath, one might also wonder whether any canvas is ever truly blank.
When Irish eyes aren’t smiling
Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin is darkly comic — invariably mordant and occasionally hilarious. But the situational modesty and outward sardonicism are subterfuge. This is a stealthily grand film with weighty political and existential themes, framing McDonagh as contemporary cinema’s wisest bad-ass.
Five poems by Jamie Romanet
The urgency of our times and the dearth of hours in the studio while I was home with my children during Covid prompted me to begin writing poetry. I wrote the first poems as a response to some portraits I had painted, and, although I’m back in the studio now, I continue to write.