Contributed by Margaret McCann / En masse in Hirschl & Adler’s brimming rooms, Julie Heffernan’s colorful, busy paintings overwhelm like a pride of peacocks. Her solo show “The Swamps are Pink with June,” a line from an Emily Dickinson poem, evokes the hope nature can inspire. This plays out in iconography, a saturated palette, and the adoption of tree diagrams as compositional trellises, which poise the accretion of experience against spontaneous flowerings from the unconscious.
Chase Cantwell: Satisfying transitions
Contributed by Sharon Butler / While working on “The Portrait Project” – the incisive and absorbing set of paintings depicting various artists (including me) now on display at The Painting Center – Chase Cantwell was also exploring his personal relationship to gender…. As progressive ideas about gender and transition gained traction, Chase switched pronouns and began identifying publicly as a man. Painting portraits after working abstractly for twenty years clearly reflects his transition as an artist. Beyond that, it may somehow echo his defining personal experience of transition.
Circumstantial: Elizabeth Hazan, Allison Gildersleeve, and Tracy Miller
After a conversation with Elizabeth Hazan about how Allison Gildersleeve and Tracy Miller’s paintings in “Kitchen Sink,” their current exhibition at Hazan’s Platform Project Space in DUMBO, related to her own work in the studio, Two Coats of Paint prevailed on Hazan to engage them in a conversation for publication.
Multi-dimensional: Eozen Agopian’s string paintings
Contributed by Lisa Taliano / It’s no easy task to determine how many dimensions there are in the string paintings of Eozen Agopian, now on view at High Noon Gallery on the Lower East Side. The artist’s heterogeneous low-relief assemblages consist of scraps of patterned fabric and colorful second-hand threads on soak-stained canvases littered with brushy paint effects. They produce a multiplicity of frayed and contradictory edges that make it hard to situate points in a single position in space. Being in more than one place at the same time synchronizes her nomadic state with her interior worlds.
Michele Araujo: A straight-in shot
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.
Self-taught artists and art history
Contributed by David Carrier / “Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America” at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art focuses on the pre-Clement Greenberg American art world – before Abstract Expressionism had triumphed, before the high-pressure commercial gallery system had been established, before American painters self-consciously sought to extend the traditions of European modernism, before they assumed the burden of building on Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Cubism. Yet it’s important not to exaggerate that admitted hinge-point in art history. In the 1930s, prominent art dealers like Sidney Janis championed some of the outsider cadre as heartily as he would young Abstract Expressionists, and New York galleries hung their work as well as that of future American art stars they would later fete.
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.