Tag: Jonathan Stevenson

Gallery shows

Undercurrent: Hibernation and emergence

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / While a degree of pandemic fatigue is understandable, there’s no denying that lockdown was an extraordinary fact of daily life whose ripple effects have far from dissipated. And insofar as it left artists with more time to think and work, it has yielded an abundance of resonant art. Jillian McDonald’s and Kate Teale’s drawings, now on view at Undercurrent Gallery in Dumbo, are sterling examples.

Solo Shows

Robert Yoder and the art of being alone

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / In his beguiling new show of abstract paintings, drawings, and collages at Frosch & Co., Robert Yoder elegantly demonstrates a truth of late modern art: that an object found and isolated, or visual representation shorn of context, is no more derivative or inferior than a given moment in time is subordinate to one that preceded or followed it. What makes it original is the artist’s unique choices in presenting it to the world – and, by implication, the singular experiences and insights that informed them.

Solo Shows

Edith Schloss’s deep cheer

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / As the title “Blue Italian Skies Above” suggests, walking into the exhibition of Edith Schloss’s paintings now at Alexandre Gallery produces a kind of pastoral contentment. But don’t be fooled into thinking she was a shallow, acquiescent Pollyanna. Lurking in that casual lightness is a distinct quality of mortality and limitation.

Film & Television

Art and Film: A Belated 2021 Top Ten

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / When an arthouse revisionist western directed by an Australian woman and starring an Englishman dominates the Oscar nominations, it�s safe to say that the pandemic has not severely compromised the quality or vision of cinema, even if it has skewed the structure of the business towards streaming platforms and away from brick-and-mortar theaters.With the usual caveats about inevitable bias and subjectivity, here, in alphabetical order, is a defensible Top Ten for 2021.

Solo Shows

Vincent Smith’s powerful ether

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / When the Minimalists were casting paintings as nothing more than value-free objects in the world and the Pop Artists were knocking them off their elitist pedestal, Vincent Smith (1929�2003) was stalwartly maintaining his belief in the form as a conveyor of social reality and, beyond that, an instrument of political assertion. With great substantive range and technical facility, he invested his throat-grabbingly expressionistic paintings of the urban vistas and signature characters of Harlem and Brooklyn � sixteen now on display at Alexandre Gallery on the Lower East Side � with the brimming emotion of the African American nation. He made the work in this exhibition between 1954 and 1972, so the varied subject-matter is perhaps expected. More remarkable is the potent through-line of his vision.

Obituary Writing

Dave Hickey and the louche tradition

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / A clear strain in American letters celebrates the capacity of insouciant and unabashedly disreputable people to say things that matter by cutting through the flatulent smog that tends to enshroud orthodoxies. The Lost Generation had Ernest Hemingway, and Baby Boomers had Hunter S. Thompson and Dave Hickey, who passed away in November at 82. These guys particularly Thompson but undeniably Hemingway and Hickey as well showcased their disdain for convention and their embrace of the drunken and the stoned, the naughty and the down-and-out. But all three were dead serious about life and death, and that emerged in their work.

Studio Visit

Lisa Hoke’s unconfined vision

Restricted to her studio during lockdown and cut off from large spaces in which to create site-specific work, Lisa Hoke felt the need to fashion pieces that were more portable and more presumptively permanent. What resulted is a scintillating revelation.

Group Shows

Virtuous tension at Underdonk

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Lockdown called for the safety and comfort of an inner sanctum, but that of course produced the urge for unmediated exposure to nature. In curating Nice to See You Again, now up at Underdonk in Bushwick, Leonora Loeb and Keisha Prioleau-Martin set about finding art that captured that virtuous tension. They have succeeded, presenting varied but thematically harmonious work by ten artists, each of them in some way conveying the hibernation and re-emergence implied in the exhibitions amiable but also multivalent title.

Gallery shows

Transmitter: Painting’s undying versatility

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Painting is persistently and emphatically alive and well. Indeed, the notion that it is dead — or, more kindly, moribund — is so vapid and hidebound that merely saying that the notion is a cliche is itself a cliche. Yet in putting the lie to it one more time, the Bushwick gallery Transmitter’s succinctly penetrating group show “Material Mutations, part one: The Canvas” brings fresh insights in what might otherwise be an eye-rollingly redundant conversation.