Since the beginning of his career, the New York painter Jack Whitten has been searching for ways to paint, without using a paintbrush. In the 1960s and ‘70s, he used afro-combs and homemade rakes to scrape pigment across the canvas.For the last 15 years, his experiments have led him into a realm that borders on mosaic, a practice in which he casts, dries, segments and collages chunks of hardened acrylic paint into geometric abstractions. One such work, Apps for Obama (2011), is the anchor of the artist’s current show at Alexander Gray.
by Sara Christoph
by Lee Ann Norman
Deborah Butterfield’s new sculptures continue her focused exploration into form and figure. Since the late 1970s, Butterfield has been making horse sculptures, first with mud, clay and sticks, then using steel; for the last 10 years, she has been forming equine figures using cast bronze. Five sculptures recently on view were dated 2011, which is surprising given the intensity of fabrication and labor implied in their creation. The artist carefully arranges pieces of found wood into horse shapes then creates molds of the wooden sculptures for durability.
Finally, Butterfield adds a patina that mirrors the original colors of the wood. Danese’s main gallery contained three larger than life sculptures comprised of downed tree branches and stray twigs that showed Butterfield’s sensitivity to and careful study of her subject. Happy Medium immediately greeted the viewer upon entering the gallery. A tangle of graceful curving lines twists and turns, forming a torso, head and neck that rests on the horse’s four grounding branches, the legs. Butterfield creates elegant yet physically powerful lines in the sculptures, which in her view remain true to drawing although she has stretched the gestures into three dimensions. Continue reading…
by Margaret Graham
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t,” Polonius famously declared of Hamlet’s theatrics; the same can be said about the work of British abstract painter Bernard Cohen.
Cohen—who was born in London in 1933— was deeply influenced by the disquiet of the postwar cultural climate in England that colored his youth and artistic education. In the 1950s the tension between light and darkness, order and chaos began to manifest as a prominent motif in his work. During the 1960s, his paintings moved from sparse studies on a single abstract form to bright and busy canvases, dominated by obscure, optically illusive patterns executed with the utmost precision. Continue reading…
by Aldrin Valdez
A big part of Martha Wilson’s work has been to question identity as a given, fixed state of being. In the 1970s she took on stereotypes of women, performing them in photographs to reveal the illusion of gender roles, the portrayal of which in the media often hinges on posture and clothing. In “I Have Become My Own Worst Fear,” her current solo show at P.P.O.W., she continues her exploration of appearances, looking at how her own body is changing as she ages. What does it mean for an artist, so aware of images, to grow old?
by Kareem Estefan
Today, when so many American art schools are concentrated in New York and L.A., blocks away from the galleries where students hope to exhibit their work upon graduating with thousands of dollars in debt, the idea of an arts institution in rural North Carolina might sound charming but harebrained. Continue reading…
by Alex Allenchey
In the exhibition “Remake” at the Sue Scott Gallery, Kristopher Benedict examines the point when a reproduction diverges so far from its source material that it is transformed into an altogether original image. Through thirteen paintings, whose subjects are derived from a variety of sources including pop culture, the Internet and art history, Benedict covers a spectrum of revision and appropriation, ranging from direct facsimile to the opposite extreme of an absence of any recognizable features.
by Collin Sundt
Directionless hyperlinks, compressed frame-grabs, illegible tweets; pictures we cannot remember taking of places we may not have been. In his paintings, German-born Johannes Kahrs illustrates the ease with which our images come and go. Employing the imagery of mass media, Kahrs confronts resemblance; from magazines to twitpics, the world’s images reappearing on canvas. In an exhibition of recent works at Luhring Augustine, this agglomerative wheel continued to spin wildly, yielding paintings that, like their sources, are both visually fleeting and emotionally empty.
by Diana Seo Hyung Lee
In Tabaimo’s solo exhibition “DANDAN,” what may seem intimate and familiar becomes an occasion for uncertainty and danger; body parts, organs, and plants move as if with a will of their own. Guignorama (2006), a looped animation, shows colorful disembodied hands and feet caress and morph in wavelike movements through a black background within a rectangular screen. The continuous motion, however, is not fluid as ripples in water–there is something oddly mechanical and jerky about it. The visuals are accompanied by an eerie digitized noise that resembles the clicking of a typewriter, or perhaps a sewing machine.
by Kurt Ralske
The work of German-born photographer Barbara Probst shares the premise of Kurosawa’s Rashomon: every story is true, from its own perspective, and the apparent contradictions between stories illuminate more than their similarities. For two decades, Probst has used an array of cameras to simultaneously capture multiple views of a scene.
A single instant yields diverse images of protagonist and antagonist (whose roles may appear to shift), close-up and long shot, action and reaction, the gazer and the gaze. Unlike the Cubist strategy of collapsing many perspectives into a single image, Probst presents several associated photographs in series. The unsuspecting viewer reads these at first as time-sequences. But once the artist’s strategy is understood, it’s enjoyable to reconstruct the single moment from the seemingly contradictory views she provides. Continue reading…