Sunday, November 27, 2022

Radical Chrome at Kenise Barnes Fine Art

Partial panorama of Radical Chrome at Kenise Barnes Fine Art: two by me, three by Audrey Stone, tondo by Julie Maren, three by Jenny Kemp, one by Mary Judge

What's the antidote to the waning light of the season? Color! I'm delighted to be sharing the walls at Kenise Barnes Fine Art with four other artists, all of whom are engaged with the power of pigment. The opening of Radical Chrome took place  a couple of weeks ago, but the show is up through January 15.

The gallery is located in Kent, Connecticut, in a cultural enclave that consists of contemporary structures and some restored barns that house art galleries, design and antique businesses, and artisanal food shopsthe aptly named Kent Barns. Kent is in the far western part of the state, just under two hours from Manhattan.  Let me take you on a clockwise tour from the entrance, which you see below.

Entrance to Kenise Barnes Fine Art

These images offer a more inclusive view of the show. Starting from the far left: a small work by me and two by Mary Judge

Joanne Mattera, Tutto 5, 2022, oil and oil pastel on panel, 16 x 12 inches

Opposite the entrance, these two gorgeous pieces by Mary Judge, who is known for her symmetrical, often mandala-like paintings and works on paper. She uses the Italian Renaissance technique of spolvero to delineate the composition 

Historically spolvero was used to transfer a design from a perforated paper template to a canvas by pouncing a small bag filled with fine charcoal dust. Contemporary master Judge uses the technique not as an intermediary element but to create the actual drawing using pigment powder

Above: Mary Judge,  Primavera Pop 14, 2022, powdered pigment on paper, 34.5 x 34.5 inches framed
Below:  Primavera Pop 28B, 2022, powdered pigment on paper, 34.5 x 34.5 inches framed

Continuing around the gallery: Joanne Mattera, Audrey Stone 

Above: Joanne Mattera, Tutto 9, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

My new series, Tutto, continues the themes I have been working with for some time: a divided field, emphasis on the horizontal, and saturated color

Below: Tutto 8, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Audrey Stone, Julie Maren

Audrey Stone, Coast to Coast 7, 2022, acrylic and flashe on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

Often inspired by personal events, Audrey Stone's vibrational works are by turns meditative and retinally stimulating, the result of minute shifts in color progression.  Each band of color may represent a single days work

Passing Through, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 50 x 40 inches

Coast to Coast 6, 2022, acrylic and flashe on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

Audrey Stone, Julie Maren, Jenny Kemp

Julie Maren, Bouquet, 2022; acorn tops, plaster, paint, brass; 50 inches diameter and six inches deep

Maren's connection to the natural world is direct, as she uses acorn tops as the repository for color.  Installations are dimensional, jumping the boundaries between painting and sculpture
Detail below

Jenny Kemp, Midsection, 2022, acrylic on linen mounted on canvas, 40 x 32 inches

Kemp's biologically inspired paintings employ pattern and rhythm, suggesting organic growth. Gradations of hue deepen the sense of accretion and development.

Tandem, 2022, acrylic on linen mounted on canvas, 18 x 14 inches

Braid, 2022, acrylic on linen mounted on canvas, 25 x 22 inches


Continuing around the gallery: Jenny Kemp, Mary Judge

Mary Judge, Primavera Pop 03, 2022, powdered pigment on paper, 34.5 x 34.5 inches framed

Pollinator, 2020, oil on linen, framed 9.5 x 9.5 inches

Yellow Gemelli, 2020, oil on linen, 7.5 x 7.5 framed

Pink Kiss, 2020, oil on linen, 7.5 x 7.5 framed

Radical Chrome is up through January 15. 
More info about the gallery
More info about the show 
More info about Kent Barns      

Saturday, November 19, 2022

All and Everything

My work from the past year is largely horizontal. On a bisected field (square or vertically rectangular) there are bands of color on the top half over a more or less monochromatic bottom half. I call the series Tutto because in it I have painted in encaustic, my mainstay medium for the past 30 years, as well as acrylic, oil, and oil pastel. In other words, everything. (Tutto is Italian for everything.) Also, for me color is everything, the simpler the composition, the better.

View from Newbury Street in Boston, where my solo, Tutto, is up through November 29 at Arden Gallery

In the past few months I have shown, or am showing, Tutto paintings in several venues. In this post are installation shots from Arden Gallery in Boston, where my solo, the eponymous Tutto, is up through November 29; a little teaser from Radical Chrome at Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Kent, Connecticut, where I am part of a five-artist show that focuses on, yes, color (I’ll soon have a full-length post on that show, which is up for a long stretch); and Pique, a group show that opened the season at Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta in September.

If you are familiar with my work, you'll see that the later paintings in the Silk Road series feature the same horizontally banded and bisected field. Transitions are interesting as one idea morphs into another. Tutto continues the bisected field while Silk Road will double back and resume its identity as a series of color fields (I'm not finished with that series yet!). 

 This painting is in the Arden window: Tutto 14,  2022, acrylic on panel, 48 x 40 inches

View into Arden's front gallery
Photo courtesy of the gallery

In the front gallery: Tutto 13,  2022, acrylic on panel, 48 x 40 inches

In the front gallery: Tutto 11,  2022, encaustic on panel on panel, 36 x 36 inches

Below: View around the corner into the middle gallery

Tutto 18, 2022, encaustic on panel, 18 x 18 inches

In the middle gallery: Silk Road 488, 2020, encaustic on panel, 24 x 24 inches
This is one of the paintings in transition from Silk Road to Tutto

In the middle gallery: Tutto 20, 2022, encaustic on panel, 24 x 24 inches

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Radical Chrome at Kenise Barnes Fine Art, Kent Connecticut, through January 15

I'll have another post soon that focuses exclusively on Radical Chrome and its five participating artists. For now, here's a little peek. You can see more on the gallery's website.

Tutto 9, 2022, left, and Tutto 8, each acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Panorama with the five artists: two by me, three by Audrey Stone, tondo by Julie Maren, three by Jenny Kemp, and one by Mary Judge. You'll see more from each artist in the next post

Tutto 9, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

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Pique at Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta, September 2022

Pique opened the gallery's fall season with a selection of work by gallery artists: Benjamin Britton, Robert Chamberlin, Deborah Dancy, Scott Eakin, Mary Engel, Deb Lawrence, Tim McDowell, Kim Ouellette, Joe Peragine, Robert Sagerman, and myself. You can see more on the gallery's website.

Recent at Marcia Wood Gallery, Atlanta
Installation view from the group show, Pique

Tutto 7, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Tutto 16, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Tutto 17, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Tutto 15, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Catalog with all the Tutto paintings to date, plus a selection of works from Mezza and Riz 

A conversation in the Summer 2022 issue of The Art Section between Deanna Sirlin and myself on "Contemplating the Horizontal." Click here to read

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Color: Form and Shape

Four exhibitions up right now in New York City--three on the Upper East Side, one in Chelsea--provide a range of chromatic experiences. Let me show you.

At the Met: Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color through March 26, 2023; at John Molloy Gallery: Technic/Color with Naomi Cohn, Stephen Maine, and Melissa Staiger, through November 12; at Jennifer Bahhng Gallery: Sharon Butler: Next Moves, through November 15

At the Met: Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color

So used are we to Greek and Roman sculptures in white marble that it is hard to imagine they were once polychromed.  "Paint, gilding, and inlaid materials animated and enlivened marble, bronze, and terracotta figures," we read in the wall text that opens a surprising show in the museum's Greek and Roman galleries. This traveling exhibition was conceived and executed by Vinzenz Brinkman, head of the Department of Antiquity at the Liebieghaus Sculpture Collection in Frankfurt, and his partner, Ulrike Koch-Brinkman, an art historian and archeologist. Based on their photographic and spectrographic study, they reimagined what the sculptures would have looked like.

Reconstruction of the marble funerary statue of Phrasikleia, 2010-2019, marble stucco on polymethyl methacrylate, natural pigments in egg temperea, gold foil, gemstones

Viewing the exhibition is a bit like going on a scavenger hunt. While this sculpture stands at the entrance to the galleries, other works are placed in a number of the rooms set amid the museum's sculptures. If you have the time, it's a delightful experience to seek and find. 

Marble capital and finial in the form of a Sphinx, ca. 530 B.C. in the collection of the Met is paired with a Reconstruction envisioned by the Brinkmans. We're told that the color on the original is "unusually well preserved," though it's visible only through ultraviolet and infrared light. The copy, a 3-D print in polymethyl methacrylate, is painted in egg tempera and gilded copper

In the screenshot below, from a video that accompanies the exhibition, Ulrike Brinkman is shown painting the Sphinx

Reconstruction of a marble statue of a woman wrapping herself in a mantle (so-called Small Herculaneum Woman) 2019, marble stucco on plaster cast with natural pigments in egg tempera and gold foil

Back view below

Detail of the robe
Let me quote from the accompanying text: "The reconstruction is based on studies of the extensive color preserved on a replica found in Delos." The patterning  may not be exact to the original but it is based on "art historical analysis of ancient imagery and pictorial elements as they appear, for instance, in painting."

Reconstruction of a marble archer in the costume of a horseman in the neighboring people of the north and east of Greece, from the west pediment of Temple of Aphaia, Variant C, 2019, marble stucco on polymethyl methacrylate, natural pigments in egg tempers, time, wood, gold leaf

Detail below
The patterns, we are told, "are visible in ultraviolet-induced luminescence and raking light on the original marble sculpture."  Further, this figure "may represent the Trojan prince, Paris, who abducted Helen and thus caused the Trojan War."

Terracotta krater from the Met's collection , Greek, Southern Italy, 360-350 B.C.

While Ulrike Brinkman used egg tempera to paint the reconstructed sculptures, it is known that many of the original sculptures were painted with encaustic. This krater is the only known vessel showing the painting of a marble sculpture with wax. Here Herakles (Hercules to the Romans), down from Mt. Olympus, is depicted watching a painter polychroms a sculpture of himself. The painter is shown applying encaustic paint to the figure. We know it is encaustic because the assistant at left is tending a brazier for tools that would have been used to melt and apply the wax 

One other thing about the polychromed sculptures: They depict an ancient world that was not just white, something we maynot see when viewing all that white marble. (A look at the diversity of faces in the Fayum Portraits, painted during the era of Graeco Roman Egypt, makes this immediately apparent.) For more on the subject, there's this New Yorker article.

More on the Met website:  Chroma: Ancient Sculpture in Color, through March 26, 2023

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At the John Molloy Gallery: Technic/Color

A few blocks and about 2500 years away is a beautifully conceived and installed exhibition that embraces color and form in an entirely different way. Painters Stephen Maine and Melissa Staiger and sculptor Naomi Cohn engage in lively chromatic badinage in which color zips and jumps between two and three dimensions.

Maine has perfected a painterly version of printing directly onto canvas. His palette is limited to a couple or three hues per canvas, but he packs a retinal punch, wresting plenty of gesture, nuance and surface from his materials and technique. Cohn matches him in color and gesture. Her ceramic forms are bold, their color via glaze. Cohn's forms are echoed in the geometry of Melissa Staiger's compositions while her deeply built-up surfaces engage with Maine's.

Dare I call this a chromatic menage à trois?

Foreground: Naomi Cohn, Untitled (deep blue/deep purple/ vertical), Untitled (deep red/purple/double vertical, and Untitled (deep yellow w/ shelf), all 2022, glazed ceramic; back wall: Stephen Maine, P22-0405 and P22-0406, both 2022, acrylic on canvas

Over mantel: Stephen Maine, P22-0318, 2022, acrylic on canvas; Naomi Cohn, Unbtitled (red/white/blue) 2022, glazed ceramic; Melissa Staiger, Wave No. 22, acrylic on panel

Continuing around the gallery
Left: Melissa Staiger, Multi-Color Yellow, 2022, acrylic on panel; on pedestal at window: Naomi Cohn, Untitled (notched/orange/red), 2022, ceramic, glaze, oil paint

Exhibition up through November 12

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At the Jennifer Baahng Gallery: Sharon Butler: Next Moves

Sharon Butler has long worked with a geometry that suggests open structures, like towers, closed structures like circuits, or systems like maps. She also spent four years, from 2016 to 2020, posting a digital drawing a day on Instagram, using a phone app to make and post the drawings. In her new work at the Jennifer Baahng Gallery on Madison Avenue, aptly titled Next Moves, Butler has produced a new body of work that appears to draw from her earlier efforts.

The structure in her paintings--off-balance elements that are stacked, often teetering or suggestive of falling--are of a piece with the construction of the paintings themselves. Stacked and pieced, often askew, they contain a visual mishmash, sometimes flat, sometimes deeply spatial, that comes together just right. I'm not on Instagram, but I'm told that the pixelated grid that appears throughout the new work relates to the pixels in those small drawings. Those little squares provide a stabilizing element that is paradoxically jumpy and off kilter.

So if I'm reading these paintings correctly, Butler's next moves are to work larger and to keep the viewer a bit tipsy without falling. It's a heady sensation.

Installation view with, left: Bedfrence (July 6, 2019),I 2022, oil on linen

Installation view, with Stacked 2 (July 16 and 17, 2019), 2022, oil on linen; right: Brighter than Grass

Installation view with, from left: First Last Drawing (March 1), 2021, oil on canvas; title unknown; Ghost (January 9), 2021, oil on canvas; Butler_Twelve Days in July (July 17), 2019, oil  on canvas

Addenda (February 10, 2019), 2022, oil on linen

July 22, 2018.02, 2022, oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches

More info at the Jenifer Baahng Gallery website
Exhibition up through November 15

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At the Paula Cooper Gallery, Chelsea: Sol Lewitt: Wall Drawings

This was the first show in Cooper's  newly renovated 21st Street gallery, and it's a beauty. Enter and you find yourself surrounded by radiance, a deep red orange that seems to warm the room by a few degrees. Flat triangular shapes that suggest dimensional pyramids are punctuated by modular white floor sculptures that echo the wall drawings, but achromatically and in three dimensions.  

Wall Drawing #495

Additional views below

The exhibition has closed but you can see a video walk through