Ten days ago Rob Ober opened his second gallery in Kent. New Digs, as he calls it, is located in three rooms above House of Books at 11 North Main Street. Ober says at the moment the gallery is focusing on “young and middle aged Brooklyn artists who still believe in painting.”
The current group show features ten artists including such established painters as Peter Acheson, Donald Baechler and Katherine Bradford who came into their own in the 80’s and early 90’s in New York. These veterans share space with what Ober calls “a younger unrestrained generation,” that includes Ted Gahl, Jason Stopa and Russell Tyler.
Peter Acheson creates primitive abstractions in a variety of media including wood, bark, and burlap as well as canvas. Brightly colored lines, both straight and curved, are inscribed upon more neutral backgrounds. In one painting a green star-like shape (or perhaps it is a fir tree) sits above four arching lines three in darker colors that contrast with the bright red upper line.
Many painters dwell on shapes, ideas, or colors, but the best painters concentrate on light. There is great emotion in the painting of light. Harry Orlyk is a master of light.
Harry Orlyk’s grandfather was Ukrainian. Orlyk work has its roots in Ukrainian and Russian approaches to capturing the transcendental inwardness of landscape—much like the nineteenth century Hudson River painters, especially Frederic Church. A prominent example of such a Ukrainian painter was Ivan Pavlovitch Pokhitonov, a landscape painter and graphic artist, who spent much of his working life in France and Belgium. Like the Hudson River painters of the nineteenth century, Pokhitonov emphasized the painting of light.
Many of Harry Orlyk’s paintings emphasize the color orange - among my least favorite colors. However, his modest yet spectacular use of orange and yellow has given me a new appreciation of that color.
Although Don Gummer is best known for his powerful abstract sculptures, his works on paper are equally compelling. A selection of these images is strong enough to hold their own in the vast space of the Morrison Gallery where they can be seen until June 21.
Although the majority of the pieces are water colors, several are executed in encaustic or mixed media. Encaustic, sometimes known as hot wax painting, involves adding colored pigments to melted beeswax, which is then used to paint the image on a chosen surface. Gummer uses encaustic to create small geometric forms which he arranges on the surface of the paper in patterns that call to mind the tesserae of a mosaic. As might be expected, texture is an important part of the design.
As a rule when visiting an exhibition, few of us spend more than a minute or two looking at each of the pieces. Although we may be pressed for time, such brevity is an injustice to most artists. This is especially true with Gummer’s works. The more one looks, the more one discovers in his complex figures.
Delbar Shahbaz, an Iranian artist-in-residence at the Wassaic Project, says that her generation of Iranian women are caught in the in-between - “neither here nor there, neither traditional nor modern.”
The Pregnant Carpet, an installation, "Heaven beneath her feet."
An installation exhibited at Pasadena’s Art College of Design is called “In Between.” Sculptures of chickens with women’s faces are viewed through a door of the gallery that is semi-blocked by bricks. Her website says, “From the outside looking in, we catch glimpses of communing, of subjects gathering together in attempts to jump free – but they are mere chickens. They are literally and symbolically blocked from learning how to fly, let alone stepping off and flying out of their coop.”
Visiting the annual exhibition curated by the Millbrook School’s Advanced Art History Class makes me wish I could take their course. Every year 15 or 16 students choose the one particular artist. They study his life and his work; they curate the exhibition, often frame the pieces, and write the texts for the labels (otherwise known as didactics). Finally, in lieu of their final exam, they serve as docents, for visitors. Millbrook is the only school or college to offer a course of this sort.
This year guided by Bill Hardy, director of the Holbrook Art Center, and Walter Zeiser, advanced placement English instructor, the class studied the work of Magnum photographer, Alec Soth. The resulting exhibition “somewhere between polite society and the wilderness” can be seen in the Holbrook Center’s Warner Gallery until June 20.
Exhibitions by Martine Vermeulen at the Stanford Grange are always of interest. “Stitch by Stitch: The Art of Needlework”, a collection of embroidery presented by the Skyllkill Chapter of the Embroiders Guild of America is no exception.
Who knew that embroidery could be so all encompassing. Among the 50 works on view are examples of a variety of stitches. Besides needle point and crewel work one can find thread painting, stump work, Hardanger and Brazilian embroidery. Materials ranging from cotton, linen, silk and canvas have been stitched with everything from thread and wool to beads, quills, and sequins. The subjects run the gamut from animals, flowers, fruit, abstract geometry to architecture.
The Skyllkill Chapter of the Embroiders Guild of America, Inc. was founded in 1958 to increase the knowledge and appreciation of the heritage of embroidery. The group’s over 90 members, mostly from Dutchess County, meet the first Wednesday of every month at the St. James Church in Hyde Park, NY.
May 20- The White Galley in Lakeville opens the first public show of Robert Baras’ abstractions from nature on May 29 with an opening May 30 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Baras typically creates large works on canvas that have a push-pull relation to natural subjects. Trees, for instance, can look like a tree or not. The show is called “The Realistic Tree.” Color can enter into it. Gallery owner Tino Galluzo is enthusiastic in describing Baras as a “humble, accomplished artist who paints for the love of painting with a colorful palette and thoughtful interpretation of the subject matter.” Baras work can also be seen at http://www.rbaras.com
On the first of May The Whitney Museum opened in its new space at 99 Gansevoort Street in the old meatpacking district. Since then the Whitney has received well-deserved accolades both for the magnificent building designed by Renzo Piano as well as for it’s first exhibition, “America is Hard to See.”
Reno Piano speaks at the press opening - photo by Carola Lott
With 50,000 square feet of indoor exhibition space plus 13,000 square feet of outside terraces for sculpture, the Whitney now has almost double the room it had before. For the first time in years the staff is all together under one roof; moreover the museum now boasts a proper auditorium, conservation facilities, a study center as well as a café and a restaurant.
Entrance on Gansevoort Street - photo by Nic Lehoux
Speaking at the press preview Renzo Piano said, “The art you see is about freedom. I hope you will feel the building is designed to make that freedom visible.” Both the east and west walls are floor to ceiling glass. No matter where you stand in any of the spacious galleries you are always aware of the light streaming in from these windows.
The quote I like about Christopher Wool is from an article by Richard Prince:
“Christopher is one of the five or six every decade that got to the corner and painted himself in and stayed and thrived and managed to survive and tell the tale. The ‘corner’ is called the Promised Land.”
The paradox is that Prince sees Wool’s corner as an enviable place. As a viewer, I see it as a place I find far from a promised land, despite the attention it gets and the prices it brings.
I saw a show of recent paintings by Christopher Wool at the Luhring-Augustine Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn. More Wool paintings and sculptures are in the gallery’s Chelsea location until June 2.
Twenty two botanical photographs by Lori Adams comprise the latest exhibition at the Millbrook Library’s gallery. According to her artist’s statement, Adams’s images “are a merge of fine art photography and scientific explorations. Like all good images, these tell a story as well as being a portrait of the plant or object.”
Adams has been taking photographs since she was 13 with 35mm, medium format and large format film and, more recently, digital photography. She has worked with both black and white as well as color darkroom printing as well as digital printing.
In some cases it is hard to tell that her images are really archival ink jet prints rather than paintings. Her flowers are lovely – both as photographs in their own right as well as meticulously detailed observations. Her gooseneck loosestrife, her lily of the valley and her larger than life size phalenopsis orchid have all of the grace of the blossom, which can sometimes be lacking in detailed botanical illustrations.