Not Really Drowning . . .

. . . but immersed in some big projects

I'll be back posting as soon as I can touch bottom and breathe at the same time
Image from the Internet


Jason Karolak at McKenzie Fine Art

View from Orchard Street into McKenzie Fine Art
Every week seems to bring a new gallery to the Lower East Side, but Orchard Street is my favorite for the sheer number of interesting galleries. McKenzie Fine Art is one of my enduring favorites, recently transplanted from 25th Street. This show is up through March 17.
In his large paintings displayed in the main gallery space, Karolak pulls you into his visual webs, cubicular orgies of analogous color that suggest the containments of architecture or conversely, mathematical depictions of cosmic phenomena in the vastness of the universe. 

Untitled (P-1206), 2012, and Untitled (P-1301), 2013, both oil on canvas, 85 x 75 inches

Here, a panorama of the opposite wall that stretches into the middle gallery. From right to left: Untitled (P-1205), the smaller Untitled (P-1302), and Untitled (P-1207) in the distance--the latter shown below from the opposite vantage point

In the middle and back galleries, there are smaller works depicting flatter space. Here, pattern with syncopated rhythm, if not actual repetition, evokes Mondrian's paintings and Gee's Bend quilts in equal measure.

View looking toward the back of the gallery

Untitled (P-1102), 2011, 16 x 14 inches
Untitled (P-1210), 2012, 15 x 13 inches
All are oil on linen
Below: Untitled (P-1101), 2011, 16 x 13 inches

If you have come here looking for information about Artifact Gallery, please know that I know nothing about the gallery--only that I saw, liked and wrote about one show there. But apparently the gallery is using my blog as a reference as it promotes an exhibition package that involves payment to show.

Given the number of artists who contact galleries each day with presentation packages, it is highly unusual for a serious New York City gallery to send out letters proposing solo exhibitions to artists it doesn't know. Please do not email me to ask about this gallery. I know nothing about it. Typically, however, the artist/gallery relationship is this: the artist shows; the gallery sells. Each party receives 50 percent of the sale. If the artist is requested or required to pay money up front, that arrangement is known as a pay-to-show gallery or a vanity gallery.)

As always I would urge artists to do their due diligence, which might include talking to the artists who have shown there--ask for a list of past exhibitions--rather than emailing an art blogger who walked in off the street to look at a show there.
Good luck!


Painting in Chelsea

Jennifer Wynne Reeves at Bravin Lee Programs
This post is long on pictures with just enough information to get you to the sources that show you more. With Armory week looming, I still have a lot more to show you from the past several weeks--not just from Chelsea, but from the Lower East Side and Bushwick--and I want to show you several strong group shows as well. I've posted images here in a visual stream to embrace the lush, sweeping, lyrical, organic and geometric.

Stephen Antonakos solo, Pillows 1962-63, at Lori Bookstein Fine Art, through March 16. Mixed- media assemblages with pillows that have been painted and otherwise acted upon by clips, nails, clamps and other hardware. Fifty years old? To my eye many of these works have an immediacy and freshness that speak to insomnia, maybe nightmares and possibly the occasional pleasant dream.
Foyer view of Untitled Pillow
Antonakas pillow, title not available
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Mara Held solo at Gary Snyder Gallery, through March 2. Held's fluid works in egg tempera on linen have a printerly quality, specifically that of Japanese woodblock. Their easel size allows for intimate viewing, and I have included a detail to show you what I mean.
Above, Ogee, shown in installation view below

 Ostinato, above and in detail below (and in the installation view)

Murmur of Continence, 12 x 9 inches
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Matthew Weinstein solo, The Celestial Sea, at Sonnabend Gallery, up now; no closing date posted. Weinstein's mixed-media installation (sculpture, video and paintings) suggest the otherworldly which is anchored, literally (sculpture below), to this one.
Above: Celestial Sea, Drama from Deep Space 9, acrylic on canvas, 78 x 45 inches; detail below
Celestial Sea, and Far Off Now I am Borne, bronze and steel, 48 x 48 x 48 inches; image from gallery website

Celestial Sea, Giant Starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean; detail below

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Todd Kelly solo, My Own Personal Rebus, at Asya Geisberg Gallery through March 9. The uniform size of the paintings and a fairly saturated palette are the hints that this is not a group show but the work of one artist. The logic of the installation, each grouping a sequence of geometric compositions, abstractions and still lifes, keeps you moving and looking. 
Above: Grid Painting 2, shown below installed with others. "My randomnly created pieces sit next to each other, grow familiar, and become inexplicably linked," says the artist.
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Peter Wayne Lewis solo, Paintings from Middle Earth Part IV, at Skoto Gallery. The show is now over, but you can see more on the gallery's website and peruse the online catalog. Lewis paints multipart compositions fairly bursting with energy, which he brings together with fluid grace. Jazz and haiku come to mind.
Above:  Beijing Booster 541, 2009, acrylic on paper, 30 x 22 inches; image from the gallery website
Above and below: Installation views that give you a view of two walls of the exhibition
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Josette Urso solo, Snow Day, at Markel Fine Art through March 9. I'm enamored of her beguiling color sense, the lights and darks that she meshes so easily, and the disparate compositional elements that she brings together into individual paintings, like, the ones below.

Undertow, oil on panel, 16 x 20 inches; this image fro the gallery website
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Jered Sprecher solo,  I Always Lie, at Jeff Bailey Gallery through March 23. I find Sprecher's aesthetic appealing, a quirky mingle of geometric and painterly surface. In these mostly small to easel-size works, the conversation is both amiable and raucous. Both images shown below are visible in the installation on the far wall.

Above: Nail to Hang Your Sail, oil on canvas
Below: Slow Dancing, oil on linen

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Douglas Witmer's solo,  All Kinds of Ways to Your Garden, at Blank Space is over, but you can see installation views and selected works on the gallery website. Witmer's formal exploration of color and surface yield a rich range of results from elements that he has been working and reworking for some time. Subtlety sustains the bold statement (and vice versa).
Above: Installation view with Guiding Light below

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Brett Baker's solo, Paintings, at Elizabeth Harris Gallery ended on February 2. I  missed it, but these two paintings were hanging side by side in the office, and I got to see several small works that were being stored for viewing in a flat file. Baker is a master of the chromatic mark, the dense surface, and a repetition that pulls you deep into each painting. The small size (some as tiny as 5 x 4 inches) make the viewing all the more intimate.
Above: Axel's Forest II, oil on canvas, 16 x 14 inches
Below: Same size work, title not available
Below: a selection of small paintings, including Painter's Table III, 2009-2011, oil on canvas. (Baker is the editor of the blog, Painter's Table)

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Jennifer Wynne Reeves solo, The Worms in the Walls at Mondrian's House, at Bravin Lee Programs, through March 23. The combination of abstraction and implied narrative is strong, but it is the sensuality of Reeves's paint and palette that bowl me over.
Installation view above; specific images and details below 

Above: Standard of Liberty;  gouache, pencil, wire and oil pastel on hard molding paste on paper; 12.5 x 15.25 inches

Gorgeous Paul, 1990-2013, acrylic and oil on wood, app 9 x 20 inches. A detail of this work opens the post
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Larry Poons, New Paintings, shown jointly at Danese and Loretta Howard Gallery. The exhibition ended March 1, but you can peruse an exhibition catalog here.
Above: Detail of the Untitled work shown below in Danese's temporary space, a light-filled aerie one flight up from Loretta Howard's sixth-floor gallery

Another Untitled painting, also in the Danese space
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Shinique Smith solo, Bold as Love, at James Cohan Gallery through March 16. Smith is known for her evocative bales of fabric. In this body of work, body seems to be the reference, not only because the sculptures are made with clothing but because they suggest the mass of Wilendorfian torsos. New for me was seeing Smith's paintings, energetic compositions that seem to draw from the form of the mandala. I don't think I would love them on their own, but the point/counteroint with the sculptures--shape to form, color to mass--is pretty great.
Above: Installation view in the front gallery, with a selection of hanging sculptures and Gravity of Love; ink, acrylic, poaper and fabric collage on wood panel
Below: Same gallery, opposite corner
Painting: No Key, No Questions, ink, acrylic, fabric and collage on wood panel; sculpture: Soul Elsewhere, artist's clothing, fiber fill, rope

Painting: Seed of Life and Within a Detail hanging sculpture

Granny Square, acrylic, fabric and collage on wood panel, with a view to the street