Entering into Terry Allen’s universe is not unlike the imagined sensation of standing on an egg as it rolls across a hard wood floor, never stopping long enough to crack. The process by which we come to understand and appreciate his work requires a level of commitment on the part of the viewer not unlike balancing on an egg in that there are so many nuances and brilliantly imaginative connections being made all at once, that you feel that if you look away — even for an instant, that egg could shatter beneath your feet and you would be left with nothing but egg on your face. [Read more…]
Morris Graves is an eloquently quiet artist. And yet the subtle chords he strikes in his delicate, musical compositions have a remarkably powerful resonance, a feeling of total “rightness” that certain artists can achieve, often with the least apparent drama.
Graves, a mostly self-taught, transcendental painter, created works that stand as painted haikus. An avid gardener, many of his paintings are of birds and flowers. His 2001 obituary recalled the artist, in his youth, “rushing here or there with flowers or canvas in hand.” “There is,” as he once put it, “no statement or message other than the presence of flowers and light.” [Read more…]
With the recent group exhibition Future Starts Slow at LAUNCH F18, participating artist Rose Vickers and I took the occasion to discuss her artmaking and extensive writing practices. Rose grew up in Australia and has spent time living and traveling throughout many regions of the world. Rose and I both discovered each other’s work through Instagram and followed one another for many years before finally meeting in 2018.
While many know Rose for her writing, which has been published in Mousse Magazine, Oyster, and Artist Profile among others, she in her own right is an incredibly talented visual artist. The way in which she views her subject matter has always stood out to me as an incredibly unique perspective. We began our conversation about her work and duality of her combined artistic practices and where throughout her process they converge. [Read more…]
Saint Jerome took to extremes. As theologian and scholar, he traveled to the Holy Land to master Hebrew, translated the Hebrew Bible into Latin, churned out commentary after commentary, and defended church doctrine with warnings of hell. And then there was the sinner, shamed by his conduct among women, converted to Christianity after a vision, and living alone in the desert but for a lion and for a stone to beat his breast. [Read more…]
Recently we interviewed the painter and printmaker Austin Stiegemeier, who is teaching fine art at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Stiegemeier grew up in the small town of Rathdrum in northern Idaho. He began studying art while still in elementary school, and eventually pursued his art education at two universities in Washington State, completing his MFA at Washington State University. Since then, Stiegemeier has taught at several U.S. colleges, including Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Our conversation concentrated on his pursuit of representational art, including narrative art and portraiture. [Read more…]
at The Met Breuer
Reviewed by John Haber
Mrinalini Mukherjee had a dual fascination, with Modernism and the myths of her native India. If they seem impossible to reconcile, they both drew her to local materials to make the myths her own. Mukherjee worked in fiber for more than forty years, so it seems only natural that her retrospective at the Met Breuer opens not with a wall but a curtain. The entry holds barely a clue to what comes next beyond the artist’s name and a title, Phenomenal Nature — not even wall text at the side by the stairs. Penetrate within, and the curtains multiply, almost sheer but thoroughly opaque. One can still marvel at the former Whitney Museum, but its movable partitions have fallen completely away. They leave a space no less divided and mysterious for that. One might have stepped behind a stage curtain, only to find that the performance is just underway. [Read more…]
Concurrent solo exhibitions at Matthew Brown Los Angeles
Reviewed by Eve Wood
Our world was forged in dissonance, and as a species we seek out discordance, adversity, pain and violence, and not only in the living world, but in fantasy as well. We relish the death of the villain at the hands of the hero. These are very old stories – tales, as the great Joseph Campbell once stated, where “the hero must give up the life he has planned in order to have the life that is waiting for him.” [Read more…]
Alfred Stieglitz: Taking Pictures, Making Painters
by Phyllis Rose
Yale University Press, 272 pp, $26.00
We live in an age when shows of photography are a mainstay of many major museums, and a handful of artists who seriously pursue the medium have even achieved celebrity status (think Sherman, Arbus, Mapplethorpe). So it’s almost mind-boggling to realize that the struggle to get photography considered a “fine art” rather than simply a mechanical craft, at least in this country, is little more than a hundred years old, and that the medium’s meteoric launch into the public consciousness is largely thanks to the efforts of one man: Alfred Steiglitz. [Read more…]
Michael Ajerman and Marty Schnapf each offer their own elegant and sensual images in two strong solo shows at Diane Rosenstein Gallery. While Ajerman works with vivid colors in his figurative oil paintings, Schnapf’s current body of work is in nearly-life-size black and white. Both offer deeply intimate expressions that are filled with energy and pulsing with life. There is a physicality to both artists’ work that makes them ideally paired, although the outward appearance of each exhibition is visually diverse in palette and style. [Read more…]
Sometimes a retrospective can abbreviate an artistic life into a series of airless high-peaks without taking notice of the lower-lying ground. Lee Krasner’s exceptional exhibition, Living Colour, at the Barbican Centre in London, achieves the exact opposite. The 100 or so works on display flesh out a life with all the territory – high and low – accounted for, so that every piece lends itself towards a greater whole. In doing so, the exhibition reveals why Krasner is rightly regarded as an artist of pioneering significance, whose development from cubist collage to expressionistic vigour accounts for an important story in 20th century American art. [Read more…]
At UCLA’s Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (through September 1)
Reviewed by Eve Wood
It’s been said that all great artists have only a few “real” subjects and those subjects nearly always reference love, sex or death. In fact, these pivotal subjects could arguably be the holy trinity when it comes to the imagination and the deeper impulses that drive the creative process. So, Picasso had his underage lovers, his bull testicles and his minotaur. Magritte his pipe, umbrellas and top hats and Cezanne his monumental, sacred mountain. [Read more…]
Christina Quarles is at the forefront of a generation of millennial artists who are making ambiguity the aesthetic of our time. Few artists can incorporate as many painting styles as fluidly as Quarles does because few artists have the chops to paint and draw as well as she does. Even fewer have the philosophic rigor and intellectual muscle to upturn the cultural assumptions underlying the history of painting – and have such obvious pleasure doing it. [Read more…]
at Petzel Gallery, NYC (through June 15)
Reviewed by Phoebe Hoban
Ross Bleckner’s luminous canvases of the 1980s and 90s, often rendered in grey and evoking distant galaxies, possess an otherworldly light, which is apt, since many of his paintings of that time memorialize those lost to the relentless onslaught of AIDS.
Bleckner, whose first show in five years is on exhibit at the Petzel Gallery through June 15, is still making elegiac, gauzy images of loss. But this time, the loss that plagues us is, sadly, self-inflicted: our current political and social divisiveness, and more portentously, the plight of our planet, that Garden of Eden we have managed to more or less destroy. [Read more…]
As if dreams of buildings, rooms, floor plans, and landscape had landed within his abstract works, Guillermo Kuitca’s often mysterious images take viewers into a world entirely different from our own. At LA’s Hauser & Wirth, Kuitca’s works collapse, repeat, and spatially shift the spaces they represent, weaving a visual language that is both surreal and yet recognizable, evoking both past and future and an impossible present. The exhibition offers viewers a robust variety of the Argentinian artist’s work, including lustrous mixed media on paper images that represent performance spaces such as the Hollywood Bowl, Staples Center, and the Sydney Opera House, among others. [Read more…]
Deborah Roberts’ impassioned exhibition memorializes Black boys who lost their lives from the social injustices of false accusations for murders they did not commit. This solemn exhibition is predicated on African American literature and takes its title from James Baldwin’s non fiction essay, “Many Thousands Gone” (Notes of a Native Son, 1955). [Read more…]
The idiosyncratic, stream-of-consciousness, large-scale oil paintings by the Bay Area painter Squeak Carnwath are personal ruminations on everything from politics to urban anxieties and parental concerns (“PAReNTS BEWARE homework is BAD”) [sic], to name just a few of the issues that rise to the surface, unbidden like half heard conversations or bad dreams. Though the exhibition at The Frederick R. Weissman Museum on the splendid Pepperdine Campus is entitled How the Mind Works, it really could be called Notes To Self.
Garry Winogrand: Color contains a monster four hundred and fifty photographs. They play, though as a digital slideshow in sixteen tall channels on facing walls. As the very heart of the exhibition, they become a single immersive installation. [Read more…]
When I wrote about Rebecca Farr’s fourth solo exhibit in November of 2016, I said it was everything. I saw the show immediately following the 2016 presidential election and Farr’s show created a nurturing embrace and a place for soul-and nation-searching. In her fifth solo exhibit at Klowden Mann, Animal Love Thyself, Farr’s exhibition again feels like everything we need in an age that is amidst Trump’s presidency, amidst the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp, and amidst a time that is more and more against the rights of people who are not hetero, cis, white men [Read more…]
Artist Alexandra Grant refers to herself as a “radical collaborator,” a dualistic thinker, a synthesizer of textual images into visual form as for many years she has worked closely with both writers and scholars to create luminous paintings that both incorporate and re contextualize the words of others. In the case of her most recent body of work however, Grant has chosen to turn inward, mining a more personal landscape that encompasses the written texts from Sophocles’ Antigone. At the core of Sophocles’ play is the radical iteration, given the year in which it was written and the fact Greece was a patriarchal society, that a woman can have a voice, an identity, a deeply personal conviction, insisting, as Antigone does, on divine altruism and the healing power of love. Love is the driving force that fuels Grant’s work, so it only seems natural that she would gravitate to the prescient words spoken by Sophocles heroine — “I was born to love, not to hate.” [Read more…]