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May 2010

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May. 24th, 2010

Andy Coolquitt's Refreshing Minimalism


Texas born artist Andy Coolquitt has exhibited extensively throughout the US and Europe and is currently displaying his work in a second solo show on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. Coolquitt's style bypasses the control-freak tendencies of Minimalism, as his pieces seem to convey an appreciation of awkwardness and imperfection.


In his sculptures the artist uses found objects - such as broom handles, plastic straws, wire and light bulbs in creating unique objects with a "do-it-yourself" twist. Coolquitt focuses on color, a major redeeming factor of his work that give his pieces complexity and depth.


In his current exhibition, taking place at Lisa Cooley Gallery through June 27th, some of Coolquitt's sculptures are part of a hectic, aggressive installation in which most of the bars and rods lean against the wall, but some protrude from it or form a kind of barrier. Several of his pieces double as floor lamps or overhead lighting fixtures - mixing function and form. Coolquitt's playful nature is evident in his square-shaped wall relief upholstered in a soft pale-blue fabric. The piece, titled "A nice soft place for meeting people" brings what NY Times critic Karen Rosenberg refers to as a "warm and fuzzy side' to Minimalism.





Apr. 19th, 2010

Mark Greenwold's Early Works

During the 1970s artist Mark Greenwold's paintings included images and scenes like swinging threesomes in cluttered suburban bedrooms - which art critics found "annoying" and deemed too explicit for museum catalogs. However, the negative feedback Greenwold received regarding his early works may soon change as notions of "good" and "appropriate" contemporary art have broadened over the years.


In fact,  as a new generation of art-enthusiasts continues to emerge, young viewers, artists, and art - lovers may wonder why Greenwold's paintings caused such a commotion during the 1970s.


Also helping boost Greenwold's early-career reputation is DC Moore Gallery's recent  month-long exhibition called "Secret Storm: Paintings 1967 - 1975." This exhibition displayed six of the artist's overwhelmingly sized paintings of "bubblegum palettes" and overtly sexual subject matters. The six paintings portray the artist's interest in emotionally, psychologically charged subject matter and labor intesnsive, detail-oriented processes.


As Greenwold has since moved on to creating smaller, darker and more introspective paintings of himself and his family, hints of his later work are evident in his earlier pieces. For example, "Spanish Mediterranean Bedroom" (1971) depicts a marginal figure of a naked man with a sketchpad, which the artist says is a self-portrait.


In a recent interview with critic Alexi Worth, Greewold discussed his early career, stating:

"I was making the paintings while other people were having all the sex."

Read the NYTimes article associated with this post

Mar. 3rd, 2010

Margriet Seinen's Silk Painting

Holland-born silk painter Margriet Seinen is displaying her new exhibition “Fine Art on Silk” at Old Town Antique Lighting in Eureka, California, which begins with a reception on March 6th from 6 – 9 PM. Seinen recalls her love for painting on silk, which dates back to 1982 when she found some dyes and resists and began experimenting. The Northern California-based painter has since fallen in love with the medium - turning her passion for silk painting into a career.

While focusing exclusively on fine art paintings over the past few years, she has varied interests, which are revealed in the subjects she paints (mermaids, nature divas, portraits, nudes, landscapes, city scapes, etc.) An ongoing theme portrayed in Seinen’s work is the human/ feminine immersion in nature.

The talented Seinen also teaches classes on how to paint mandalas on silk. The process is unique from other painting mediums, as she dyes paint which then becomes part of the silk’s fibers.

Seinen discusses her love for silk painting,

“Silk painting began as a temporary pleasure and took form as pillow covers, scarves, clothing, wallhangings and framed paintings. It turned out to be endlessly fascinating and unlimited in scope.”

Seinen’s work has been exhibited in galleries in the Netherlands, Vancouver, Washington, Florida, New York and California.

Check out the artist's website for more information.

 
 

 

Feb. 5th, 2010

Cornelius Quabeck at London's Stephen Friedman Gallery


Check out German painter, Cornelius Quabeck's new work at Stephen Friedman Gallery, currently on view (through March 6th). In his second solo show "Short Straw," the artist displays intuitive paintings and figurative compositions. While Quabeck's older paintings portray portraits of rock stars and fictional characters, his new works focuse on the natural world (inspired by a recent residency in Marin County, California).

Quabeck's style lies somewhere between abstract and figurative, and his works combine explosive tonal planes with fractured depictions of wildlife. His overlapping painting technique and fragmented brush strokes allow layers of paint to bleed into one another, creating a unique kaleidoscopic fusion of color and tone.
Alpha
Alpha

Juicey
Juicy

Star Fruit
 
Star Fruit

Sick Day
Sick Day

 
See what else is going on in London's thriving Art Scene

Jan. 25th, 2010

Celebrating the Square at PaceWildenstein Gallery's Current Group Show

New York City's PaceWildenstein is currently displaying a group exhibition titled "On the Square" (through February 13, 2010)  that combines modern and contemporary work from sixteen of the most influential and talentented artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These artists include Josef Albers, Tara Donovan, Tony Feher, Dan Flavin, Alfred Jensen, Donald Judd, Sol LeWitt, Robert MangoldAgnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, Ad Reinhardt, Lucas SamarasJoel Shapiro, James Siena, Keith Tyson and Corban Walker.


The exhibition pays homage to the square, an elemental shape that has helped define the shape and practice of contemporary art. As a recent article from ArtDaily notes,

In the late 1960s, Sol LeWitt famously articulated the value of the square’s (or the cube’s) “uninteresting” form: “Released from the necessity of being significant in themselves, they can be better used as grammatical devices from which the work may proceed. The use of a square or cube obviates the necessity of inventing other forms and reserves their use for invention.” Indeed, “the square,” perhaps the most stabile, enduring, and neutral form, a New York art critic argued in her homage to this elemental form in 1967, provides a universal standard that is as attractive in its precision and neutrality to the space age as it was to early philosophers and theologians.”

From deconstruction to reconstruction, creation and re-dissolution[1], for the artists included in this exhibition, the square and its permutations have served as a frame for formal invention. Josef Albers, Alfred Jensen, and Ad Reinhardt used the square as the basic organizing framework for their systems of color theory. Albers once explained that he “prefer[red] to think of the square as a stage on which colors play as actors influencing each other—a visual excitement called interaction.” The arrangement of squares within Albers’Homage to the Squarepaintings and prints were “a convenient carrier” for his color “instrumentation”—a “container for and a dish to serve [his] cooking in.”

Visit PaceWildenstein at 32 East 57th Street to see how the artists utilize the square's form in creating their interesting and varied sculptures and paintings.

Dec. 22nd, 2009

Gabriele Orozco


 
The work of Mexican artist, Gabriel Orozco, is somewhat of a fascinating mystery. After his sparsely-loaded displays of the 1990s, (at the MoMA and Marian Goodman Gallery) renowned museums around the world seemed to want a piece of him. He became the subject of admiring (yet scrutinizing) critiques and generated praise from many young artists, who saw him as a role-model. Almost a decade ago Orozco presented a career retrospective at LA's MOCA, and he is currently displaying an updated survey at the MoMA.


 
It is perplexing to wonder why the artist has garnered such noise among the art world, but as a recent review from the NY Times reports,

He learned what he liked and didn’t like. He was turned off by the big, expensive painting that defined a bloated 1980s market. He was attracted to the spare, idea-driven, Dada-inflected art of older figures like John CageJoseph Beuys and Piero Manzoni, and Brazilian conceptualists like Cildo Meireles and Lygia Clark. Dodging commitments to mediums or styles, he took improvisation as his baseline method, and turned personal quirks into assets. Studios made him antsy, so he did without one. Instead he wandered, poked around, made art from what he found, often where he found it. Sometimes he created, added to or tweaked a situation. He photographed the results: a mist of warm breath on a dark wood surface; a pattern of circles traced by wet bicycle wheels; oranges, like little celestial bodies, placed, one per table, on a receding line of tables in a outdoor market.

Some of these photographs were in the 1993 MoMA show, along with the ball of soft clay that Mr. Orozco had rolled through Manhattan streets until it was black with grime. He hung the hammock in MoMA’s sculpture garden; anyone could use it. The fresh fruit? He arranged oranges in neat rows in apartment windows across the street from the museum. You looked up and there they were: bright dots connecting art and life.

 

The article also talks about Orozco's ability to invoke strong reactions from viewers (perhaps why he is so admired). At the artist's 1993 contribution to the Venice Biennale, he presented a single empty cardboard shoebox thrown on a gallery floor in order to display modesty, vulnerability in openness and to invite criticism. While other political and social connotations could also be considered as reasons why Orozco chose to display the lone shoebox, he succeeded in his goal of stirring reactions and discussion, as crowds gawked in delight and confusion at the display.

In the years since, Orozco's creations have become more complex and clever (such as a Ping-Pong table with a lily pond in the middle and four bicycles welded together, going "nowhere fast.") His current show at the MoMA depicts works that resemble those of early modernism (think Mondrian and the Bauhaus School). Again, his exact reasons of creation and the ideas behind his works are foggy - but that may be his point. The artist continues to draw attention and amazement, and the show is a "must-see."   

   

Dec. 4th, 2009

China's Ai Weiwei: Acclaimed Artist and Famed Political Dissenter

Ai Weiwei, regarded as China's most famous living artist, has faced his share of first hand opposition from his nation's notoriously controlling government. While preparing to testify at the trial of a fellow political activist, the artist (and well-known domestic critic) was punched in the face after men - claiming to be the police - pushed their way into his hotel room and violently attempted to quiet him. In addition to the scary display of China's shady justice system (or maybe just a ridiculously crazy coincidence), a month later, the artist was rushed to a Munich emergency room where he needed immediate brain surgery. While the famed Chinese artist has had his fair share of traumatic experiences, he probably has more to be happy about and thankful for than most artists could ever dream.

The 52 year old is a celebrated architect (and a co-designer of Beijing's Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium), an installation artist and a documentary filmmaker. Most of Ai's work deals with themes of destruction and recreation in addition to depictions of global icons (noteworthy international people and places).


Also known for his harsh criticisms of the Chinese government and bold political views (which seem almost suicidal in a country like China, where harsh penalties are common for political dissenters), Ai Weiwei is an intriguing man with much to say about his country and the world - and best expresses himself through his unique art.

To read more about China's "Impolitic Artist" (including biographical information, a chronology of his life and art, and his political views and impacts, click here.

Nov. 13th, 2009

Carrol Dunham

Tree with Red Flowers, 2009. Image from Gladstone Gallery

In a recent interview, painter Carroll Dunham sits down with Brooklyn Rail reporter Phong Bui to discuss his exhibition at the Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea. The artist's exhibition showcases his recently created fanciful paintings that are rich in color and line - relaying a somewhat childlike and storybook-esque sentiment. As Bui points out, Dunham is known for not putting eyes on the people in his paintings, which Dunham attributes to his stylistic developments.

The artist says,

...it isn’t precisely that they’re blind—it’s just that they never developed eyes [laughter]. There is no particular metaphor about blindness in my mind; it’s just that when I tried to draw characters in my work with eyes they didn’t feel comfortable as part of the image, so I had to eliminate that feature altogether. What it means psychologically or how one might extrapolate a story from that isn’t on my mind when I’m working.

The interview continues as the artist discusses his experiences at Andover Prep School and Trinity College. He talks about meeting various people who attributed to his desire to paint and his ultimate success as an artist as well as what his life was like during the 1970s and 80s.
Dunham answers a question about many of his paintings, including his "Wood" paintings, stating,

There was a return of interest in Surrealism that was shared by a number of artists at that time. Although it took different forms, my interest did perhaps lean a bit more towards the automatistic part of it. There were others like Peter Schuyff, whose work was more connected to the hyper real, Tanguy side of Surrealism, while George Condo was maybe somewhere in between. Basically I think you go through a period where you’re trying to shed interests and influences that you think are trivial and take onboard the ones you think are more profound. This involves throwing a lot of babies out with the bathwater when you’re young, and then maybe you go further into your work, and you get a little more clear on what your territory is, and some of those earlier interests can come back in another form.

To read the entire interview and learn more about Dunham's experiences, influences, and multifarious artistic styles, click here.

Oct. 19th, 2009

Sales and Confidence at Frieze are on the Rise

Apparently the Frieze Art Fair in London is experiencing some better than expected sales and a definite increase in confidence regarding the art world. While sales have not returned (or even come close) to what they were in 2007, spirits are higher than they were last year, and buyers and sellers are becoming more confident. One exhibitor, Jose Freire of New York's Team Gallery  (which is selling work from Dawn Mellor's solo show) is delighted with the unexpected outcome. As noted in an article from the Art Newspaper,

“This is the best Frieze we’ve ever had," said Freiere, reporting sales of 11 paintings portraying a bloodied Charlotte Rampling, Helena Bonham Carter, Kristin Scott Thomas and other beauties. The paintings sold by Friday afternoon, priced around £5,500 apiece. This was a drastic improvement from Frieze’s last edition. Autumn 2008 was not kind to Lehman Brothers, and certainly not to many Frieze exhibitors. “Last year was an unmitigated disaster,” said Freire of the 2008 edition of Frieze. “We lost our shirts.”

Because of the economy, Frieze attracted less exhibitors and in some cases a reduction of asking prices by 40%. To disguise these factors, Frieze organizers transformed a section of the fair into "Frame," a platform for younger dealers show casing cheaper art by less well-known artists in solo shows. As Matthew Higgs, head of the New York non-profit White Columns space stated in the above mentioned article,

“Frame is a good move to introduce new voices... Dealers were pleased with the results."

“People who are on top of things came here," said San Francisco dealer Claudia Altman of Altman Siegel (R25). “Plus, prices are low." Altman featured Trevor Paglen’s poetic images of US surveillance satellites priced $6,000 to $9,000. She sold three.



Sep. 22nd, 2009

Guy Ben-ner

The Israeli artist Guy Ben-ner has slowly becoming more and more recognizable among the artsy crowd over the past few years. His charming and poignant videos have catapulted him into exhibitions at places like MASS MoCA, Postmasters, and the Hayward. Here's a random sampling of some clips of his work:









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