Way downtown at Studio 128, Larry Webb and Bob Witz exhibit paintings that nearly scream of the New York School’s influence. Looking at the work, I can all but smell the odor of turpentine emanating from paint-stained wooden floors of garreted Tenth Street lofts and the smoke curling from casually held cigarettes as intellectuals and artists discuss existential profundities.
“Ladies and gentlemen, in approximately five minutes we will open the doors on Art Basel Miami Beach 2006. On behalf of public safety we ask that you not charge the gates. There is plenty of art for everyone to buy. IP card-holders to the left, all others to the right. Once again, there is plenty of art for everyone. Do not charge the gates.” The white cordons are lowered and the crowd surges forward.
Betty Cuningham is currently exhibiting a painter named Gordon Moore. His canvases are all vertical. Each is cut horizontally in two by a lightly rendered grid that serves as backdrop to the slashing and meandering brushwork taking place over its surface.
Despite a rough passage through postmodern theory, the grid has made another strong appearance at Elizabeth Harris Gallery in the paintings of Pat Passlof. Her most recent series, variations on a theme entitled Eighth House, relies heavily on the grid for structure. The best work in the show proves the staying power of this tried-and-true fundamental of painting.
Thats what its all about finallysymbolism with paint. Thats why painters make paintings. Humans can perceive content in form and meaning in the structured presentation of the worlds assembled colors. When we use our bodies and the medium of paint to create an image of our inner struggles, the body is inscribed in the image.
Its hard to overlook the awkwardness of Charles Garabedians exhibition at Betty Cunningham Gallery. Seams and wrinkles in the canvas, ill-framed images, and inarticulate brushwork are all evident.
Bush League wades the well-swum waters of expressly political art with a group of paintings, sculptures, and videos that levy a critique of current politics and policy in America.
This show frames the terms of a debate about painting carried out 30 years ago in Soho’s, galleries, studios and bars. Its omission from the history books, argues the show’s artist-advisor, David Reed, is a reason for the general lack of dialogue and sense of history among young painters today. He’s right.
The measure of a group show might be given in the quality of the narrative it constructs. According to these terms, a good group show could successfully elaborate, say, contemporary trends in abstraction or the history of figurative painting in England.
There is a spot on Atlantic Avenue, well known to Brooklyn art lovers, where a great deal of excellent art is exhibited at two fine galleries: Bruno Marina and Metaphor. I would have been as well served to visit Stephen Westfall’s exhibition of drawings at the former, but I strayed first toward the latter and became entangled in the work of a young Massachusetts native named Sandy Litchfield.
I have eaten a pot cookie weighing between two and three ounces and about two inches in diameter. It was crunchy. I ate it in three pieces, the first at 5 p.m., the second at 5:20 and the third at 5:40. It is now 6:18 p.m. and I estimate that the effects of the drug should just be setting in.
Robert Irwin’s current show at PaceWildenstein is physically staggering. Its title, Whose Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue 3, is taken from Barnet Newman’s 1966-67 painting.
Mixed Feelings is a curious name for Jason Van Andens sculpture. His two robotic figures at VertexList are unequivocal: they laugh incessantly. Circuit boards displayed on the gallery walls show the circumscribed paths of their internal activity while small motion detectors mounted under their chins help them interact with their surroundings.