Filed under: DC | Tags: Becca Kallem, Concrete Abstract, Danielle Mysliwiec, Heiner Contemporary, Jeremy Flick, Lisa Dillin, Matthew Smith, Patrick McDonough, Seth Adelsberger, Steven Frost, Sue Johnson
Our DC Blog Contributor, Matthew Smith, has curated a fantastic group exhibition at Heiner Contemporary called, Concrete Abstract, which runs through April 20th. In the show, which includes artists Seth Adelsberger, Lisa Dillin, Jeremy Flick, Steven Frost, Sue Johnson, Becca Kallem, Patrick McDonough, Danielle Mysliwiec, and Matthew Smith, the curator “…explores the confluence of abstraction with the everyday” As the press release continues, “The works in the show cultivate a non-representational visual language that emerges from familiar ready-made objects, whether these objects are found or alluded to compositionally. Their formal and functional properties provide the contextual framework for works that are ultimately understood visually via their entanglement with abstraction, even as they remain securely tethered to the real, concrete world.”
After the jump, see more images from the exhibition and read more from the press release.
Jeremy Flick | Contrapuntal Derivation no. 744703807, 2013, acrylic and gouache on panel, 8 x 8 inches
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: Connersmith, DC, Lisa Ruyter, Matthew Smith
There’s a seemingly direct line between Lisa Ruyter’s work and pop art. Like pop art, Ruyter’s paintings are guided by photography and mass media, her appropriation strategies a central crux of her compositions. But her artistic concerns are decidedly unwarholian. Rather than revisiting pop art’s critique of commodity culture, Ruyter is more interested in reframing the conceptual meeting point between image and color, obliterating photographic affect and repurposing meaning along the way. Indeed, much of the photographs’ original “truth” is lost when viewed through Ruyter’s decadently neon prism, nearly as abstract as it is figurative. - Matthew Smith, DC Contributor
LISA RUYTER | Arthur Rothstein “Dry and parched earth in the badlands of South Dakota” | 2009, acrylic on canvas, 47 x 59 inches. Image courtesy of Connersmith
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: Annie Albagli, Brian Chippendale, Greg Cook, Julie Chae, Jungil Hong, Kayrock, Kris Chatterson, Kristina Bilonick, Matthew Smith, Vince Contarino
Brian Chippendale came to prominence as a leading figure in the underground art and music scene that blossomed in Providence, RI during the 1990s. At the center of this creative explosion was Fort Thunder, an expansive live-work space co-founded by Chippendale in 1995 that occupied the second floor of an historic mill. Part performance space, part printshop, part residence, Fort Thunder was ultimately purchased by a developer and demolished in 2002, giving way to a supermarket and office supply store. As Chippendale bounced around studios over the next couple of years he went from decorating his walls with prints of his drawings to stretching them over wooden bars like paintings. As he told Greg Cook in a profile for Juxtapoz last June: “I think I got so wound up by the Fort Thunder thing that I couldn’t start fastening them to the walls. It seemed like a good way to make things I could move around. Plus, the walls were concrete, and I couldn’t really staple to them.”
Brian Chippendale | The High Castle | 2011, screenprint collage on wood, 58”x48” (image courtesy of the artist and Arlington Arts Center)
A few of these wall pieces, along with works by 27 other artists, are currently on display in CTRL+P (on view through September 16), an expansive group show co-curated by Kristina Bilonick and Julie Chae at Arlington Arts Center. The show explores new and multidisciplinary directions in printmaking, including painterly treatments like Brian Chippendale’s “stretched paper” pieces and a myriad other approaches. After the jump I look at a few of the more painterly works and I consider how they arrived at this junction between painting and printmaking. –Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: (e)merge art fair, Academy at Conner Contemporary, Artist Platform, Chris Burden, Matthew Smith, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Ryan Carr Johnson, Samuel Dylan Scharf, Sophie Calle, William Burrough
There’s a long history of guns in contemporary art, from Chris Burden’s Shoot to Sophie Calle’s ballistic treatment of her lover’s letter in Take Care of Yourself to a myriad points in between. And the connection between guns and painting is no less direct. Nikki de Saint Phalle’s Shooting Paintings and William Burrough’s Shotgun Paintings both used big bad guns to induce painterly marks, though they regarded their guns differently. Burroughs was perhaps more interested in the kinetic response of paint than in his audience’s visceral reaction to the blast. de Saint Phalle was at least equally interested in the violence implicit in her rifle.
Ryan Carr Johnson and Samuel Dylan Scharf | Kline A.D. 2012. Paint on Plywood with bullet holes. 25″ x 37″ x 2.5″
All this, of course, was the last thing on Ryan Johnson‘s mind as he stood at the shooting range, along with fellow American University MFA Sam Scharf, trying to fix a brand new Kel-Tec that was stovepiping. Stovepiping, apparently, happens when a semi-automatic pistol fails to eject its spent bullet casings, clogging its mechanism and rendering the gun, well, something less than semi-automatic. Ryan had purchased it with this very moment in mind, so the pesky malfunction was nothing short of irritating. Sure, he already owned a couple of Glocks, but the longer range of the Kel-Tec would provide better accuracy at greater distances. And since the plan was to shoot at unconventional targets outdoors, an adequate shooting distance was a must. Or at least this is how Ryan had rationalized it — a Kel-Tec can be pricey, sure, but not in the name of safety. And yes, art. — Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor
Filed under: DC, Q&A | Tags: Contemporary Wing, Lauren Gentile, Matthew Smith, Next Generation
A few months prior to opening her new storefront gallery, Lauren Gentile organized the group show Next Generation in a raw warehouse space in downtown D.C. It was timed to coincide with the Rubell Family Collection’s 30 Americans at the Corcoran last winter, and it tapped a few art stars from the Rubell show to select a batch of up-and-comers they viewed as the next generation of great artists. It was a novel conceit for an exciting show, as well as a clever pooling of disparate resources that included direct mayoral intervention.
As of earlier this month Gentile’s putting that resourcefulness to work in Contemporary Wing, her new exhibition space on 14th Street. It’s a coming home of sorts — Gentile was the longtime gallery director at Irvine Contemporary, which occupied the same address until it shuttered last summer. And she’s inaugurating the new digs with an aptly titled solo show, I’m Coming Home, by Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi (NAP #87 and #100), a recent MFA graduate from American University. I recently caught up with Lauren to chat about her new gallery and inaugural show, as well as the Next Generation exhibition. Our conversation after the jump. –Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor
Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi | Detail view of “Knok Knok, Who’s There?”, 2012. Acrylic, gouache, imitation gold leaf and handpainted collage on Mylar. 40 x 30 inches
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: Curator's Office, DC, Matthew Smith, Tom Green
“Time is of the essence now.” Most of us will never fully grasp the weight of Tom Green’s words when he spoke to the Washington Post last December. He’d been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) six months earlier and was aware that at some point, possibly soon, he’d lose his ability to paint, robbed of his motor skills by this neurological disease. The news of the urgent diagnosis, however, although paramount and ultimate, is but a blip in the long trajectory of the artist’s career in Washington, D.C., a career that also included stops at the Whitney Biennial in 1975 and the Guggenheim in 1981. Opening earlier this month, Of This World at Curator’s Office features Green’s latest works on paper. They’re also his final paintings, restrained and elegant reinterpretations of his longstanding pictorial engagement with semiotics. More after the jump. -Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor.
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: Baltimore, DC, Gina Beavers, Matthew Smith, NUDASHANK
There’s no escaping the physicality of Gina Beavers’ paintings. Culled from the unremarkable — quotidian moments and bits of cultural flotsam — her work is grounded by the immediacy of her source material. Despite the occasional abstraction, these representations aren’t meant to veer far from their physical subjects; they’re tethered to experiential moments that are as concrete as the sculptural reliefs on her canvases. Indeed, borrowing from the pictorial language of naive painting, Beavers’ works suggest redemption for what’s unheroic among us. Le Sigh, her solo show at Nudashank in Baltimore, opened earlier this month and I had the chance to drop by for a visit. – Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor
Gina beavers | 6-color palette, acrylic & paintbrush on canvas, 12” x 14”, 2011, (courtesy Nudashank and the artist)
Filed under: Art World, DC | Tags: Arena Stage, Christopher Rothko, Edward Gero, Harvard University, John Logan, Kate Rothko Prizel, Mark Rothko, Matthew Smith, Patrick Andrews, Philips Collection, Red, Robert Falls, Roberta Smith, Rothko Chapel, Seagram Murals
Edward Gero as Mark Rothko and Patrick Andrews as Ken in the 2011 Goodman Theatre production of Red. Directed by Robert Falls. Photo by Liz Lauren.
If abstract painting is an inward journey seeking truth in the human condition, then perhaps Mark Rothko’s Seagram Murals are heralds for what we’ll find. Commissioned in 1958 for the dinning room of the Four Seasons in Manhattan’s Seagram building, the murals were a bit of a formal departure for the artist, who had already settled into his classic style of soft rectangular shapes floating on vertical canvases. The paintings also marked the beginning of Rothko’s journey into darkness, as he left behind a brighter palette for progressively darkened hues and a somber affect that would yield his late-career black paintings. Increasingly apprehensive of the posh Four Seasons restaurant as an appropriate setting for the meditative pictorial environment he sought, Rothko withdrew from the Seagram project in 1959, though he would later complete multiple such environments — at the Philips Collection in D.C., in Harvard University, and with the Rothko Chapel in Houston.
This landmark moment — Rothko’s struggles in the studio and his germinating ambition for a pure physical environment for his paintings — is the subject of Red, a screenplay by John Logan, produced by D.C.’s Arena Stage in conjunction with Chicago’s Goodman Theater (at Arena Stage through March 11, 2012). Concurrently with Red the National Gallery of Art is exhibiting the three Seagram paintings from its permanent collection, through August 15.
More after the jump. — Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor
Filed under: Art World, Chicago, Dallas, DC, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Must-Sees, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Fe | Tags: Exhibitions, February, Must-See, NAP, Paintings, Publishers Pick, Steven Zevitas
One of the best parts of my job is getting to see the careers of artists that we have worked with take off. Artists such as James Siena, Amy Cutler and Matthew Day Jackson were all featured in New American Paintings long before they reached the international spotlight. This month is not only an extraordinary month for the medium of painting at galleries around the country, it is a particularly strong month for New American Paintings’ alumni. No fewer than twenty artists featured in past, or upcoming editions, have their work on view in February. Two of my favorites, Summer Wheat and Benjamin Degen, will be featured in the soon to be released 2012 Northeast Edition (#98).
I want to bring special attention to the work of Sarah McEneaney, who was first featured in the mid-1990s. Based in Philadelphia, Sarah is a profoundly gifted artist, and, in my opinion, simply one of the best painters working today. Her painstakingly crafted egg tempera paintings have always had a startling immediacy. Of the many micro-trends that are noticeable in current painting practice, a certain predilection for “faux-naïve” representation is high among them. Sarah was entrenched in this pictorial language long before it washed over the art world. Unlike many younger artists, her creative direction is not a conceptual gambit; rather, it is born out of an internal necessity. - Steven Zevitas, Editor/Publisher
Filed under: Collecting, DC, Q&A | Tags: Andy Warhol, Arlington Arts Center, Collecting, Corcoran, Corcoran Gallery of Art, DC, Erika Ranee, Faith Ringgold, Henry L. Thaggert, Jefferson Pinder, KARA WALKER, Lauren Woods, Matthew Smith, Maya Freelon Asante, Nadine Robinson, Nekisha Durrett, Philips Collection, Renee Cox, Renee Stout, Warhol, Washington Project for the Arts
Andy Warhol’s relationship to abstraction is charged. Despite a late-career painterlyimpulse — which included the Shadows series currently exhibiting at the Hirshhorn — his pictorial language based on representation fundamentally questioned the narrative of post-war painting as defined by Clement Greenberg. And the implications of Pop Art’s emergence over Abstract Expressionism were significant, not least for black artists as changes in collecting preferences opened new doors for art about the African American experience. This was the premise of a talk by art collector Henry Thaggert at the Philips Collection in Washington D.C. a few years back. It’s a perspective that Kara Walker seems to echo, at least indirectly, in a talk on Andy Warhol scheduled for next week at the Hirshhorn. I recently caught up with Thaggert to talk further about Warhol, get his thoughts on collecting art, and about his involvement in the local art scene. - Matthew Smith, D.C. Contributor