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: 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: Interview | Tags: DC, Matthew Smith, MICA, NUDASHANK, Paper Chasers, Steven Riddle, towson university
Steven Riddle’s paper collages are additive. They’re layers and layers of material that slope past their underlying surfaces in gentle relief. They’re also subtractive, just as much the result of recursively eliminating elements. And they’re practically alive. A single composition is often an amalgamation of pieces produced more recently mixed with others from two years prior. They’re like living, breathing documents of the artist’s extended studio history, all of it cumulatively recorded in the bins of scrap paper in his studio — blank paper that’s been air brushed, silkscreened, brushed over with gouache, monotyped , and that’s just for starters. Colorful and seemingly delicate, Riddle’s collages might seem like a reaction to the urban gray and grit of Baltimore, where he lives. Perhaps they’re escapist renditions, or more likely, ornate celebrations of a city’s latent energy.
I recently dropped by Steve’s studio at Towson University outside of Baltimore, where he’s a second year MFA candidate. You can check out his work space, and our conversation, after the jump. -Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. Contributor
Steven Riddle | A Still History, 2011, marker, gouache, acrylic, oil-based mono type, collage on paper, 26 × 33″
Filed under: Review | Tags: Blake Gopnik, DC, G Fine Art, Ian Whitmore, Matthew Smith, Tyler Green, Washington DC
It wasn’t long ago that Ian Whitmore was selling out multiple shows in Washington, D.C. before his paintings were even hung for opening night. It may have been a sign of the times — those shows at the now-defunct Fusebox gallery in the mid 00s were smack dab in the middle of the so-called great contemporary art bubble. But it was also a testament to Whitmore’s virtuosity, the right combination of bravura and painterly intellect that had just about every arts writer in town gushing, including younger incarnations of Tyler Green and Blake Gopnik.
So it wasn’t entirely surprising that Whitmore ultimately sought to broaden his artistic experiences in New York, leaving D.C. a few months before the opening of his 2009 show at G Fine Art. The news was noteworthy enough that Gopnik wrote about it for the Post, detailing the potential rewards and pitfalls of such a move. And now, three years later, the former Washingtonian returns to G Fine Art with his third solo show at the gallery, A Devil, a Shadow, the Notice of a Small Falling Leaf. The exhibition is made up entirely of paintings Whitmore composed after his departure, perhaps hinting at what’s occupied his mind since leaving D.C. behind. More after the jump. –Matthew Smith, Washington, D.C. contributor
Ian Whitmore | The Bells Through the Leaves, 2008-2012, 16″ x 16″, oil on linen (courtesy G Fine Art)
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: 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
Andy Warhol | Shadows, 1978-79. Dia Art Foundation. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. Photo: Cathy Carver.
Filed under: DC, New York, Q&A | Tags: artsauce, Benjamin Edmiston, Brooklyn, Christopher Daniels, DC, Matthew Craven, Matthew Smith, Michigan State University, Natalia Yovane, Nick Van Woert, NUDASHANK, Paper Chasers, Sam Adams, Stacey Rozich, SVA, The School of Visual Art
Much of Matthew Craven’s meticulous work exists as both colorful abstraction and surreal historical document. His transformation of images appropriated from history textbooks nudge and reconfigure the original historical narratives. And his modular treatment of familiar forms unexpectedly activates their hidden potential for abstraction. Painting, drawing, collage and installation are linked in Craven’s practice through his fastidiously precise lines, which run across works and from project to project. Last week I caught up with the Brooklyn-based artist — whose work is currently in the group show Paper Chasers at Nudashank — to talk about his work, his influences, and time travel. Our conversation, and lots of images, after the jump. -Matthew Smith, D.C. contributor
Filed under: Art Fairs, DC | Tags: Alex Ebstein, art fair, Corcoran, DC, DC Cheer, eMerge, Free Art Booth, Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, Kristina Bilonick, Matthew Smith, MICA, NUDASHANK, Peacock, platform, Sophia Guerci, Tammi Campbell
Unlike the gallery platform, two-dimensional works were a bit less common in the artist platform at (e)merge. It’s not surprising — in their call to artists the organizers expressed an interest in site-specific work that engaged with the idiosyncrasies of a hotel setting. But it may also point to the organizers’ desire to favor experimentation over commerce in this portion of the fair. There were simultaneous performances throughout (e)merge, and they were hard to miss, but we also got a look at a couple of two-dimensional works as well. New American Paintings’ contributors, Matthew Smith and Alex Ebstein, discuss the artist platform at (e)merge, which closed yesterday. More after the jump!
DC Cheer!, an artist project led by Kristina Bilonick, greeted artists with encouragement as they arrived. Photo by E. Brady Robinson
Filed under: Art Fairs, DC | Tags: ADA Gallery, Andy Moon Wilson, Bart O'Reilly, Conner Contemporary Art, Curator's Office, Daniel Rios Rodriguez, DC, Ella Kruglyanskaya, eMerge, Jiha Moon, Jimmy Trotter, kendell carter, Matthew Smith, monique meloche, Nina Bovasso, White Columns
(e)merge kicked off with a preview and poolside party on Thursday evening. Featuring two platforms, one for galleries and the other for unrepresented artists, the fair occupies the first three floors of the Capitol Skyline Hotel as well as the lower level parking garage. I took a look around the gallery platform on Friday — just about 40 exhibitors — and will be checking out the artist platform on Saturday. My report on the galleries, with lots of images, after the jump. - Matthew Smith, DC Contributor
Filed under: Art Fairs, Art World, DC, Q&A | Tags: Capitol Skyline Hotel, Connor Contemporary, DC, eMerge, Helen Allen, Jamie Smith, Leigh Conner, Matthew Smith, Morris Lapidus, open art collection, Pulse, Rubell Family Collection, White Columns
The (e)merge art fair (September 22 – 25, 2011) — founded and organized by Conner Contemporary Art co-directors Leigh Conner and Jamie Smith, as well as by Helen Allen, founder and former director of Pulse — officially opens its doors tonight at the Morris Lapidus-designed Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington, D.C.. The focus of the fair is on emerging artists, but not just those arriving via their dealers and gallerists. Nearly half of the approximately 80 exhibitors will be unrepresented artists vetted by a selection committee that included White Columns director Matthew Higgs, megacollector Mera Rubell of the Rubell Family Collection, among other art professionals. Which practically guarantees that (e)merge won’t be another big-box art fair. Earlier this week I caught up with the organizers of (e)merge, no doubt very busy with last minute preparations, to talk about the concept behind their project. Our conversation after the jump. - Matthew Smith, DC Contributor