New American Paintings/Blog


Site Specific: Environmental Services at Solomon Projects, Atlanta by openstudiospress

Environmental Services Paint Shed Showcase, installation view, Solomon Projects, Atlanta. Photo courtesy Solomon Projects.

Environmental Services is Boston artist Douglas Weathersby‘s art-making practice as well as his handyman company and livelihood. Working with clients, galleries, artists, museums, and collaborators, Weathersby responds to both the project at hand and the site itself, transforming accumulations of dust and detritus into elegant installations.

Paint Shed Showcase, his much-anticipated solo show for Atlanta’s Solomon Projects, finds Weathersby at possibly his most refined, with large acrylic on drop cloth paintings operating as both artifacts of his previous work (the ES Paint Shed for Flux Projects) and bona fide paintings and sculptures. As well, the Solomon space has been transformed by wall murals, photographic logs, vinyl graphics by the artist, and installations of used paint cans. As contemporary practitioners continue to explore the painting as object, Weathersby’s approach is in a league of its own, imbuing remarkable conceptual understandings and context into methods of production, the act of art preparation, and actual art-making.

More after the jump.   —Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large

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Small Crowd: RISD MFA Painting Grads at Mixed Greens by openstudiospress

Katie Bell, Breaker, 2011 | Vinyl, acrylic, foam, rope and paper. Approx. 9 x 10 feet. Courtesy Mixed Greens, New York.

There have been countless MFA thesis shows around the country since May, but few have been as captivating or as relevant as that of the RISD Painting MFA 2011 grads on view at Mixed Greens in New York. (And even fewer are still on view through July.) Hailing from the Rhode Island School of Design, the show features work by Corydon CowansageCollin HattonField KallopNell PainterAnna PlessetMike Schbreiber, Keith Allyn Spencer, and Katie Bell, who we recently saw in the annual New Insight show of promising MFA candidates, curated by Susanne Ghez for NEXT Chicago.

If the work by artists in Small Crowd is any indication of what’s taking place in MFA painting programs across the country, the outlook is good. Abstraction is unsurprisingly favored over figuration here, and wielded by Hatton, Kallop, Spencer and others. Contemporary painters are frequently returning to ideas of the painting as object, an approach used by Bell and Plesset, and to brilliant effect.

More pics after the jump!  —Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large

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‘Shakedown’ at DODGE gallery (PHOTOS) by openstudiospress

Taylor Davis, d sell em, 2009, watercolor and watercolor pencil on paper, 10 x 14 inches

With the summer equinox behind us, that can only mean one thing: summer group shows. Capping off their inaugural year in business, New York’s DODGE gallery on the Lower East Side recently opened with one of our summer favorites. SHAKEDOWN, featuring work by the gallery’s roster and invited artists, is a veritable ‘who’s who’ of emergent talent from Boston and New York, including work by Jane Fox Hipple, Laurel Sparks, Taylor Davis, Robert de Saint Phalle, Environmental Services, and several others.

More pics after the jump!

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Material Crescendo: Frank Stella at The Phillips Collection by openstudiospress
June 23, 2011, 12:15 pm
Filed under: Art World, DC | Tags: , , , ,

Frank Stella, K.43 (lattice variation) protogen RPT (full-size), 2008 | Protogen RPT with stainless steel tubing, 144 x 176 x 116 inches. Courtesy of FreedmanArt. © 2011 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Gregory R. Staley.

Frank Stella doesn’t play second fiddle, but for Wassily Kandinsky he’ll play second harpsichord. Well, sort of. Currently on display at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. is Stella Sounds: The Scarlatti K Series, a subset of the painterly sculptures the artist originally exhibited at Paul Kasmin Gallery in 2009. Inspired by the eighteenth century harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti, Stella’s work is meant to provide a contemporary context for the Phillips’ concurrent show, Kandinsky and the Harmony of Silence, an examination of the creative process that lead to Kadinski’s 1913 pioneering abstract masterpiece “Painting with White Border.

The idea is that contemporary abstraction like Stella’s has its theoretical roots in Kandinski’s trailblazing work, and despite the artists’ differences — just about 100 years worth of differences — there’s a visual dialogue that results from the pairing. Also evident is the merging of painterly and sculptural space, as Stella’s objects, mostly hanging on the walls like paintings, offer steel armatures that appear to function like the gestural brush strokes in Kandinski’s work.

More pics after the jump!   —Matthew Smith, D.C. Contributor

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Hirsute Pursuits: Aaron Smith at Sloan Fine Art by openstudiospress

Aaron Smith, Chopsy, 2011 | Oil on panel, 28 x 24 inches. Courtesy Sloan Fine Art, New York.

Upon examining his work, one can only imagine that Los Angeles-based painter Aaron Smith is somewhat of a romantic. His thick, impastoed brushstrokes in oil, when combined with his nostalgic 19th-century era figures, deeply recall the gesture-heavy application of the Post-Impressionists imbued with a freshness (and palette) that is altogether contemporary.

A connoisseur of whiskers in his own right (he rocks a mean curly mustache), Smith fills his canvases with images of men belonging to another time. However, his approach to representation—which is simultaneously direct and abstracted—takes these characters from the past and fervently pulls them into the present, primarily through his use of color. Using a palette that could be culled from the Fauvists, Smith’s otherwise brooding men are brightly colored, flipping ideas of masculinity on their pastel heads.

More beards, and pics from his solo show at Sloan Fine Art, after the jump!  —Evan J. Garza, Editor-at-Large

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Pacific Coast Juror: Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles by openstudiospress

Only ten days are left for artists to apply to our Pacific Coast Competition 2011, which is open through Thursday June 30! (Apply online if you’re an artist in AK, CA, HI, OR, or WA.) We’re thrilled to feature the incredible expertise of L.A.’s Anne Ellegood, Senior Curator at the Hammer Museum, as the juror for the Pacific Coast Competition, one of our most sought-after issues of the year.

I recently caught up with the Los Angeles curator to find out more about her role at the Hammer, her thoughts on living and working in L.A., and her fondness for emerging artists. More of our Q&A after the jump! 

EJG: The Hammer has long had one of the most significant contemporary art programs in Los Angeles. What’s the most exciting thing about what you do at the museum?
AE: There is so much that is exciting at the Hammer, that’s it’s difficult to answer this question. I oversee our Hammer Projects series and also organize a lot of the Hammer Projects shows. We do anywhere from 8-10 of these single-gallery exhibitions a year in different spaces around the museum. The majority of our Hammer Projects focus on a single artist. The shows are tightly curated and usually present new work and are oftentimes the artist’s first museum show. We always have a Hammer Project on and around our large lobby wall, and these projects are particularly challenging and invigorating because they are commissioned new works and oftentimes the artist is pushing and stretching their work in new directions to fill what is a difficult but wonderful space. It’s rewarding to get to be a part of that process.

What role have emerging artists had in your time at the Hammer and in your career?
We are very committed to supporting the work of emerging artists at the Hammer. Los Angeles is a city filled with young artists, many of whom come to L.A. to go to one of the many fantastic art schools and then continue to live in the city. Our Hammer Projects series focuses primarily on emerging artists, and we have had a series of bi-annual exhibitions we call our Invitational that has always included emerging artists (the sixth one, which Douglas Fogle and I organized, was called All of this and nothing and just closed at the end of April). We have also just decided to do a survey of emerging and overlooked artists living in L.A. We are co-organizing this show with LA><ART and it will take place next summer.

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Pics from VOLTA7, Basel by openstudiospress

TOP: Franklin Evans at Federico Luger. BOTTOM: Tao XUE at 55. Images courtesy VOLTA7. Photos: Nicholas Winter Photography.

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