New American Paintings/Blog

Matthew Smith’s Concrete Abstract at Heiner Contemporary by New American Paintings

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

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Chromatic Archive: Lisa Ruyter at Connersmith by New American Paintings
October 8, 2012, 8:20 am
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: , , ,

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

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From Print to Painting to Print: CTRL+P at Arlington Arts Center by New American Paintings

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

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Guns, Art, and a Project by Ryan Carr Johnson and Samuel Dylan Scharf by New American Paintings

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

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Contemporary Wing Opens in D.C. by New American Paintings
May 24, 2012, 8:30 am
Filed under: DC, Q&A | Tags: , , ,

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

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Of This World: Tom Green at Curator’s Office by New American Paintings
April 13, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: , , ,

“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 Curators 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.

Tom Green | Of This World 3, 2011 acrylic on paper 29.75” x 22.25”, courtesy Curator’s Office

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Le Sigh: Gina Beavers at Nudashank by New American Paintings
February 24, 2012, 8:15 am
Filed under: DC, Review | Tags: , , , ,

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)

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