New American Paintings/Blog

Julie Mehretu’s LIMINAL SQUARED at Marian Goodman Gallery by New American Paintings
June 20, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: New York, Review | Tags: , , , ,

The artist Julie Mehretu has often commented that “trying to figure out who I am and my work is trying to understand systems.” In a new body of work on view at Marian Goodman Gallery in New York, it is equally her desire to understand systems and their disintegration that becomes the subject of her art. Taking her point of departure from the events of the Arab Spring, Mehretu employs her trademark aesthetic of complex, layered imagery to evoke the topics of political and social change, as well as the civic spaces that became the sites of the recent revolutions and occupations. – Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Installation View, Marian Goodman Gallery. Image Courtesy Marian Goodman Gallery

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Gedi Sibony at Greene Naftali in New York by New American Paintings
June 17, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: New York, Review | Tags: , ,

On view at Greene Naftali are twenty new works by the New York artist Gedi Sibony. The show begins with a small room of found, framed works, each reversed in its frame and hung on the wall, so as to only display its posterior side to viewers. Poetic yet elusive titles like Into a Ring of Doubles and Doric Ions conjure the possible imagery present but now hidden. Instead, viewers are confronted with the aged and discolored backing of each work, irregularly held in place with patches of tape. By purposefully obfuscating from our view the presence of what is now known but implied, Sibony creates a sly commentary on knowledge and assumptions, pointing to a strong conceptual element in his own practice, and priming visitors for works in a similar vein in the gallery’s main space. – Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Gedi Sibony Installation View, Greene Naftali, NY. Image courtesy Greene Naftali.
Gedi Sibony Installation View, Greene Naftali, NY. Image courtesy Greene Naftali.

Beyond the small room of framed works, the remainder of the gallery is entirely lit by the northeastern facing windows of Greene Naftali’s eighth floor space. This changes and dramatizes the experience of the sculptures depending on the time of day or weather. Indeed, the term ‘dramatize’ is an apt one—many of the free-standing sculptures in the show evoke similarities to stage props or backdrops, their found materials and crude constructions reminding one of alternative or guerrilla theater productions.

Gedi Sibony Installation View, Greene Naftali, NY. Image courtesy Greene Naftali.
8 More Petals
Gedi Sibony | Eight More Petals, 2013, Wood, foam core, cardboard, paper, tape, 97 x 44 x 18 inches. Image courtesy Greene Naftali.

Upon entering the main gallery, one encounters by a large, semi-circular structure, placed between two large columns. Titled The Porcelains, the structure appears as a stage might, centrally positioned, and providing a flat plane on which to stand. However, its pristinely white appearance, and title that equally references distance and fragility, betrays its lack of use, causing us to contemplate its latent possibilities.

Gedi Sibony | Ceaseless Episodes of Blossom, 2013, Carpet, primer, 98 x 73 ½ inches. Image courtesy Greene Naftali.

One of the several works that employs the backsides of large rugs—a method that falls in line with Sibony’s reversed prints also on view—is Ceaseless Episodes of Blossom. The large triptych is positioned behind the semi-circular ‘stage,’ as if a backdrop, and features a grid of four reoccurring emblems, each signifying one of the four seasons. The juxtaposition of a rigorous grid format combined with the randomness of the emblems’ repetition aligns the work with those like Alighiero Boetti and the Arte Povera movement in general, a connection that is also referred to in Sibony’s use of raw and found materials.

Gedi Sibony Installation View, Greene Naftali, NY. Image courtesy Greene Naftali.

Another function of the large, obtrusive structure in the center of the gallery is that it forces visitors to move along the periphery of the space, whether or not they are aware of it. Thus it fits with Sibony’s declaration that he likes to “complicate space” with his sculptures, compelling viewers to inadvertently move in patterns or configurations that they might not otherwise within a gallery.

Grants Every Gift
Gedi Sibony | Grants Every Gift, 2013, Carpet, toy Ferris wheel, 90 ¼ x 71 ¾ x 7 inches. Image courtesy Greene Naftali.

Similarly compelling such movement is a large carpet fragment titled Grants Every Gift, hung with its underside exposed, and lying unevenly against the wall. When one instinctively peeks around the side of the work to look for an obstruction, one sees a small toy Ferris wheel wedged between the rug’s surface and the wall, suspended at roughly eye level. This hidden and unexpected object is evidence of the wry humor present in much of the artist’s practice, and slyly gestures at his ability to “toy” with our assumptions and expectations.

Gedi Sibony Installation View, Greene Naftali, NY. Image courtesy Greene Naftali.

Gedi Sibony was born in 1973, and is originally from New York, where he currently lives and works. He holds a BA from Brown and an MFA from Columbia University. Since 2000, his work has been exhibited widely in the US and Europe. His sculptures were included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial, and the 6th Berlin Biennale in 2008.

Gedi Sibony is on view at Greene Naftali Gallery in New York through June 15th. 

Nadiah Fellah is a graduate student of Art History at The Graduate Center, CUNY in New York.

Postpositive: New Work by Zach Meisner at Courtney Blades by New American Paintings
June 14, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Chicago, Review | Tags: , ,

Appearances can be deceiving in Zach Meisner’s work, and what may seem like a potentially recognizable form at first is often an illusion.  His recent exhibition, currently on view at Courtney Blades, is no exception.  In New Work, a collection of small paintings, symbols stand in for silhouettes of busts; asymmetry masks itself as something more harmonious, and meaningless forms take lovely lapses into the aesthetics of utilitarian design objects.  Though made out of low-grade construction materials – Plexiglas, plywood, MDF, and acrylic – Meisner’s paintings are sleek, clean, and crisp.  Through combinations of bold geometric elements and slow passages of sensory play, Meisner’s paintings border on the cusp of object and surface. – Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Contributor

Zach Meisner, Installation View, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Courtney Blades.

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Fay Ku – Asa Nisa Masa by New American Paintings
June 12, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Review, Santa Fe | Tags: , , ,

Fay Ku’s solo exhibition Asa Nisa Masa at Eight Modern in Santa Fe features delicately executed graphite, ink and watercolor works inspired by her memories, experiences and relationships as a result of her upbringing in white suburbia as the child of Chinese immigrants. Through her use of subtly articulated line and negative space, Ku references East Asian artistic traditions, while her focus on figurative representation through a predominantly female-centric subject matter, suggests a more contemporary Western perspective. Her often-surreal visual narratives borrow from myth and folklore to explore the intersection of personal, social and cultural tension. – Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor

Fay Ku | Threat, 2011, graphite, watercolor and ink on paper, 19 x 27.5 inches, image courtesy of Eight Modern

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Simone Shubuck at Taylor De Cordoba by New American Paintings
May 30, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Los Angeles, Review | Tags: , ,

Simone Shubuck’s solo exhibit Do You Like Old Things or New Things That Look Old? at Taylor De Cordoba is forward and refreshing.  Deep coral hues, paint splotches, doodles, feathers, and detailed sketches of chrysanthemum-like shapes comprise her colorful paintings, at times seeming to mimic bouquets and at others, taking on anthropomorphic, creature-like appearances. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

1. ComparmentsOfBelief
Simone Shubuck | Compartments Of Beliefs, 2012, Mixed media on paper,15.75″ x 11″  All images courtesy of Taylor De Cordoba.

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Rebuilding the Sublime: Peter Scherrer’s EVERYTHING RIGHT AND ANYWHERE NOW by New American Paintings
May 29, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Review, Seattle | Tags: , ,

“Getting out,” into the wilderness in western Washington is rarely a clean, easy experience; the nearly endless rainy season can act as a killjoy until the oversized ferns, mushroom patches and lush understories of its forests override the fact that you are standing in these pristine landscapes completely soaked. Bellingham artist Peter Scherrer’s dense, complicated paintings of the Pacific Northwest incorporate similar dynamics through their surfaces muddied with content, almost to point of deterrence (particularly when seen as reproductions). Yet, when experienced in the flesh, the works use the depths of their layers to reveal a tangible, unconventional sense of the sublime. – Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Peter Scherrer | Pocket Knife, 2013, oil on canvas, 60 x 75 in. Image courtesy of SEASON.

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Invisible Performers: David Salle at The Arts Club of Chicago by New American Paintings
May 22, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Chicago, Review | Tags: , ,

How can a figure pretend to be invisible, yet still remain the focus of the painting?  David Salle begs the question with his recent exhibition at The Arts Club of Chicago – a stunning collection entitled the Ghost Paintings, which displays a collection of work produced by Salle in the early 1990s.  The level of artifice referenced by the title, which though acknowledged in perhaps a witty sense, is never coy or masked – make no mistake, the mask may very well be the subject – but Salle’s relationship to form in these paintings is much more Classical than that.  Like folds carved out of alabaster marble, the forms the figures take in the paintings are heightened by their sculptural presence.  Each canvas in the exhibition carries on it a similar photographic image exposed directly onto photosensitized linen, depictions of longtime model Beverly Eaby, who was asked to pose in Salle’s studio covered in a simple white sheet.  Like cinematic portraits of an unseen performer, where dreams of phantasmagoria meet the hard-edged formalist, Salle’s theatrical, yet frivolous and unrehearsed canvases assail the reciprocity between the image, and how it is constructed. – Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Contributor

'92 Ghost 3
David Salle | Ghost 3, 1992, ink on photosensitized linen, 85 x 75 inches,  © David Salle, VAGA, NY. Photographer: John Berens.

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