New American Paintings/Blog

Too Big to Fail: Painting in Place at the Farmers and Merchants Bank by New American Paintings

Site-specificity in art, as a term, claims some heritage from the specific site of Los Angeles itself. Robert Irwin was one of the main proponents of the idea in his own writing, and one the earliest mentions of it apparently comes from a 1975 Art News article by Peter Frank. The term is modern in the general sense, post-minimal (and therefore postmodern) in the terminology of contemporary art. However the idea is as old as art itself – page one of art history often describes the site-specific cave painting of early humanity. Art, it would seem, began with the intersection of painting and site-specificity, and everything else follows. An exhibition of contemporary painting by an organization that is “committed to curating site- and situation-specific contemporary art projects, in Los Angeles and beyond,” has sought to bring these two not-so-estranged notions together again, and the results offer much to ponder. Painting In Place is a group exhibition curated by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), an organization directed by curator Shamim M. Momim, and takes place inside the historic Farmers and Merchants Bank in downtown LA. – Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor

Installation view, A LAND Exhibition: Painting in Place, 2013. Farmers and Merchants Bank, Downtown Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of Robert Wedemeyer.

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Art of Darkness: Nathan Danilowicz by New American Paintings
June 3, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Features | Tags: , ,

Tucked away in a former dental office and Rastafari community center between West Adams and Culver City, artist Nathan Danilowicz has been busy.  The rooms of his studio space seem like dark altars in reverence to forces both ancient and modern, where the conceptual strategies of painterly abstraction are reclaimed as the spells and invocations of a lost age.  These tattered, rune-inscribed veils are the latest product of Nathan’s inquiry into how sci-fi shamanism, ritual, and the occult share more than just superficial affinity with many of the modalities and practices of modern and contemporary painting.  These new works along with some others will be exhibited later in June at Eye Heart in New York, a new alternative space in Chelsea, in a two-person show with painter Jani Benjamins.  Nathan’s live-work space also doubles as Latned Atsär, where he has curated group shows and exhibited his own projects since 2010.  Add that to the fact that Nathan also works full-time for one of LA’s major commercial contemporary art galleries, and the real magic trick is how he, like many artists in Los Angeles, manage to juggle it all. – Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor

Nathan Danilowicz, studio installation (detail), 2013, ink and bleach on fabric.  Photo by Jason Ramos.

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Weekend Warriors by New American Paintings
May 14, 2013, 8:30 am
Filed under: Los Angeles, Review | Tags: , , , , ,

At the shared edge of Hollywood and Los Feliz, across from La Luz de Jesus Gallery / Wacko / Soap Plant, down a block from Cheetah’s gentlemen’s club, and next door to a tattoo place, lies the residence of artists Jay Erker and John Mills.  The front room of their place is also Weekend, described on their website as “a new artist-run space dedicated to showing the work of under-represented and emerging contemporary artists in Los Angeles and beyond.”  Since Erker and Mills opened Weekend in 2011, it has become one the defining outposts of Los Angeles’ thriving community of artist-run and alternative spaces, with a string of acclaimed and engaging exhibitions, including of their own work.  The niche that Weekend and other alternative spaces fill in the contemporary art scene of LA is surmised in their words – “There is a tremendous amount of excellent work out there that falls through the cracks of the commercial art world and we like to think we provide a way for some of that work to be seen. We hope that in the end spaces like ours can provide a launching pad for artist’s careers, helping them along the path to success.” – Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor

Weekend front window during Odd Ghosts and Unlikely Dancers exhibition.  Photo by Jason Ramos

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