Nadiah Fellah

March 11, 2014, 1:50pm

Pat Steir’s Fluid Reality

There is a notable heaviness present in the galleries of Cheim & Read’s Pat Steir show currently on view in New York. The weightiness is evoked not by any darkness, but by the unique paint application the artist employs in her large-scale canvases, in which she lets gravity dictate the way paint falls, spills, and spatters across the expansive surfaces. Sidestepping any didactic elements in her particular style of feminist practice, Steir instead employs an approach to painting that makes metaphoric references to the leaks, seepages and flows of the female body, seeking to draw out allusions to something that is more random, intuitive, and created by chance circumstances. Rejecting the traditional use of a brush to apply paint, Steir also stands against the myth of the male-artist-as-genius in her choice to abstain from the decisive action of placing paint on surface. Instead, the artist has devised a non-traditional approach, choosing to pour thinned paint from the top of her canvases while they’re vertically mounted on the wall.

Pat Steir installation view, Cheim & Read, New York.

Listed under: Review

February 12, 2014, 4:35pm

Iva Gueorguieva’s Surface-Effect

Iva Gueorguieva’s (NAP #73) paintings, on view at Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe in New York, bring a breathe of California sun to our frigid New York winter. Working up the surfaces of her large canvases into almost a fetishized frenzy, the paintings are abstract, yet indicative of movement. By denying viewers the ability to rest their eyes on any one component for too long, her works are both mesmerizing and disconcerting, inducing frustration as one tries to pinpoint figures or structures within the compositions. Fractions, edges, and suggestions of such imagery exist, but are ungraspable as they dissolve into the chaos of each scene. – Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Installation view, Iva Gueorguieva at
Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe, January 30 – March 8, 2014. Courtesy Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe.

Listed under: Review

February 10, 2014, 9:22am

Radcliffe Bailey’s Maroons

In Radcliffe Bailey’s (NAP #28) new exhibition, Maroons, on view at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, the Atlanta-based artist challenges the dominant history of slavery, and probes the unexpected cultural interactions that it inadvertently promoted. The show’s title references the “maroon” communities of escaped African slaves that formed illicit settlements throughout the Americas and the Caribbean. The English name for these “maroons” comes from the Taíno word símaran, a word describing the flight of an arrow. Taíno is the indigenous culture and language of Caribbean islands like Hispaniola that the colonists first made landfall on, making it an appropriate root for the term. The title also primes viewers for the issues of displacement, diaspora, and migration that the works in this show primarily engage. – Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Installation view showing Vessel, 2012 (left), tarp, iron, vintage model ship, wicker basket and glass, 120 x 188 x 89 inches; and Pensive, 2013 (right), bronze and rough-sawn fir logs, 58 x 39 ¼ x 45 ¼ inches. Courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery.

Listed under: Review

January 27, 2014, 5:03pm

Robert Bechtle at Gladstone Gallery

Robert Bechtle’s works can often be dated by the make and model of the cars he chooses to include in his paintings and drawings. The small suite of recent drawings on view at Gladstone Gallery in New York are no different. The centerpiece of the show is aptly a large oil painting titled Bob’s Sebring, in which the artist depicts himself standing next to a silver Sebring convertible. Known for working from photographs for his intensely detailed works, the image represents a typically awkward moment. While the car is shown from an optimal angle, parked at a diagonal as one might see on a car lot or in a showroom, the artist’s pose is one of humble reserve, and stands in sharp contrast to the ostentatiousness of his new car. Positioned in the crook of the open car door, we are unsure as to whether he has parked his car just so for the photograph, or about to drive away. – Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Robert Bechtle |
Bob's Sebring, 2011, Oil on canvas, 40 x 57 3/4 inches, Courtesy Gladstone Gallery

Listed under: Review

January 22, 2014, 4:37pm

Christian Marclay at Paula Cooper Gallery

One doesn’t usually associate the video artist Christian Marclay with paintings or works on paper. Yet at the Paula Cooper Gallery in New York, a suite of his new paintings and prints were on view, unaccompanied by any time-based elements. However, true to the artist’s sound-based practice, each large piece is punctuated by onomatopoeias that evoke action. Each is also done in a bright palette and in a style that is analogous to comic book pages. - Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Christian Marclay, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, November 22, 2013 – January 18, 2014. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery.

December 24, 2013, 10:01am

Monster Masterpieces: The Art of Antonio Berni

Ranging from the charming to the absurd, the work of Antonio Berni has been ubiquitous in Argentina since the 1930s, when he was a young artist advocating for political change. Little-known in the United States today, his works are a staple in many of Argentina’s major institutions, forming the core of permanent collections like the Latin American Museum of Buenos Aires (MALBA) and the National Museum of Fine Arts. With an oeuvre that spans several decades of the twentieth century (Berni was prolific until his death in 1981), the diversity of his styles is astounding. While visiting Buenos Aires recently, I encountered small Chirico-style surrealist panels, expressive mural-sized scenes similar to those of Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros, and—most curiously—an enormous papier-mâché sculpture of an alligator-monster with a woman’s legs emerging from its mouth.  

Antonio Berni | La pesadilla de Ramona (The nightmare of Ramona), 1964, Mixed media, approx. 3 x 2 x 10 feet, MALBA, Buenos Aires.

Listed under: Review

November 25, 2013, 8:49pm

Shelley Reed’s In Dubious Battle

Recently on view at Danese Corey Gallery in New York, artist Shelley Reed’s mural-sized paintings evoke the work of realist French or Dutch paintings from a bygone era—although at a slight removal given their monochromatic palettes. Each section foregrounds exotic animals juxtaposed with still life scenes and set against expansive landscapes, which are dotted with Rococo and neoclassical architecture. The indulgent paintings are an amalgamation of art historical tropes, bringing to mind a myriad of references. - Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Shelley Reed |
Installation, In Dubious Battle. 2013, oil on canvas, 7'x47', Courtesy the artist.

Listed under: Review

October 28, 2013, 10:25pm

Liu Xiaodong: In Between Israel and Palestine

The subject of Israel and Palestine may seem an unlikely one for the Chinese painter Liu Xiaodong. However, the issue of internal displacement and migration has been a topic within much of Xiaodong’s work, particularly in his 2003 series, Displacement, which drew inspiration from the Three Gorges Dam project in China. The twenty new works shown at Mary Boone gallery in New York take up the artist’s previous interests once again, revolving around the same set of concerns in a different part of the globe. - Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Liu Xiaodong | 
In Between Israel and Palestine 11, oil on canvas, two panels, 2013. Courtesy Mary Boone Gallery.

Listed under: Review

October 08, 2013, 8:00am

Andrew Schoultz at Morgan Lehman Gallery

Drawing from a range of inspirations in his work—including elements as disparate as medieval mapmaking, Persian miniatures and underground comic books—artist Andrew Schoultz’s (NAP #79) pieces present a commentary on the history of warfare, globalization, and environmental concerns. Cleverly making connections to events across history, his work offers viewers considerable food for thought without being overly didactic. An artist based in San Francisco, Schoultz’s roots in graffiti and street art manifest in immersive installations, in which the colors and imagery in each panel spill onto the wall, floors, and benches of the gallery. – Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Andrew Schoultz: New Work, Installation view. Image courtesy Morgan Lehman Gallery.

Listed under: Review

September 26, 2013, 8:00am

Charline von Heyl at Petzel Gallery

What is most striking about the fourteen new works by the painter Charline von Heyl on view at Petzel Gallery is their gestural energy and boldness. Each large canvas—the artist is fairly consistent in the sizing of her paintings—draws from the roots of abstraction, but with elements that border on figuration. In many, the features of faces can be seen floating among her compositions, such as disembodied eyes, mouths, and cephalic outlines. The knowledge that the artist suffers from prosopagnosia, or face blindness, makes the detached features even more intriguing, drawing viewers into an enigmatic realm occupied by swirling shapes, patterns, and fragmentary imagery. - Nadiah Fellah, NYC Contributor

Charline von Heyl | Installation view, Petzel Gallery

Listed under: Review