March 25, 2014, 9:25am

Ecstasy and Eye Candy: Ben Weiner at Mark Moore Gallery

Ben Weiner’s (NAP #56, 68, 80, 98) solo show “MaximumStrengthAgeDefy” at Mark Moore Gallery is eye candy for the soul and soulful drugs for your eyes. The gallery space greets you with bright and tasty looking colors, alluring and welcoming you in. – Ellen C. Caldwell

Ben Weiner | installation view of “MaximumStrengthAgeDefy.” Image courtesy of Mark Moore Gallery.

Listed under: Review

March 25, 2014, 9:20pm

PDX Road Trip: New Work from Ellen Lesperance, Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Wes Mills

Driving to Portland from Seattle is such an easy thing to do, most of the time I find myself there on a whim, without any concrete plans, experiencing the city in a choose-your-own-adventure style, with one experience leading into the next. When I arrived in such circumstances again last week, I ended up happening upon a survey of some of the city’s stalwart artists.  While the PORTLAND2014 biennial organized by Disjecta in a selection of discreet art venues across the city helped ensure a steady selection of shows, straying off the biennial track at times also yielded the most resonant works, with exhibitions by seasoned Portland artists Ellen Lesperance (NAP #97), Jessica Jackson Hutchins and Wes Mills representing some of the most exciting pursuits at the moment and reinforcing these artists’ positions as some of the city’s strongest voices. – Erin Langner, Seattle contributor

Ellen Lesperance, Do you know that one day you lost your way, man?, installation view. Image courtesy of Upfor Gallery.

Listed under: Review

March 23, 2014, 3:01pm

Homage to Exploration: Katia Santibañez at Morgan Lehman Gallery

As winter segues slowly into spring in New York City, Katia Santibañez's (NAP #104) latest suite of hypnotic investigations into the natural world instill warmth into our gray worldview and chilled bodies. Docere, Delectare, Movere, her fourth exhibition at Morgan Lehman Gallery, follows several months in Rome and a residency at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, imbuing this series with vitality and fearlessness in contrasting colors. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor

Katia Santibañez |
Interlude, 2013-14, acrylic on panel, 16 x 12”, image courtesy the artist and Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York.

Listed under: Review

March 19, 2014, 8:38am

Guest Stars and Sci Fi: Brian Porray at Western Project

Brian Porray’s (NAP #84 & 2010 MFA Annual) second solo exhibition at Western Project is quite simply a must see and must feel.  He fills the large, open gallery space with his signature bright and bold explosions of color, movement, and energy.  In his last show, he focused on capturing the essence of his hometown Vegas and the complex power of the Luxor Hotel, and in this show, he moves to something else just as unsettling and unnerving as sin city can be to some – the ever-changing and impermanent night sky and the sci fi terrors and wonder it can bring to us mortals. – Ellen C. Caldwell

Brian Porray | installation view at Western Project
, 2014. Image courtesy of Western Project.

Listed under: Review

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 27, 2014, 4:17pm

Closer Encounters: Josephine Halvorson at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

In her 2011 exhibition What Looks Back at New York gallery Sikkema Jenkins & Co., Josephine Halvorson enlivened inanimate industrial objects and surfaces, spellbinding this art-lover and writer. Now that she's got our attention, Halvorson returns with a tightly cropped and edited grouping of eleven canvases, each thrusting its subject up close and personal. Her structures are no longer content to be ignored or forgotten: in Facings, they assert themselves. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor

Josephine Halvorson | Heat 1, 2013, Oil on linen, 10 x 15 inches. Image courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York

Listed under: Review

February 26, 2014, 10:23am

Literally Figurative: Sarah Awad

The Women was the title of Sarah Awad's (NAP #93) first solo exhibition at Diane Rosenstein Fine Art this past November.  The press release provides an immediate context for the work: “The artist reawakens our detached assumptions about the transcendent purity of minimalism and -- in what becomes a return of ‘The Return of the Figure’ -- continues a contemporary conversation with the work of Cecily Brown, Marlene Dumas, and John Currin.”  The figure in art can exist as a fundamentally formal aspect of how we perceive 2D images (any shape on a picture plane that appears in front of a pictorial ground is technically a figure), and also as the specific subject matter designation of people in the picture.  Somewhere between and to the side of those notions is the issue of the female nude in art. – Jason Ramos, Los Angeles Contributor

Sarah Awad | The Women, installation view, Courtesy of Diane Rosenstein Fine Art/photo by Craig Kirk

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

February 06, 2014, 3:21pm

Soul Seeking: Alexandra Grant at Lora Reynolds Gallery

Have you ever Google'd yourself? (Is it profane even, to use 'Google' as a verb?) As we leave digital footprints over multiple social media platforms, like a slightly exaggerated profile on an online dating site or a carefully composed Instagram shot (to one-up our friend's idyllic beach photo), we may ask ourselves 'how much of me is there?' And how much of that factors into our presence in and understanding of the greater physical world? In Century of the Self, organized by independent curator Sarah C. Bancroft at Lora Reynolds Gallery, artist Alexandra Grant dives into feverishly detailed compositions that embrace language as both quotable texts and visual tools. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor

Alexandra Grant | Alexandra Grant: Century of the Self installation view, January 18 – March 15, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin.

Listed under: Review