Review

December 04, 2014, 9:47am

Field Notes: Bethany Johnson at Moody Gallery

In a strong showing, Austin-based artist Bethany Johnson’s (NAP #108) recent exhibition Field Notes at Moody Gallery in Houston explores her affinity for natural sciences and is a continuation of her interests in the “study of systems and the visual representation of information.” Field Notes is comprised of a variety of complex drawings detailing landscapes–both familiar and unfamiliar–that immediately call to mind a more electronic or mechanical means of production including computer printouts, maps, scans or 3D renderings. –Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Bethany Johnson | Apollo stacks, 2014, ink on paper, 11" x 8 1/2"; image courtesy of the artist and Moody Gallery, Houston, Texas

Listed under: Review

December 02, 2014, 9:06am

The Unlikely Likeness of Quilts and Monsters: Whiting Tennis at Greg Kucera Gallery

Quilts and monsters would seem to have little to do with one another. Were it not for Seattle artist Whiting Tennis’s show of that title at Greg Kucera Gallery, I doubt the two would have ever come together in my mind. Inside the gallery, the quilt-inspired works stand across the space from the monsters, the two sets of paintings occupying opposing walls, making it seem as though they should be considered separate entities. Spending time among their equally weathered palettes, their rigid, fragmented subjects and their unlikely overlaps, however, I only became more convinced that quilts and monsters do, in fact, belong together.—Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


Whiting Tennis | Quilt #3 (brown quilt) , 2014, acrylic and collage on canvas, 87 x 68 inches. Image courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery.

Listed under: Review

November 03, 2014, 9:34am

Rebecca Farr’s Sweet Broken Now

Rebecca Farr’s recent solo show at Klowden-Mann was a strong force to be reckoned with--both in terms of the physical presence of her paintings and in the contending contemplation her subject demanded.

With heavy paint on blotted and torn, layered paper, Farr collages print photos from 1970s and 80s coffee table books as her source material. She layers those with paper and heavy paint on wood panel, creating works that feel dense and heavy, yet very exciting and current.

Farr paints photos into vague suggestions of landscape paintings, as if her subjects inhabit a ghost world or ethereal dream. In “Sweet Broken Now,” Farr’s third solo show at Klowden-Mann, Farr made Manifest Destiny her subject of inquiry and aimed to capture the complex history arising from the ideology and religious fervor that justified white westward expansion during the early 1900s. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Rebecca Farr | Installation view featuring Tilth 1, 2014, Mixed media on wood panel, 48 x 72”. Courtesy of Klowden-Mann.

Listed under: Review

October 29, 2014, 8:46am

Being There Again and Again: Joy Garnett at Platform Gallery

Most of the time, as soon as I am awake, I begin scrolling through the layers of news on my phone, while still laying in bed. The ISIS updates, the new Ebola cases, and the pithy comments on the latest art world drama barely stick during this first round of skimming headlines and images, my awareness of the day coming into focus as I work through the tweets and the “Likes.” This activity would seem to have little to do with the meticulous, studied ways we usually interact with paintings. However, Brooklyn artist Joy Garnett proves otherwise, as evidenced by her new show, Being There, which opened at Seattle’s Platform Gallery last week. Pulling images from the media—including photographs of conflicts in the Middle East and screen grabs of leaked US military videos—Garnett’s new paintings bleed and blur their scenes into places that seem as familiar as the widely-disseminated photographs they reference. However, the artist also brings out the distant, fleeting way we absorb these images, turning their subjects into things we can never fully know. —Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


Joy Garnett | Standoff, 2013, oil on canvas, 38 x 44 inches. Image courtesy of Platform Gallery.

Listed under: Review

October 13, 2014, 9:46am

The Notion of Landscape: Michael Cook

Albuquerque-based artist Michael Cook (#42, #114) has long been exploring the vast terrain of both landscape and our perceptions of it. Citing an interest in semiotics and specifically, the point at which “objects become visible in culture” he often conflates symbols, language and diagrams to build complex, multi-layered compositions. In his current exhibition The Notion of Landscape at the Francis McCray Gallery of Contemporary Art at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, NM, Cook presents a diverse body of work that spans the years 1981-2009. –Claude Smith Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Michael Cook | Venetian (Alamogordo) 2007-2009, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches; image courtesy the artist

Listed under: Review

September 26, 2014, 9:17am

Matt Magee at James Kelly Contemporary

In his first solo exhibition at James Kelly Contemporary in Santa Fe, Phoenix-based artist and recent NYC transplant Matt Magee (NAP #14) offers a bit of a departure from his typically looser, more shapely and often-codified works. In this stripped-down, analytical offering, Recent Paintings and Sculptures features works inspired by observed and imagined forms, collections, data analysis and the Arizona sky. – Claude Smith, Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Matt Magee | Narita, 2013, oil on panel; image courtesy of James Kelly Contemporary

Listed under: Review

September 25, 2014, 9:21am

Erupting Unknowns: Ryan Molenkamp’s Fear of Volcanoes

The first time I came to Seattle was to board a cruise ship, the same reason so many other Northwest outsiders first experience this city. Since I had been traveling with family (not to mention thousands of other cruisers), the only time I recall being alone on the trip was during the cab ride back to the airport, after we returned to port. Sitting in the backseat, moving alongside the lines of cars traveling southbound on I-5, the faint image of Mount Rainier floated among the license plates. It was among this swarm of rendered, friendlier mountains that I first saw the real Rainier, looming seventy miles away, above the mass of clouds that coated the passenger-side window.

Although I have lived here for nine years, and few things I saw during the cruise visit look the same to me now as they did fresh off the ship, Mount Rainier still radiates the same sense of severe immensity, even during its sunniest appearances. Walking into SAM Gallery’s Made in the Northwest show, I was met with a similar hum of severity—this time coming from Seattle artist Ryan Molenkamp’s (NAP #97) painted volcanoes. — Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


Ryan Molenkamp | View from Mt Erie, 
acrylic on panel, 30 x 40 in., 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

Listed under: Review

September 24, 2014, 9:49am

Edgar Arceneaux’s “A Book and a Medal” at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Edgar Arceneaux’s “A Book and a Medal: Disentanglement Equals Homogenous Abstractions” opened at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects earlier this month. Challenging and compelling, the show is a triple threat of musts (must-see, -feel, and -experience) all in one.


Edgar Arceneaux | installation view of PLATONIC SOLID’S DREAMING/DETROIT’S SHRINKING (Dodecahedron), 2014, Paintings on mirrored glass, graphite and ink on vellum, layered over colored paper, in a hand crafted steel frames. Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

The exhibit features the contents of a partially redacted 1964 letter from J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI and part of the “Suicide Package,” blackmailing Dr. Martin Luther King by referencing his extramarital affairs and encouraging him to commit suicide. Another letter that serves as the former’s bookend came 50 years later as Bernice King, MLK’s daughter, urges her siblings not to sell their father’s Nobel Prize and bible (objects for which the show is named). Arceneaux explores the complexity of iconicity and monument-making; history and storytelling; and forgetting and memorializing. Using mirror installations and the shape of the redacted letter as a recognizable and repeated template throughout the exhibit, he creates a mood of intrigue, redundancy, and disjuncture. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

Listed under: Interview, Review

September 09, 2014, 9:50am

A Smile That Ain't A Smile But Teeth: New Works by Umar Rashid

In A Smile That Ain’t a Smile But Teeth, artist, performer, and storyteller, Umar Rashid opened his first solo show under his aforementioned birth name this past weekend at the Reginald Ingraham Gallery. In the art world, Rashid is better known as “Frohawk Two Feathers”—his nom-de-plum and alter ego (NAP #73). This Homeric and Tolkien-esque raconteur is known for reweaving and reinventing a master narrative based on the supposition that France and England had united as “Frengland.” In his painted and sculpted saga, Two Feathers invites viewers through tales of woe and into bloody battles, introduces them to traitorous heroes and lost loves, and amuses them with his wit, humor, and biting sense of irony. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Umar Rashid | installation view of “Post Physical Slavery American Negro Archetype Numbers 1-4,” acrylic and graphite on canvas, four canvases - each 36”x 48.5”. Photo by Ellen C. Caldwell, courtesy of artist and Reginald Ingraham Gallery.

Listed under: Review

July 30, 2014, 8:30am

Storied Surfaces: Philip Miner’s Dark All Over Europe

“You have to touch the paintings,” Robert Yoder, owner of Seattle’s SEASON gallery suddenly insisted, as he, artist Philip Miner and I stood beside a set of five canvases included in Miner’s new show, Dark All Over Europe; the artist stopped his train of thought to emphatically agree. Titled One by Four & Four Minus One or Two, Maybe More, the acrylic and flashe paintings in question stood side by side, in a tight row, coated with a texture that looked like a literal manifestation of blood and sand—speckled, saturated, and sticky. The surface that met my fingers, however, was the precise opposite. These paintings were so uniformly slick it was hard to believe they were made by a human hand.  While One by Four & Four Minus One or Two was unique in its need to be touched, each work in Dark All Over Europe had a story that started at its surface. — Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


Philip Miner | One by Four & Four Minus One or Two, Maybe More. 2014, acrylic and flashe on canvas, 20 X 16 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and SEASON.

Listed under: Review

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