Review

May 26, 2014, 10:48pm

Surface Readings: Peter Shear at Big Medium

Spend some time with Peter Shear (NAP #107), whose mostly small-scale gestural abstractions invite close up viewings. But check yourself: the allure of Casting, Shear's array of colorful, mixed-media compositions — so simple in a sidelong browse yet curiously addictive, like Candy Crush on canvas — and his debut solo exhibition at Big Medium in Austin, may charm you longer than you expected. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor


Peter Shear |
Hold, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 8 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Big Medium, Austin.

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May 22, 2014, 8:44am

Open Letter to an Enemy: Nicole Eisenman

Dear Nemesis,

When Western painters in the mid-late 1800s imagined the exotic landscape of the East, it was filled with caricature and hyperbole. Style comes into question more in this genre than any other, because the paintings are topical – what you see on the surface, its stylization, its aesthetics, all contribute to the imaginary. In many ways, each painting from this genre is an open letter to an enemy. This is the same type of address cited in the title of Nicole Eisenman’s recent exhibition, Dear Nemesis, which just closed at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) St. Louis and will soon be travelling to the ICA Philadelphia – a survey collection of over 120 works, primarily paintings and some sculpture, since the early 1990s. Just over a century apart, and yet so related in method, the opponent in question for Eisenman is not outside of the artist, as it was in the past, but is used instead as a frame for her method of production. Both styles of painting beg the question: without gross inaccuracy, how else can you paint pure invention? - Stephanie Cristello, Chicago Contributor


Nicole Eisenman | Guy Reading The Stranger, 2011, 76" x 60"

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May 19, 2014, 4:53pm

Close Encounters with Falling Realities: Cynthia Camlin’s Divided Earth

Last week, when I heard the news of the West Antarctica’s falling ice sheet, it was hard not to think of the floating, fragmenting masses that comprise Cynthia Camlin’s (NAP #109) new paintings. For over ten years, the artist has been manipulating frozen landscapes into rich imagery that ranges from the luscious, bulbous forms of her watercolor icebergs, to graphic screen prints of broken, frozen shards made flat by their map-like, textural surfaces. Camlin’s latest series, Divided Earth, on view at Seattle’s PUNCH Gallery, reexamines her familiar subjects, which have become increasingly prominent representatives of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns.  These new, articulated ice shelves—one of which spans a colossal ten panels—loom directly above and beside their onlookers, the grid structures building an illusion so tangible that, at times, the mounds’ jagged edges feel as if they break into our space on a disturbingly intimate level.  I caught up with the artist to find out more about the new works and the way our evolving relationship with climate change has shaped her practice. — Erin Langner, Seattle contributor


Cynthia Camlin | Water Fragment, 1-10, ink, watercolor and vinyl polymer emulsion on paper panels, 12" x 9" each. Image courtesy of the artist.

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May 16, 2014, 4:19pm

Color Pollination: Leigh Anne Lester at grayDUCK Gallery

If your produce shopping is limited to sustainable farmers markets rather than the neighborhood big-box — or if you haven't followed decades of GMC developments — you may be unaware of genetically modified crops' tenacious pervasiveness in the global community. In Venomous Cabbage and other demands satisfied, the inaugural show at grayDUCK Gallery's new eastside location in Austin, Leigh Anne Lester wields graphite and rich color as her magnifying glass to this agricultural reality. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor


Leigh Anne Lester | Deviant Pollination, 2014, graphite and color pencil on drafting film, 29 x 24 inches. Image courtesy the artist and grayDUCK Gallery, Austin.

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May 05, 2014, 9:24am

Personal Ties: Wura-Natasha Ogunji at MASS Gallery

Connectivity is a recurring theme in Wura-Natasha Ogunji's work, within personal space and interpersonal relationships — to family, to a homeland, to both hemispheres of one earth. In her solo exhibition Your heart is clean at MASS Gallery, Ogunji unveils a body of works on paper and video installation developed during return trips to her father's homeland of Nigeria and time shared between industrial metropolis Lagos and Austin, TX. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor


Your heart is clean
installation view, MASS Gallery, April 25 – May 31, 2014. Image courtesy the artist and MASS Gallery, Austin. Photos taken by Sandy Carson.

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April 25, 2014, 12:09pm

Lodi: Natalie Smith at SCA Contemporary

Nearing the end of her stint at the University of New Mexico, Illinois transplant, Natalie Smith (NAP #105) unveiled her most recent body of work, Lodi, at SCA Contemporary in Albuquerque. Heavily influenced by craft and design practices, Lodi references her affinity for everyday objects, images and forms and belief that paintings can be “arenas in which anything is possible.” – Claude Smith Albuquerque/Santa Fe Contributor


Natalie Smith | Victoria & Albert, 2014, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches; image courtesy of the artist

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April 22, 2014, 9:03am

Mountains Made of Paper: Saul Becker’s Dead Reckoning

Svalbard is an unincorporated Norwegian archipelago that resides in the Arctic Circle, between continental Norway and the North Pole.  While its indisputable date of discovery surrounds a Dutchman’s search for the Northern Sea Route, in 1596, Scandinavians may have found it as early as the twelfth century.  In either case, a human presence made its way into this distant, arctic land filled with fjords, mountains, polar bears and arctic foxes, through a history of interactions ranging from whaling, explorations and coal mining, to the last armed German military unit’s surrender, after World War II. Svalbard is also now the site of The Arctic Circle residency program, where Tacoma artist Saul Becker (NAP #49) took in the landscapes that became part of his new show, Dead Reckoning, while aboard a grand, 120-foot schooner. — Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor


Saul Becker | Folding Coastline, 2012, watercolor, ink and gouache on paper, 29.5 x 41.5 in. Image courtesy of Prole Drift.

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April 14, 2014, 8:55am

Pow! Wow! Hawai’I Packs a Painted Punch

This past February, street artists and fine artists alike joined together for the fifth annual Pow! Wow! Hawai’i (PWH) festival in Honolulu, Hawaii. Founder of the site and painting festival PWH Jasper Wong and mega-art site Booooooom’s Jeff Hamada caught up with me to discuss the event, its history, and its future.


Lady Aiko
on Auahi Street| 2014, Courtesy of Pow! Wow! Hawai’I.

If you’re feeling like you missed out, check out PWH’s great video page and their mural page – and of course, consider attending Pow! Wow! Taiwan this year. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor

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April 09, 2014, 9:39am

Lasting Impressions: Miguel A. Aragón at Tiny Park

Trauma permeates Miguel A. Aragón's very physical printmaking, both in subject matter (victims of Mexico's drug wars) and in process (depending on the intended result, he burns, abrades, or hand-drills the works). Aragón's return to Austin — his first solo here following the critically-lauded exhibition Fractured Memories, Assembled Trauma at Mexic-Arte Museum in 2012 — is both potent and bittersweet, as while the artist's bracing techniques continue to advance the compositional potential of paper, it also coincides with the final outing at eastside gallery Tiny ParkBrian Fee, Austin contributor


Miguel A. Aragón | De brazos abiertos, 2014, hand-drilled paper with layered Xerox, 72 x 192 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Tiny Park, Austin.

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April 08, 2014, 11:14am

Dan Gluibizzi and the World Wide Archive

Combing Tumblr for inspirational sources, painter Dan Gluibizzi pairs scenes of friends, porn, swingers, and bongs to form groupings of perfect strangers in his watercolor compositions. In his show "Between Friends" at the Kopeikin Gallery, Gluibizzi explores and questions the social media bonds and the ties of voyeuristic “friendship” in this digital age. – Ellen C. Caldwell, Los Angeles Contributor


Dan Gluibizzi | Story Sisters, 2014
, 33" x 40," Watercolor on Paper. Courtesy of Kopeikin Gallery.

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