Stuart Shils: Recent Paintings at Tibor de Nagy Gallery and John Dubrow: Small Landscapes at Lori Bookstein Fine Art
The exhibitions of Shils and Dubrow overlapped by only a couple days, just enough to allow fresh comparisons between the two. Their differences intrigue: could it be that Shils seeks evocative means of representing, while Dubrow peruses the workings of representation itself?
Some may remind you of Sam Francis’s Blue Balls, although Winters packs his pictures more densely. And his lavishly worked colors occasionally have some unruly relationship to 1970s pattern painting, the faux-Islamic decorations of Philip Taaffe and, even, the gridded portion of Henri Matisse’s The Moroccans. But whatever his visual sources, Winters makes entirely original, entirely resolved works of art.
Conventional readings of “above” and “below”, of north, south, east and west are confounded in these panels by the integration of patterned motifs – diamond shapes and curlicues – that resist any such perspectival pre-conditions. The improbable worlds that Harris presents are less pictures of places than visual destinations within elaborate structures, guiding the eye ever-centerwards.
Whatever stories Shaw might tell and whatever horrific creatures he might portray, they all are camouflaged by an overstimulation of the viewer’s visual senses. The excessiveness of information is severe and can be compared to 1960s psychedelic art or Persian miniatures.
The interplay of colors and contrasting directions endows the open spaces with their own specific movements. The entire composition is cropped cinematically to add implied drama to what can only be called a scene.
January 17-February 22, 2009 92 Plymouth Street, at Washington Street Brooklyn, NY, 718 834 8761 It is hard to imagine an installation looking better in the industrial Smack Mellon main exhibition hall than Kirsten Hassenfeld’s current installation, Dans La Lune. Smack Mellon is a venue of raw physicality, with towering concrete columns framed in industrial steel,…
Stanley William Hayter in America: Paintings, Drawings and Prints, 1940-1950 at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art
Naumann has had the courage and good taste to break the medium barrier between Hayter’s experiments in printmaking, drawing and painting by presenting his work chronologically, regardless of – and mixing up – medium and support.
The resulting hang is very refreshing, and vindicating, to those afficionados sick to the hind teeth of Hayter being dismissed as a “technical wizard” in the etching studio, and therefore not, by extension, a “real” artist outside of it.
When Mullican asserts in writing that the “preoccupation with materials and processes seems to clutter up the phenomenon of what interests me,” he is making it clear to us that no individual person or thing can contain the entirety of that which engages him. Thus the artist reworks appearances as a means of describing the gestalt that both energizes and evades his hand.
Quaytman works in a mode of painting/silkscreen hybrid, an at once middle-brow and mass-produced liminal form that is ideologically adrift between the elite and the unique in a way that recalls Warhol. The show quietly crackles with ideas about production; perception and legibility; the nature of the “image;” and the play between painterly and photographic values.
Dumas and Peyton are united in their limitations as well as their strengths—and, arguably, in their capacity to ensure that their limitations are strengths. Dumas’s photo-dependency gives her imagery political edge. Denial of sensory depth almost punishes viewers for yearning for it, reminding them of the urgencies of injustice and exploitation that this art – and their consciences – should be addressing. Peyton’s style wallows in its own patheticism, as if cloying, ephemeral, illustration-technique are symptoms of self-pity. Such knowingly retarded means sit perfectly with the basically adolescent emotion she taps, which is that of star-struck infatuation.