Monday, September 28, 2015

New York Dispatch: Sue de Beer "The Blue Lenses" at Marianne Boesky Gallery

"Lying awake, Marda West decided upon her plan. She got out of bed, she took her clothes from the wardrobe and began to dress. She put on her coat and shoes and tied a scarf over her head. When she was ready she went to the door and softly turned the handle. All was quiet in the corridor. She stood there motionless. Then she took one step across the threshold and looked to the left, where the nurse on duty sat. The snake was there. The snake was sitting bent over a book."
   - from Daphne du Maurier, "The Blue Lenses"

Sue de Beer's current solo show "The Blue Lenses" is a video installation about transformation and its dark consequences. Based on a short story of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, "The Blue Lenses" tells the tale of a woman given surgery to restore her vision: upon the bandages being removed from her eyes, she sees people entirely differently, that is, with predatory animal heads rather than human heads. In this exhibition, de Beer sets the story in the Middle East. There is a blue tint from the gallery window that colors the environment in a blue haze. The panels that divide the gallery are cut in Islamic  decorative patterns. de Beer's video and photography are seance-like explorations of characters and their psychological states. Although du Maurier's story is not set in the Middle East, the setting of the Islamic world in de Beer's video serves as backdrop and a character  for "the other," where the main character finds herself in when the bandages are removed. The narrator and the scenes of knives are both spiritual and mental states that the character in du Maurier's story perceives both inside and out. de Beer is not literal in her retelling of du Maurier's story. Instead, de Beer is metaphorical and thus is successful in creating for the viewer a psychological state of fear and horror. If visiting New York, please place this show in your itinerary and go see it; very highly recommended.

Sue de Beer: The Blue Lenses
On view until October 25th

Marianne Boesky Gallery
20 Clinton Street
New York, NY
ph: 212-680-9889
f. 212-680-9897

New York Dispatch: John Seal at Gavin Brown Enterprise

       On my first night in New York City, I had the privilege to attend the opening of Los Angeles-based artist John Seal's solo show "I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence" at Gavin Brown Enterprise in the Bowery district. When you encounter Seal's work,there is a tension between the image that is shown and the color "form," that makes it presence known.

        Seal makes reference to "worlds" that are created by color, image and their histories. The works vary from each other. There are a series of works where the outline of a gold jacket are invaded by a bouquet of colorful shapes and flowery images that populate the surface of the jacket outline. The still life paintings rotate from the sculptural work portrayed to the invaded object covered with color forms in the same still life. In "Almost Flesh, Almost Love, and Almost Laughter." the porcelain sculpture of two lovers is placed with a copy of "Paradise Lost" and a print of George Seurat's "The Models." Then in "Looking Out From the Other Side of Dawn," the figurine of the two lovers in "Almost Flesh..." is invaded and covered with colorful brush strokes as if the sculpture was taken over by something unfamiliar and painterly.

        Seal explores the relationship between color, the object and representation. He uses the paint and the object to explore emotional and visual states of the world created on the picture plain. Thus he re-coordinates the world that he sees. Color is a ghost and the artist acts as an exorcist that extracts and reveals the possessed state of the painting and objects around him. However, the "histories" and paint negotiate with the artist and thus the paint is a give and take between the object, the image and the painting. This show is excellent.

John Seal
"I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence"
Open until October 25th

Gavin Brown Enterprise
291 Grand Street,
2nd Floor
New York, NY
(212) 627-5258

"I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence III"

"In the Nearly Infinite Distance Between the Gates of Heaven and Of Hell There Reigns A Chaos in Which the Word Cannot Separate Light and Dark - This is the Journey That Satan Partook When he Sought to Be by Man's Side"  

Contained but Still Bulging Out Here and There

I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence II

Looking Out from the Other Side of Dawn

"Almost Flesh, Almost Love, and Almost Laughter."

"I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence IV"

Metaphor of Earthly Care

Metaphor of Earthly Care (detail)


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"America is Hard to See: 1965 to the present" at the New Whitney Museum of American Art

I was fortunate to see this exhibition on the last week of its showing. Due to problems with my phone, I was only able to bring you highlights from the art shown on the 5th floor. The new Whitney building is amazing and the exhibition space serves the work well. The exhibit is basically the Whitney's permanent collection. The amazing aspect of the show, particularly the part of the show which dealt with art from 1965 to the present, was the strong showing of artist from Los Angeles. Mark Bradford, Catherine Opie, Mike Kelly, Raymond Pettibon, and others reflect a shift in focus that even the docent agreed with the change. If you did not have a chance to see this in person, here are some highlights.

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street
New York, NY 10014

Felix Gonzalez Torres

Keith Haring

Jean Michel Basquiat

Robert Gober

Karen Kilimink

Christopher Wool

Raymond Pettibon

Lutz Bascher

John Currin

Cory Archangel

Wade Guyton

R.H. Quaytman

Nicole Eisenman

Carroll Dunham

Keith Mayerson

Glenn Ligon

View from the Whitney Museum balcony.

Rachel Harrison

Mark Bradford

Alessandra Mir

Elizabeth Peyton

Mike Kelley

Peter Halley

Charles Ray

Lari Pittman

David Reed

Susan Rothenberg

Neil Janney

Elizabeth Murray

Cy Twombley

Chuck Close

Philip Guston

Jonathan Borofsky

Laurie Simmons

Cindy Sherman


David Salle

Barbara Krueger

Mary Heilmann

Alex Katz

Wayne Thiebald

Robert Bechtel

Agnes Martin

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Frieze Los Angeles 2024 (Review)

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