Our August 2020 banner image is the second in the series of “found” dArt magazine layouts, this one featuring images from the Fall 2010 edition. Yibin Tian’s photo of the Statue of Liberty was part of the Thalia Vrachopoulos article titled Our New York, covering an exhibition at the Chelsea Art Museum in New York. Appeaing on page 42, it is being displayed on the website banner as ghosting through behind a page 41 image of the David Bolduc painting, Near Sintra Early Spring. Bolduc passed away from brain cancer April 8, 2010, but had “surprised us all with a final burst of joyful elegant spirit in a crowing artistic achievement,” Sheila Mudrick noted in her dArt magazine tribute, David Bolduc: A Remembrance.
Admittedly, my article header When Less Replaces Interconnection and Our New York, is a tad enigmatic. The first part was copped from Edward Rubin’s article, When Less Replaces Mess, a review of the 2010 Whitney Biennial. An interview with Peter Halley by Karlyn De Jongh yielded “interconnection,” from her Interconnection and Isolation article, and Our New York, as already stated, was courtesy Yibin Tian. Kelly Nipper’s Weather Center, 2009 was part of the 2010 Whitney Biennial, a black and white video projection, that featured dancer Taisha Paggett with costumes by Leah Piehl.
Exhibiting artists: Gretl Bauer, Vian Borchert, Jane Fire, Leslie Ford, Augustus Goertz, Bobbie Moline-Kramer, Robert Solomon, Lenora Rosenfield, Arlene Santana, and Martin Weinstein.
Referencing the Covid-19 pandemic, fiction writer, editor and educator Lisa Lynn Biggar recently said in Critical Read, “Science will find a cure, but art will give us a healing path to follow.” To see how, go to Manhattan’s Lower East Side and visit the Lichtundfire gallery’s sublime show When Night Falls.
The show’s curators – Priska Juschka (Lichtundfire) and Robert Curcio (curcioprojects) – have brought together paintings and multi-media works by ten artists from across the U.S. and Brazil. The majority of the art works have been expressly made for the show (July 15-August 8, 2020), in response to a call by the curators to contribute art addressing the awe and wonder that nighttime has long evoked.
Awe and wonder are primordial, universal emotions that have driven the human pursuit of knowledge, including the embodied cognition of which art is a manifestation. Progenitors of paradigm shifts in science and other human thinking, they are more necessary than ever at times of crisis, such as the present juncture when the world faces simultaneously two existential challenges – climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic – as well as other serious problems. When Night Falls is a most timely exhibit. Through allusiveness, symbolism and ambiguity, the art works on display open up feelings and thinking that unveil new vistas, sometimes unending, sometimes giving glimpses of the unknown or of new possibility, even as they eschew mere instrumentality. They induce in the viewer a profound engagement.
Indeed, they make me think of the art of Gerhard Richter, which the Met Breuer recently celebrated. I think especially of his late squeegee abstractions. Reviewing the Met show, art historian Susan Tallman spoke of Richter’s art as “an assertion of endless possibility.” I wonder if this insight doesn’t apply to all good art. The paintings of Arlene Santana, Leslie Ford and Vian Borchert suggest worlds beyond themselves, creating as well a feeling of fathomless depth. The resulting psychological and spiritual resonance is akin to an imaginative experience that is at once expansive, boundless and oceanic. Look now at the same paintings in conjunction with Martin Weinstein’s composite paintings that suggest the interplay of perception and memory through painted layers of transparent acrylic sheet. Time now grows inside you, giving your engagement with the four painters’ works the presence of four dimensions.
Two paintings by Robert Solomon sourced from journeying at night on a country road synthesize a serene expansiveness with dread and foreboding even as they bring together broad sweeps of abstraction with glimpses of figuration. The resulting symbolic content creates the very sinews of the aesthetic sublime. The sublime is also in action in Gretl Bauer’s works. Her multi-media object employing paper, thread and gouache with great evocativeness is especially striking, for it suggests light struggling to emerge from darkness. A worthy coda to this discussion is Jane Fire’s digital print literally and metaphorically illuminating a dark rose that NASA grew in 1998 on a space shuttle mission.
Augustus Goertz’s three mixed-media paintings make you think of the Cosmic Microwave Background, the landmark sign of the Big Bang with which the universe originated 13.8 billion years ago. So sublime was Mt. Blanc to Percy Bysshe Shelley he was moved to write a great Romantic poem in its praise. Goertz seems to be following in his footsteps, inspired by a much vaster cosmic creation, the source of it all in fact. Bobbie-Moline Kramer is also a cosmic artist, imagining, in two paintings, the alignment of the stars at her birth and death. Brazilian artist Lenora Rosenfield looks at the stars through a glass ceiling in her studio, and the two paintings she has contributed to the show are products of her deep gazing. Her deep blue sky is so striking it reverberates in your mind; setting it off from her white stars and the blue-black of her felt backing, she achieves sublimity through the color itself.
The frontiers of paint’s possibilities are still being pushed from within painting’s domain. One might even say that a reinvention of the aesthetic sublime is under way. “When Night Falls” is on that cutting edge.
About the Artists courtesy Lichtundfire:
Gretl Bauer’s sculpted paper works combined with wash, thread, and wood, explore the possibilities of evoking whatever light might be coaxed from within that darkness.
The bold gestural strokes barely contained within VianBorchert’s paintings dramatically seize upon that instant when the day’s blue skies fall to the coming night.
JaneFire’s digital print represents a unique dark rose that was grown by NASA in the night of space and sponsored by a perfume company to capture its fragrance.
Off at a distant, a red horizon bisects Leslie Ford’s series of paintings entitled “On Pause” metaphorically reflecting upon that fall from day to night and regular life to paused life where clarity comes from reflection or reverie.
A starry studded sky or a view into the sparkling void of the universe, Augustus Goertz’s mixed media paintings combine process and imagination, improvisation and experimentation and the infinite with the eternal.
One of Bobbie Moline-Kramer’s abstract paintings on paper is a detailed record of the constellations at the date, time and location of her birth, while her other piece with a rendering of a closed eye she imagines how the stars will align at the moment of her death.
Oscillating between the organic and geometric, Robert Solomon’s abstract pastoral paintings takes us on a nighttime drive down an old country road filled with beauty, however, there’s apprehension in his paintings – you just don’t know what’s beyond the bend or is something jumping out in front of the car.
LenoraRosenfield’s circular paintings created specifically for this exhibit are of the stars she stares at through a large glass ceiling in her studio while thinking of Ptolemy who amongst other things was an astronomer that has greatly influenced her painting while at the same time contemplating her quarantine in Brazil.
The in-studio process of Arlene Santana’s abstract minimal paintings interprets a sense of the impending night at that unknown hour.
Martin Weinstein paints directly onto multiple acrylic panels in plein air from dusk to daylight, observing the same scene over a period of time. By layering these panels in a Plexiglass box structure, he constructs a complete painting that depicts the passage of when night falls.
For more information and images please contact: Priska Juschka at 917.675.7835, email@example.com or Robert Curcio at 646.220.2557, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lichtundfire is located at 175 Rivington Street, NY, NY 10002. Contact: Priska Juschka, email@example.com, Tel 917.675.7835 Summer Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 6pm and by appointment. www.lichtundfire.com
Exhibition Dates: July 15 – August 8, 2020. Outdoor Reception with Exhibit Viewing: Wednesday, July 15, 5 – 8pm. Appointments and Walk-Ins must wear a mask and must adhere to NY State Social Distancing Guidelines.
The title of this piece refers to articles published in the Winter 2001 edition of dArt. The “cosmopolitan” women depicted in the dArt site banner were part of the print layout as they appeared on page 44 of its print edition. Ghosting through from its page 43 verso is an image of Richard Klein’s 1998 sculpture, In Vitro, fabricated from used eyeglasses, steel, and solder. These make up the left hand side of a saddle stitched folio, as they say in publishing parlance. The right hand side is numbered 22, and consist of an image of Bridget Riley’s 1966 emulsion on canvas, Breathe. It was part of a show at DIA Centre for the Arts and was reviewed for dArt by Jeanne C. Wilkinson under the title Reconnaissance. The Breathe image ghosted through here onto from its page 21 verso over a photo of Damien Hirst as a pharmacist.
Four writers covering four shows contributed inadvertently to the banner image as a unity as it appears here. It’s an accident of layout design, as the articles were entirely unrelated, being essentially guests showing up at the same party by chance. The two women in question appeared in videos produced by Lifetime Partners, a marriage agency based in California. Tapes of these hopeful Russian brides were acquired by British artists David Cross and Matthew Cornford, who presented them as part of the Cosmopolitan exhibition at Nikolai Fine Art in New York, where I had a chance to speak with them.
Los Angeles contributor Clayton Campbell concluded his review of Damian Hirst’s Gagosian exhibit with these lines, “For one night this October, the centre of the art universe was at 24th Street and 11th Avenue in New York. Bravo, Mr. Hirst.” In Jeanne Wilkinson’s review of the Bridget Riley exhibition at DIA, a relevant quote might be, “They refer to nothing but themselves, and take us nowhere except into the discomforting shimmer of the eternal present.” And here we are, of course, eleven years later, shimmering in the present, discomfortable as this might be.
The Dominique Nahas piece on Richard Klein was titled Visibility Framed, with its representative image tagged as In Vitro. The naming of both are curiously descriptive in precise ways. Seeing is something that occurs within and without, or as the Latin describes it, in vivo and in vitro, both inside the living organism and its outside, something Klein had succeeded in “framing.” Nahas describes the work as being about vision and visionary, where eyeglass frames are shaped to resemble a winged apparition, the reflection of the sun passing through the plastic lenses to create a diaphanous sieve-play of light and shadow against the wall.
Entering the back room of the 2nd floor at MOCA from the brightly lit exhibition of Carlos Bunga’s A Sudden Beginning with its network of boxes, the darkness envelops us, a darkness that blinds. Is what we see real or just a mirage that gives the illusion of an installation? The eye and the mind both have to adjust to the magic world of Sarah Sze’s work, a universe in itself.
In this time of the pandemic, we resort to the virtual in order to connect. This applies to art, so I will be writing about an exhibition that I have seen only through digital images. The analogue experience of painting seems all the dearer as we experience it once removed.
In his essay for the catalog of this exhibition, the curator, legendary critic Carter Ratcliff states, “If the painting is non-figurative it does not, by definition, show us any figures and yet it faces us with a human presence.” That is perhaps the most succinct and accurate insight regarding the intrinsic nature of abstract art I have yet come across.
Art is a form of telepathy, a download from mind to mind. It moves through an imperfect medium, whose noise may be the signal, and whose significance is encoded deep within the image. Beyond the drama of emotion or thrill of sensuality, finally it is a consciousness that shines through to us.
Every copy of the coming Spring/Summer edition of dArt International magazine will be unique. The projected limited edition of 500 will feature a foldout insert that is a work of art in its own right – not a reproduction. We welcome proposals from artists to have their work displayed as an insert. In addition, dArt‘s new Playing Card feature will showcase the work of numerous artists, each rendered to the dimensions of a playing card and tipped into a hand-cut framed page.
The success of an exhibition, or any work of art for that
matter, is its ability to engage the viewer. Engagement can be a bit more
difficult to achieve when you eliminate any sort of representation, as with the
current exhibition at the Hofstra Museum of Art, Uncharted: American Abstraction in the Information Age.
Continue reading “Points of Engagement”