Random stuff I saw in NYC – part III

More from Chelsea galleries …


Deborah Zlotsky: It happened, but not to you
Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, 529 W. 20th St., New York

I loved these bold geometric paintings with their strange, ambiguous perspective. The artist keeps them from looking too pretty or perfect with deliberate application of drips, blobs and splotches. I like the fact that she varies her bright, demanding color schemes with one or two that have a quieter feel. Her artist’s statement:

“It happened, but not to you” fuses the ambiguity of what has happened with imagining what might happen: navigating the rich interstices between the past, the present and the future.  When I begin a work, I start with something both incidental and familiar — a few colors or shapes, a memory of a tangled pile of laundry or the movement of sunlight through my grandmother’s apartment. Responding to relationships and discovering unanticipated proximities fuel my actions: correcting, repairing, adjusting, and connecting parts in a responsive process of accumulation and revision. Accidents repeatedly redirect me, blurring my understanding of the differences between accident and intention, memory and history. The rhythm of my process is to continually rupture the interactions between the forms until the work reveals this oscillation and a unique situation emerges. I think of my paintings as chronotopes or palimpsests, conflating time and space within the compression of the canvas. Such confusion is an ordinary, human experience, especially when memories surface and coincide with the unfolding present. Eventually, the mutability of things slipping out of balance creates anomalies in the structures. These shifts and accumulations become a way for me to respond to the necessity of change, and the beauty and complexity of living. As I work, my process both brings me closer to and gives me distance from the friction between intention and coincidence, subtle forces that cause things to happen, which, in turn, shape my understanding of being in the world.

You can see an electronic catalog of Zlotsky’s exhibition here.

Adams-Chelsea2-02Deborah Zlotsky, Sonetto, 48 x 48 inches, oil on canvas
Adams-Chelsea2-03Deborah Zlotsky, A Tricky Subject, 48 x 48 inches, oil on canvas
Adams-Chelsea2-04Deborah Zlotsky, A Tricky Subject, detail


Deborah Butterfield: New Sculpture
Danese / Corey, 511 W. 22nd St., New York

Deborah Butterfield has been making sculptures of horses since the 1970s. Her earliest creations were made using mud, clay and sticks, before she moved on to using scrap metal in 1979. These life-size sculptures look very much like wood, but they are actually cast bronze. She carefully, intuitively, selects the branches and sticks which are used to ‘draw’ her horses. The lines of the branches do not simply outline the forms of horses, they create contours through an accumulation of simple or energetic lines that seem to build up from within. This is three-dimensional gesture drawing, and the result is both skeletal and muscular. These models or ‘ghosts’ (as the artist refers to them) are then cast, burning the wood away with molten bronze, creating one, unique sculpture to which she then methodically, expertly applies her patina (from the gallery press release).” 

Adams-Chelsea2-05Foreground: Deborah Butterfield, Whitebark, 86.75 x 108 x 25 inches, unique cast bronze with patina


Adams-Chelsea2-06Deborah Butterfield, Silver Star, 89 x 112 x 46 inches, unique cast bronze with patina


Adams-Chelsea2-07Deborah Butterfield, Otter, 91.25 x 117 x 33 inches, unique cast bronze with patina

Mary Ellen Bartley: Paperbacks
Yancey Richardson, 525 W. 22nd St., New York

Adams-Chelsea2-08Mary Ellen Bartley, Untitled 56


Random things of interest


2017-10-15T16:14:53+00:00 October 6th, 2014|Art|Comments Off on Random stuff I saw in NYC – part III

Random stuff I saw in NYC – part II

A small sampling of Chelsea galleries

Peter Sacks: Aftermath
Robert Miller Gallery, 524 W 26 St., New York

The first thing you notice about these paintings (or collages? or constructions?) is their monumental size, drawing you in even from the street. Then there’s the texture – what’s that all about? So you have to go in and take a closer look, and there, you will not be disappointed. The texture is all from physical objects: Shirts complete with collars and buttons, crocheted doilies and other frou-frou lacey and fringey household things, corrugated cardboard, chunky blocks, and lengths of fabric upon which the artist has typewritten passages from texts of interest to him. All of it is pressed down onto a canvas, stiffened with some kind of medium, and in some cases painted over to obscure most of the original color, but in some cases left as is. The result is a mesmerizing visual feast.

From the press release:

Sacks uses an original, almost ritualistic technique of combining painting, adhesion, typewriting, burning, and compressing so that the works resemble archaeological sites or debris fields. He evokes a shared history of suffering, displacement, imprisonment and exile, all implicit themes that were drawn from Sacks’ experiences in South Africa and ongoing in our world at large.

Sacks applies multiple layers of materials on canvas, such as handmade lace, cloth, and threadwork, corrugated cardboard, clothing, shrouds, prison shirts, fishing nets, which he transforms by burning or painting over. Where they include textual elements, these are hand-typed by the artist on fabric using a manual typewriter and then incorporated into the overall matrix. Through this process, the artist alters our understanding of the medium of painting itself. From a distance, the canvases read as abstract and painterly, but close up, they abound with astonishing and vertiginous detail. Rigorously formal, they are at once encyclopedic yet intimate, creating a series of highly charged encounters.

Sacks has a very good website with great zoomable photos of lots more work plus reviews and downloadable catalogs of past shows.


Eric Wesley: Daily Progress Status Reports
Bortolami Gallery, 520 W. 20th St., New YorkAdams-_MG_3045-

This show consists of a series of 20 48×37-inch works with a limited color scheme. They look like oversize pieces of heavy paper complete with doodles, sketches, spills, folds, and other markings, but the medium is listed as oil and/or acrylic on aluminum. There are some impressive trompe l’oeil effects, like the oil paint blob with its surrounding stain. The paintings’ sketchy, impromptu appearance is fresh and appealing, possibly belying what may be a much more rigorous process. It appears that the artist wanted to indulge in exploring a multitude of techniques and styles, and he created the “Daily Progress Status Reports” device as a underlying unifying theme — although in some cases the Progress Report is missing entirely, as though he just got so caught up in the joy of making a painting that he covered it completely. From the press release:

An artist who often thematizes various rubrics of success and failure, Wesley’s newest works are large paintings that depict “Daily Progress Status Reports.”  Each DPS is a blank form for assigning and evaluating the efficiency of a workday; broken up by the hours of the day (from 10:00 am and 6:00 pm), it has space for delegating an “assignment” for each hour and a box to note whether or not these tasks have been finished satisfactorily. Wesley’s paintings show these DPS worksheets after they have been “completed”: scribbled on, evaluated, crumpled up, stained, faded and folded.

Wesley constantly reinvents his means of working — each body of work bears little if any resemblance to previous projects — and for these new works he experiments with ”trade secrets” of painting, using  oils, acrylics, airbrushing and various methods of screenprinting and stenciling.  The painstaking trompe-l’œil technique at which he ultimately arrived contrasts extravagantly with the apathy and ennui which the marks on each form convey, making the exhibition a droll meditation on artistic labor and the constant demand to be productive.


Antony, Jorge Queiroz, Kara Walker, Marc Handelman, Marlene McCarty
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., 530 W. 22nd St., New York

This was a group show of five artists, but evidently I only found two of them interesting enough to take pictures of. More information on the group show is here.

By far my favorite of anything I saw in the galleries are these smallish (9×13 or so), delicate mixed media pieces by an artist who just goes by the name Antony, thus making him a bit difficult to Google. Antony also has a “critically acclaimed musical career as a singer and composer.” His musical career proved more easily researchable. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t have his own web site for his art work, but you can read an interview of this “future feminist” and see more of his work here. These particular works are “made from found, and sometimes ephemeral materials that reference the natural world and our relationship to it.” There is no information regarding the materials used other than “mixed media.”

Adams-_MG_3098Antony, Untitled, 13 x 9.75 inches, mixed media
Adams-_MG_3096Antony, Untitled, 8 x 10.625 inches, mixed media
Adams-_MG_3094Antony, Untitled, 13 x 10.25 inches, mixed media
Adams-_MG_3095Antony, Untitled, detail
Adams-_MG_3093Antony, Untitled, 16 x 22.125 inches, mixed media


I also liked these large-scale graphite and ballpoint pen drawings by Marlene McCarty. These drawings “represent the final gesture to her earlier body of work known as the Murder Girls, a series of monumental portraits of teenage girls who had committed murder.”

Adams-_MG_3099Mary McCarty, installation view
Adams-_MG_3091Marlene McCarty, 14, 71 x 94 inches, graphite and ballpoint pen on paper


Note the interesting hanging method.Adams-_MG_3092


Paul Sietsema at Matthew Marks Gallery
522 W. 22nd St., New York

“Sietsema’s works address the production, consumption, and proliferation of cultural objects and the systems in which these objects circulate. One work, addressing the idea of transfer between the artist and viewer, portrays a phone with its receiver lying beside it. Another depicts a red expanse of paint with exposed areas of raw linen. The image, which resembles a materialist painting in the vein of Arte Povera, suggests that paint can make its own forms. The exposed linen sets the rendered image of paint beside the actual material of painting.”


Adams-_MG_3086Paul Sietsema, White Painting, 69 x 46 inches, enamel on linen
Adams-_MG_3088Paul Sietsema, White Painting – detail


This is getting way too long, so I’ll break here. More to follow tomorrow.

2017-10-15T16:14:53+00:00 October 5th, 2014|Interesting Artists|Comments Off on Random stuff I saw in NYC – part II