Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bushwick/Ridgewood (Bush-Wood?); The Expanding “Arty”-verse.

Although the grandiose notion of galactic gallery sprawl might seem incongruous considering the typically diminutive dimensions of exhibition venues encountered in this nebulous region of Brooklyn and Queens, it still helps to have your navigation devises up and running before venturing out to those distant reaches.
The spread of outlying outposts of artist “art”ronauts to the furthest reaches of Wyckoff-space bodes well for the future of manned art exploration in the Bush-Wood quadrant of NY’s art cosmos.

Lorimoto, Friends With Benefits

Lori, of Lorimoto

This brand new addition to the Bush-Wood ‘hood art scene extends the outer boundaries of the gallery map. The husband and wife team of artists Lori Kirkbride and Nao Matsumoto recently purchased the building, and have converted this former needle trade factory into their live-work-gallery dream combo.
The beautifully appointed ground floor exhibition space features LED lighting, original pressed tin walls and ceilings, along with traditional drywall, that nicely accommodate this inaugural group exhibition.  This is also a large square footage venue, which along with Debra Brown’s new Ten Eyck space may be bucking the trend of the familiar Bush-Wood cubbyhole.
The exhibit includes the more familiar names of accomplished artists Peter Fox, Cibele Vieira, and Rob De Oude, while introducing the art of the founder’s and other less known artists.
Judi Rosen’s “Clown Costume” is a striking piece that shifts perception between sculpture and costume design. A shamanistic impulse seems to inhabit the garment, and lends a potential of figurative movement.

Lori Kirkbride’s vivid pointillism instills her resin and polymer work with a psychedelic verve that swirls about with playful references to pompoms and retro textile patterns.

Regina Rex, FOUR PAINTINGS: Picture Window

If Lorimoto has a bright future, a darker shadow has been cast over the artists and galleries at 1717 Troutman. The owner of the building, described as a “monster” by a tenant in the know, seems hell bent on making life miserable for all his creative occupants. The old school, hard-ass mentality of some real estate owners renting to artists in Brooklyn is an unfortunate by-product of a dog-eat-dog marketplace, exacerbated by a fumbling city bureaucracy that can’t manage zoning issues or tax assessments in a coherent manner.
Crucial to the next phase of development and investment in the area is an ownership strategy for artists such as commercial real estate co-ops. Jules De Balincourt’s recent powwow concerning real estate issues was an important first step towards supporting a local constituency of creative professionals that might even develop clout (power in numbers).
In the meantime, Regina Rex (at 1717) has mounted an enticing exhibit that should motivate gallery goers inclined to see and be seen.
Could art really peer back at us? This is a conceit that spans many eras, most famously depicted in Velázquez’s masterpiece Las Meninas.
This exhibit is not so disquieting, yet you might find yourself feeling surrounded by paintings that implicate the viewer in some sly manner. After getting your bearings in this expansive space, the four large canvasses begin to orient in their own particular order.
Summer Wheat’s implacable depiction of a sex act asserts itself in an immediate fashion. Ms. Wheat invites us to indulge in her unabashedly exhibitionist wit. Is this glorious grotesquery masquerading as porno meant to stimulate a voyeuristic response, or is it just a hurriedly horny “casualist” gesture? The feet are some of the best post Picasso painting I’ve seen recently.

Hannah Barrett’s prim and proper (but mustached) queen of painting takes tea ensconced in an upholstered background that passes for a chair, but is really a throne to flatness. This haughty visage demands an audience, despite the ludicrous blue haired banality.

Becky Kinder dispenses with irony and embraces a kind of voluminous void. Her spooky figures resist our prying and would prefer to be left alone. There could be a reference to trauma or introversion, but the unadorned, pigmented outlines are oblivious to personality. They are the remains of departed moments, constructed as mementos to shadow and an elusive sensation of self. 

Linda Gallagher brings the most concrete aspect to the exhibit, and anchors the group with a more representational portrayal of theatrical portent. The eerie, oppressive interior could exist as a metaphor, but reeks of prison or high school in the here and now. A poignant narrative envelops the female figure. Has she suffered at the hands of the unseen, or does this symbolize
the powerlessness of victim-hood?

The artist curators at RR have pulled off a difficult feat, displaying painting balancing gesture, narrative, and insight to achieve a restrained, coherent effect that succeeds in engaging the viewers gaze with a
purposeful interaction of visual congruence.

Associated, Steven Charles, Things That Fell Out Of My Pocket

Returning to the shoebox exhibition format at Associated, Steven Charles has handpicked this show to avoid the overloaded look challenging poorly edited exhibitions. The intimate confines suit his unusual arrangement of offbeat objects.

Wrapping your head around these quirky, insouciant works entails embracing the moment. Don’t expect grandiose intellectual concept, Charles is much more interested in subverting our visual biases and aesthetic tastes by employing a ragtag assemblage of surprise media that sneak into consciousness without cognitive requirements.
It would be misconstruing the artist’s intent to label the work “untrained” or “outsider” even though he employs entreaties relating to that tradition. Instead, I find his work crossing boundaries in a fluid process that belies a sophisticated approach to an improvisational technique.   
Charles is wiling to trade charisma in exchange for an oddly gripping friendship with the viewer. You can trust this artist not to bullshit you with frills or small talk, and although there may be a decorative implication the work is far from pretty. His compulsive nature, and dumpster-diving art materiel, leads us to conclude invention is the mother of necessity for Charles. He insists we accept him on his own terms, but we are free to ruminate on the merits of his results.
What I find most rewarding about these eclectic compendiums is the seemingly easy way the artist has with his touch. There is not an once of preciousness about them, yet they exude well-tuned craft. In particular his use of orange felt as a ground indulges a playful, child-like notion of bold color, while his exceedingly repetitive, and close-up brushwork, details a candy cane-like sheet of rippled paint that conjures up a cheap shower curtain. This continual dichotomy of loose looking compositional elements, coupled with intensely focused edges, sets up an interesting tension between highly engineered patterns, and intuitive gestures that resist conventional semiotic interpretation. 

In the end, the resolve to avoid formal stasis wins the day, and these jazzy odes to uninhibited art making reflect the artist’s own musical practice;
experimental ambient audio collage electronic free improvisation live art post-punk punk rock sound-scape New York.

From Associated's web site

TCM pick of the week; A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Directed by Eli Kazan

I finally got to watch Eli Kazan’s first film, which due to some mysterious licensing snafu has never been available on NetFlix.
What a shame. This wonderful piece of theater just adds to Kazan’s amazing canon and legacy.  That it’s his first effort in cinema makes it even more remarkable, but by that time Kazan was experienced in stage direction, and two years later would go on to found the Actors Studio.
There is no doubt that Kazan tops the list of American film directors (although closely followed by Billy Wilder), and “Tree” just confirms his genius with actors.
This immigrant story is right in his wheelhouse, as his own history coming to this country from Greece feeds the script with authentic sentiment. Working with child actors might seem easy, but getting believable performances from inexperienced players must require patience and a deep understanding of the craft. 

Relationships are what drive Kazan, and his ability to create tension and drama can reach Shakespearean heights.