Posts tagged with "Painting":

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Two Cuban artists uniquely capture Detroit’s built environment—both its decay and hope for the future

Two Cuban artists, Alejandro Campins and Jose Yaque, feature in the City of Queen Anne’s Lace exhibition now on view at the Wasserman Projects gallery in Detroit. Using painting, sculpture, and drawing, they embody the emotion of Detroit's past, present, and future. Campins' works, laconic in style, are similar to those of Polish artist Joseph Schulz, whose Form 14 (archetypal of Schulz's style) exhibits architecture without detail. That work was cited by critic Stephen Parnell in his essay "Post-truth architecture." "Stripped of just a few elements, such as lettering, mundane architecture can reveal an uncanny elegance," Parnell said. The same could be said of Campins' paintings, if not for the moody tones and visible brush strokes (he used oils, watercolors, and also pencil) that convey the opposite. His works represent an abandoned Detroit, yet, despite their sense of silence, there are symbols of optimism: A green traffic signal and blank billboard can be interpreted as signifiers of opportunity. Yaque's work, meanwhile, is more explicitly optimistic. Made from Detroit's recycled trash, a large-scale installation rises up from the ground, topped with grass, flowers, and other greenery. The work appears at a glance to be molded by layers of sediment and soil (and Detroit's history)—almost as if a section of the earth's crust lifted from the ground. The piece physically dominates the gallery; exactly what is atop the chunk of recycled earth is unknown and out of sight, but we know from what we do see is that the land upon which is grows is evidently fertile. This piece also references the exhibition's name. Also known as a "Wild Carrot," Queen Anne's Lace is a flower that is commonly found sprouting from the city's decaying buildings. While most often associated with Detroit's downfalls, the plant has substantial nutritional value. Yaque also uses a more traditional medium. Like his Cuban counterpart, he draws, though Yaque employs charcoal to depict Detroit's urban vernacular. Yaque's technique allows his drawings to be nostalgic as they don the faded aesthetic of a century-old photograph. Smudging, often applied to the based of a work, connotes energy—the lost energy of the lonely landmarks and time passing by, wind-like and invariably contributing to the building's demise. Unlike his built work, these images hark back to a Detroit that is certainly consigned to memory, with buildings either no longer used or repurposed. However, in a similar vein to his sculpture, this reference point is only implied. City of Queen Anne’s Lace has been curated by Rafael DiazCasas, an art historian and independent curator based in New York City. The exhibition came about after Wasserman Projects founder Gary Wasserman saw Campins' works while in Havana. Through DiazCasas, the two discussed the parallels between Detroit's and Cuba's history. Inspired by this, Campins visited the Michigan city for himself, later introducing Yaque to the city too. The pair encountered much Wild Carrot during their foray into Detroit. According to a press release, they found the flower to be symbolic of change and natural rebalancing. This sentiment formed the basis of their work for the exhibition, promoting a feeling of hope while looking at Detroit through an alternative lens. City of Queen Anne’s Lace is on view at Wasserman Projects through June 24, 2017.
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Exhibition showcases 60 years of a Cuban-American painter’s exploration of vernacular architecture

The Architect’s Newspaper’s April 2017 issue takes a deep dive into Florida to coincide with the upcoming AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando (April 27 to 29). You can see all those articles on this page. Here, Senior Editor Matt Shaw’s editorial from that issue highlights what we’ve explored in the Sunshine State.

Emilio Sanchez in South Florida Collections marks the artist’s first show in South Florida in over a decade. The Cuban-American painter’s work is largely centered on his time in Cuba and the Caribbean and, later on, in New York City. His paintings depict the vernacular of his surroundings, often finding inspiration in existing structures and scenes and transforming them into abstract and surreal portraits. “His keen eye and remarkable ability to edit out incidental elements and details imbue the work with a dreamlike quality, as if the buildings he depicted existed in a parallel universe born of memory, longing, and imagination,” said co-curator Victor Deupi, an architecture scholar, in an interview with Cuban Art News. The exhibition encompasses six decades of Sanchez’s professional career, displaying paintings from the 1940s through the 1990s. Alongside his paintings, the museum will display sketchbooks, doodles, and other personal documents to paint a better picture, if you will, of this artist’s prolific work.

EMILIO SANCHEZ IN SOUTH FLORIDA COLLECTIONS Lowe Art Museum, University of Miami 1301 Stanford Drive Coral Gables, Florida Through May 21, 2017

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Frederick Kiesler’s little known ‘painted’ images go on view at New York’s Jason McCoy Gallery

Frederick Kiesler is well known as an artist/architect/designer who worked between disciplines and professional categories. His recent retrospective at The Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) in Vienna highlighted his work as an architect, theater designer, and creator of ground-breaking exhibition spaces like Peggy Guggenheim’s 1942 Art of This Century gallery. A current show at the Jason McCoy Gallery features Kiesler’s little known ‘painted’ images done in ink, oil, and tempera mounted on boards. The exhibit Galaxies of the 1950s highlights Kiesler’s strategy that these works were not created as individual works, but in a series where “the space between the different parts was just as important as the paintings themselves,” as the gallery said in a press release. In fact, he diagrammed and planned the surrounding space of the series, often measuring down to fractions of an inch. Ever the early 20th-century Viennese architect/artist, this series reflected the idea that the "inner necessity" of the work as a whole was the same as “breathing is to our body reality." Each work, Kiesler wrote, “represents a definite unit in itself just as in one family each member is of distinct individuality." Yet for Kiesler, art, like the architect, could no longer “be placed in isolation: that art must strive again to become part of daily experience." He reminds us, in these beautiful works, that painters, sculptors, and architects must still conceive their work as part of the world. Jason McCoy Gallery 41 East 57th Street 11th floor Galaxies of the 1950s is on view until April 29, 2017.
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Survey of Agnes Martin’s moving, minimalist paintings is on view at the Guggenheim

“I used to look in my mind for the unwritten page If my mind was empty enough I could see it…” —Agnes Martin The Agnes Martin retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which opened at the Tate Modern in June 2015 before traveling to Düsseldorf then Los Angeles, presents an intensively engaging collection of work by perhaps the most emotionally honest abstract expressionist painter of the twentieth century. Never before has a painter combined the subtle influence of nature with geometric structure in the pursuit of beauty and enlightenment within a non-representational, self-discovered lexicon that prioritizes giving up the things you do not like for those things that are “acceptable to your mind.” Though Martin’s work from early to late periods feels calculated and in a sense cerebral in its adherence to the line and its parental grids, it consistently negates ideology, substance, and relatability. It is the cellular mechanism of the metaphysical in her work that constitutes substance or nature in her paintings. This quality of tonal otherworldliness inspires sensations of optimism or hope through vulnerability, delicacy, and craft in a way that offers critique of the minimalist tendency in terms of its inherent philosophical attraction to emptiness and its ironic relationship to feeling or sensitivity. Martin once stated, “My paintings have neither object nor space nor line nor anything—no forms. They are light, lightness, about merging, about formlessness, breaking down form.” The influence of artistic peers such as Barnett Newman, Ad Reinhardt and Donald Judd, as well as East Asian thought, contribute to her oeuvre, which could be thought of as a collection of spiritual messages. Martin’s writings, such as her poem “The Untroubled Mind,” which can be found at the end of the show’s amazing catalogue by Francis Morris and Tiffany Bell, reference William Blake, Taosim, Lao Tzu and Zen Buddhism, all of which contribute in some meaningful way to the “habits of her mind.” Themes of renunciation and longing for innocence dominate her work. Installation View: Agnes Martin, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 7, 2016– January 11, 2017. (Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation) Installation View: Agnes Martin, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 7, 2016– January 11, 2017. (Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation) The chronological survey evolves from the subtle, monochromatic, biomorphic compositions of the mid-1950s through crisp color fields in earth tones suggestive of shape or boundary at different scales, with a deliberate relationship to the edge of the painting. Martin’s move from Taos, New Mexico to New York City corresponds to a dramatic shift in her work defined by serialist expression using found objects which introduce repetition at a smaller scale in her work. These remarkable assemblages are dressed in the same palette as her paintings, which vacillate between the unbelievably cool or neutral and its notional, somewhat muted contrasts—ochre, purple, black—a dialogue perhaps between innocence and experience. Her titles, such as This Rain, The Garden, Beach, all reflect the painter’s conception of nature and solace in cycles, repetition, and solitude. Martin’s work of the early 1960s, such as White Flower, Little Sister, and Starlight bring her serialism back to the canvas in the form of an atmospheric code in which grids, dots, dashes, columns, and rows eventuate deconstructed fields, alternative constructions of her favorite geometric forms (triangles, circles, and lozenges), and new relationships based on a language of negative space, line weight, density, scale, tone and module. As her language continues to proliferate while the visitor travels up the ramps of the Guggenheim, the lines grow faint, condense into weathered stripes or color bars, expand, contract, disappear and reappear, gaining more texture in the process of forming a distressed system or spiritual text. Though the gallery is somewhat dark and it is at times difficult to identify with the rationality of the paintings and their respective, internal arrangements of lines, color, shapes and textures in the disconcerting context of ramps, the survey is stunningly mantric and will leave you feeling curiously wrought and unquestionably human. At once intense yet quiet, the show has “an immense presence” and “powerful energy that almost takes physical hold of the viewer”. Bell and Morris’ catalogue for the survey acts as a cipher for the moments of transition in Martin’s work and the continual questions she asks of us in terms of self-knowledge, perfection, pre-conditional states and the process of destiny. “Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye, it is in the mind.” —Agnes Martin The exhibition is on view through January 11, 2017.
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Styled like illuminated manuscripts, Lari Pittman’s paintings stand in a Michael Maltzan Architecture-designed exhibition

Lari Pittman: Mood Books, features an exhibition design by Michael Maltzan Architecture (MMA) and is currently on view at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Pittman’s works consist of six large-scale art books that contain a total of 65 hallucinogenic paintings styled by the artist in the manner of illuminated manuscripts. Michael Maltzan described Pittman’s works to The Architect’s Newspaper during a recent studio visit as “architectural in scale,” which the firm sought to accommodate via an elaborate and expressive series of billowing, stark white pedestals. MMA’s lofted forms serve to highlight the weighty books, with the smooth, white-painted plywood reliquaries accentuating the bulk and eye-popping color of Pittman’s paintings. The pedestals connect to form one long sequence, an alternating display of spreads that will change throughout the course of the exhibition’s duration as the book pages are turned by gallery attendants.

Lari Pittman: Mood Books The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens 1151 Oxford Road San Marino, CA Through February 20

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New Rashid Johnson exhibition to open at New York’s Hauser & Wirth gallery

Fly Away, named for the perennially reinterpreted gospel “I’ll Fly Away,” is a collection of paintings and sculptures by Rashid Johnson at New York’s Hauser & Wirth gallery. Johnson’s work has been referred to as “post-black,” and often deals with the African-American experience in a range of media, from photographs to music. Following the theme of last year’s Rashid Johnson: Anxious Men at the Drawing Center, the artist uses black soap and wax as materials in Fly Away. Inhabiting one room of the exhibition is “Within Our Gates,” a collection of black metal shelving populated by objects like live plants, books, and shea butter.

According to Hauser & Wirth, the enclosed objects are signifiers inspired by the African diaspora. The room also contains an upright piano that will be played in drop-in performances by Antoine “Audio BLK” Baldwin, a New York–based piano player and music producer. Baldwin will play original jazz compositions during the first week of the exhibition, with periodical unannounced visits afterward. Johnson’s work will also be featured in an exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, early next year.

Rashid Johnson: Fly Away Hauser & Wirth 511 West 18th Street New York September 8–October 22, 2016

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New Detroit urban arts venue Wasserman Projects set to open September 25

“Detroit is not having a renaissance,” philanthropist Gary Wasserman proclaimed in the Bushwick, Brooklyn studio space of painter Markus Linnenbruck, “It is an entirely new expression of urbanism.” With the sun pouring in through large, iron-frame windows, he introduced the concept for his new Detroit arts venue. Cities, he says, are “the 21st century frontier,” not the West or Space. “Detroit is not the only city to fail, but it is the biggest,” he said, noting that the city was once over 2 million people, but is now down to 600,000 or so. This has left massive amounts of transportation infrastructure, cultural infrastructure, and housing redundant and abandoned. In this landscape, the city needs more places to sustain urban activity. Wasserman wants to create “a destination providing something of interest that becomes another thread in the urban fabric,” he explained. Wasserman Projects will be located in an old 5,000 square-foot fire station in Detroit’s Eastern Market district and will open on September 25th during the Detroit Design Festival. The new arts hub is expected to spur artistic interaction and development. The space will grow to 9,000 square-feet in the coming months, and will eventually include a kunsthalle, chamber concert hall, a gallery, an artist’s residency, a studio space, and a permanent installation of The Cosmopolitan Chicken Project, which is the work of Belgian artist Koen Vanmechlen. He breeds national symbolic chickens as a metaphor for human diversity. The opening exhibition will be a collection of paintings by Linnenbruck, shown in a pavilion designed by Miami architect Nick Gelpi. The pavilion is a large wooden structure that splits open to reveal a glossy, colorful interior painted by Linnenbruck. The two halves become an acoustic space for performance.
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Painting Palmitas: Artists in Mexico cover an entire hillside village in one enormous psychedelic mural

Pachuca, Mexico is hoping a psychedelic mural can cement the transformation of a once crime-stricken neighborhood to a safer, more unified community. The government-sponsored urban renewal project, called El Macro Mural Barrio de Palmitas, coated over 200 hillside dwellings in a vibrant layer of paint with striking results. The government teamed up with a local graffiti collective, Germen Crew, to create the hillside mural, bringing in local residents to help with the project. The project encompassed an estimated 65,000 square feet of facade in all, transforming the once unembellished exteriors with multicolored swirls in rainbow hues. Up close, the village streets appear coated in large blocks of color, but from a distance, the mural takes its unified form, cascading from roof to roof to create a striking image. “We are trying to create a movement,” said Germen Crew in a recent interview, “We are taking into account the history of the colony but also its present, its people. And when you come to the streets, you'll find the identity of the place, but the idea is also to create an iconic place for everything Pachuca.” Germen Crew's paintings intend to preserve the community’s culture and are created in a way that provokes a more positive outlook. “We are making the world we want to live in, a world where you work and offer talents for the benefit of the common good,” stated Mybe, co-founder of Germen Crew.
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On View> Alma Thomas: Moving Heaven & Earth, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1958–1978

Alma Thomas: Moving Heaven & Earth, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1958–1978 Michael Rosenfeld Gallery 100 11th Avenue at 19th Street New York, New York Through May 16 Focusing on the two final decades of Alma Thomas’ life, this exhibition displays the late-blooming artist’s most vibrant paintings on the monumental canvases she became celebrated for in the 1960s and '70s. Inspired by nature, recent discoveries in the sciences, and her observation of earthly and celestial phenomena, Thomas’ experimentations with vigorous, rhythmic colors and abstraction resulted in modern art unencumbered by political and historical intentions, and vested merely in the enjoyment of art itself. This marks the second time Thomas’ work will be exhibited at the Michael Rosenfeld Gallery. Her first show, Alma Thomas: Phantasmagoria, Major Paintings from the 1970s, was held in 2001.  
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MCA Chicago unveils new logo, plans for image overhaul with help from Johnston Marklee

Change is underway at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. At a press conference Friday MCA officials revealed that the institution is working on a new image, new programming and even a new master plan for the museum's space led by Los Angeles–based design firm Johnston Marklee. The announcement was timed to coincide with the last push of a major fundraising campaign. The museum has quietly raised $60 million in recent years, nearing a “vision campaign” goal of $64 million. Today they revealed their latest donation: $10 million from Kenneth Griffin, an MCA trustee who is also the richest man in Illinois. MCA's fourth floor galleries will now bear his name. “We've been thinking about what a 21st Century museum looks like,” said Madeleine Grynsztejn, MCA's director. Citing figures from the National Endowment for the Arts, Grynsztejn said the museum needs to become more “responsive” to the community—“a civic institution of local necessity and international distinction.” Part of that mission includes converting the cafe space into an “engagement zone” for public events, performances and education. Museum goers looking for a snack will have to find it on the first floor, where a new restaurant will front onto Pearson Street. Those and other changes to the 1996, Josef Paul Kleihues–designed building's programming are part of a new masterplan currently in development at the offices of architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee. Dutch designers Armand Mevis and Linda Van Deursen of the firm Mevis & Van Deursen also designed a new logo for the museum—part of a larger campaign to rebrand the museum and reengage with a public tempted to seek out art online or otherwise outside the Streeterville museum's walls. MCA has had some success reinvigorating popular conversation about contemporary art with its David Bowie Is exhibition, which recently wrapped up its run at the museum after drawing nearly 200,000 visitors—an MCA record, according to Grynsztejn. “The Bowie show challenged the MCA to raise our game,” she said. That could include expanding hours or more drastically reconsidering the museum's model, Grynsztejn wondered aloud Friday. But it will definitely include more shows for young artists on the cusp of a breakout, said curator Michael Darling, as well as more interactive exhibitions. Darling pointed to an upcoming residency by the Grammy-winning chamber group Eighth Blackbird, which he said would include unannounced and improvised performances throughout the museum, with the intent to connect the public with contemporary music and the process of creating it.
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On View> Building the Picture: Architecture in Italian Renaissance Painting

Building the Picture National Gallery London April 30 through September 2014 At the end of April, the National Gallery will present a new exhibit spotlighting the handling of architecture in various paintings by prominent Italian renaissance artists. Building The Picture will feature works by Duccio, Botticelli, Crivelli and others chosen from the museum's permanent collection along with paintings gathered from other institutions in the U.K. These 14th, 15th, and 16th century images will be complemented by a series of five films that offer contemporary ideas on the theme of real and imagined architecture from Peter Zumthor, filmmaker Martha Fiennes, art historian T. J. Clark, film historian John David Rhodes, and computer game cinematic director Peter Gornstein. The Renaissance bore witness to several breakthroughs in terms of realistic representation, particularly in the realm of architecture. Techniques like perspective enabled artists to depict increasingly life-like architectural compositions. Such skills were used towards the rendering of real structures or the creation of imagined and compelling architectural scenes that still maintained believable spatial qualities. Despite these developments, the period was still largely lacking in the concept of an architectural education, meaning that prominent figures like Brunelleschi and Michelangelo trained in other artistic fields before venturing into building design. Exhibit curators see a contemporary resurgence in these blurred boundaries between art and architecture, a fluidity that is reinforced by the diverse roster of figures contributing to the show's film program. Within Renaissance Art History, architectural compositions traditionally receive second billing to the human figures that populate them. Building the Picture hopes to show how in many cases, buildings acted as foundations for the resultant paintings, dictating the layout and direction of the remainder of the work. The exhibit opens in London on April 30. It will be accompanied by an online catalog permanently available on the National Gallery website.