A warm rainbow of colors–red, yellow, orange, beige, white–vibrate around Til Will and I as we sit in the studio of Colleen RJC Bratton in Seattle, Washington. Sculptural paintings hang on the walls, composed of paint, wood, fabric, thread. Important details of the space inform us that Bratton’s studio is an installation in itself. In addition to the works hanging on the walls, ceiling tiles are replaced with colorful swatches, a large storage cabinet echoes the warm color palette, and little notes and swatches of colored fabric balance in curious places around the room. The backs of a few of the works are brightly painted, allowing a glow to extend onto the wall behind them, further blending the structures themselves into the studio space. Continue reading “Colleen RJC Bratton: The Public Rainbow”→
“A screen, a bench, a table, a mirror, a vessel, a key, a flower,” artist and curator Michael Childress writes in his intriguingly abstractpress release for “The Small Exceeds,” a thoughtfully sparse exhibit that took place at the appropriately minimal Chinatown hole-in-the-wall, New Release Gallery. These ambiguous motifs are traced throughout the show, compelling expanded consideration. Childress’ immersive installation rejects spectacle, thereby inviting a more careful observation, a refreshing break from a typical in-and-out exhibit. The title, “The Small Exceeds,” is drawn from Hexagram 62 of the I Ching, which commends a “preponderance of the small” and a consideration for detail in the pursuit of mindfulness. Childress along with the eight other artists in the exhibition present work that encourages shared meditation.
Images that seem to be evoking specific narratives cover the walls of Kcirred Reswob’s studio as I sit across from him discussing his work. Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, a cow behind a fence, Seaworld, a littered landscape, among others. On the table, next to one of his cats, is a stack of sketchbooks. As Reswob describes growing up on a farm in Pennsylvania listening to Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, and the other conservative classics, I begin to understand the genesis for much of the narrative I am seeing.
Through his explorations of the coyote, borders, humans, animals and their environments, discrete or cartoonish narratives appear that seem to also reflect a deeper socio-political sensibility. The result is a world that can at times seem both comically mundane and deeply prophetic. The common image of a barbed wire fence begins to seem like something I’ve never really looked at before. As Reswob and I discuss the coyote and his research into the attempted removal of it from parts of the midwestern United States, I begin to wonder why I, like countless other children, took pleasure in watching the many creative deaths of the immortal Wile E. A simple act of looking, or re-looking at what we already know is there, transports Reswob’s narratives into symbols of humanity, that are both fascinating and disturbing. Continue reading “Kcirred Reswob: The Immortal Wile E.”→
Taxidermy, once limited to the realms of hunting and seedy antique stores, has made its way into common art practices. The ethical gray area of cutting open and displaying a dead animal is equally foggy when used for artistic or symbolic purposes, like in the eerily flashy work of Damien Hirst or more recently Anicka Yi’s hardware-lined taxidermy coyote. Contemporary artists using taxidermy as a critique of modern society can be easily construed as insensitive, and can just as easily reinforce the sensationalist culture they’re trying to condemn. New York City based emerging artist Selva Aparicio employed taxidermy with sensitivity and subtlety to honor dead animals and criticize our society’s disregard for them during her one-night pop-up show, curated by Ara Cho, at Space 776.
Led down an industrial alley in South Slope, BK, in the noisy shadow of the Gowanus Expressway, we found ourselves at the door to Nick Schutzenhofer‘s studio. Sickeningly sweet air wafted down the hall from the neighboring Shaheen candy distribution. We were surprised to discover the most immense painting practice we have seen in NY to date, and a distinctive surface quality developed using the ancient medium of egg tempera.
Art Is Not Exceptional was contributed by Christian Lawrence St. Denis in the month of March for our Northwest special feature. Dakota Gallery is located in Bellingham, WA. Having originally started as a DIY Gallery in the Pacific Northwest, Open House continues to be excited by the artwork coming out of the region. It is our intention to create dialogue between the ambitious emerging art scene in the Northwest and New York City. Stay tuned for future special features in April!
By Christian Lawrence St. Denis
Dakota Gallery, Bellingham: three white walls, a glass and black metal facade, a white pillar, black floors. The installation is called I Am Sorry Please Forgive Me. The artist is Hannah Zoe.
A dark room, a cavern upholstered with black plastic garbage bags is home to a ten minute video created by artist Taja Lindley, at the 2017 SPRING/BREAK Art Show. “The Bag Lady” a goddess like figure dressed in a garbage bag dress, a mix of costume and homemade high fashion, ritualistically dances, shouts, and conjures up the trash bags and black balloons surrounding her. “DON’T SHOOT!”, rings out at the height of the performance. This Ain’t A Eulogy: A Ritual For Re-Membering, is Lindley’s reaction to the, “non-indictments of the police officers responsible for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.” An emotionally driven and provoking piece, Lindley talks with Open House about her process of performing, the conversion of the work from performance into film, and the garbage bag as a symbol.
We were lucky to snag a few words with Brooklyn Based artist Tirtzah Bassel at Volta NY. She has four large works on display with Slag Gallery in booth C22, on view through Sunday. Last year, Bassel participated in the exhibition Homeland Security hosted by the For-Site Foundation
Listen to the full interview here:
TILL WILL: This is Open House, we are here at Volta New York, Pier 90. We’re here with Tirtzah Bassel and we are sitting in the booth looking at some big paintings. Do you want to tell us a little more about Tirtzah, Debbi?
DEBBI KENOTE: Yea. Tirtzah Bassel is an Israeli artist based in New York City. Her drawings, paintings and site-specific installations explore the relationships between power and space and the permeable borders between public and private domains. We are sitting here looking at the large paintings around us. There’s one to the right of us that has some pinks and blues, there’s a crowd that’s apparent, a lot of brush strokes, kind of pastely with some cobalt mixed in, and there’s some other works around us. Do you want to follow up on that [Til]?
The results are in; the people have spoken. Thanks to you, we’ve been injected with our dose of adrenaline to keep digging, to keep that pickaxe swinging. There’s gold out there.
I am fascinated by the origins of ideas, especially half-finished or unfulfilled ideas. As part of our New Year’s Ring-In, we put out a call for submissions to our readers. We prompted folks to think of a photo that they took as a reference for an art idea in 2016. This could be a snapshot of an interesting texture that might look good in a painting, or a sketch, or just a snapshot of something that they thought would kickstart an idea. Maybe this is an idea that was abandoned completely.
With so many great submissions, we couldn’t narrow it down to 5 as we said we would. So here’s our top 6.
According to Angela Heisch, only the person who begins a painting can decide how to finish it. I arrived to a room full of decisive paintings; iconic, hard-edge abstractions seeming to have rolled effortlessly out of the last. She knew what the next painting would be. She appeared to have reached absolute freedom from the anxieties of critique, depending solely on instinct.