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”→
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.”→
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.
Last week Open House did a 2-for-one double studio visit, with two artists who live and work in the same space, and also happen to be best friends. Ara Cho and Shavana Smiley invited us into their living room studio space, where we were greeted with large oil paintings that felt wispy and bright, yet at times charged and violent. These were the works of Ara Cho, featuring gestural flowers and airy figures inside domestic spaces. Loose hands sprung out of body parts and stood like trees in forests. We caught glimpses of Shavana Smiley’s galactic works during the studio visit (stay tuned for Part II).
As the 2017 Armory Week art fairs in NYC come to an end, I reflect on the hundreds and hundreds of pieces of work on view. It was a lot to digest, booth after booth, gallery after gallery, work that was polished, new, old, fresh, tired, bright, flashy, sculptural, political, humorous. You name it and it was at one of the many fairs. Overall the displays were impressive. Here’s my run down of some unforgettable work.
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]?
At some indiscernible time of the afternoon my phone made a loud *DING* from the corner of my studio. Distracted, I looked down at it; an email with the title “DUDE.” from Debbi. Of course, with a title like that, it had to be breaking news.