Abstraction in Brooklyn in November

Abstraction in Brooklyn in November

-by Enrico Gomez

OdettaThe first of three stand-out abstraction shows in Brooklyn this month is Spatial Intelligence (through 11/9) at Odetta Gallery which brings together various works suggestive of planer space. The largest of these is also the most kinetic; swirling and cascading rectilinear shapes in colored pencil and acrylic by Jersey City based artist James Pustorino. These mosaic-like works (think exploding stained glass windows) make smart use of the translucent paper substrate, pulling the viewers eye from positive to negative shape. Nearby the works of Ryan Sarah Murphytake layered cardboard and painted foam core to a science-fictional realm, implying floating space stations and architectural constructs. The bas-relief of Murphy's work is answered in three dimensions by artist Thomas Lendvai, who shows plywood box "sketches" atop wood tables in the center gallery. Inside are colorful thread 'walls' which double as proposals for large-scale gallery installations; kinder, gentler bungee cord Serra's that cajole viewers through space. Echoing these cubes are the Drift oil on Mylar paintings of Steven Baris, in which clusters of polygonal forms float quietly on graphic, colorful fields. 

The sweep of abstract concerns in Spatial Intelligence (volume, dimension, scale) finds kindred spirit at Storefront Ten Eyck within Abstraction and It’s Discontents (through 11/23), a 20-artist survey that successfully asserts the premise that abstraction within contemporary painting takes on myriad form and temperament. Motley by necessity, the show finds two of it's most emblematic artists hanging side by side; Sara Jones and Marc Cheetham. Jones' acrylic painting of floating Persian rugs playfully alludes to pictorial representation as illusory exercise while adjacent, four small color-blocked shapes on burlap by Cheetham float, rug like, and rich in saturated color and rough-hewn texture. Paul Corio and Jeff Fichera offer two brilliant hard edge meditations on the physiological confines of seeing and the always exceptional Miriam Cabessa offers a work that glows like a Color Field Tequila Sunrise. A painting by Sharon Butler both opens and closes the show, appropriately indicating the abstract qualities of human communication, via paint, torn T-shirt message, and corporate logos. 

MicroscopeLastly, a bold mention must be given to the solo show Enfolding by Allison Somers (through 11/17) atMicroscope Gallery, not because Ms. Somers is an abstract artist per se, but rather because she employs photo-based processes that allude, abstractly and forcefully, to light, time, and the human surround. Here large fabric panel works have been folded, dyed, and unfurled with titles ("walking in the forest," "swimming laps") that might hail from activities with durations akin to those of fabric dying or exposing a photo. The resultant works, like unbraided hair, seem to ripple and shimmer, suggesting sunlight reflecting off water (attributes made more prominent from their flag-like and swaying, ceiling installation). This Thoreau-esque tableau is complemented by two clusters of birch logs and branches, pulled from Upstate New York and treated with blue Cyanotype. Entitled "Unnatural Surroundings" the artist here exploits the tensions between photography's damaging chemicals and it's historical high-minded focus on nature (re. Ansel Adams or Imogen Cunningham). Note the clever interplay of photographic process atop wood, which is paper pre-processed. The natural element of salt figures prominently in six small photograms which, despite their scale, are as searing and brilliant as fireworks. Here abstraction yields from a complex mixture of intention and chance, process and simplicity. The prints are achingly beautiful; celestial fields of light, line, and shape. I think, on it's best days, the universe is as wonderful as these...but far away, in outer space or deep within, on a cellular level; abstractions just beyond the un-aided eyes ability to appreciate. See, we need telescopes, and microscopes, and great artists for that.

—Enrico Gomez 

Slide, Slide, Slide review by Enrico Gomez

In an age of ever-changing technologies, updating interfaces and quickly outmoded hardware, one system for recording and displaying visual information that has been in large part eradicated is the color slide. A precursor to the artist website, the color slide, until relatively recently, enjoyed a long and ubiquitous presence in the lives of artists everywhere, from being the primary mode of disseminating artist visuals to being a primary tool for teaching art history. 

If you are quick you can revisit this iconic medium, now being employed as an art material in “Slide Slide Slide”, a 10 person group show at the expansive new home of Microscope Gallery (1329 Willoughby Ave #2B) in Bushwick. The large repurposed warehouse home of Microscope proves an ideal setting for this show, which posits slide projectors at regular intervals around a darkened interior. The resultant intimate feel of the space belies the extensive scale of this attractive show. 

The artists here use the projected slide as a primary component of their work. Most notable is the video projection of Bruno Munari’s slide works which include profile images of slides with sculptural objects affixed to them; acrylic ribbons, translucent wire, mesh, etc. paired with the images of their realized projections; beautiful abstract compositions of colored light and layered media. These works date back to the early 1950’s which, considering that Munari was both the founder of the Concrete Art Movement and a member of the Italian Futurists, makes this a rare coup for art viewing in Brooklyn. (Munari’s work most recently appeared in the sweeping Guggenheim survey, “Italian Futurism 1909-1944, Reconstructing The Universe”.) 

Next to Munari and utilizing a corner of the space is a projected work by Bradley Eros wherein twin abstract images, one flush against the wall, the other projected at a sweeping angle, make for beguiling and ghostly viewing. The atmospheric light in this corner has an ethereal and transfixing quality that lingers. 

Across the room sits a light table atop which Pantone-like color slides have been arranged edge to edge. Leaking out through the corners of the slides, the light from the table creates a lattice of white-light netting that seems to hold the colored gels and their black frames it its grip. Created by the artist duo Sandra Gibson and Luis Recoder, this work most closely aligns to traditional painting with nods to Constructivist and Minimalist visual tropes. 

This impressive display of slide based artwork is also notable for the constructs and machinery of its viewing. One work for example is screened via a large antique projector with art deco lines and a shape that could double as a 30’s bronze hood ornament. The gentle whirring of these machines, the steady and repetitious click of the slide carousels, and the flickering pools of light within the space all combine to make this ambient viewing context one of the most unique and unforgettable that I have experienced in some time. Pair that experience with the artworks and this handsome show asserts Microscope’s programing prowess and portends great things to come in their immediate future. (through Oct. 6th)

—Enrico Gomez 

September Madness 2014

The summer is over and the exhibition schedule in Brooklyn (like every other industry, city wide) kicks almost immediately into high gear. First up, curiosity inclines me toward Anders Ruhwald's solo exhibition on Sep 3rd at Urban Glass. Currently head of ceramics at Cranbrook Academy of Art, Ruhwald's show promises to explore his interest in ubiquitous form through comparisons between ceramics, wood and glass. At the same address (but just next door) on Sept. 19th attend BRIC's Inaugural BRIC Biennial; a series which endeavors to focus solely on Brooklyn artists. This year's Volume 1, Downtown Edition, showcases 27 artists from within the neighborhoods of Downtown, Boerum Hill and Fort Greene and includes such talents as Katie Bell, Vince Contarino, Jenny Polak, and guest curation by Guggenheim Abu Dhabi assistant curator Fawz Kabra and local artist-curator Leslie Kerby.

miya andoOn Fri Sept. 5th, the Bogart building in Bushwick (56 Bogart St.) hosts a spate of art openings including Fresh Window exhibiting phosphorescent paintings by Swiss artist Marc Egger and zen-like, minimalist work by the incomparable Miya AndoLife On Mars offers local expressionist painter Todd Bienvenu, his first solo show and THEODORE:Art has a solo showing from multi-disciplinary artist Jason Tomme. Paper-manipulator extraordinaire Liz Jaff's works can be seen at Robert Henry Contemporary and don't miss the gathering of some of the best outsider-ish, expressionist, figure painters working today at Honey Ramka, including such greats as Rebecca Morgan, Nina Chanel Abney, Ana Wieder-Blank, and an installation by Langdon Graves. Also in Bushwick that evening are the wonderfully intricate graphite drawings of Robert Otto Epstein at 99¢ Plus (238 Wilson Ave.) In Williamsburg on Sept 5th, attend the opening ofSean Hemmerle's photographic paean to the Brutalist architect Paul Rudolph at Front Room as well as the twentieth anniversary celebration of Pierogi Gallery, wherein you'll see over 190 artist's works heroically displayed salon-style across the gallery! (As part of the festivities, catch the Brooklyn Gravity Racers from Sept 16th - 19th at The Boiler; over 350 hand-made, wood-block racers from artists and enthusiasts with prizes for originality, creativity and the like.)

miya andoAt Odetta Gallery on Sept. 6th seeGobsmacked! dense and intricate works by Margaret Roleke and Charlotte Schulz. Fri. Sept 12th sees Greenpoint offerings from Janet Kurnatowski in aurora borealis, ball-point, oil and resin paintings from Shane McAdams and the inaugural exhibition of the Owen James Gallery with nautical prints and paintings by Richard Bosman. The same night but over in Bushwick The Active Space hosts a 27 artist group show curated by the New York Tibetan Art Studio, along the lines of traditional and contemporary Tibetan painting.

On Saturday Sept. 13th, Outlet Fine Art shows new works by Colin Thomson and Minus Space co-founder Matthew Deleget. The month rounds out with even more fantastic shows throughout the borough. Be sure to look for updates and event info here at wagmag.org!

-Enrico Gomez

Art Openings and Events this Week in Brooklyn

We are now into the depths of Summer, a time to take a break.  What better way than to visit and be inspired by art events this week?  These tireless art venues are pushing through the summer and presenting some intriguing exhibitions.

This week ISCP will be presenting sound artists:  Thora Dolven Balke and Jacob Kirkegaard on Tuesday evening at 6:30.  The artists will be presenting projects developed during their residencies, with Balke presenting sketches for a sound project, alongside her curatorial projects and Kirkegaard will present: "Labyrinthitis" an impressive sound work which consists entirely of tone's created by the artist's ears, and will produce tones in the ears of the listeners.  

Thursday, Peninsula Art Space will open a solo show by artist Matthew Varey, entitled, "To Witness" and Dumbo's +81 Gallery will host a reception for their: "Half Baked Antithesis" which features works from 6 emerging artists.

And be sure not to miss the opening weekend of the beloved BWAC Summer Group Art Show, which brings together the Red Hook community and features a wide variety of forms and media, right along the waterfront. They will host a "Meet the Artists" reception this Saturday from 2-6 PM (and jazz by Stefan Bauer) 

Here are some more tips of events and exhibitions opening this week, enjoy!:

ISCP, 6:30
AIR Gallery, 6-9

Plus 81, 6-8
Red Hook
Peninsula Art Space, 7-10

Glasshouse, 8pm
Java Studios, 6-9

Momenta Art, 6-9
Red Hook
BWAC, 1-6
Kentler International Drawing Space, 11-4

Red Hook
BWAC, 1-6

Art Openings and Events this Weekend in Brooklyn

Signal Gallery, 7-10pm
NURTUREart, 7-9
Tompkins Projects
Outpost Artists Resources, 8pm
Interstate Projects
Sunset Park
NARS Foundation, 6-8
Park Slope/Gowanus
Showroom Gowanus, 7-10
Red Hook
Peninsula Art Space, 7-10

The Bishop, 2-6
The Parlour, 6-9 pm
The Living Gallery, 2-5
Front Room Gallery, 8pm
Sideshow, 2pm

Park Slope/Gowanus
Ethan Pettit Gallery, 6-11
Amos Eno Gallery, 3-5

Save the Date: Tuesday May 27th


Where: Kunsthalle Galapagos, DUMBO, Brookyln

When: Tuesday, May 27st from 7:00-9:00pm

Admission is $20 (for non-ticket holders)
Advance Artwork Ticket: $200
Day of Artwork Ticket: $250
VIP ticket: $350

WAGMAG Celebrates 13 Years!!

Please help support our mission to promote the arts in Brooklyn. WAGMAG, Brooklyn Art Guide is a 501c (3) nonprofit, and the only Brooklyn art guide that chronicles the art activities of art venues in Brooklyn, on a monthly basis, in print and online.

This is a great event for art lovers in the area, with approximately 100 pieces of artwork generously donated by local galleries and artists for the raffle during the event evening, Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 from 7-9pm. The resulting exhibition will not only generate much needed funding for WAGMAG but also reflect the spirit and personality of the Brooklyn art community.  There will be a festive atmosphere with food, drinks, and a wonderful selection of artworks from prominent artists in Brooklyn.

Each raffle ticket guarantees an artwork. Artwork will be selected on the benefit evening by a raffle-style drawing, which determines the order in which ticketholders make their selection.

Art this Week in Brooklyn- Get Ready for May!

Light Industry, 7:30pm 

Kunsthalle Galapagos, 7-9

Gallery Gaia, 4-7
AIR Gallery, 6-9

The Boiler, 7-9
Goatshed Gallery, 6-8
Pierogi, 7-9
Front Room Gallery, 7-9
Elgin Gallery , 6:30-9pm 
Janet Kurnatowski, 7-9pm 
Friday Studio Gallery, 6 to 8 PM

Minus Space, 6-9
Red Hook
Fort Greene/Clinton Hill
Guild Greene, 6-9
Good Work Gallery, 6-8

Park Slope/Gowanus
440 Gallery, 4-7