This is not a best of list. Sorry. I did go to the Armory Show with a few specific ideas that I would allow to guide my eye. But perhaps it’s a bit too soon to get into those specifics?
Cover Photo: Serge Alain Nitegeka Installation
So here you have a few low-grade, uncentered, and some out of focus photographs of what captured my eye, and why. Also, the selections presented in no way represent my clicking the like button—with exceptions.
First up on the contemporary side of things, is this LED Lightbox by Spencer Finch, because we have to confront the digital in every aspect. Definitely among the trending, Light boxes and LCD’s are this year’s last two years obsession with neon lighting, which is still haunting us.
Visually engaging is this installation by Serge Alain Nitegeka. Having fled the bloody genocide between the Hutu and the Tutsis in Burundi with his family, might help explain a feeling of entrapment and escape created by a maze of 2×4’s. Find a bit of an artist bio, over on Artspace.
The Zip—a strip of light. Once something is discovered, everything that comes from that discovery is a further dialogue with a particular element in painting. Rather than its first resonance which seemingly came from nothingness, the challenge becomes, the specific focus on that element. Has Elizabeth Neel succeeded in representing light in such a way that the act of painting or un-painting guides the artist’s hand? Or has her own act of making light overpowered these pieces? It is said of her past works that the paint comes to represent a subject in such a way that it becomes descriptive without saying so; uniting ideas into a sense of oneness. Although light creates form, I would have preferred it to be used a bit more judiciously. If ‘oneness’ is indeed her aim—and if the artist stroke becomes especially present—in fact, a sense of ‘otherness’ enters the viewer’s stream. In the green thick of the Adirondack, occasionally tall trees allow a beam of light to come through for the lowly acorns, and moss covered rocks far beneath the tree tops. That one light beam, necessary to the eco-culture of the forest, is blinding to come upon and in wishing it away out of your sight you become (psychologically, metaphorically) alien to that which you belong. Light is powerful, it doesn’t take a lot of it to make a point.
Confronting our collective cultural memory is ever-present, and absolutely necessary. And as our global perspective continues to spiral (outward), post-colonialism remains at the forefront of matters to address. Meleko Mokgosi, and Laercio Redondo appear to have similar visual approaches.
Meleko Mokgosi uses a translucent screen to diffuse a scene, yet in allowing the scene to be seen, creates this haunting ‘we are waiting’ glare from human subjects. As layers tend to do, distance is created… because really, that’s why what remains, remains to be addressed. Collective memory is highly subjective, and in mending the cultural hurt of the past we wrestle with history. We study, to see through these layers—what stares us down, may not be pleasant.
Yana Naidenov achieved fragility with her work, which appears deceptively heavy. The attendant said that two people can carry it. Made of pulled paper and cement, it has the look of worn cinderblock, and cracks that come as part of the process, give the work a sense of fragility. Conveying a sense of gravity, and the material’s concerted effort to reach, How stone learns to fly is attempting to do something, perhaps unintended of the materials original purpose.
The untitled series from Thomas Fougeirol makes use of raw canvas, and basic white paint. The overall reflection is stunning, and without use of a ‘thing’ to make you ‘see something’. The series represents a continuity of the artist’s sensibility, and judgement of where on the canvas to create.
Brooklyn artist Eddie Martinez’s new work represents a shift from a pop sensibility, to an abstract approach that perhaps exposes a deeper interior. In fact, one of the pieces are titled Emotional Architecture.
Noting the digital: LCD monitors turned vertical
Conversations with great artists.
The Modern Show
Mira Schendel (1919-1988)—an artist who has over the last decade received the attention of the New York Art world. Born in Switzerland, made her home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, during a time of revolution in Brazil. Her works are currently on view at Hauser and Wirth, who name Schendel “…one of the most significant Latin American artists of the 20th century.”
Last on my list was a delightful surprise to see. FN Souza, (1924 – 2002) was a Goa born Indian artist who lived and trained in the U.K. and New York. His work addresses male/female relationships, as well as friction and sexual tensions. In his drawings, he used line with economy, while still able to capture fine detail in his forms; he also favored a profusion of crosshatched strokes that compose the overall structure of his subject and style. —from the artist bio with Aicon Gallery of New York and London. Francis Newton Souza is a prolific artist who led the Indian modernist art movement. It’s about time the Western world wrestled with history.