Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sean Landers at Petzel

Second gallery on my day in Chelsea, I decided to stop by Petzel Gallery and see what was going on. Having not remembered that it was to be a Sean Landers exhibition. Sean is the painter that got wide ranging acclaim for his humongous painting of a white whale. Granted I write most of this from a place of never really knowing much about Landers' work, especially in person. Having not been a big fan of the so called "photo realists" painters of the 80's,  now and again one comes around with something new and fresh, Sean is one of those people. With Damien Loeb, Landers is now one of my two favorite photo realist painters.

One thing that stinks about the way galleries and museums let us online see the work, it's only through installation, or single front facing images. These two methods of reproduction do almost nothing for a painter like myself, far away from any chance of viewing these paintings in person. It's one of the reasons I had so many changes of mind how I enjoy a certain painter. So much that I began to stop thinking in one way or another about an artist I only know online. When people like myself get to see the work in person, we usually take photos that have a closer ability for you the online viewer to extrapolate what paintings look like in person. I hope you will enjoy these images along with their details to give a deeper sense that you won't find anywhere else online.

Sean is a poetic painter who is really into history and natural history. It seems he sees this poetry with the eye of a surrealist. Composing paintings that look kitschy and at the same time deeply poetic. I decided first to go into the library room, where I was met with a group of paintings that if seen from a distance, you might think you were looking at a group of book cases, peppered with the language of a poet and painter searching his heart for meaning in his life. I included one detail of how he grows his poetry on the book spines, as I want you the viewer to go down there yourself and dig into it. Unfortunately you can't now as the show was almost over when I got there. Included in these shelves are snow globes of imagery from paintings in the next room over. Granted these are not painted in the same fashion the main paintings are, they give me the sense that I would love to have one of these snow globes for myself. Quite intimate and a bit on the sad side, there is an underlying sense of the questioning of life in these paintings. I have Sean as a facebook friend and right away I sent him a nice message telling him some of my thoughts on the exhibition.

The room of the animals with their surrealist skins are by far the most kitschy work in the exhibition, peppered with plaid covered animals in dreamy natural backgrounds. I feel my favorite was the hog walking away from someone attempting to hunt it. The hog smirking as to say..."ha idiot".

The far room was a tribute to Moby Dick and the white whale. I could talk about this room and it's paintings for a while, but i'd rather you go in there yourself and take it in. The photos I hope will entice you to go in for a visit or three. I now wish I had visited it at least one more time.

Click on this one ^^ to get some of the poetry Landers does on the book spines. I refused to take more pics as I felt it was something that needed to be seen in person. So for you, the online only viewer, you'll just have to wait till the next time these paintings come around and you can see them. It'll make the trip for you that much sweeter.

The Moby Dick room begins below. Enjoy the imagery, the poetry and the sadness of this great story. Click on the images to see more of the photos, they are quite large when viewed as they were taken.

As I finish up this writing, I think back to the feels that welled up while viewing this exhibition, seeing it definitely gives Sean Landers a higher place in my book. Thanks for the experience, Sean Landers and Friedrich Petzel.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

4 floors at RH Contemporary NYC

When visiting RH Contemporary at 437 West 16th St. for the first time Friday. I was met with 4 on each floor, that all touched me and made me want to write about them. This kind of thing has never happened to me and I guess that's why it felt so odd to have 4 solo exhibitions in a row, not to mention the same gallery, that I enjoyed. People who know me know I am quite picky in what my mind and soul enjoys. I went to RH, as it is a gallery that has been garnering a lot of my attention with some great new artists. 4 of which are spoken about below.

I went in and went immediately for the top floor, of which Koen Delaere was having his first solo exhibition with the gallery. I have only known of Delaere's painting for a short time, but when I first saw it in reproduction it caught my eye and I thought it was definitely something I would want to see in person. Finally got my chance and was NOT disappointed at all. Luscious surfaces and dreamy use of color permeate Delaere's paintings. Of the paintings included I believe it was "(untitled) Boca Santa Cruz" that caught my eye the most. I felt I could see Koen just attacking the canvas with his methods of application and getting such a lyrical feel out of it. Dig into it for yourself. See how his textures balance and unbalance your state of being.

Untitled (boca santa cruz)

Walking into the 3rd Floor Gallery, I was met with Paul Gillis' work. A strong body of work utilizing wonderful patterns done with graphite and washes of color on thick linen canvas. His work gives me the feeling I get when I look at Morandi. Though with a more contemporary or craft-like approach. In his short film from the gallery, he mentions needlepoint, which I actually thought this work was at the beginning, the lines are so fine and delicate. I believe the one work that stands out to me more than the others is "INTERIOR II" with it's castle-like window forms, a very dreamy and brooding imagery.

Tofer Chin's exhibition is in the basement of the building. But being in there, you'd never know. Nice high ceilings with plenty of room for his large wall paintings and works on canvas. Chin works like his contemporaries, hard edged painting, but he's got something more going on with it that gives more a sense of touch and painterliness. I dig how he's able to blend so many options in painting together to create something that is new and fresh to my eyes. That being said, go check it out for yourself. I think you might like it. I know I did.

The last exhibition I focused on in the gallery is actually the first one you see when entering the building. Lucas Jardin is kind of what I might refer to as a reverse painter. Instead of putting paint on a canvas, he begins with a prepared set of imagery that was printed onto a primed canvas. Once that is in place, he proceeds to pour a LOT of turpentine onto the surface to dissolve the imagery and let this wonderful ideology of painterliness come forth. I spent a good while with these dissolved printings, I as a painter have a really hard time referring to anything as "Painting" when it doesn't actually have the standard definition of PAINT on it. Granted, the ideology of Painting is pigment with a binder on substrate, but when I don't see brushes or rollers or squeegees being used, it definitely messes with my I guess you really COULD call them PAINTINGS.

And coming off that can really allow themselves to get lost in Jardin's color world. I found them quite interesting, and watching the wonderful short films that RH does for their artists, gives more of a sense of who, what, why, when, where, and how. Too bad more galleries don't do this for their artists. Dig into the photos, click on them to enlarge them so you can see more detail. If you are around the NYC area until March 7th 2015, you can pop in and see all of these works for yourself.

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Columbus, Ohio, United States