Bushwick Beat

June 30th, 2016

For the latest installment of Bushwick Beat we saw a range of galleries, including those visited last month at 56 Bogart St., along with galleries located a little further down off of the L train.  

Austin Lee at Life on Mars Gallery

Austin Lee at Life on Mars Gallery

Our first visit was to Luhring Augustine.  The high profile gallery got its start in Chelsea, and when it opened a Bushwick branch, seemed to confer a new legitimacy to the predominantly small scale, artist run gallery scene.  Other major Chelsea galleries have been more reluctant to expand to Bushwick, and Luhring Augustine remains somewhat unique in the landscape.  As one of the largest spaces in Bushwick and certainly the most pristine, it truly feels like a portal across the river straight to Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

Glenn Ligon at Luhring Augustine

Glenn Ligon at Luhring Augustine

Artist Glenn Ligon showed a 7-channel video installation where each screen featured a different cropped view of Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip, the comedian’s standup special from 1982.  Pryor has been an enduring interest for Ligon throughout his career, with Ligon’s text paintings often featuring quotes by the standup comic.  

This performance by Pryor is notable for being his first appearance after an attempted suicide  resulting from his drug addiction, which he speaks about candidly and at length in this segment. However, the frenetic cropping and jagged movements of Ligon’s work, titled simply “Live,” cuts out all of his dialogue. The installation forces the viewer to sit in silence while Pryor’s body is fragmented, highlighting Pryor’s physical tics and gestures alone, each one an overstatement of stereotypes pertaining to race and masculinity for black men.  Surrounded by silence and darkness, to watch the installation is fascinating, bizarre, and charged with a social critique that is at once ambivalent as to its message and lacerated with an uncomfortable force.  

Elizabeth Ferry at Honey Ramka

Elizabeth Ferry at Honey Ramka

We then made our way to 56 Bogart, where we saw the extremely cute sculptures of Elizabeth Ferry, featured in her solo exhibition, Shelf Life, at Honey Ramka.

The show consisted primarily of cartoonish depictions of snails, small figures that could have easily been swallowed up in the large gallery space.  However, the artist took a novel approach to the installation in displaying the molluscs.  Installing low shelves all along the perimeter, the little sculptures were discovered as visitors brushed past the wall.  This changed the way one interacted with the gallery space causing the visitor to snake along the wall to observe each piece on an intimate, closeup scale.

Elizabeth Ferry at Honey Ramka

Elizabeth Ferry at Honey Ramka

The gallery was also filled with long, pebble-studded tables supporting clam-themed snow globes, a natural extension of the mollusc theme.  Along the walls were brightly colored depictions of faces (presumably of snails) whose features were made by casting a variety of things, such as bananas and handprints, in plaster.  Overall, the show was successful purely on the strength of its joyful and odd spirit of creation.

Austin Lee at Life on Mars Gallery

Austin Lee at Life on Mars Gallery

At Life on Mars gallery, a group show titled Ghost in the Machine was on view.  It featured the work of artists David Humphreys and Austin Lee.

Lee’s application of spray paint in these works is surprisingly subtle and painterly given their paired down and cartoonish imagery.  He manages to find a lot of detail, emotion and descriptive transitions in these works.  What is especially arresting is the way that hard and soft edges define areas of the paintings, giving focus to the blues of eyes in one instance and dissolving upper lips in the shadow of giant noses in the next.  This not only gives the works a sense of space and a strange relevance to photography, but delights the eye in figuring out how near or far the spray can was to the surface when each mark was made.

David Humphrey at Life on Mars Gallery

David Humphrey at Life on Mars Gallery

The other artist featured in the show, David Humphrey, mashes together figurative and abstract imagery with a dry and obscure sense of humor.  His paintings are impossible to normalize despite being very clear.  This is due in large part to how effortless, almost nonchalant, his transition is between recognizable things and indecipherable abstraction.  Humphrey’s paintings speak to the possibility inherent in refusing the either/or proposition of abstraction and figuration that painting is so often reduced to.

Takahiko Iimura at Microscope

Takahiko Iimura at Microscope

Our last visit was to Microscope, one of the galleries located off of the Jefferson stop.  The show featured work by Takahiko Iimura, a Japanese artist based in New York who has been making work with film and video in a career that spans five decades.  The works on view in Seeing Double are sharply effective at presenting video and film as the subject of itself.

Takahiko Iimura at Microscope

Takahiko Iimura at Microscope

Across film projection, video recording and television display, each piece places the viewer in a non-place where recording and replay technology observes only the act of its own function, disconnected from human interest or further content.  As a result, the show feels like a sanctuary and respite from our everyday interactions. Where so much of our lives is spent looking through screens, it is good to have an occasion to watch them from a distance.

 

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Weekend Hot Links

June 24th, 2016

Happy Friday! Might we suggest recent art, design, and culture goodies shared by the SVACE faculty and community?

Image via Artspace

Image via Artspace

Modernism Modified (Artspace): This art historian revises lessons about modernist art. (via SVA Residencies)

Voting Design (The Washington Times): How a designer prevents election mix-ups. (via Jess Mackta)

Less Shameless (FastCo.Design): The road to creativity is paved with seamless ideas. (via Lisa Lordi)

Contra Consistency (The Drum): Is consistency bad for design and branding? (via Kevin Brainard)

Complete Package (ADWEEK): Getting creative with consumer packaged goods. (via Mark Burk)

See more updates and stories on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages.

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Student Artwork Update: Kyle Rose

June 21st, 2016

We are pleased to present comics artwork by SVACE student Kyle Rose, as part of our exhibition of student work from Tom Motley’s courses. Kyle created his work in and in conjunction with Illustration and Cartooning courses through several recent semesters.

Kyle Rose, “The Working Stiff"

Kyle Rose, “The Working Stiff”

In his own words:

Kyle has been an artist almost as long as he has been a nerd. He received a BFA in Graphic Design from Western Michigan University and has been taking CE classes at SVA for the last 3 years. He has worked as a designer/art director in advertising for almost a decade. His real passion is telling stories— some with images, some with words, but usually with both. His comic strip “The Working Stiff” can be found at workingstiffcomic.com and his autobio comics can be found at composedcomics.com. He lives in New York City with his wife, Liza, and their cat Izzy.

Kyle Rose, “The Working Stiff"

Kyle Rose, “The Working Stiff”

He also writes:

“The Working Stiff” is about a sentient zombie who holds down an office job in New York City— because even the dead have to make a living. It started as a limited run webcomic gag strip and has now turned in to a weekly ongoing series. I plan on collecting the first year of the strip in print this fall. While this project isn’t something I directly created for a specific CE class, it wouldn’t have been possible without them. Everything I have learned from that last 3 years has culminated with this strip and it continues to evolve with every additional class I take. You can find it at workingstiffcomic.com or on Tapastic at tapastic.com/series/The-Working-Stiff.

And:

“The Cover Up” is a short story that is part of my larger autobio body of work, collectively called “Composed Comics.” And if you are wondering, yes not only I did get the job, but I still work there today. This short was created initially as a mini-comic for Tom Motley’s “Cartooning Basics” course. Since then it has been slightly fine-tuned and will appear in, Emanata, an anthology I have put together with several other SVA CE students. Emanata will be available in local comic shops and online very soon. You can find “The Cover Up” at composedcomics.com or as part of the forth coming anthology: “Emanata”, follow emanatacomic.com for updates and places to buy.

Kyle Rose, “The Cover Up"

Kyle Rose, “The Cover Up”

See Kyle’s work in our exhibition space at 209 East 23 Street until June 30!  Find more of Kyle’s work at his website and Twitter and Instagram: @mrkylerose.


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