Posts Tagged ‘Bushwick’

Bushwick Beat

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

On this segment of Bushwick Beat, we stayed close to the Jefferson stop on the L train, visiting group shows at TransmitterSchema Projects, and Sardine.

At Transmitter, a group show titled “Photo II” ran the gamut of photographic practices, from bizarre portraiture and still life to architectural abstraction.

Erin O'Keefe at Transmitter

Erin O’Keefe at Transmitter

The work of Erin O’Keefe was immediately arresting for its bold color and solid form. After the initial read, however, the status of the work as a photograph quickly came into question. With unreliable space, gradients, and shadows that seem too sharp, these images reveled in their ambiguous status, blurring the distinction between documenting real space and creating an artificial image.

Eli Durst at Transmitter

Eli Durst at Transmitter

Showing off an equally bold sense of form, the photographs of Eli Durst explored a deadpan surrealism that thrived in the harsh contrasts of black and white. A particularly striking image casts an apple against the reflective light of a table. The sharp and exaggerated shadow becomes a tangible form as the table fades into a blurred white.  With a minimum of manipulation and by simply harnessing the textures of things, Durst’s photographs become a light show of the weird mis-recognitions in the act of seeing, of visions that refuse to relay and stay stubbornly inert.

Irina Rozovsky at Transmitter

Irina Rozovsky at Transmitter

Irina Rozovsky’s work shared the high key visual intensity of O’Keefe’s images as well as the surreality of Durst’s photos, contrasting the austere composure of those artists with a fragile vibrancy of broken, complex things. As a result, her photos felt more documentary in nature, less focused on the artifice of the photographic eye than the makeshift enigmas found in the world.

At Schema Projects, “Archetypewriters” was a group show organized by ROE Projects, focusing on small drawings that used systems and patterns and suggested a kinship with writing. As a bonus, most artists also shared a love of vibrant color.

"Archetypewriters" at Schema Projects

“Archetypewriters” at Schema Projects

The drawings were tightly hung along eye level, with dozens of works by the eight featured artists. All of the pieces were engrossing, whether for the simple visual power of neon markers, the precision of a lace-work pattern, or the indecipherable rules that set a given work in motion. For this visual eclecticism, “Archetypewriters” managed to be one of the most visually impressive shows we had seen in Bushwick in a long while.

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Butt Johnson in “Archetypewriters” at Schema Projects

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“Process +/- Pattern” at Sardine Gallery

Finally, we visited Sardine gallery, where “Process +/- Pattern” put five artists together along the theme of process and pattern. In contrast to “Archetypewriters” and “Photo II,” this show featured work that did not immediately speak in unison, and varied considerably in medium and approach.

A video display of a self-erasing page of the Old Testament by Willum Geerts

Willum Geerts in “Process +/- Pattern” at Sardine Gallery

A video display of a self-erasing page of the Old Testament by Willum Geerts sat alongside a pattern drawing and paintings by Keigo Takahashi and Shane Drinkwater. A Tatlin-esque wall sculpture by Karen Tepaz was hung next to a woven work by Heidi Hankaniemi. The broad themes of the show invited this extreme variety; and while “Process +/- Pattern” proved less focused than the two earlier shows, it was a welcome abandon of their principled approach to medium.  The focus was instead what these objects shared despite their disparity – a commitment by each artwork to be what it was, whether followed through by the rule of pattern or discovered in the process along the way.

-Will Patterson

Bushwick Beat

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

For this installment of Bushwick Beat, we visited the 56 Bogart St. building to see the latest exhibition at Life on Mars gallery.  The reason we focused our visit entirely on Life on Mars was the news that it would be closing its doors with a final show. This comes as a surprise, as Life on Mars has been responsible for hosting talented and relevant painters throughout its brief history, many of which are synonymous with the art scene in Bushwick.

"An Occasional Dream" at Life On Mars Gallery

“An Occasional Dream” at Life On Mars Gallery

The gallery put on a group show titled An Occasional Dream.  As is befitting for a gallery named Life on Mars, the title is derived from a David Bowie song of the same name, and featured a number of the artists they have shown over the years.

Work by Paul D’Agostino

Work by Paul D’Agostino

Most of the artists featured here have been the subject of shows at the gallery before, making each work in the exhibition feel like a song on a greatest hits album, each standing in for the rich and exciting shows it has held in the past.  We covered many of these artists in Bushwick Beat in the past, including Paul D’Agostino’s here, whose work is pictured above.

Farrell Brickhouse at Life on Mars

Farrell Brickhouse at Life on Mars

Farrell Brickhouse, an SVA instructor regularly featured at Life on Mars Gallery, contributed a thickly worked silver painting for the show.  Its most distinguishing feature was a crater cut out of the center that strikingly resembles the moon, complete with craggy stucco surface and silver sheen. The painting perfectly captures the moon – both its perpetual presence in the night sky and its intangible distance in space.  The dingy-bound figures accumulate at the very bottom of the canvas giving gravity to the scene so that the moon hovers in contrast.

Daniel John Gadd at Life On Mars Gallery

Daniel John Gadd at Life On Mars Gallery

Continuing the motif of irregular, moon-like circles, Daniel John Gadd contributed a large painting with blue glass on plywood.  The piece is rich with weathered subtlety – a clear result of the artist’s process and the fragile sense of care he brings to it.

Todd Bienaveau at Life on Mars Gallery

Todd Bienaveau at Life on Mars Gallery

Todd Bienaveau’s paunchy paintings usually depict slovenly figures drinking beer, getting tattoos or attending rock concerts.  In this piece, the artist shows a painters supplies, brushes in an empty gesso bucket and a paint tube with the cap twisted on.  By the mute blue green of the setting, they look quietly pushed aside after a day’s work.

Brenda Goodman at Life on Mars Gallery

Brenda Goodman at Life on Mars Gallery

Brenda Goodman’s piece reads like a strange surrealist play.  She draws together associations with Tim Burton films and 2-D side scrolling video games in a way that manages to feel fresh and unbeholden to influence.  Her limping, wooly-black figures are barely animated abstract shapes, and are given breath by nothing more than an occasional delirious eye.

Fran O’Neil at Life on Mars Gallery

Fran O’Neil at Life on Mars Gallery

Since the closing of the show, it has been announced that with Life on Mars gallery closing, a new gallery will take its place.  David&Schweitzer Contemporary will carry over a majority of the artists and management from Life on Mars.  The re-formed gallery will be opening in the same space with its first show opening for the upcoming Bushwick Open Studios taking place on October 1st and 2nd.

Even as it turns out that the closure of Life on Mars is not so final as it seemed, its final exhibition in its current form was a great occasion to reflect on art in Bushwick throughout the gallery’s tenure, and to consider where it might be headed as the neighborhood ceaselessly continues to change.  In any case, the exhibition was an occasion to dream.

-Will Patterson

Friday Hot Links

Friday, October 9th, 2015

Happy Friday! We want to share some interesting articles and stories shared online by the SVACE faculty and community.

BAC

Best American Comics (NY Daily News): A printed cartoon museum featuring 37 artists in 10 chapters.  (via MFA Visual Narrative)

Happy Medium (via It’s Nice That): Geometric planes enliven Medium’s new identity. (via Kevin Brainard)

A Font Grows in Brooklyn (Print Magazine): A type designer crowdfunds a Bushwick typeface. (via Steven Heller)