Posts Tagged ‘Kent Fine Art’

Baby, It’s Warm Outside

Friday, January 30th, 2015

The Outsider Art Fair is now open New York City.  Featuring works by self-taught artists from around the world, the fair will showcase 50 international galleries from 27 cities, representing eight countries.  Founded in 1993, the fair attracted a passionate collecting community each year at New York’s Puck Building.  In 2012, dealer Andrew Edlin and his Wide Open Arts took ownership of the fair and relocated it to the former home of the Dia Art Foundation in Chelsea – the same site as the Independent.


An Insider at Outsider Art Fair

The 23rd edition of the Outsider Art Fair in New York brings together veteran galleries presenting legendary artists like Henry Darger, Bill Traylor, Adolf Wölfli, James Castle, and Martín Ramírez, among others. The fair also welcomes first-time exhibitors, such as Arte del Pueblo, with Haitian works from the collection of Jonathan Demme, and Kent Fine Art, offering paintings by visionary artist Paul Laffoley.

Grandma Moses, "The Last Load of Wood" at Galerie St. Etienne, NYC

Grandma Moses, “The Last Load of Wood” at Galerie St. Etienne, NYC

These galleries are joined by younger, contemporary art galleries with some outsider artists on their rosters.  Lower East Side dealer Louis B. James features drawings by New Orleans artist Bruce Davenport Jr., who has a solo show up now at that gallery.  Bushwick’s Jackie Klempay offers limestone sculptures by Jerry the Marble Faun (the youthful gardener at Grey Gardens).  Also representing Brooklyn is Scott Ogden’s Shrine.


David Fierman of Louis B. James Gallery with Bruce A. Davenport drawings



Great installation at Shrine

Jackie Klempay: “I became involved with the Outsider Art Fair initially because of curator Sam Gordon. He curated Purple States/Cafe Dancer at Andrew Edlin Gallery this past summer and included some of the artists I work with – Mary Manning, Frank Haines, Robbie McDonald, and Corinne Jones. We were discussing my upcoming exhibitions and I mentioned Jerry the Marble Faun was the next exhibition. [The Fair] is attempting to inject some energy into the fair by inviting younger galleries to participate. They invited us to put together a project booth, so here we are!”


Sculpture by Jerry the Marble Faun at Jackie Klempay Gallery



Sculpture by Jerry the Marble Faun at Jackie Klempay Gallery

Along with Jerry the Marble Faun, another highlight of the Fair is Melvin Way, represented by two clusters of dense drawings that look like crypto-HTML coding and proto-chemical equations underlying a reality of intuitive interconnectedness.  Find those at the Healing Arts Initiative (HAI) booth, and in If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day, a special group exhibition curated by dealer Jay Gorney and artist Anne Doran.  This show features works by five artists whose art responds, in part, to their paranoia: Melvin Way (b. 1954), Emery Blagdon (1907–1986), Adolf Wölfli (1864–1930), Mark Lombardi (1951–2000), and the Philadelphia Wireman (20th century).  Melvin Way has experienced a long journey from oblivion to a place where his incredible art can be preserved, and I learned that we can credit much of that to SVACE instructor Andrew Castrucci.


Drawing by Melvin Way in “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” curated by Jay Gorney and Anne Doran


Drawing by Melvin Way in “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day” curated by Jay Gorney and Anne Doran

What a relief to see art up close without the burden of branding and the gloss of luxury.  If New York Times writer Carol Vogel was right about art fair fatigue, then this show offers a way out.  See more pics on our Instagram page.


Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Ending all too soon is Kent Fine Art’s radiant mini-retrospective of Paul Laffoley and his “Boston Visionary Cell, Inc.”  Laffoley is an artist, inventor and partially Harvard-trained architect who most notably designed the middle section of WTC2.  In 1971, he founded the Boston Visionary Cell, Inc, through which he produced research, writing, and awesome paintings.  Charts, graphs, schematics, and mandalas characterize his sizzling canvases.   They are visual dynamos that whirl, parse, splice and fuse ideas, like conceptual supercolliders.  Laffoley’s exotic, ambitious, and eclectic metaphysical machines are tamed by highly legible textual notes printed with banal vinyl decal letters that remind us of user manuals.  Additionally, the bottom of many of the paintings exhibited here bear the names of scholars and writers relevant to the topics in question, just like names, purposes, or virtues you might find reverently etched above the columns of a neoclassical library or federal building.

Paul Laffoley, "Solitron," 1997

Sustaining Laffoley’s research and supporting his theories are what appear to be analogical relations among cosmology, religion, the nervous system, language, quantum mechanics, sacred geometry, and creation myths. Hence, his diagrammatic paintings are often symmetrical or concentric. Laffoley has wide-ranging interests, but his loftiest goal is to enable time travel. He believes that time travel is ultimately possible as a function of cognitive perception – a state of mind.

Noting Laffoley’s affinity for illustration and science-fiction, along with his appeal to tabloid television (one compromising example is in the show), a viewer could view this densely installed show as kitsch esoterica.  A more committed viewer would take the time to ponder Laffoley’s defiantly extra-disciplinary invocations. Are they plausible, and does that matter?  Can they integrate with contemporary thinking, for example gender theory?  Can they fulfill a role beyond the vacuous, nihilistic marketplace?

Paul Laffoley, "Alchemy: The Telnomic Process of the Universe," 1973

Laffoley seems prepared to use art to address the rapid technological changes of the 20th and 21st centuries, while trying to situate semi-recent technology within the long history of human knowledge and consciousness. And if some of his selections from the Great Luminous Dustbin seem outlandish, arcane, or even primitive, consider that our present capabilities will seem similarly primitive within our lifetimes.

But this show isn’t just about Laffoley’s topics. It’s about him. So it brings up other questions. Through what degree of obsession does one accumulate so much knowledge? And why shouldn’t an artist make work that displays everything he knows?

More on Laffoley here: