Posts Tagged ‘Life on Mars Gallery’

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

Bushwick Beat

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Bushwick has proven to be NYC’s most lively and growing arts community.  This is no small feat, seeing as its competitors range from the ever-expanding blue chip Chelsea, with its horde of elite galleries, to the slightly more scrappy Lower East Side, where storefronts have been popping up from Chinatown to 1st street for a couple of years now.

Below are some highlights from a trip through the local gallery scene in Bushwick.  From established greats to newcomers, hidden gems to old hat and everything in-between, the variety of work is always a pleasure, even if not always a treasure.

We started with a visit to Microscope Gallery where a group show explored the interplay between technology and the construction of identity.  The show, entitled “Play,” features video, painting, installation and sound work by established luminaries such as Martha Wilson and Mickalene Thomas. Conceptually well-founded, the themes of “Play” unite the distinct voices of the individual artists who as a whole speak strongly about the pressures and absurdities of how culture portrays women.

Martha Wilson at Microscope Gallery

Martha Wilson at Microscope Gallery

We proceeded to TSA gallery down the hall for “An Argument for Difference,” where bizarre eggplant abstraction (compliments of Nicholas Hatfull) greet the visitor before a number of other little objects and colorful constructions.

"An Argument for Difference," at TSA Gallery

“An Argument for Difference,” at TSA Gallery

Leaving the Jefferson L stop, we headed to 56 Bogart, the converted manufacturing building off the Morgan Ave L that is home to an abundance of galleries and studios.  Here we visited Soho20 Gallery, where Lindsay Packer turned a number of small brown paper bags into otherworldly objects simply by the way they were lit.  Hidden in a small alcove, masked by looming black drapes, the incandescent bags were as visually dazzling as self-effacing and hilarious.

Lindsay Packer at Soho20 Gallery

Lindsay Packer at Soho20 Gallery

Black and White Gallery featured a site-responsive installation by Anastatia Ax in a rather advanced state of decay, aptly titled “THE WORLD AS OF YESTERDAY.”

Anastatia Ax at Black and White Gallery

Anastatia Ax at Black and White Gallery

 Samuel Laurence Cunnaneat shows off a series of powerfully textured and gnomic photographs at Theodore:Art

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 8.20.58 PM

Samuel Laurence Cunnaneat at Theodore:Art

 

 

An exhibition of contemporary art about socialism, “Really, Socialism?” offered a fresh look at practices of subversion at Momenta Art.

Paintings by Yevgeniy Fiks featured in “Really, Socialism?”

Paintings by Yevgeniy Fiks featured in “Really, Socialism?”

 

Finally, Life on Mars Gallery featured a new body of work by Todd Bienvenu, a painter whose imagery is sentimental for a grungy, crushed beer can styled youth offers proof that the crudest objects can also be the most cared for as well as the most loveable.

Todd Bienvenu’s paintings at Life on Mars Gallery

Todd Bienvenu’s paintings at Life on Mars Gallery

This is only a small selection of work on view at the dozens of galleries throughout Bushwick.  Make sure to check out the galleries featured in the article for more detailed information, and to check out their future programming.  We will be reporting on our favorites regularly, so look forward to future editions of the Bushwick Beat!