Tag Archive | Artist

Leila Heller Gallery Presents: Pouran Jinchi, Black & Blue

Hanged Series

Hanged Series, 2015 (All Photos By Gail)

Leila Heller Gallery is currently hosting an exhibition of recent works by Persian artist Pouran Jinchi. Drawing on diverse cultural sources including literature, history, Folk art and religion, Jinchi has developed a visual vocabulary that inhabits the space between abstraction and calligraphy.


Working in a realm that is defined by the overlapping fields of painting, sculpture, drawing, and writing, her art practice entails a conversation between the materials she uses and he subjects she addresses. Inscription in her art becomes a visual apparatus beyond meaning. Jinchi produces textual landscapes that are recognizable yet illegible.

Left: Sores 3: Right Bruised 1
Left: Sores 3, Right: Bruised 1

Jinchi’s new body of work is an artistic response to pervasive social and political violence. Revisiting Sadegh Hedayat’s modernist classic, The Blind Owl, Jinchi explores the universal tropes of pain and violence threaded throughout the novel. One particular passage Is explored repeatedly across various mediums

“I write only for my shadow, which is cast on the wall in front of the light. I Must introduce myself to it.”


Jinchi dismantles the text, drawing fragments of the letters onto patches of paper That are then stitched together with copper thread into quilts. She paints the sentence onto raw canvases where the characters evoke a battlefield strewn with the wounded.

Hanged Series Detail
Hanged Series Detail

Each line of the first page of the book is rendered into sculptural form; the artist painstakingly cuts each letter from a sheet of copper, forming it into abstract shapes by hand, and stringing it onto a chain fabricated from copper safety pins.


Hedayat’s text is compulsively altered, distorted and reassembled into artworks that are intricate, ornate and vibrant. Jinchi draws her palate from the colors of a bruise as it heals — blue, fuschia, red, purple, and black. By making utterly beautiful pieces in rich hues to represent pain and violence, she disrupts visual perception. Only by looking beyond the surface, can one see the complex interrelations between divergent elements across the exhibit.


Pouran Jinchi’s Black & Blue will be on exhibit through October 24th, 2015 at Leila Heller Gallery, Located at 568 West 25th Street (Corner of 11th Avenue) in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Pouran Jinchi Signage

Mike Kelley Brings His Superman Origin Story to Hauser & Wirth

Installation View
All Photos By Gail

Hauser & Wirth is currently hosting the eponymous Mike Kelley exhibit, the gallery’s first exhibition devoted to one of the most ambitious and influential artists of our time. Organized in collaboration with the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts, the exhibition is the first in New York to focus exclusively on one of the most significant of Kelley’s later series, Kandors. These visually opulent, technically ambitious sculptures combine with videos and a sprawling installation never before exhibited in the United States, as the late Los Angeles artist reworks the imagery and mythology of the popular American comic book hero, Superman, into an extraordinary opus of nurture and loss, destruction, mourning and – possibly – redemption. This my favorite exhibit of the year so far!

Kelley’s Kandors (1999, 2007, 2009, 2011) is named for Superman’s birthplace, the capital of the planet Krypton. According to the comic book legend, Superman’s father Jor-El sent his infant son to safety on Earth before Krypton’s destruction, saving his life but inadvertently sentencing Superman to a future of displacement, loneliness and longing.

Bottle 4 Video Projection
Bottle 4 Video Projection

Superman grows up believing that Kandor was destroyed, but later discovers his real home still exists: Kandor was stolen by intergalactic archvillain Brainiac prior to Krypton’s demise, shrunken to a miniature metropolis and left trapped inside a glass bottle. Superman ultimately wrestles Kandor away from Brainiac and hides it in his Fortress of Solitude, sustaining its citizens with tanks of Kryptonic atmosphere. As Kelley once explained, Kandor functions for Superman as ‘a perpetual reminder of his inability to escape the past, and his alienated relationship to his present world.’

Wall of Lenticluar Prints
Wall of Lenticluar Prints

While Kelley’s Kandors series relates to the artist’s longstanding preoccupation with memory, trauma, and repression, these works are also powerful vehicles for the formal investigations of color, light and scale that marked the last decade of the artist’s life. Kelley even described works from the series as being ‘akin to paintings by Henri Matisse’, but sculptural and in three dimensions. By focusing exclusively upon Kandors, the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth offers viewers fresh insight into the formal challenges, popular cultural references, and psychological states Kelley prioritized in his last years.

City 5
City 5

Entering the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, visitors encounter a group of vitreous sculptures glowing in a dimly lit room. Cast in resin, these miniature metropolises representing the city of Kandor create an optically dazzling spectacle rendered in a palette of refracted colors.


City 20
City 20

City 15
City 15

City 17
City 17

Kandor 4

Visitors continue through the space to find Kandor 4 (2007), in which Kelley has abstracted and reinterpreted the narrative of the fictive city in a complex amalgamation. Kandor 4 comprises three cities standing on a plinth, illuminated from beneath, with their towering architectural skylines bathed in tones of yellow, red and blue.

Detail of Kandor 4
Kandor 4, Detail

Kandor 4

The fantastical cities are juxtaposed with an ultraviolet glass bottle resting on a yellow base, connected to a gas tank and hose intended to evoke the life sustaining vapors Superman used to keep the citizens of Kandor alive beneath their glass bell jar. In the final component, a video projection depicts Bottle 4 with an array of swirling atmospheric and light effects inside it, accompanied by an otherworldly soundtrack composed by Kelley.

Lenticular Print Blue Bottle

Each unique representation of Kandor in the exhibition derives from one of the many illustrations of the city by various artists in the Superman comics, beginning with Action Comics #242 (July 1958). Intrigued by the stylistic and architectural inconsistencies that marked Kandor’s representation in the ensuing half century, Kelley selected 20 strikingly diverse illustrations from the original comics’ panels.

Click to a Watch Video and Hear the Exhibit’s Otherworldly Soundtrack

He manipulated and superimposed the designs and colors of these illustrations, which he enlarged to life-scale and employed to create a group of lenticular light boxes. A selection of these light boxes illuminates the darkened hallway leading visitors to the exhibition’s innermost room and most significant element: Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude) (2011).

Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude)

Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude)

Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude)

Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude)

Film Still
Still from Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #36

This version of Kelley’s Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #36 (Vice Anglais) (2011) is a lightbox that juxtaposes the original found photograph with a still from his film.
Click to Watch Video

The climax and coda to the Kandors series, ‘Exploded Fortress of Solitude’ is a cavernous installation spread across the gallery’s main space. Exhibited here for the first time in the United States, this epic work is presented together with the video ‘Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #36 (Vice Anglais)’ (2011), an unsettling but humorous satire that collides psychosexual and sadomasochistic drama with a repertoire of parodic clichés derived from British Hammer Horror films. The blackened exterior of Kelley’s monumental fortress contains a dimly lit cave-like environment surrounded by fragmented boulders, a gas tank, hoses, a buck, and chains, evoking a haunting sense of unease and menace.

Exploded Fortress of Solitude

Here, the artist shifted his formal investigations from color, light and transparency to ambitious sculptural gestures inflected by darkness and opacity. Exploded Fortress of Solitude is a ruin of textured, black-hued, faux boulders and slabs that draws viewers inside by the sheer force of its scale and mystery, while the murmuring acoustics of Vice Anglais layer the atmosphere with tension and anticipation.

Exploded Fortress of Solitude

In the video, the Exploded Fortress of Solitude serves as the backdrop for the exploits for Kelley’s gang of perverts; visitors exploring the cave are likewise subjected to the unsettling whimpers and debauchery of the English Vice.

Kandor 10 B Exploded Fortess of Solitude

One of the final works of the Kandors series, Exploded Fortress of Solitude suggests a dramatic denouement for the fated city, a possible catharsis not only for Superman but for Mike Kelley and for us. It emblematizes the extraordinary articulation that preoccupied Kelley in the years before his untimely death, between his two great serial enterprises of the 21st century, Kandors and the Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions.

Kandor 10 B Detail

From within the depths of Superman’s fortress, the visitor is reunited with the city of Kandor, now rendered as a glowing rose-colored emanation encased beneath a bell jar. Eerily illuminating the darkness of the rocky chamber, the roseate Kandor reveals that the crevices of Superman’s solitary sanctum sanctorum actually glitter with tiny gold trinkets.

Fortress of Solitude Jewels

The Fortress of Solitude has indeed exploded. Chaos has triumphed over order and long years of preservation have succumbed to galactic cataclysm – but we are left with a pot of gold. At the limit of loneliness and trauma, in an uncanny archaic place, we encounter a glittering symbol of duality – of hope and life, of wealth and greed.

Fortress of Solitude Jewels

Mike Kelley took his own life on January 31, 2012. RIP.

Mike Kelley will be on Exhibit through October 24th, 2015 at Hauser & Wirth, Located at 511 West 18th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Mike Kelley Signage

Orange City

Chartreuse City

Christian Marclay Surround Sounds Video at Paula Cooper Gallery

Please enjoy this short clip taken from Christian Marclay’s Surround Sounds Video Installation. Surround Sounds, (2014-15) consists of animated onomatopoeias projected onto four walls of a darkened room, each running 13:40, and shown on a continuous loop.

To make the work, Marclay drew from a collection of comic books, cutting out sound effects and animating them in a choreography that suggests the acoustic properties of each word. “Whizz” and “zoom” speed across the walls; “beep” blinks persistently, while “thump” falls rhythmically onto the floor. Though silent, the work plays like a musical composition, merging the aural with the visual and providing an immersive perceptual experience.

The visuals above end at the 1:32 mark, but I kept the camera going for nearly 30 additional seconds, in case more fun stuff might come up. Sadly, we were at the end of the loop at that point, so, my bad. The video is 100% worth checking out if you happen to be in the area before the exhibit closes. Details on that are below.

Christian Marclay’s  Surround Sounds Video is On View Thr0ugh October 17th, 2015 at Paula Cooper Gallery, Located at 534 West 21s1 Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Christian Marclay Video Screen Shot

FLAG Art Foundation PresentsSurface Tension

Sterling Ruby SP301
Sterling Ruby, SP301 (All Photos By Gail)

If you dig Abstract and Colorfield paintings, then you are going to love Flag Art Foundation’s current group show, Surface Tension. This dynamic group show focuses on a selection of contemporary artists whose approach to abstraction incorporates a range of materials, processes, and techniques — such as sanding, stitching, dying, and layering — to draw attention to the dynamic potential of a painting’s surface. Artists include:

El Anatsui, Mark Bradford, Kadar Brock, Cecily Brown, Sarah Crowner, Sam Gilliam, Sterling Ruby, Sean Scully, Ryan Sullivan, Lesley Vance, Rebecca Ward, and Garth Weiser.

Inspired by Los Angeles gang culture and the use graffiti as a means of ‘tagging’ territories, Sterling Ruby’s mark-making presents a timely alternative to classic painterly techniques. Ruby’s atmospheric spray painting SP301, 2014 (top photo), organizes the canvas in bands of pink, acid green, and black, varying in shading and intensity as a product of using readily available aerosol paints.

Sarah Crowner, Untitled Leaves, 2015

The materiality of canvas plays a central role in Sarah Crowner’s Untitled (Leaves), 2015, a diptych of sewn, painted panels that plays with repetition of color and form.

Kadar Brock, Deredemirtdxii(mmb)

Kadar Brock’s deredemirtdxii, 2015, was constructed, or more accurately worn down, through a labor-intensive (and often repeated) process of underpainting, priming, and power-sanding, producing a work whose tattered and marbled composition serves as evidence to its making.

View from Flag Patio

In addition to the lovely artworks, Flag also has a spectacular scenic patio from which you can see the sunset over New Jersey, and watch ships come in to port. Nice.

Surface Tension will be on Exhibit Through December 12th, 2015, at FLAG Art Foundation, Located at West 545 25th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Photos: Shepard Fairey at Pace Prints and Jacob Lewis Gallery

3 Prints
All Photos By Gail

Pace Prints is currently hosting an exhibition of new print editions by Shepard Fairey, running concurrently with Shepard Fairey: On Our Hands at Jacob Lewis Gallery, the artist’s first solo exhibition of paintings in New York City in five years.


In his new series of prints on handmade paper, Fairey takes on the issue of corporate influence in government and the resulting inaction toward environmental concerns by the powers that be.

Enjoy Paradise

In Enjoy Paradise, a 3-color relief print, what at first appears to be an advertisement for a relaxing beach getaway quickly reveals itself to be a bleak landscape where the water flows like an oil slick, and towers loom forebodingly in the background.

Paint It Black

In his signature black, cream and red color palette, Fairey combines imagery and text in a tongue-in-cheek manner to speak about serious economic and political issues. Paint it Black, pays homage to the history of rock and roll, using Russian constructivist-inspired graphics to depict a hazardous paint can of “Oil Based Policy,” jutting out into the viewers’ space.



Although, as you can see by the above photos,  there was a good deal of breathing room on the 3rd floor during the show’s opening reception, it was a different story on the 4th flo0r, where Fairey was present and signing for fans as well as posing for photos. He is very friendly and accommodating.

Shepard and Fans

Here is the artist being mobbed by fans.

Gas Pump Book

The exhibit also contains some cool sculptures, all of which carry the strong message against the USA‘s “War for Oil” policy.  It is very sobering.

Eagle on Gas Pump

Eagle Pearching on a Fist-Enclosed Gas Pump

Eagle on Gas Pump Detail

Detail from Above Sculpture


Arab Women

Obey Collection

Print Collection 1

These exhibits are definitely Must See Art for Shepard Fairey Fans!

Sinking Ship

Two Prints

Shepard Fairey’s Prints and Paintings will be on Exhibit Through October 17th, 2015 at Pace Prints (on the third floor) and through October 24th at Jacob Lewis Gallery (on the fourth floor) at 521 West 26th Street.

Street Sign

Shepard Fairey Signage

Javier Calleja’s No Art Here at Castor Gallery

No Art Here
All Photos By Gail

I accidentally discovered this fun art show, No Art Here, when I was passing time before going to meet a friend for dinner on the lower east side.

Note Paper Peeking

The exhibit is made up of drawings/paintings, sculpture and installation to create somewhat whimsical, anthropomorphized versions school supplies, which is clever and also kind of weird, simultaneously.

Pencil Scribble on Wall

This sculpture above brought back many memories of elementary school, which is probably the last time I used a pencil to write with.

Ink Spot

Doesn’t this little Ink Spot guy remind you of Meatwad from Aqua Teen Hunger Force?

Post it Note Paintings

I love that these Post it Note Paintings appear to be fastened to the wall with large push pins.

Post it Note Alone


Javier Calleja’s No Art Here will be on Exhibit Through October 10th, 2015 at Castor Gallery, Located at 254 Broome Street, NYC 10002.

No Art Here Signage

Thrush Holmes, Heavy Painting at Mike Weiss Gallery

Thrush Homes Painting
All Photos By Gail

Do you enjoy the artwork of painter/sculptor Thrush Holmes? I sure do. His giant canvases combine techniques that range from ‘no rules’ street art to bold, classic expressionism, occasionally being embellished with bright squiggles of neon light that remind me of Keith Sonnier. The result is always something fun and fresh, and instantly recognizable as his.

Flower Grid

Right now, Mike Weiss Gallery is hosting a new collection of Holmes’ large canvas works entitled, appropriately, Heavy Painting. Let’s take a look:

Abstract with Neon

This one would look good against any décor, I think. It has a very summery vibe.

Black Flowers Blue Background

This one is also extremely great.

Neon V

Live Band Jim Joe

There are also paintings  on which he has, for no obvious reason, written the name of tagger/artist Jim Joe, who once had an Exhibit at the Hole, back in January of 2014, that I did not care much for. Geoffrey and I had the chance to say Hi to Thrush at the opening reception a couple of weeks back and he is very cute and also pretty nice. Geoffrey asked him if he knew Jim Joe, or if he was Jim Joe, and I believe his answer to both questions was “no,” but I would not swear to it.


What band does this remind you of? Discuss.

Black and White With Neon

I think this one is my favorite.

Big Flowers

Thrush Holmes, Heavy Painting will be on exhibit through October 17th, 2015 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District

Thrush Holmes Signage