Tag Archive | Artist

Modern Art Monday Presents: Count No Count by Ross Bleckner

Count No Count by Ross Bleckner
Photo By Gail

Ross Bleckner’s Count No Count (1989) is one of a series of memento mori paintings that the artist began to make in the mid-1980s. The suggestion of flickering lights in the work serves as a reminder to viewers of their own mortality, and for Bleckner — an AIDS activist — of the many lives lost to the AIDS epidemic. Bleckner engages both the formal and metaphorical qualities of light, yielding a work that shifts between abstraction and symbolic representation. To achieve the appearance of light within a darkened void, the artist blended wax into oil paint, creating a luminous surface that conveys what he describes as “this almost continual light that comes from inside.”

Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.

Advertisements

Shawn Thornton’s Pareidolia at Cue Art Foundation

Shawn Thornton Painting
All Photos By Gail

The first time I was exposed to the minutely-detailed and unconventionally psychedelic paintings of Philadelphia-based artist Shawn Thornton, I thought I was looking at paintings of vibrantly colorful circuit boards. It’s an easy misconception to make, I suspect. Thornton’s canvases are dense with the intersecting lines of diagram-like designs and irregular grids, which often contain images of birds, animals, people, or even the artist himself. While he’s shown extensively at the Fleisher/Ollman Gallery and Stephen Romano Gallery here in NYC — and Thornton’s work was also featured in an episode of HBO’s High Maintenance (which, as an aside, is a fantastically entertaining show) — but his unique artworks have a chance to gain greater exposure in the solo exhibit, Pareidolia, which includes works produced in a variety of media between 1995 and 2017, up now at Cue Art Foundation.

Shawn Thornton Painting

Since I have previously seen and written about an exhibit by artist Tahiti Pehrson which was also called Pareidolia, I know that the exhibit’s title refers to a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exists. This is a very appropriate title for Thornton’s body of work, and especially this expanded collection, which showcases not only paintings but also includes found-object sculptures and video installations.

Toy and Found Object Sculpture

There are two large assemblage sculptures in Pareidolia which remind me very much of the work of artist Matthew Dutton, whose art is always so enigmatic and captivating; like something you’d see in a fever dream. I love that Thornton can transform a combination of vintage toys, furniture and ordinary household items, like a carousel clothespin hanger, into a fantasy device that appears to have some kind of practical function or purpose.

Toy Sculpture Detail
Detail from Above Sculpture

Elephant and Giraffe Installation View

This altar-like tableau, starring a whimsical plastic Elephant and Giraffe stuffed with tiny lights, also features antlers, tree branches, bells, padlocks, vinyl LP discs, and tiny living plants.

Elephant Close Up

Really great.

Mandolin and Painting

Serpents Egg in the Seat Of Consciousness
Serpents Egg in the Seat Of Consciousness

Many of the paintings, such as this one, feature self-portraits of Thornton hidden in the midst of other images. It turns out that Thornton’s own experiences with Pareidolia, which is evident in his hallucinatory artworks, was triggered by an undiagnosed brain tumor in his pineal gland, which he lived with for over a decade.

Installation View

The above collection of small-scale paintings directly reference the artist’s experience with surgery to remove the tumor.

Green Flame Hypnosis
Green Flame Hypnosis

It is not a coincidence that these paintings resemble maps of Thornton’s psyche.

A Fracture in the Golden Mean
A Fracture in the Golden Mean

Paintings like these can take Thornton over a year to complete, and there are no accidental brush strokes.

Lobotomy of the Ghost Mechanics - Scarab Timetable
Lobotomy of the Ghost Mechanics – Scarab Timetable

Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)
Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)

Thornton worked on the above canvas from 2010 to 2103.

Detail from Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)

Take a look at the detail from just a couple of square inches of this painting! Unbelievable!

Shawm Thorntown Signage

Come and discover the world of Shawn Thornton now at Cue Art Foundation before the show closes!

Shaun Thornton’s Pareidolia will be on Exhibit Through May 24th, 2017 at Cue Art Foundation, Located at 137 West 25th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenues) in NYC.

Black Pyramid Meditation
Black Pyramid Meditation

Open House By Liz Glynn in Central Park

Open House Installation View
All Photos By Gail

At the turn of the 20th century, New York City’s wealthy elite gathered in opulent private ballrooms to define their social status. In contrast, Central Park granted democratic access to public space when it was established in the 1850s as one of the nation’s first urban parks.

Open House Arches

Open House is a new commission by Los Angeles-based artist Liz Glynn (b. 1981, Boston, MA) that highlights these historic class distinctions. It references one of the grandest Fifth Avenue interiors designed by Gilded Age architect Stanford White: the now-demolished William C. Whitney Ballroom.

Open House Arches

Open House transforms Doris C. Freedman Plaza into an open air ballroom, where only scattered furniture and arches remain eight blocks south from the original mansion.

Open House Installation View
Check This Guy Out

Glynn’s lavish Louis XIV sofas, chairs, and footstools evoke the historic home, but with a twist —- these objects feature sculpted additions and are cast in concrete, a populist material more commonly seen in modern architecture.

Cement Chair

With this revision, the artist invites the public to enjoy a previously exclusive interior space that is now open and accessible to all. In this strange facsimile, Glynn addresses the evolving face of a city: who has access to space in a society that is increasingly divided along socio-economic lines?

Open House will be on Exhibit Through September 24th, 2017, at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Located at 5th Avenue and 60th Street at the Entrance to Central Park in Manhattan.

Open House Signage

Modern Art Monday Presents: Sextant in Dogtown by David Salle

Sextant in Dogtown
Photo By Gail

David Salle’s paintings juxtapose images from a variety of sources to startling and often provocative effect. In  Sextant in Dogtown (1987) Salle arranges disparate elements within a grid and in a manner evoking film montage, while combing a pastiche of painterly styles and subjects. Here, the act of seeing — or not seeing– becomes a subject in itself. A half-dressed woman, lifted from the artist’s own photography, is shown from different vantage points, her face always obscured. Above her, a cartographer uses an old-fashioned measuring device known as a “sextant.” Confronted with these disjunctive images and with no evident narrative, we are ultimately left to forge connections on our own.

While Salle’s work is frequently associated with the resurgence of figurative paintings in the 1980s, it is also linked closely to that of the Pictures Generation — artists who employed appropriation to explore the relationship between image and consumption.

Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.

Eye On Design: Mobile Homestead Swag Lamp By Mike Kelley

Mobile Homestead Swag Lamp By Mike Kelley
All Photos By Gail

In the exhibit The Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin challenges the notion that the past is a fixed object, waiting to be elucidated. He calls the present “a waking world, a world to which that dream we name the past refers.” The dream quality of the past suggests that is is mutable, a patchwork of images and symbols that can be understood in myriad ways.”

Mobile Homestead Swag Lamp By Mike Kelley

The late artist Mike Kelley’s work has also focused on the unreliability of memory. His project, Mobile Homestead, a full-scale reproduction of his suburban, childhood home, resides on the grounds of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit. The building’s first floor maintains the floor plan of the original, but its multilevel basement, closed to the public, includes crawl spaces and rooms that can only be accessed through ceiling hatches.

Mobile Homestead Swag Lamp By Mike Kelley

The dreamlike, labyrinthine architecture suggests the slipperiness of the past. Kelley explores the denial of uncomfortable realities of abuse and oppression in domestic life, not in tune with the American Dream as represented by the suburban home, with its white picket fence. This lamp, a miniaturized version of the building, adds another layer of surrealness to the house.

Mobile Homestead Swag Lamp By Mike Kelley
Mobile Homestead Swag Lamp, Installation View

Photographed as part of the exhibit, The Arcades Project: Contemporary Art and Walter Benjamin, on Exhibit at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan Through August 6th, 2017.

Nick Walker’s Love Vandal

Nick Walker Love Vandal Detail
All Photos By Gail

British artist Nick Walker painted this mural of his signature Love Vandal character in a parking lot at the southwest corner of 17th Street and 6th Avenue back in the fall of 2014, and it still looks great!

Nick Walker Love Vandal

Nick Walker Love Vandal

Modern Art Monday Presents: Henri Rousseau, The Football Players

The Football Players
Photo By Gail

A toll clerk by profession, Henri Rousseau only began to paint seriously in his forties. Critics lambasted the untrained artist’s unsentimental images of faraway places (he never traveled outside of France), yet the Parisian avant-garde celebrated his unique style. Executed only two years before he died a pauper, The Football Players (1908) illustrates Rousseau’s quirky attempts to depict modern times with a new sport, rugby. The active, albeit stylized athletes present a rare exception from Rousseau’s largely static compositions.

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.