Do you love the art of Robert Rauschenberg? I sure do. I was super excited last week to pop into Gladstone Gallery (it had been a while between visits) to find that they’re currently hosting an exhibition of Rauschenberg’s layered, multidimensional wall- mounted and sculptural works from his Spreads and Scales series. You rarely see these works outside of a museum, and this is the first show to highlight the two related series — made between 1975 and 1983 — in New York for more than 40 years. These important bodies of work demonstrate the artist’s unparalleled ability to expand the artistic possibilities of recognizable, everyday objects by ingeniously juxtaposing and combining forms in space. Continue reading Robert Rauschenberg’s Spreads and Scales at Gladstone Gallery
Tag Archives: found objects
Kenny Scharf, Inner and Outer Space at Deitch Projects
Whether you’re seeing his colorful works out on the street, or in the gallery, Kenny Scharf has one of the most instantly recognizable styles in the contemporary art world. Deitch Projects downtown is currently hosting Inner and Outer Space, an ambitious exhibit of Scharf’s newest works which features several distinct collections that provide evidence of Scharf’s enthusiasm for expanding his oeuvre, while staying true to the playful characteristics of his work that his fans love the most. Continue reading Kenny Scharf, Inner and Outer Space at Deitch Projects
Shawn Thornton’s Pareidolia at Cue Art Foundation
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The above collection of small-scale paintings directly reference the artist’s experience with surgery to remove the tumor.
It is not a coincidence that these paintings resemble maps of Thornton’s psyche.
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
Brahmastra for a New Age (UFO / Time Machine)
Thornton worked on the above canvas from 2010 to 2103.
Take a look at the detail from just a couple of square inches of this painting! Unbelievable!
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.
The Button Show at Rush Arts Gallery
All Photos By Gail (Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)
I have to thank my friend Andrew for turning me on to The Button Show; a super fun exhibit that’s up now at Rush Arts Gallery. Curated by Peter “Souleo” Wright, The Button Show features sculptures and other artworks created using regular clothing buttons, incorporated with other found objects, to create unique art that is delightful to behold.
Modern Art Monday Presents: Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player]
Robert Smithson, Untitled [Record Player], (1962); Record Player with Found Objects and Collage (All Photos by Gail)
When Robert Smithson died in a plane crash in 1973, his fame as an artist was based on his creation of monumental earthworks such as Spiral Jetty, or minimalist sculptures using both Mirrored and regular, plate Glass.
But the James Cohan Gallery (in their brand new space in Chinatown) just hosted its inaugural exhibit, Robert Smithson: Pop, which featured a collection of the artist’s work from the early 1960s — including fluorescent-colored pencil sketches of both male and female nudes, collages, and found object sculptures — all of which were completely unlike anything the average Smithson fan would have been familiar with. You can read more about the exhibit and see photos in this great article over at Hyperallergic.
I went to see Pop just few days before it closed and while I loved the exhibit, there was one piece that resonated particularly strongly with my aesthetic sensibilities. In the rear room of the gallery, along with a few drawings, there was a small portable Record Player inside a display vitrine. The box for the record player is covered in collaged pictures of men and women, tabloid headlines, and plastic trinkets and fake flowers.
Collage on Outside Lid of Record Player
Inside, the box has been filled with twigs and dried grass, which make a nest for a small, blue bird.
The turn table has been transformed into a hot pink pond, filled with tiny toys including neon swans, sail boats, and little plastic babies that float about on their backs across the pink surface. It is so cool and completely visually captivating; it’s hard to believe that Smithson’s early work of Pop Art is over 50 years old now! I never would have imagined, from the works of his that I already knew so well, that Robert Smithson had a body of work like this in his portfolio. I’m glad I was able to see and photograph it before the exhibit closed in mid-January.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Robert Smithson: Pop at James Cohan Gallery, Located at 291 Grand Street in Chinatown, NYC.