Jeff Bark’s newest body of work, an exhibition of new photographs he calls GOLDENBOY (now at Hasted Kraeutler), instantly appealed to both Geoffrey and me, but for entirely different reasons. Geoffrey was wildly smitten by the bare-chested hottie who is the subject of half of the photos in the exhibit. But I was more intrigued by the moody, lost-weekend vibe of the yellow-hued still life scenes, and the recreation of what I correctly took to be a southern California backyard – mostly because it reminded me so much of the backyard of my own childhood home located in Orange County.
GoldenBoy Backyard Set
GoldenBoy Backyard Set Alternate View
This backyard (which was recreated for the project inside Bark’s NYC apartment!) provides the setting for many of the photos. When you couple the erotically charged images of a handsome young man with what looks like an environment of leisurely suburban decay, to say that these photos encourage imaginative extrapolation is a huge understatement.
It’s not every day that you walk by an art exhibit whose title is the front end of a Meta Joke, and in this case that title is exactly what drew us in to Hasted Kraeutler Gallery for a quick look at Marc Dennis’ latest collection of hyper-realist paintings, playfully entitled An Artist, A Curator and a Rabbi Walk Into a Bar….
Dennis likes to work with layers of reality and he’s said that his paintings are about “creating an absurd context.” He’s very adept also at creating scenarios in which you can consider yourself, as the viewer, to be an additional layer of the artwork
The End of The World
The painting above is based on the famous work you can see at This Link. Warning: NSFW! In my opinion, Dennis has greatly improved upon the original!
Dennis explains that this painting, Uncontrollable Beauty, was inspired by pondering the idea of what a sculpture of his might look like, if he were to make one. It’s hard to believe that this is a painting and not a photograph.
Betty, Lawyer, Pony
When you look at this painting, what do you focus on? The young girl’s ‘Bad idea” My Little Pony Tattoo? Her ill-fitting bra straps (seriously, she needs a t-back bra to go under that shirt)? Perhaps you notice the woman in front of her and the pattern of the red and white outfit she has on? I think the point here is that you can’t get a good look at that outfit because another person is blocking your view. Kind of like how at art galleries there is often an admirer standing in front of a painting blocking your view. Which is the very reason I took this photo from an angle — to avoid including the art fan standing next to me, who refused to move, so I could get a better shot, in the picture. Art imitates life, people!
Marc Dennis‘ paintings make you think like that, and they are also beautiful. For that reason, I recommend this show!
An Artist, A Curator and a Rabbi Walk Into a Bar… By Marc Dennis will be on Exhibit Through January 4th, 2014, at Hasted Kraeutler, Located at 537 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011. Hours ar Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 – 6:00 PM and By Appointment.