This Vanity (1928) stands as a harbinger in the evolution of an American modern style. Norman Bel Geddes (1893 -1988) conceived of it only a year after founding the first industrial design firm in the United States. His prior experience on theater and film sets lent a dramatic flair to his consumer products, including this dressing table and mirror, made of enameled and chrome-plated steel, which was part of a larger suite of metal bedroom furniture.
Designed a the height of the Roaring Twenties, it echoes the sleek modernity of Manhattan skyscrapers, a favored motif among Art Deco designers, with its sequence of setbacks from drawers to mirror top. The industrial materials emphasize the design’s mechanical production, while the polished enamel and elegant trim and drawer pulls suggest something of the luxurious finishes found in handmade Art Deco furniture.
Seen in the Mirror: A reflection of the painting, I Saw The Figure Five in Gold By Charles Demuth.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) design student Malorie Pangilinan created this Whale-shaped mirror, taking her inspiration from Kawaii; the quality of cuteness in the context of Japanese culture.
Mirror, Rear View
It sure is cute!
Photographed in May 2016 at the ICFF Trade Show at Javits Center in NYC.
While Lucas Samaras’s Doorway is billed as a “Mirrored Room,” it isn’t actually a room that you can enter, as you can, say, a Mirrored Room installation by Yayoi Kusama. It is really more of, well, a Doorway: a Mirrored Cube inside of a Mirrored Shell that is open on the front and back ends, to allow view through. When I viewed this work at Pace Gallery on the final day of its exhibition, the open ends were roped off to prevent anyone from touching, walking on or accessing the work close up. Bummer.
In this shot you can see the outline of the cube clearly. Unfortunately, if there is even one other person in the gallery they are going be in the shot.
This a reflection of the cube against the interior of the passageway. You can imagine that if you were able to get inside there you could snap some pretty crazy selfies. But, sadly no.
Doorway is one of a series of Mirrorred Rooms created by Samaras between 1966 and 2007.
Photographed At Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Painted Mirror By Martin Durazo (All Photos By Gail)
Altered States at C24 Gallery is an exhibition featuring the work of two Los Angeles based artists, Martin Durazo and Ryan Perez. The title of the exhibition refers to creating an altered state of reality through a narrative visualized by light, line, dimension and color. As you can see, these artists deal specifically with each of these qualities in their respective paintings.
Martin Durazo paints on both canvases and mirrors using fluorescent colors and bold brush strokes. The artist explains, “I find it fascinating that these colors are in vogue fashion-wise. I also feel that they have a relationship to punk and new wave music of the ‘70s and ‘80s, my coming–of-age years.” Mine too, Martin!
Here’s another painted Mirror. I really like this one.
Durazo’s use of neon paint and metallic suggests both a hyper reality and black light illumination. Transcendental in nature, the works presented in Altered States are a part of a continuing body of work that explores the spiritual aspects of lurid and elicit behavior. The visual result is colorful and instantly attractive – it’s audacious and at times flashy, yet always loaded with complex symbolism and stratified references.
I met the lady pictured above at the opening reception on September 11th, and her dress reminded me so much of the colors in Martin Durazo’s paintings that I asked if she would pose with them. Also, I was a teeny, tiny bit drunk.
Above is partial installation shot a selection of Ryan Perez’s works that you see as soon as you enter the gallery. His work integrates computer generated and hand painted elements in artist frames, which are configured to trick the eye of the viewer, merging the real and digital world.
In describing his work, Perez writes, “As an image-maker, I can’t help but contemplate how the majority of the visual world we experience is constructed through a series of identity systems via graphic design…” Interesting, and so true!
I really enjoyed this exhibit, and the people at C24 are always very nice, so I recommend you add Altered States to your list of shows to check out over the next few weeks.
Altered States Runs Through October 25th, 2014 at C24 Gallery, Located at 514 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Now, here’s a must see exhibit that you have six entire months to check out (so, maybe go more than once): Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures at Flag Art Foundation. This extremely well staged exhibit features a selection of the artist’s sculptures and maquettes (scale models), works that playfully and pointedly blur the boundaries of drawing, sculpture and painting.
Comprised of everyday and mass-produced objects – a mirror, water glass, and coffee cup – as well as the artist’s signature brushstrokes, the works highlight Lichtenstein’s ability to elevate the everyday to the iconic. Presented in a gallery space populated with furniture, the exhibition encourages engagement, inviting audiences to view historic works in an intimate setting.
The Two Sides of Maquette for House I (Above and Below)
Maquette for House I (1996) inspired the domestic context for this environment, a later work wherein Lichtenstein reduces the structure of a cookie cutter suburban house to black outlines and primary colors – yellow siding, a blue roof, and red to accent the shutters and chimney.
Often overlooked but routinely used, commercial subjects become monuments in the artist’s hand, wherein shadow, contour, and highlight are rendered in patinated bronze. In Mirror II (1977), Lichtenstein transforms a vanity mirror into a static, unchanging reflection – focusing on the form of the object while negating its intended function.
Mobile III (1990) directly references Alexander Calder’s archetypal mobiles, “freezing”  an item whose sole purpose is to respond to movement. Rather than condense volume and function into a linear still life, these sculptures become intimate metaphors for the disposable society in which they exist.
Nodding to the physicality of the Abstract Expressionist movement and its influence on Western art, Lichtenstein’s brushstroke sculptures democratize mark-making and painterly authority through isolation and reproduction. Lichtenstein describes his desire to separate the brushstroke from the canvas and distill it to its purist form.
One of the most fun things about Intimate Sculptures is the way it is staged so accessibly; as if you are walking through a private home and enjoying these works as part of someone’s “intimate” personal collection. It is very cool.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures will be on Exhibit Through January 31st, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Pace Prints is currently hosting Ryan McGinness: Figure Drawings, the artist’s second exhibition at the gallery. I can’t say I’m sorry that I missed the opening reception, because how could you possibly get good photos of these works in a gallery full of people?
Figure Drawings is a continuation of the McGinness’s Women series, which he started working on in 2010. Drawing directly from nude models, he approaches these drawings in the same manner in which he creates his signature undulating and layered icons.
McGinness begins with sketches, and refines those drawings down into their basic and most essential forms. In the Women series, the artist simultaneously embraces the inherent sensuality of his models through their graceful lines and gentle curves, while allowing his iconic drawings to be less about the individual woman and more about presentations of universal womanhood.
Entwining the cool glow of various neon lights with his women, composed of flat shapes à la Matisse, the works are at once signage, symbol, and live interaction. With neon, there is no real substitute to seeing these electric drawings in person as photographs cannot fully capture the colorful hazed effect on the figure. This sexy emitted light glows on the entire exhibition, giving a spectacle buzz to the full body of works.
Also included in the exhibition are a series of new fluorescent silkscreened Women Parts, porcelain-baked enamel on steel panels, halftoned models on linen, and mirror polished stainless steel works with etched figures—which resonate with the neon lights, layering images in reflection.
Definitely check this one out while you can.
Ryan McGinness Figure Drawings will be on Exhibit through June 7th, 2014 at Pace Prints, Located at 521 Westr 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District