currently on view in “Ritual for Letting Go” at:
Two Rams Gallery, 215 Bowery, NYC (entrance on Rivington)
84”x72”, oil on canvas, 2014
“El Diablo (pictured, top) began as an attempt to paint a giant ceramic bowl on a beach. Hopefully one day I will be able to pull that motif off, but in this instance, I was not. I worked on this big bowl with little crabs crawling all around it for about a day until I realized it was hopeless. This was not going to work- so I turned it around to face the wall and got really annoyed about the whole thing. Another giant canvas I was going to have to take off the stretcher, then stretch and gesso another one. It always breaks my heart a little when I can’t get it on the first try- but of course it happens all the time.
The next day I went to Pearl in the morning. I thought, ok, if I’m going to re-stretch this one and start over, then I’m going to get some really bright colors. I bought a bunch of nice paints- with a lot of very bright colors I hadn’t tried before- in particular an amazing orange I was really excited about. I also got some canvas.
When I got to the studio, I turned the canvas back around and studied it. What exactly was going on here? What did I see? I turned the canvas from horizontal to vertical (it’s 7x6 ft), and something clicked. That big bowl shape could be something else. Everything around the bowl (palms, crabs, clouds) was kind of working now that it was vertical, but the bowl had to transform. But into what? I immediately saw an owl- I kind of wanted to paint a big owl. But hadn’t I recently read some article somewhere about how owls were going to be really cool to paint this year, like cats were last year? Well then I’m definitely not painting an owl today. What else do I see? I saw a big mask. I’ve always wanted to paint a mask but felt like I shouldn’t because many artists before me have painted them. But I could really see it. This was going to have to be a big mask, and if it didn’t work, oh well.
I had to scrape away a lot of the wet paint that was there from the day before. Then I could almost immediately see where everything was going to go. I sketched it in- starting with the eyes and nose, naturally. Then I just started filling in big areas with color, beginning with orange. It was the most amazing orange I had ever seen, and I know that what goes really well with orange is turquoise, so I filled an area in with turquoise. Really quickly the mask took shape with bright wet paint, and looked really at home with the foliage and crabs all around it, even though they were sideways. I just left them as they were. Everything just kind of solidified.
It was a mask just floating there in the night. I was really attracted to it- it didn’t matter to me that it made no sense floating there. I imagined if I was walking on a tropical beach at night, the smells, the sounds of the waves and foliage blowing, and I happened upon this big mask floating in front of me. The mask was scary, but welcoming, and I was attracted to that. I added some stars in the sky and other details but wanted to keep it simple. By the night time I was finished. It almost felt as though it had painted itself.” -Ryan Schneider
“last supper” & “mermaid, pig, bro w/ hat”
Gagosian Gallery’s Park & 75, 821 Park Ave., NYC
Gagosian Gallery temporary space, 104 Delancey St., NYC
The exhibition is in two parts, uptown and downtown. The uptown exhibition inaugurates the opening of a new Gagosian space, Park & 75, the downtown exhibition is in a former Chase bank branch on the Lower East Side. The uptown gallery contains a single large-scale sculpture last supper, Fischer’s take on the classical religious theme. At the downtown exhibit, features of the bank’s architecture and decor have been retained, from the corporate signage to the vaults—an incongruous setting for Fischer’s guilelessly expressionistic and exuberant sculptures. The cast bronze works, some of which are silver- and gold-plated, are a heterogenous bunch that includes a one-legged boy in an armchair, a big foot, a fireplace, some columns, a bust of Napoleon, a Louis XIV chair, a mermaid (conceived as a functional fountain), a depiction of sleep, a man copulating with a pig, a man and woman embracing, a hat on rocks, a man in a boat, a faceless cat, a pile, a Pièta, a lion in chains, and so on.
“Say what you will about the overall conceit — the bluest of blue-chip dealers slumming it, the whole affair some sort of astroturf DIY effort to seem scrappy and relevant — but Gagosian’s pop-up is actually pretty damn cool. The pieces are plopped throughout the gutted interior, next to water fountains or empty safes, tucked inside the upper shelves of empty closets.” - Scott Indrisek (photos & quote), ARTINFO
“NO CITY IS AN ISLAND”
The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie St., NYC
considering the works on view span a range of over 35 years, this exhibition feels coherent and contemporary. Lodge Gallery curatorial duo Keith Schweitzer & Jason Patrick Voegele invited former members of legendary NYC artist collective, Colab, to revisit their past methodologies: “Collaborative Projects Inc (Colab), focused on theme-centered exhibitions with a spirit of openness, experimentation, and minimal curatorial interference. Within this context, “No City is an Island” asked former members of Colab to respond to the exhibition’s title as a theme around which to contribute work. [The show] revisits the zeitgeist of a New York City long bygone, compares and contrasts the artists and urban realities of then with now, and honors one of the most influential art organizations in New York City’s history.” - thru May 11
artists: John Ahearn, Charlie Ahearn, Jody Culkin, Jane Dickson, Stefan Eins, Peter Fend, Coleen Fitzgibbon, Bobby G, Mike Glier, Becky Howland, Lisa Kahane, Christof Kohlhofer, Justen Ladda, Joe Lewis, Ann Messner, Richard Miller, Tom Otterness, Cara Perlman, Judy Rifka, Walter Robinson, Christy Rupp, Teri Slotkin, Kiki Smith, Seton Smith
“The Real Estate Show, Was Then: 1980”
James Fuentes Gallery, 55 Delancey St., NYC
a historical exhibition revisiting Colab’s infamous 1980 “The Real Estate Show” with original archived artworks. “During the late 1970s and early 1980s the art world underwent rapid change. More and more artists found inspiration by engaging the real world while simultaneously discovering the power of banding together either to confront or circumvent the established order… on New Years’ Eve 1980 a group of Colab members and friends started the new decade off with a bang by squatting an empty, city-owned building on Delancey Street and mounting ‘The Real Estate Show,’ an exhibition about greed, gentrification, eviction, and dislocation. Although the police quickly shut down the show, the guerrilla exhibition attracted so much media attention that as a compromise the city offered the artists the use of another abandoned building on nearby Rivington Street.” (Alan Moore and Marc Miller, 98Bowery.com)
Opens Sun, Mar 2nd, 6-8p:
“Crosseyed and Painless”
Daniel Rios Rodriguez
Sargent’s Daughters, 179 East B’Way, NYC
Daniel Rios Rodriguez’s work combines the intensely personal with the historical in a manner both humorous and dark. The paintings begin with drawing into a thick layer of oil paint, and can include collage elements of raw canvas, linen and the scraps of old t-shirts onto the canvas. This is a means of recovery and reinstating a fresh surface, exploring the materiality and variety of textures a painting’s surface can have.
The subject matter of the work spans the immediate and classical: skulls, lemons and tall grass along a river are repeated- calling to mind the traditional vanitas pieces. The search is ongoing and the images are abundant.
- thru Mar 30