nyc art scene

a carefully curated calendar & cumulative catalog of new york city's most interesting art exhibitions and events. hand picked by Arthur Seen & Team

nycARTscene Interview: Tara de la Garza

Arthur Seen recently interviewed artist Tara de la Garza. Her exhibition, Embracing Failure, opens Thursday, August 28th at The Lodge Gallery and runs through August 31st.

1/ Your new show is called Embracing Failure, do you think of yourself as a failure?

I think every artist has an inner critic and it depends on what day as to where you see yourself on the success spectrum. Creating art has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I think most people have this image of an artist in a field with a watercolor palette, happily humming away, creating. In reality, to create something meaningful, that will hopefully forward the dialogue of art, is a struggle. By embracing failure I am open to seeing where an artwork evolves before I discount it. I am revisiting, (uncrumpling!) trashed work and editing, much like a writer or a musician would do. Creating art is a beautiful thing because if allows you time to wander, but that time can also be filled with self doubt. Especially making marks on paper, you can’t hide. You rush in and then backtrack to make it up. It’s the human bloody condition on paper!

2/ The works on paper you are referring to are the LES series which incorporate multiple mediums and themes, can you tell us about them?

Originally I created these for a large scale mural project in the Lower East Side that wasn’t completed (the first failure) but I didn’t want to abandon them, I thought I could rework them and see what happened. I grabbed a big brush and some white paint and liberated them. Each piece is a journey, they are hard to take in all at once, you go down avenues and I think the change in medium helps facilitate that.

I have included lots of vignettes of New York in this work, they are full of stories of the Lower East Side where I lived and had a studio and fell in love. They also include my influences and fellow artists works, for example ABC NO Rio 2 depicts, in part, a street art piece by painter Tom Sanford, who I thought so generous to toil for many days on a transitory work, I wanted to recognize that… I was also tempted to steal one!

3/ How does being Australian inform your work?

What, because I mentioned stealing! One thing I realized about Australians is that it is ingrained in our culture to break rules, we encourage the larrakin, a term that is synonymous with being mischievous. This manifests in my work in numerous ways, one example is in the use of materials such as watercolor. Purists of the medium frown on the use of white paint. So I ‘cheat’ and paint over mistakes, then I regret it and try and make it up. That’s my process, intrigue and deception!. And paper is great, you can’t lie, you see every mark and that is the joy of making and owning art, seeing the hand and shaky heart of the artist.

Also part of the rule breaking is a dialogue I have been having for awhile now with Sol LeWitt. I was in a show at MOCA Massachusetts curated by Regina Basha with a piece called Messing with Sol where I distorted some of his work. I admire artists who have a clear framework, but I also want to tear frameworks down. I came back to his guidelines for this series to help gain some cohesion in the work, or in some ways legitimize it, back to that inner critic!

4/ If not humor, per se, there seems to be a lot of tongue in cheek in your work. Massaging a dead chicken for example…

The funny thing about that piece is that it was picked up by comedy central’s Tosh.0, they made fun of it without somehow realizing that is what I was doing, but hey, it made me ‘internet famous’! I like the idea that subtle change and humor can be more affective than grand gestures. That piece was talking about the practice of selling live chickens in Harlem in a place next door to the space that Chashama made available for the show. Working in a public space is great as you can really have a dialogue with a neighborhood, I confused a lot of people by displaying a chicken being massaged in the window right next door. It was playing with opposites, the antithesis of the life of those chickens, but also ridiculous because it was already dead. It wasn’t a political statement about the plight of the live chickens. None of my work is overtly political, it feels inauthentic to me if I attempt it. I think growing up poor informs you in a different way, I don’t have the guilt of privilege that can lead some artists down a righteous path. I am happy to observe my life and talk about it (even make fun of it) without needing a purpose, that seems very Seinfeld somehow…  

I think what is really impactful is changing the way people view things. Technology has done that. It doesn’t dwell on the sociopolitical spectrum. I want to be more like a technologist a or an engineer, not an activist. All I have to contribute are my own thoughts and ideas which aren’t anything controversial or even interesting but there is a curiosity in the mundane, the slightly off kilter, the in-between that fascinates.

5/ Your Projection Paintings use a technique I have never seen before, can you tell us about it?

It’s strange that this technique wasn’t being used in Lumiere’s day, it is actually quite low tech. A movie is projected onto a canvas and the paused movie scene is painted on the canvas. When exhibiting the movie plays and matches up with the canvas, it causes a strange relationship with space, it activates the painting, in a way that a static painting cannot. For the implosion movie this was particularly dramatic when the movie meets the falling building.

6/ Most of the works have some kind of reference materials, images that you cut and paste together to form a narrative. How important is that process and the technology you use?

My first profession was as a graphic designer and the tools available through photoshop are powerful to sketch ideas that would have been difficult to visualize in any other way. Even photographing the work and viewing it from that critical viewpoint is helpful to gain perspective. Working with a facsimile can also be liberating in a way. You can move far away from the original and yet keep coming back to it when you get lost, it acts as a security. Just starting with a blank canvas is terrifying.

Tara de la Garza: taradelagarza.com

The Lodge Gallery: thelodgegallery.com 131 Chrystie St., NYC

Fall 2014 Editor’s Pick
Opens Thurs, Sept 11, 6-8p:

Drawings
 Do Ho Suh
 
Lehmann Maupin, 40 W26th St., NYC
Lehmann Maupin, 201 Chrystie St., NYC

an exhibition of new works by renowned Korean artist Do Ho Suh. On display at both 540 West 26th Street and 201 Chrystie Street, the exhibition will highlight the significant role and varied forms drawing plays in Suh’s oeuvre. This two-part show will feature the range of his works on paper, including drawings using pencil, pen, ink, and watercolor, his unique “thread” drawings, as well as his large-scale rubbings. Primarily known for his room-scale installations made of transparent fabric that recreate spaces in which he has lived, the artist has consistently utilized drawing throughout his career to explore and develop relationships between common themes of his practice including notions of home, physical space, displacement, identity, and memory. A focus of this exhibition, and Suh’s most elaborate use of drawing to date, is his Rubbing/Loving Project. Here Suh painstakingly covered the flat walls and three-dimensional fixtures of the interior and exterior of architectural spaces that hold great personal, cultural, or historic significance to him with vellum and rubbed each surface with colored pencil or graphite.

closing Sunday:“PLEH” Gobby, Nicholas Buffon, Allegra CrowtherShoot The Lobster, 138 Eldridge St., NYC“in Pleh, three very different artists—Gobby, Nick Buffon, Allegra Crowther—take up the onanistic tedium and thrills of obsession and boredom in dispirited urban desolation, a context familiar to New Yorkers resigned to spend long summer weeks in the city. Curator Alexander Shulan, who directs STL—the austere Chinatown satellite of Chelsea’s Martos Gallery—presents a witty salon-style hanging of industrious and psychedelic comic-book illustrations and alluringly sloppy sculptural tableaux. The exhibition weirdly reminisces a certain generation of 1990s cable television cartoons—Rocco’s Modern Life or the more adult-oriented Duckman that present often-doomed, neurotic characters as disempowered subjects in a mechanistic, indifferent universe.” - ARTFORUM

closing Sunday:

PLEH
 Gobby, Nicholas Buffon, Allegra Crowther

Shoot The Lobster, 138 Eldridge St., NYC

“in Pleh, three very different artists—Gobby, Nick Buffon, Allegra Crowther—take up the onanistic tedium and thrills of obsession and boredom in dispirited urban desolation, a context familiar to New Yorkers resigned to spend long summer weeks in the city. Curator Alexander Shulan, who directs STL—the austere Chinatown satellite of Chelsea’s Martos Gallery—presents a witty salon-style hanging of industrious and psychedelic comic-book illustrations and alluringly sloppy sculptural tableaux. The exhibition weirdly reminisces a certain generation of 1990s cable television cartoons—Rocco’s Modern Life or the more adult-oriented Duckman that present often-doomed, neurotic characters as disempowered subjects in a mechanistic, indifferent universe.” - ARTFORUM

recommended:“the second life of flowers” Sirikul Pattachote The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie St., NYCfirst New York gallery exhibition of Thailand born painter Sirikul Pattachote. “The brittle decomposition of a flower at the end of its purpose is a slow and lonely, bittersweet journey. We can use words like this to describe the action because it is so familiar to our own human experience. Just as the flower serves its purpose we serve ours, we both flourish in the sunshine and grow uniquely beautiful before we leave our legacy and drop our petals along the path to becoming a memory. The ephemeral quality of life and matter is a central theme in Pattachote’s work. Through her paintings, she attempts to record and preserve certain memories and impressions that highlight the potential good that lies in everyone and everything.” - thru Aug 7

recommended:

the second life of flowers
 Sirikul Pattachote
 
The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie St., NYC

first New York gallery exhibition of Thailand born painter Sirikul Pattachote. “The brittle decomposition of a flower at the end of its purpose is a slow and lonely, bittersweet journey. We can use words like this to describe the action because it is so familiar to our own human experience. Just as the flower serves its purpose we serve ours, we both flourish in the sunshine and grow uniquely beautiful before we leave our legacy and drop our petals along the path to becoming a memory. The ephemeral quality of life and matter is a central theme in Pattachote’s work. Through her paintings, she attempts to record and preserve certain memories and impressions that highlight the potential good that lies in everyone and everything.” - thru Aug 7

opens tonight, Sat, June 28, 6-8p:“The Crystal Palace” Rachel Uffner Gallery, 170 Suffolk St., NYC“Named after the site of the first World’s Fair in London in 1851, and on the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, this exhibition aims to take advantage of New York City’s cultural and neighborhood-based diversity in the cacophonous spirit of the Fair, which evolved from focusing on industrialized innovation to a thematic form of cultural exchange. In an attempt to infuse the growing contemporary art district of the Lower East Side with the historical weight of Upper East Side institutions, Rachel Uffner Gallery will exhibit artwork from the vast archives of Richard L. Feigen & Co., and additional private lenders and estates, in conjunction with contemporary artists conversing with their fore-bearers in a thoughtful manner. A cross-cultural-pollination is to be formed, spanning over neighborhoods and over time.”Artists: Balthus, Joseph Cornell, Daniel Gordon, Van Hanos, Robert Indiana, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Ray Johnson, Anya Kielar, Claes Oldenburg, Dushko Petrovich and Roger White, James Rosenquist, Pierre Roy, Peter Saul, Johannes VanDerBeek, and Stan VanDerBeek

opens tonight, Sat, June 28, 6-8p:

The Crystal Palace
 
Rachel Uffner Gallery, 170 Suffolk St., NYC

“Named after the site of the first World’s Fair in London in 1851, and on the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, this exhibition aims to take advantage of New York City’s cultural and neighborhood-based diversity in the cacophonous spirit of the Fair, which evolved from focusing on industrialized innovation to a thematic form of cultural exchange.
 
In an attempt to infuse the growing contemporary art district of the Lower East Side with the historical weight of Upper East Side institutions, Rachel Uffner Gallery will exhibit artwork from the vast archives of Richard L. Feigen & Co., and additional private lenders and estates, in conjunction with contemporary artists conversing with their fore-bearers in a thoughtful manner. A cross-cultural-pollination is to be formed, spanning over neighborhoods and over time.”

Artists: Balthus, Joseph Cornell, Daniel Gordon, Van Hanos, Robert Indiana, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Ray Johnson, Anya Kielar, Claes Oldenburg, Dushko Petrovich and Roger White, James Rosenquist, Pierre Roy, Peter Saul, Johannes VanDerBeek, and Stan VanDerBeek

just opened:“Gatekeeper” Liene Bosquê, Sinta Tantra, Kate Gilmore  William Holman Gallery, 65 Ludlow St., NYCgroup show that explores ideas of access, and how the spaces we inhabit enforce or challenge the roles of gender, race, and economic inequalities within societies. Curated by Nicholas Cohn and Katie Whitepictured: Kate Gilmore, Wall Bearer, 2011, Performance Still

just opened:

Gatekeeper
 Liene Bosquê, Sinta Tantra, Kate Gilmore
 
William Holman Gallery, 65 Ludlow St., NYC

group show that explores ideas of access, and how the spaces we inhabit enforce or challenge the roles of gender, race, and economic inequalities within societies. Curated by Nicholas Cohn and Katie White

pictured: Kate Gilmore, Wall Bearer, 2011, Performance Still

opens tonight, Wed, June 18, 6-8p:

Leaps into the Void: Shamanism, Meditation, Transcendence, Oblivion”
 Gwyn Joy, Sky Kim, Michael Maxwell,
 Joe Nanashe, Phoebe Rathmell
 
Garis & Hahn Gallery, 263 Bowery, NYC

a group exhibition united by the philosophical underpinnings and practical objectives of each artist’s own practice in addressing concepts related to meditation and altered mental states, physical and mental transcendence and Eastern and Western belief systems related to cycles of life.

opens Wed, May 28, 6-8p:“Figure Studies” Walter RobinsonLynch Tham Gallery, 175 Rivington St., NYCKnown for his figurative work, Robinson has created a new series of paintings based on common fashion promotional photographs, referenced from a variety of sources: department store flyers, daily newspapers and marketing emails, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney, Lands’ End and Bergdorf Goodman advertisements. The paintings segment and define their audience by gender, age and social role, with an implicit address to women, or to men, or to mothers, or to professionals. They are seasonal, identifiable as “summer” or “winter.” They contain markers of age and youth, of boyhood or girlhood.

opens Wed, May 28, 6-8p:

Figure Studies
 Walter Robinson

Lynch Tham Gallery, 175 Rivington St., NYC

Known for his figurative work, Robinson has created a new series of paintings based on common fashion promotional photographs, referenced from a variety of sources: department store flyers, daily newspapers and marketing emails, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney, Lands’ End and Bergdorf Goodman advertisements. The paintings segment and define their audience by gender, age and social role, with an implicit address to women, or to men, or to mothers, or to professionals. They are seasonal, identifiable as “summer” or “winter.” They contain markers of age and youth, of boyhood or girlhood.

opens Fri, May 23, 6-8p:

Geo Land
 Alain Biltereyst
 
Jack Hanley Gallery, 327 Broome St., NYC

Belgium-based painter Alain Biltereyst’s small works on plywood are concerned with everyday, contemporary life. The artist is inspired by geometric forms that he sees on a daily basis, such as logos on currency, advertising on the sides of trucks, and fences against a landscape. He strives to interpret this ‘Geo Land’ into works that are “as simple and poetic as possible.” Formal repetition and color choices reflect the artist’s background in graphic design and fascination with commercial and other urban signs, where the lines between culture and subculture are blurred. Beneath the hard edge geometry of each composition, lies a painterly gesture, implying a depth in the otherwise flat composition. - thru June 22

thru May 31:“Sometimes Comes the Mother, Sometimes the Wolf” Matt BahenMunch Gallery, 245 Broome St., NYCan exhibition of small and large scale oil paintings by Canadian painter, Matt Bahen, recognized for his human scale works on canvas addressing themes of loss and the question of how to carry on. His use of a thick and heavily applied impasto technique emphasizes the visceral quality of the delivery and subject.

thru May 31:

Sometimes Comes the Mother, Sometimes the Wolf
 Matt Bahen

Munch Gallery, 245 Broome St., NYC

an exhibition of small and large scale oil paintings by Canadian painter, Matt Bahen, recognized for his human scale works on canvas addressing themes of loss and the question of how to carry on. His use of a thick and heavily applied impasto technique emphasizes the visceral quality of the delivery and subject.