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
opens Apr 17, 6-8p:
“Day by Day, Good Day”
Koenig & Clinton Gallery, 459 W19th St., NYC
a historical exhibition presenting paintings from 1974-2012. Dreher began his series Tag um Tag Guter Tag (Day by Day, Good Day) after painting his first glass in 1972. Dreher continued rendering a single empty water glass repeatedly, by day and by night, and has continued doing so over the course of several decades. The title of the series is linked to a Zen Buddhist maxim that espouses the equanimity of all things and objective perception of the world. Schooled as a figurative painter, the artist has remained steadfast to this commitment over the years, painting the same glass, within the same surroundings, from the same angle every day. To date, the series includes nearly 5,000 individual paintings. - thru May 24
Opens Tonight, 6-8p:
“Are Your Motives Pure? Raymond Pettibon Surfers 1987-2012”
Venus Over Manhattan Gallery, 980 Madison Ave., NYC
first exhibition ever organized to focus exclusively on Raymond Pettibon’s ‘surfer paintings,’ bringing together forty works spanning a quarter century of the artist’s career. Since the 1970s, Los Angeles-based artist Raymond Pettibon has been metabolizing America - its history, literature, sports, religion, politics, and sexuality - in a barrage of drawings and paintings in a style born of comic books and the “do-it-yourself” aesthetic of Southern California punk rock album-covers, concert flyers, and fanzines. Limning a dizzying array of topics with his distinctive combinations of image and text, Pettibon has created a vocabulary of symbols that reappear consistently if enigmatically across his oeuvre. - thru May 17
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
opens tonight, Fri, Feb 28, 7-9p:
The Lodge Gallery, 131 Chrystie St., NYC
Young’s reverse paintings, rendered on the underside of thick glass with automotive paints, are investigations of places and objects that are familiar to us yet feel foreign. The subjects in many of Young’s paintings are iconic rooms and objects associated with bustling activity. The spaces are presented devoid of people and out of context; the empty set of television’s The Price is Right, NASA’s Control Room, and CERN’s Large Hadron Collider are captured in rare moments of inactivity. We are left with an opportunity to examine these rooms and objects closely, to inspect the complex details offered within them, and through this process garner a greater understanding of their purpose and the people, out of frame, who put them to use. Young also depicts objects of historical or personal significance that are captivating in their graphic qualities, starkly and consciously superficial, attractive yet repelling. Abraham Lincoln’s soiled death pillow is presented alongside portraits of a stained bathtub, an open filthy refrigerator, and a previously frozen TV dinner.