Thursday, May 23, 2013

PULSE art fair NY 2013

     Better late than never, so here's a post about the PULSE art fair in NY from early May 2013. A variety of styles and media here, with more photography than most recent fairs. However, so much of photography being shown now is point and shoot, a snapshot of someone else's creativity or actions. Also straight up portraits or portraits with one element added - most just don't seem fully realized, like they fall short, but it could also be that galleries are only showing "safe" photography at the moment.

     There seemed to be a little bit of everything here, a sign of our internet times I suppose. Black and White Gallery from Brooklyn (as a side note, they've closed their physical space and will start a fund, part of which will buy art, and do the fairs. Just doing fairs and having an "internet gallery" are an increasing trend to combat tough economic times. Better to have that presence than none at all) had large scale fiber works by Alicia Ross. Above right, "Motherboard (Drawn & Quartered) measures a whopping 116" high x58" wide, astonishing for thread work. This series is images of nude women from what appear to be porn imagery.


 Steven Kasher Gallery (NY) had this wall sculpture by Randy Polumbo called "Wallflower". Funky blown glass bulbs form flowery shapes, very 60s mod. Fun piece.

I found the piece below intriguing, as presented by Marc Strauss Gallery (NY). It's an Everlast brand heavy punching bag, but artist Jeffrey Gibson has accessorized it with beads and a fiber "hula skirt." He takes this macho object, the subject of battering fists and boxing (and now, mixed martial arts as well) and feminizes it, negating its use and putting it into a new and thought-provoking context. Gibson was profiled in the NY Times recently, it should be noted.

Damien Stamer, whose work was profiled here before, had a series of pieces at Freight and Volume (NY). A more muted palette creates moody pieces as he continues to explore building in various phases of decay/construction/deconstruction. This dyptych is titled "Rough Cut."


Carol K. Brown had an ambitious display of at least 100 small works covering a wall at Nohra Haime Gallery's booth. All the paintings were images of modern day women brandishing weapons leading one to wonder if they're on the offense or the defense?

This "unique and site specific" piece (as the card says) is titled "Bibliophylum" by Jessica Drenk
at Adah Rose Gallery (Kensington, MD). Made of waxed book pages and pins. One of those pieces that make you glad you paused and got the details.

Lastly, this amusing piece by Adam Parker Smith was boldly displayed at Davidson Contemporary (NY).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Winnie Truong and Kris Knight at Mulherin-Pollard Gallery

Cracker Crown ( Small Town Prince ), oil on canvas, 72 x 48 in., 2013
      At first glance, Canadian artist
Kris Knight's paintings look like images of disinterested hipsters from a jeans ad, with a wan, fashion model look. That's an apt description but then he tosses in an element that catches you off guard and takes you and the character to another place. But he  leaves that place vague and non-descript, too, giving very little information as to who? what? where? and just like that, you're forced to fill in the blanks.

     In some it's simply a hat or crown that starts the process in motion. These are simple pieces, but not simplistic. This is one of those instances where you should skip the statement about the work and just let it happen.

"Loose Lips Sink Ships" (L) and "Two Stripe Captain" (R)
both oil on canvas and 30x40"
Laurel Island, oil on canvas, 60x48 in., 2013

"Fair Share of Deceit," 44 x 36", colored pencil on paper, 2013

    I've written here before about Winnie Truong's work - they're fun, captivating, and evoke a "Holy shit! That's color pencil?!?!" response when you get close. Particularly on the heroic (artspeak for huge) six-eight foot pieces on paper I saw at (I think) the Affordable Art Fair a few years ago. I wanted one so bad, but the logistics weren't doable. However, she also had smaller pieces but they somehow didn't grab me the same way, although they still retain the same intense draughtsmanship.

     This show had some new twists to her work, not just scale-wise. The piece below, "Genesis," has two full figures, angelically wrapped in hair, parts looking like wings. This is 44x50", the first of her work that I've seen in a mid-range size.

Genesis, 44 x 50", colored pencil on paper, 2013

     In "The Other Ends" she continues to explore identity and portraiture with hair, knots, masks using  her signature face/hair designs but combining faces or heads as well. Playful and smile-inducing, yes, but don't get fooled - there is serious and focused work being done here.

"Junction," 44 x 36", colored pencil on paper, 2013

"Wispy and Wily," 22 x 18" , colored pencil, 2013
187 Chrystie St., NY, NY 10002
April 4-May 15, 2013