Friday, May 8, 2009

it seems that paint is alive and well in NYC... it's nice to be able to say that.

a few weeks ag0, there was the paintings of michael brennan at brooklyn's 210 gallery, a great space with a strong curatorial program put together by the artist, troy tecau. last year i wrote about brennans' new work, as i saw it at the gary snyder project space. this is the kind of work where you look and, after the initial pleasures, you can't help but try to figure out how the artist does what he does... for me, part of the majesty of brennan's painting is that mystery, that and the firm commitment of the hard horizon line at the bottom of each piece. brennan brings oil to life and seemingly arrests it's motion, creating works that are both lyrical and rugged.

in chelsea, last week we had don voisine exhibiting new work at mckenzie fine art, just across the street from the madhouse scene of chuck close's opening at pacewildenstein. voisine is a master of black. there is a cold black, a warm black, a reflective black... all held tight by his hard edged line and the limited palette of (at times, surprising) contrasts. for my eye, the big thing with voisine's work is the surprise you get with each viewing-- that shape in the middle of the composition isn't what you think it is-- there's that tilt, that corner shaved off just so... at times a willful diagonal cuts across and stops short... and then there's that black....

that i've been so moved by these shows is no surprise in that i've been working black in the brooklyn studio for sometime now. there is an intensity is these labors that i believe comes from the force of the paint, of the black... there is the black of night, the black of water, of oil itself, the flat, sensuous matte of gesso, the grays that darken into tones of a black you just now discovered as you laid it on with the 4 inch brush... and now i get to bring these pieces together in a 2-person exhibit with the sculptor, christine howard sandoval, at the beautiful, newly renovated (and renamed, midstream) 124 performance and art space in brooklyn. and my long delayed solo show at roger ramsay gallery in chicago is set to be installed. and then, last night there was the opening of the james little show in soho's june kelly gallery.

more to come...

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