Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Drawings and decorations

I finally made it out to Chelsea (blame the travel, apartment hunting, sickness), which meant that unfortunately I missed a LOT of the shows I had wanted to see. Still, there was enough on my list still to render me completely knackered.

I saw a lot of really lavish work - some richly detailed, some glamorous and gaudy - but all of it finely, and obsessively created. I also am seeing a LOT of drawing lately. Is this because I am doing more drawing and am therefore more tuned in to it? Or are there a lot more people doing more drawing? I wonder if there is an immediacy and intimacy about drawing which appeals to us in this day and age? On to the works--

PH Gallery presents an installation by Andrea Loefke. She is a talented installation artist, creating worlds of events having just happened. This work is playful and pop in its brightly colored objects. The viewer has the distinct feeling of having just walked in on something exciting (good or bad?) that had just happened. This work adeptly plays with our urge in this media saturated world to get more facts, more information, more pictures... She doesn't let us have that, instead letting us feel a bit anxious and very curious.

Another artist playing with a missing storyline is Caitlin Atkinson, who is showing self-portraits at Foley Gallery. These works were all staged (which is really important to know) moments of anxiety - she stands in a misty field calling for a missing dog, or holds laden grocery bags in an empty parking lot. The work is successful in conveying a feeling of discomfort and loss.

Another photo show worth noting were the photos by Thomas Wrede at James Nicholson. Wrede produces large scale lushly printed photographs of expansive spaces. In the photographs he (appears to) distort the field of view to remove any realistic sense of scale. Beaches look enormous and desolate, a huge container ship looks like a tiny toy in bath water.

In the magpie category, Marianne Boesky featured Angelo Filomeno an stunningly crafted show of 2d and 3d works utilizing iconography of death rendered in shiny fabrics, semi-precious gems, glitter and feathers. This work, though I found it oddly attractive/repulsive has stuck in my mind. A different style of decoration was employed by Shimon Okshteyn in his show at Stux. These works were strangely unsettling and humorous, black and white traditional paintings surrounded by self referential gaudy, colorful decorative frames, also some very nice glass pieces.

As for the drawings, Sebastiaan Bremer presents drawings on photographs at Roebling Hall. Mostly the photographs are barely there but they are clearly idea catalysts for the drawings. The drawings themselves are intricate and delicate layers of intense personal reference. Andre Schlechtriem Temporary presented the work of Ralf Ziervogel, who creates obsessive monstrosity stunningly rendered as ink on paper. In addition he creates interesting sculptures out of rolls of tape.

I also visited Gregory Coates' show at Magnan Projects. It was an interesting show of reductivist forms. The wall pieces were wooden structures wrapped with plastic wrapping, not original but of some interest. Best piece of the show was the floor to ceiling installation of bicycle innertubes strung taught. This pieces reminds me of a modern day forest, the knots tied like stunted branches or thorns.

I also really really wanted to like the work of Lucky DeBellevue at Feature Inc., and part of me did, I was atracted to the forms and the wonderful use of such a tactile material as the pipe cleaner, but there was something missing in the work. I will have to think about this more because in a wierd way it bothered me that I didn't like it more. Maybe its because I had seen some pretty stunning things done with pipe cleaners by Annie Varnot. Nonetheless the photos still look really good.

Overall the work was not uninteresting but there was nothing out there that I was really struck by. Maybe everyone is saving it all up for the upcoming fairs.

UPDATE: Okay, it did bother me about not liking Lucky Debellevue's work at Feature, Inc. and only this morning (c'mon, remember I was knackered!) that it wasn't the work it was the venue. I looked at a lot of other pictures of Lucky's works and liked them all. And when I looked at the images of the work (without the context of the gallery) I liked those too. The space is interestingly divided into many smaller spaces with a lot of different work being shown. I think all that detracted from work that really needed more space, solitude and silence. Of course I also like these pieces, more for conceptual content than form.

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