Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Exhibition: Quimetta Perle at the Brooklyn Public Library

The exhibition space at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is a most appropriate venue in which to view Quimetta Perle’s work, since she spans the realms of fine art and book arts.  Her work, along with Andrew Zarou‘s, is curently on display in the main branch’s second floor, in the balcony cases.  Her books are arranged on the floor of those cases, while individual pictures, which stand alone, or could function as book pages, are displayed above, on the case wall.

Quimetta Perle works in a hybrid medium of graphic arts and fine arts materials applied to canvas and paper, or board, along with traditional “feminine” media such as embroidery, beads, and sequins.  Therefore, her work does not eschew the decorative sense that was anathema to many artists I’ve met in the past, but makes a virtue of it.  The current work is the brightest, most developed, and the prettiest two dimensional work of hers that I’ve seen.

“Lost in Thought,” 2006, digital print, with sequins and beads on canvas, for example, is full of the outrageous, screaming brightness of an expanse of yellow sequins.  It’s the most ambitiously scaled work (about two feet high) in the current offering.  In it, a woman’s face, covering the lower right corner of the canvas, looks out, indeed, as if lost in thought.  Her head of hair, defined by blue black hues, recedes spatially in comparison to the lighter, brighter, and more intense patterned green fabric surrounding her.  Whether this spacial tension is intended to allude to her reverie, or to some pervasive condition in which she exists is a matter of conjecture.

Quimetta Perle

The majority of the works, smaller in scale, about 5” X 7”, show women’s faces filling up most of the surface.  They are handled simply, in the manner that Henry Matisse executed his late, calligraphic brush and ink faces.  In each case, the ink color interacts with the color and pattern within each piece as an equal partner.  These are then framed with sculpture wire forming loops or flame lashing patterns, disguised behind a row of sequins of a chosen color.  

The single work I found the most exciting and attractive was one of these smaller pieces.  “Wonderland,” 2008, digital print, sequins on board and wire, appears to have the largest pictorial scale compressed within it’s boundaries, probably due to the effective combination of broad elements and the fine drawing lines that create the wings of butterflies moving about the main figure.  In this case, unusually, the figure does not fill almost the entire surface, but is confined to the middle third of an image configured like a French flag.  The majority of the background is covered with a bright, very fresh green.  The image is simply winning.

The show will run through June 13, 2009.

Travel information: #2 or #3 Train to Grand Army Plaza.

Library Hours: Mon. 9-6; Tues.-Thurs. 9-9; Fri. 9-6.  Sun. closed.

Announcing: Andrew Zarou Collages at the Brooklyn Public Library

Andrew Zarou is showing 10 works, all abstract collages, at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.  All of the pictures were executed between 2008-2009.  In them, he tries to express his wonderment about the (to him) meaningless abstraction he found in certain radio signals.  In his artist’s statement, Mr. Zarou explains, “...I can recall listening, spellbound, to these signals.  I rediscovered numbers station radio signals from the cold war era... on my shortwave radio.  The seemingly random, but repetitive, tests of numbers and odd tone sequences riveted me....”  

The show, displayed is in the building’s second floor balcony cases will run through June 13, 2009.

Travel information: #2 or #3 Train to Grand Army Plaza.

Library Hours: Mon. 9-6; Tues.-Thurs. 9-9; Fri. 9-6.  Sun. closed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Artists' Den

Whenever Under Minerva Gallery has a featured show in the front of its space, the work of the artists currently working in Under Minerva’s Artists’ Den is also represented discretely in the recessed section of the space.  These artists are Nicole Concepción, Matt Harvill, Jake Nelson, Vanessa Juriga, Tony Orrico, and Georgie Porgie.  The several works that got my attention in the current offering are the following.

Untitled, 2009, by Vanessa Juriga, a canvas you might think of at first as a simple black on white composition.  What gives this picture its magnetic pull is the tonal wallop the diagonally placed black delivers to the passive white field.  Where black and white meet a great schism occurs, so far are the two tones from each other.  Oriented from upper left to lower right, the black rectangle, with drawn hints of its being a solid, though not representationally so, disrespects the field by brusquely straying outside it’s borders.  The line, of a different shade of black, at the left flank of the black shape, in a surprising move, traces a new trajectory, divergent from the object’s contour, taking your eye, at a vertiginous pace, further inside it. 

Untitled, 2009, by Jake Nelson, is interesting as evidence of a performance.  Executed from life, before an audience, it depicts a man playing a guitar in bold, black, very broad brush marks, over even broader washes of orange and white.  In this piece, it’s not the “correctness” of drawing that matters, but the gall inherent in these devil-may -care strokes.  This artist has something of the conceptual about him, a fact supported by his previous experience, described in his bio, as a “conceptual artist,” working in films and music videos in L. A., though that is a different type of conceptual -- and a more applied concept.

“Just Paper,” an oil painting, shows the more joking side of Mr. Nelson.  Looking up from the surface of the floor at a man exercising the most private act of toilet sitting, you, dear viewer, might be a cockroach.  From your vantage point, you see the objects commonly found on a bathroom floor: the toilet plunger, the cleaning brush, in its stand, the unclad sitter’s thigh, discreetly masked by the edge of the toilet seat, and a roll of toilet paper.  In this case, one the segments of which are dollar bills.  Whether the artist owned such a joke roll of toilet paper or invented it, the scornful take on the value of money is plain.  Incidentally, the shadow cast by the sink on the bathroom wall shows some sensitive observation of reflected light.

“Damn You,” 2009, oil on wood, by Matt Harvill, consists of four square panels shown as a single piece, with space in the form of a cross between them (for which the artist has no symbolic intent, the title's reference to damnation not withstanding.)  The four consist of red and black paint dripped beautifully on a white ground.  Where red and black wet paint combined, a rich red-brown occurs. 

Untitled, 2009, also by Matt Harvill, an oil in the 2 1/2’ range, very handsomely arrays stains of tan and blue, with may points of white occurring either from spatters of white, or pin-holing.  Over this, thick black enamel stands in some relief, like so much tar.  Jackson Pollock, in his grave, is probably enjoying this one.

This latter picture put me in mind of what happens when a very improvisatory saxophone player leaves evidence of his impromptu exercise in the form of a recording.  Some listeners might be inclined to identify every nuance heard in the recording as “the way the piece really goes,” not realizing that in the next take of the same piece the performer may infuse it with an entirely new set of nuances.  This analogy came to mind because of the difficulty a painter will have in controlling both the stains and the black drips that make up this little honey of a painting with absolute precision.  I’m left with a product that seems quite right despite the elusiveness, or the improvisational, or accidental qualities, of this medium.

“Two Fish,” 2008, an Acrylic painting by Tony Orrico, is executed in this artist’s habitual mode: layer upon layer upon layer of color fields succeed one another, partially revealing the leavings of previous layers.  Mr. Orrico then isolates the resulting shapes with a liner, which he terms his “favorite brush.”  The large amount of black throughout the picture remains harmonious.  The image this abstraction makes, as my own associations would have it, is of some forsaken patch of ground before an abandoned building with many banks of broken windows.  On that ground, the bits of glass intermingle with all manner of debris.  The artist told me that he liked that interpretation.  I didn’t look for the “two fish.”  Why so much devastation should be so gorgeous is a mystery.

“Afghan,” and “Quilt,” by Mr. Orrico, are similar to “Two Fish,” but with purer colors reminiscent of the pure, light filled colors visible on a projected animation film.  In both cases, it was after the fact of execution that the artist saw the texture and colors relating to his grandmother’s, and his mother’s craft creations, respectively.

The current show at Under Minerva continues through May 24. 

Under Minerva Gallery and Event Space

656 5th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215 (between 19th/20th St.)

Gallery Hours: Tuesdays-Fridays 12-6 P. M..  Saturdays 2-6 P. M..

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Thoughts Exactly

Writing in The New Yorker’s April 6, 2009 issue, in his article titled, “Bearing Fruit: The Art World (Norton Simon’s Taste in Paintings,)” Peter Schjeldahl wrote, in part, about his experience in visiting a certain painting at the Prado.  I was so astounded to read what had been my own thoughts, as I stood before the same painting.  I could have said all the same things in my blog entry of February 13, My Visit to The Prado, but I opted to give a less detailed account, instead.  Now I’m thinking, I wish I’d said that.

Las Meninas
Diego Velázquez

Here’s the pertinent excerpt from the Peter Schjeldahl article:

“ We know what a great painting looks like while we are looking at one.  Turning away, we don’t exactly forget, but our recall of the experience -- how we felt, looking -- starts to edit what we saw.  Some details and qualities are magnified, others evanesce.  With time, the picture becomes ever more ours and less the painter’s.  My several visits to the best painting in the world, Velázquez’s “Las Meninas” (1656), at the Prado, instruct me in the phenomenon.  My first reaction is always disappointment at the coarse, almost drab, handmadeness of the big (but smaller than I thought) canvas, the absence of a glamour that I have cherished in memory and may have refreshed by contemplating glossy reproductions (reproductions are pandering ghosts, they tell us what we like to believe.)  Then, rather abruptly, I find myself under Velázquez’s spell again, as if I had never been before....”

And so it was for me:

*the feeling that Las Meninas is a great pinacle of art;

*my initial disappointment -- its coarseness and drabness;

*the “handmadeness” (including the visibility of the stitching between the sections of canvas that make it up;

*the “smaller than I thought” feeling;

*missing the gloss of reproductions;

*then, falling back under Velázquez’s spell.

I’m glad to know that the writer feels as I do.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Druid Dreams of the Danaka," Alice Zinnes at Ch'i Contemporary Fine Arts

Alice Zinnes, showing oil paintings, watercolors and drawings at Ch’i Contemporary Finer Art, in Williamsburg, presents work that is formal, brimming with clean, coordinated color, and neat, despite its vigorous execution.  She’s a landscape painter at her core, but one that draws inspiration from the Ramayana Indian Epic, and from Celtic mythologies, as she states in her artist’s statement.  She does not spell out the personal aspect of her involvement with these traditional sources, but, at the very least, she’s taken with some beguiling characteristics they possess.  These spur her on to produce her abstractified landscapes.  This reflects in her color choices, and, therefore, the mood conveyed.

"Ancestral Fire"
Alice Zinnes

Oil on canvas

38" X 46"

In “Ancestral Fire,” a large mass of dark color in the foreground suggests a mound of earth, upon which stands a mass of pale color, which suggests, vaguely, a spot lit protagonist.  This tableau, the centrally located character surrounded by evocative masses of “foliage” beyond, elucidates a charged moment related to some transition or action.  There is a largeness in the scale; a firmness to the ground plane, despite the gaseousness of the paint application.  The spot lighting of the figure is also a crescendo of attention, maybe denoting a resolution of some mythic sequence of events.

"Beyond Night to Day."

Alice Zinnes

Oil on canvas

48" X 38"

In “Beyond Night to Day,” a mass of darkness, curving up from the somber, but succulent, olive greens of the floor, and wrapping over the top of the image, blankets this vision in a kind of protective embrace.  My subjective vision of the image has it that the figure, again appearing as a somewhat undefined highlight, stands before placid lake waters, with a bluish accent hinting at the landscape on a distant shore.  Again the figure stands in a large place, poised on a moment of transition.  The colors here, as they do generally in this show, elicit some mood I couldn’t name.  

In some of the pictures, oils as well as watercolors, Ms. Zinnes provides no grounding plane.  A case in point is the oil “Light in the Dark,” which appears almost as a look straight up to the sky.  In this unsettling vision there seems to be no gravity.  Here I miss the focus, however suggestive, that the artist usually provides, and the sense of mood and purpose that goes with it.

The three large charcoal drawings in the show are quite handsomely handled.  Each is on a tinted paper that recalls, for me, the SoHo artificiality of the tinting changes in passages of the 1984 release of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.”  At the same time, the artist achieves in them a Rembrandtesque tonal range.  They evoke, quite believably, hillsides full of bushes and brambles.

Ms. Zinnes’ watercolors tend to be quite delicate, and light filled.  Some delve into the lack of gravity mentioned above, but most suggest the sense of landscape and characters I found in the oils to which I responded most positively.

One further note: concurrently with Alice Zinnes’ pictures, Ch’i Contfemporary Fine Art is showing the work of Sy Gresser, a maker of accomplished, massive figures in varying degrees of abstraction.  These have an interesting compatibility with the painter’s oils, and, once or twice, I wondered if they might inhabit their mythic settings.  They are hewed, with great self assurance, out of large girthed trunks of colorful woods.  Sometimes the wood has spots of a reddish brown along side a bright yellowish color, which enhances their sense of fantasy.  Those who come to the gallery during this exhibition will receive a double treat.

Druid Dreams of The Danaka -- Alice Zinnes

Sy Gresser, Sculpture

April 9-May 3, 2009

Ch’i Contemporary Fine Art

293 Grand Street,

Brooklyn, N. Y. 11211


Fax: (718) 218-9347

Travel information: L Train to Lorimer Street; G Train to Metropolitan Avenue.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Art and Man Talk (The Paintings of Wayne Moseley)

Wayne Moseley is a painter who lives in South Brooklyn.  I became acquainted with him 23 years ago, when we worked together for a time.  We had not seen each other for years, when we chanced to meet in Park Slope, last year.  In February he invited me to an informal get together, at his studio, with a few friends.  He served crackers, slices of cheese and spicey Italian Sausage with wine.  A few of us shared some man talk.

"Bear Grass"
Wayne Moseley
 Charcoal and Acrylic on Paper, 2009
22" x 30"

Wayne Moseley's paintings engulfed us teemingly.  I would not have put so many paintings out to show.  But there they were, chatting us up, comfortably; a painter's paintings, made by a painters' painter. There was that familiarity of this art I'd never seen before. The rapport was immediate: I sensed Wayne's logic; shared his delight in visual activity; prized that sensuality of paint.  We seemed to agree on what questions to ask: does the shape look forcibly filled in, or do its contents fill out a space with ease?  Does a given image need the two feet of canvas at the bottom?

"Reader's Flower"
Oil on Canvas, 2005
16" x 20"

I couldn't tell you now the meaning of any of it.  I couldn't tell you the meaning of Wayne's titles, though we probably did discuss them. While we drank the wine, laughed with abandon over silly stuff, and reached the point of cursing a bit, the paintings kept us company. 

The Realm of Art was just as silly as we were: Wayne told us that some man, who had previously shown no interest in art, had come into his studio and liked a certain painting. Which one?  The one with two penises coming out of a pair of pants.  I refer you to "Book of Changes #10," below.  If you can find the two penises and the pair of pants you get the Freudian Symbol Award, 2009.

"Book of Changes #10"
 Oil on Panel, 2007
30" x 22"

Friday, April 17, 2009

"Hex," The Art of Nancy Lunsford at 440 Gallery

Red Hex (Detail)
Nancy Lunsford
Acrylics on canvas, 2008
36" diameter

At her 440 Gallery opening, on april 2, Nancy Lunsford served, in addition to the wonderful cheeses, wine, and other goodies, hexagonal crackers.  That points to her humor, as well as her obssession, since every painting in her show has the hexagon as its organizing principle.  The bright streak of a vermillion red in her hair, so in synch with the palette of "Red Hex," the painting before which she sat, as we discussed her work, might be evidence of the same thing, if this coordination wasn’t simply coincidence. 

The singular character of each effort stands out, in this show.  Ms. Lunsford is not one to take successive pieces to the same destination where she has arrived before.  Queen, 2008, for example, the largest painting in the show (5’ X 7’), a color field picture predominating in yellows of cadmium and lemon, and blending into pinks of differing strengths, spiced throughout with modicums of green, is vastly different from the more tonally harmonious, Bone (Contained Crazy), 2008, and Study (Contained Crazy) 2009.  The latter two show colors with clean identities, in which a pink is clearly pink, but retain a “silvery” quality.

Other differences include the translucency of the field in Queen, in which color without borders blankets a clearly visible, pencil drawn, geometric pattern, in contrast with the opacity of color in most of the elements of “Bone” and “Study.”   Also, whereas the former is stretched on a standard rectangle, the latter two are on 23” equilateral triangle stretchers.  

Bone and Study hang together on the gallery wall, in very close proximity.  The artist sees them as independent pieces, which, by their compatibility, can be seen as complements of one another.   Interestingly, they can also, if the inspiration takes Ms. Lunsford, have four other 23” equilateral triangle paintings added to their number to complete one large hexagon.  Such is her process.

The red painting, mentioned above, gave me great joy.  Its uniformly “wet and juicy” paint application may make you salivate.  The wet “thuds” of the brush elucidate the hexagonal pattern without undue reverence.  The color palette, as mentioned, is of passionate alizarin and vermillion.  The hexagonal motif is very comfortable within this tondo (round) surface, a format I would like to see more often in painting.  Furthermore, the wetness of the paint is such that the artist deliberately held the tondo in two different orientations, thereby creating a pronounced curtain of drips from the corners of her hexagons first this way, and then that.  The resulting complicating element has a precise character that’s paradoxical given the chanciness of a drip. 

Nancy Lunsford studies seriously.  She draws regularly, engaging in figure drawing with a drawing group at her studio, and drawing plenty of geometric patterns on her canvases and on paper, in graphite.  She refers to her draughtsmanship in words akin to “simple drawing,” showing, perhaps, a healthy respect for study, and a wariness of a concern with “the big performance” to the extent of foolhardiness.  

“Hex,” The art of Nancy Lunsford

April 2 - May 10, 2009

Opening Reception: Thursday, April 2, 6 - 9 pm

440 Gallery

440 6th Avenue

Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY 11215

(718) 499-3844

Gallery Hours: 

Thursdays and Fridays from 4 - 7 p. m. 

Saturdays and Sundays from 12 - 6 p. m.

Travel information:

The 440 Gallery is convenient to the F Train's 4th Avenue and 7th Avenue Stops, and to the R Train's 9th Steet Stop in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Starting This Month at Tabla Rasa


curated byTerry Rooney

April 18 – May 30

Artists’ Reception: Saturday, April 18, 3 – 6 PM

224 48 Street (between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
Brooklyn, NY 11220
718. 833-9100




Amherst, MA, 16 March, 2009--More than 20 women who have settled upon the fertile ground of the Pioneer Valley (Connecticut River Valley) have created new artworks that will premiere in New York City at Tabla Rasa Gallery on April 18 and run through May 30.


Several of the Pioneer Valley artists have blazed new frontiers with their artwork and studios. Included are: Anne Burton, Liz Chaflin, Cynthia Cosentino, Karen Dolmanisth, Rosalyn Driscoll, Rita Edelman, Oriole Farb Feshbach, Rachel Folsom, Alix Hegeler, Mary Ann Kelly, Deborah Kruger, Nancy Miller, Lauren Mills, Susan Montgomery, Holly Murray, Elizabeth Pols,  Mo Ringey,Terry Rooney, Diane Savino, Deidre Scherer, Nanny Vonnegut, Ruth West, Erika Zekos, and Belinda Lyons-Zucker 


Tabla Rasa is very happy that we were offered the opportunity to host this show.

Please join us for the opening reception.  We will look forward to seeing you!


The gallery is located a few short "R" subway stops beyond Park Slope, at 224 48th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Brooklyn.
From Manhattan, "D" or "N" express train to 36 Street in Brooklyn, cross platform, and take "R" train one stop to 45th Street.  Street parking is available.
Tabla Rasa Gallery is FREE and open to the public.
General gallery hours: 1:00 - 5:00 pm, THURSDAY, FRIDAY & SATURDAY.
Call 718.833.9100 for events and schedule updates

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April 9 - May 3
Williamsburg 2nd Friday Openings: Friday, April 10, 6:00-9:00
Public Reception: Thursday, April 16, 6:00-9:00
Hours: Wed.-Sat.: 11:00-7:00, Mon.: 9:00-5:00
Ch'i Contemporary Fine Art
293 Grand Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn 11211
Subway: L train to Bedford Ave.  Turn left (south) on Bedford, and then left on Grand.  G train to Metropolitan Ave.  Follow Metropolitan under the BQE, turn left on Havemeyer, and then right on Grand.
Car: BQE to Metropolitan Ave.  The gallery is between Havemeyer and Roebling, one block south of Metropolitan Ave.


Jackie Lipton at Corinne Robbins


Jackie Lipton



Start Time:

Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 6:00pm

End Time:

Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 6:00pm


Corinne Robbins Gallery


147 Atlantic Avenue between Clinton and Henry Streets


Brooklyn, NY





Jackie Lipton will be exhibiting New Paintings at a new Brooklyn gallery, the Corinne Robbins Gallery at 147 Atlantic Avenue between Clinton and Henry Streets. One way of traveling is to go to the Borough Hall Station on the 2, 3 or 4, 5 train, walk up Joralemon Street to Clinton St., left on Clinton Street to Atlantic Avenue, turn right.

Quimetta Perle at Brooklyn's Central Library

Quimetta Perle

Quimetta Perle is exhibiting artist's books and hybrid forms that combine sequins and beads with digitally produced images at Brooklyn's Central Library at Grand Army Plaza.

The reception is in the Dweck Center Lobby downstairs. "Part of the Pattern" is on the second floor in the balcony cases. There are other exhibits in other parts of the library.

In this exhibition, women's faces and forms emerge from backgrounds of layered patterns. Some confront the viewer, while others look inward. In one piece, a woman has burst from the background to dance on a tightrope. This show reveals the process through which images are created, and then remade into the pages of a book, a collage, a work on canvas. 

Library Hours: Mon. 9-6. Tue.-Thur. 9-9. Fri. 9-6. Sat. 10-6. Sun. closed.

The show will be up until June 13.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Call For Artists

        440 Gallery hosts “Brooklyn”
        June 25th, through Saturday July 25, 2009.
        Deadline for submissions:  May 10, 2009

        440 Gallery is hosting “Brooklyn” a themed exhibition capturing places, events and people related to the borough of Brooklyn, New York. The exhibition will run Thursday, June 25th, through Saturday July 25, 2009.

        The juror for “Brooklyn" is Florence Neal, the co-founder (1990) and director, of Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Ms. Neal is also an artist and her work, along with several public art commissions, is presented in local, national and international venues.

        Eligibility: All artists who currently reside or work in the USA are eligible to apply. All paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, prints, mixed and new media that directly relates to the borough of Brooklyn, NY.

        Requirements: Work must be ready to hang. Sculpture must be provided with shelf and anchoring for secure wall mounting.

        Fees: The entry fee of $30 will cover the submission of up to three (3) works of art. If more than three works are submitted, only the first three will be considered. Checks and money orders should be made payable to “440 Gallery Ltd” and mailed to: 440 Gallery, 440 Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

        Submissions: Work may be submitted via e-mail to or CD mailed through the US POSTAL system to the gallery. Follow specifications on page 2.

        Accepted Work: All work must be dropped off no later than Sunday, June 21, 2009. Late arriving work cannot be hung. Actual work that differs dramatically from the submitted image may be disqualified. Selected work that is shipped must arrive in a reusable container, ready to hang with a prepaid, return-mailing label.

        Sales: All works are for sale unless otherwise stated. 440 Gallery will charge a 20% commission on sales.

        Liability: All possible care will be taken to ensure the safety of work but we cannot bear liability for the loss or damage of any artwork. Insurance is the responsibility of each artist.

        Removal of Art: Work not picked up between July 25th and July 26th from 12pm – 6pm will be stored at a fee of $5 a day

        Questions? E-mail
        or call Nancy Lunsford 917-957-6356


        Digital specifications: Each JPEG image should be no larger than 7 inches (504x504 pixels) 72 dpi resolution and rgb color mode (no cmyk). Label each image with your name and a number corresponding to a title list with: artist's name, title, medium, size (HxWxD in inches) and price.

        As an e-mail attachment: Send to:
        with the Subject line: 440 Brooklyn Show_Your Name

        Payment for email submissions: Mail a check or money order in the amount of $30 made out to 440 Gallery, Ltd.  Please include the artist’s name in the memo line of the check.  Also include a title list with the check, this should include: artist's name, title, medium, size (HxWxD in inches) and price.

        CD submissions: Send CD, title list with the check, this should include: artist's name, title, medium, size (HxWxD in inches) and price and entry fee to: 440 Gallery, 440 Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215. U.S MAIL ONLY, NO FEDEX or UPS. Do not use mailing that requires a signature.

        Label each CD with your name and label each JPEG image with your name and title of the piece. Include a document listing artist, titles, medium, size and price. CDs are not returned. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage if you wish to have your disc returned.

        MAY 10: SUBMISSION DEADLINE for all properly formatted materials.
        JUNE 15: Notification of acceptance, by e-mail or return postage
        JUNE 20, Saturday:  Drop off of accepted work, 12-6 PM
        JUNE 21, Sunday:  Drop off of accepted work, 12-6 PM
        JUNE 25, Thursday: Opening Reception, 6-9 PM.
        JULY 25, Show closes. All work picked up from 12 noon to 6 PM
        JULY 26: Sunday: Pick Up. All work picked up from 12 noon to 6 PM

        *440 Gallery is not responsible for works held beyond pick up dates.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lisa Murgo at the Red Horse Cafe

Cool Evolution

Lisa Murgo

I don’t often take refreshments at cafes, but I’ve followed the shows in Park Slope’s Red Horse Cafe quietly for some time.  Their curatorial bent, often of quirky sensibility, their irreverence and “not too seriousness,” their often spooky obscureness, like that of Tim Burton’s movies, has kept me returning to look.  Lisa Murgo is what I found this time, in late March, a painter of perhaps a more “serious,” abstract expressionist bent than anything I’ve chanced to see there.

Lisa Murgo is an artist who knows what she’s going for.  Or, maybe I should say the several things she’s going for, since she alternates between different manners.  But, with each distinct manner, she sets a course and follows it unwaveringly.  In fact, the art work, hung by the artist, I expect, created passages of amazing consistency.  The eye glides over a conglomeration of pictures.  When the eye reaches an imaginary border, the manner changes.  Then you travel new look country, till you reach another imaginary border.  And then the next ensemble begins, and so on.  I see this artist working single-mindedly each time, gesturing reflexively in some creative nexus.

Quite pure in their black and whiteness, and impeccably paced, with forceful gestures and judicious rests, Ms. Murgo’s large drawings win my attention handily.  The absence of other color conveys an unequivocal self assurance.  To me they say, “There’s nothing to think about, here; I know who I am, and this life I give you comes from who I am.”

Then the lady turns, on a dime, and takes you the barrio; loud, totally boisterous, and unccordinated, but, consistently inconsistent color drowns out your quietude.  I was amazed, when getting a close look at a watercolor in the 10” range, that the assortment of colors I had accused, at first, of calling out, “Me!  Me!  Me!,” without regard to their neighbors, brothers and sisters, were all so evenly matched that they harmonized grandly.

This artist, with her many impulses, will do things differently, sometimes.  I will not like every mood equally.  The pictures that least pleased me tended to be large, and covered with a bramble of circular scrawls that made clutter and unclarity.  And with loud , isolated colors that needed another voice to harmonize, but didn’t find one.  I could no longer find Ms. Murgo’s energy there.  Although, through the abundant energy she delivers elsewhere, the artist will keep our interest for many more seasons.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Posting to Read

Katarina Wong posted a really beautiful bit of commentary, "At My Most Immortal," on her blog.  It has some really poetic thoughts on her own part, as well as writer David Foster Wallace's, about the creative process.  Everyone should read it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Blog Contest

We bloggers may have given subject areas, but, as we discover more about the complex world of blogging, we may wish to take up blogs, themselves, as a subject of discussion.  In part, we may wish to share what we’ve learned.  So I have decided to address a blogging issue that’s gotten my attention from the beginning.

Many of the people I know, including artists, even the artists I’ve written about, have reflected their appreciation to me for the pleasure my postings have given them.  Some have spoken of the sensitivity of my observations.  But how many of them have responded in the comments section of the blog?  Not many.  Apparently, the part of the population I deal with doesn't realize that commenting in the blog plays an important part in the blog's life.  One of the main points of blogging is to arouse the interest of readers to the point at which they will engage in discussion, first with the blog publisher, then, hopefully, with other viewers, who may embark in ongoing dialogue with them. 

A friend tells me that the way to get your blog readers to comment in the blog itself is to make it worth their while.  Why should they go to the trouble to comment, when there’s nothing in it for them, my friend says.  He suggested that I give them contests, with prizes.  I started to think that my friend is right.  And so I’m writing to announce my idea for my first blog contest.

Each contestant will register officially, and, for a period of 30 days, will try to outdo all other blog readers in the number of comments she/he submits.  But quality matters.  I’m not looking for tepid little comments such as, “very nice.”  I expect real content, such as, “I’d been losing interest in art, in politics, and in all things, but, after reading your illuminating commentary on the folk art traditions among the Troll community of Queens, New York, I have decided to shave my head a join a monastery.” 

The prize?  The prize is a seat vacated by a certain African-American legislator, who was elected to higher office.  But, just you keep it between us, O. K.?  Because, if I get any suspicious questions about it, you know I’m keeping my mouth shut.  Because silence is bleeping golden.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Review: Ellen Kahn Recently at 440 Gallery

Discussing how artists might survive today’s beleaguered economy in the Art Bistro Issue #103, March 24, 2009, artist and SVA art teacher Amy Wilson told us that, in her experience, “You don’t need a studio in Manhattan or a Gallery in Chelsea.”  They believe that at the 440 Gallery, in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, where artist Ellen Kahn took down a lovely show of paintings last week.  I snuck a peek at it at the end.  I liked it, and, next time, I’ll make sure I see it on time to tell you about it while it’s still up.

Ellen Kahn does different things, but this show was all about Alice.  Yes, that Alice; in Wonderland.  Well, was it?  These paintings I looked at the way I look at DeKooning, or Manet, with a special appreciation for the movement and the feel of paint on the surface. In fact, each image, though it had a segment of text from the story by Lewis Carroll, was a purely visual statement, and I, for one, never once felt compelled to read it.  Each text overlay a traced line interpretation of one, or more of the John Tenniel Alice illustrations, with an occasional floral motif, and the articulations of the background paint. 

This look of the double and triple “exposure” must derive from the technique the artist probably used to make the images: the traced projection.  That, at least, is the way they appeared to me.  As such, the line work here is not an example of strong draughtsmanship of the type that throws a line down with force, and makes you see a form turning in space.  But Ms. Kahn retains her integrity.  These lines have another function: they refract the surface with a delicate, spiderweb-like tracery.  They are like the only sometimes barely discerned edges of fine crystal goblets.  They move the eye in a spreading motion rather than directing traffic.  

I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that Alice in Wonderland has a very special place in this artist’s heart.  The show reminded me that Alice has a very special place in my heart.  This, despite my not reading the text in the pictures.  Nor would it be surprising to discover that Alice has a special place in the hearts of many of the visitors to the 440 Gallery.  Yes, and they’ll all want to come back to the next Ellen Kahn show to see what Alice gets up to next.

440 Gallery

440 6th Avenue

Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY 11215

(718) 499-3844

Gallery Hours: 

Thursdays and Fridays from 4 - 7 p. m. 

Saturdays and Sundays from 12 - 6 p. m.

Travel information:

The 440 Gallery is convenient to the F Train's 4th Avenue and 7th Avenue Stops, and to the R Train's 9th Steet Stop in Park Slope, Brooklyn.