Gallery closed for vacation from June 22 – July 10, 2018
Gallery closed for vacation from June 22 – July 10, 2018
Lien Truong calls her recent works “a frenetic amalgamation of western and Asian painting techniques and philosophies.” The artist’s choice of materials—oils, silk, thread, cotton, acrylics, and antique 24k gold-leaf obi thread—create an absorbing cacophony of culture and honed skills. The series “Mutiny in the Garden,” in particular, take on varying and converging histories.
“The act of manipulating pigment over a support instantaneously embraces centuries of historical drawing and painting, art made integral with religious principles and cultural ideologies,” the artist says, in a statement. “I am at once undeniably seduced by the sensation and process of pushing material over a surface and at the same time curiously fixated on the present-day relevance and discoveries of these primordial acts. For me, the advancement of art and culture are parallel. Creating art becomes an illuminating act, one undertaken to understand contemporary doctrines by the study of evolving sentiments.”
Impulses and returns is a sculptural project linked to works that I have been doing in recent years, which display relationships between autopsies, anatomies, deities and classical myths, traditions and popular superstitions.
532 Gallery is pleased to announce WCW, an exhibition of new paintings by London-based artist Danny Rolph. This is the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.
Rolph’s exhibition of a new body of work made over the last year showcases the artist’s signature Triplewall paintings. A continuation of his visually impactful paintings, these new works reflect his evolving exploration of high velocity color and layered narratives. The compositional potential of his painting strategies on Triplewall plastic allow the viewer’s senses to be fully engaged. The paintings are layered and emotive, combining paint, drawings and collage with art historical and Pop Art references.
In the “WCW” painting, there are heraldic motifs and the drawing of a cowboy hat near the top. Two large floaty irregular cylindrical “shapes”, one outlined and one purple and white, billow across the surface like curtains. Across the bottom there is a design-like twisted shape in the middle in purple/gray. Along the bottom two larger areas of yellow bracket a pink rectangle that hangs on bronze strings like a banner without a name. The composition regains a sort of architectural order with turquoise and pink lines near the center of the painting. There are many fragments of colors and lens like shapes throughout the painting.
The exhibition’s title WCW is in homage to the American Modernist poet William Carlos Williams whose work the artist has long admired and is evident in the titles chosen such as “red wheelbarrow”. The poet’s friend, Kenneth Burke, said that poetry is “equipment for living, a necessary guide amid the bewilderments of life”. Rolph’s new paintings are built around and above model airplane instructions that work as a backdrop for his sharp, delicate, painterly and emotive compositions. The idea of creating and exploration is thus embedded in the background, and serves as a metaphor for the artist’s studio.
Looping painted lines of color, purple, teal and blue among them, float above as navigational devices. Prints, watercolors and drawings jostle for attention around all of Rolph’s compositions. The work throughout the exhibition is a visual equivalent of a poem.
Rolph has an MA in painting from the Royal College of Art, London and was the Rome Scholarship at the British School at Rome. His recent solo exhibitions include ‘Painted on the sky’, Barbara Davis Gallery, Houston; ‘Recollection’, 532 Gallery; ‘Atelier’, E.S.A.D. Valence, France; ‘kissing balloons in the jungle’, Poppy Sebire gallery, London; ‘ten minutes from now’, Eden Rock Gallery, St.Barths. His work is represented in many international collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Tate Gallery, London.
For more information, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org
April 5 – May 6, 2018
532 Gallery is pleased to announce CODE, an exhibition of new paintings by RIME.
RIME’s studio work has frequently stripped out, isolated, reworked, and repositioned component features of his most elaborate graffiti pieces. His large bodily gestures of swooping letter serifs become expertly painted in studio, not street, media. The cartoon heraldic b-boys, mugs, and pinups guide the eye or float in giant fight clouds. The new works in CODE deconstruct the cartoonish figures to hints of them: a chin, an ear, a nose. The contour of furrowed foreheads implying consternation or surprise, a finger or two giving direction. A leg, a breast, a bum. A flowing hairstyle. They dance together to implied music. In something of a RIME tradition, where one or two eyes won’t do, an even-numbered row of eyeballs lines up. They might be breasts, too – this could go either way. The deconstructed figures bear at times deconstructed apparel and accessories: jewelry – the classic gold rope chain – and the suggestion of a Kangol or Borsalino hat. And RIME’s own body appears as well, reflected in the swooping gestures both as serigraph-flat arcs and painterly brushstrokes.
RIME had always been pro-organic, anti-artificial, in his work. You could see it in the graffiti: the sacred radius of the swing of the arm, the full dip in the knees and waist to a crouch. The ratio of the body to the work is absolutely essential in graffiti: it’s how the human meets the inanimate wall and scales itself to it. Never to measure, never to tape off, instead to use the sacred geometry of the body, of the confidence of style, of the moment, to divine proportions. But in a recent DMT experience RIME encountered a sense of how technologically coded our minds and existence are. He experienced what felt like an artificial, full color, three-dimensional program. He reconsidered the notion that this life, the universe, and consciousness was of organic origin. He felt the ones and zeros, the perfection of right angles, the grid structure undergirding the cosmos, and he began to work with what he had once closed off. The new works in CODE reflect this experience.
RIME was born in 1979 and grew up in Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey. By the mid-1990s, he had emerged as one of the most passionate and dedicated graffiti writers of his generation, and in the twenty-seven-plus years since then, he has become one of graffiti’s greats. Drawing on an extensive knowledge of graffiti’s history of lettering styles and techniques, he has a visual vocabulary and versatility with letters nearly unparalleled worldwide and has held his own on walls with the best of the best.
Review >> White Hot Magazine April 2018
Tree of Life (Arbol de la Vida), 2018, acrylic on linen, atlas map collage, 28″ x 28″
Carlos Rodríguez Cárdenas, born in 1962 in Santi Spiritus, Villa Clara, is one of the important Cuban artists who came to contemporary art spotlight in the mid-1980’s. Since that time, his exile in Mexico in the early 1990s and settling in New York, his work has been known for its exquisite and ironic artistry, inviting the viewer to question reality and see beyond the world of the official word imposed by the system.
In his most recent work, Cárdenas rekindles the nature and landscape of New York and depicts the megalopolis in a more sobering new order with a balance of Cartesian-like geometries. His pictorial conventions are characterized by subtle counterpoints, mysticism and rationality, the yin and yang of the natural and urban environment.
Cárdenas is in major collections, including Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Peter Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany; Ludwig Forum for International Art, Aachen, Germany; Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale; Museo Provincial de Santa Clara, Villa Clara; and National Museum of Fine Arts Havana, Cuba — as well as many private collections. He has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at GE Galeria, Mexico; Galeria Nina Menocal, Mexico; Galeria Ramis F. Barquet, Madrid, Spain; Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Coral Gables; and ARCO 93 International Art Fair, Madrid. Group shows in which he has been featured include the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Perez Art Museum, Miami; 1989 Havana Biennial; Stadtische Kunsthalle,Dusseldorf, Germany; Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Las Plasmas de Gran Canaria, Spain; and Samuel P. Hart Museum of Art. He earned the Collective Prize Cuban Painting, awarded to participate at the First Biennial Jaume Guasch, Barcelona, Spain. Cárdenas completed his arts studies in 1983 in Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), and currently lives and works in New York City.
…and still we banter with the devil, 2017, oil, silk, acrylic, antique 24k gold leaf obi thread, 19th century American cotton on canvas, 72″ x 96″
Lien Truong’s art boldly investigates ideological models of our history and culture. In her most recent works, she combines the Hudson River Valley School “western” landscape, gestural abstractions, cultural textile designs, and compositions from Asian war prints. She mixes layers of images and departs from a standard visual experience. Truong’s landscapes and figures, culled from the historic and recent past, present “narrative histories” through a type of blended painting. Truong (MFA, Mills College) currently lives and works in North Carolina.
Truong has exhibited her work at such institutions as the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC; the Oakland Museum of California; the Weatherspoon Museum; the North Carolina Museum of Art; and the Pennsylvania Academy of Art. She has participated in artist residencies at the Oakland Museum of California and the Marble House Project and has received reviews and mention in several publications including New American Paintings, ARTit Japan, and Art Asia Pacific.
2018 In(di)visible, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, TX; Cameron Museum of Art, Wilmington, NC
2017 Translatio Imperii, Gutterbox Gallery, Raleigh, NC
Digiscapes, Curated by Anthony Hamilton, Lump, Raleigh, NC
Art on Paper, Curated by Emily Stamey, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC
Objectifying Myself: Works by Women Artists from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, William Benton Museum of Art, Storrs, CT
For Liberty and Justice for Some, Walter Maciel Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Shimmer, Light and Design Gallery, Chapel Hill, NC
2016 Seeping of a Ghost, Gallery Bastejs, Riga, Latvia (solo)
Musings on an Origin, Spectre Arts, Durham, NC Typecast, Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC
2015 Heterotopias as Other, Nha San Collective, Hanoi, Vietnam (solo)
2014 The Orient, The Occident, Galerie Quynh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (solo)
Summer Shuffle: Contemporary Art @ PAFA Remixed, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
The Mother Load, The Center for Creative Connections, Dallas Museum of Art, TX
2013 Contemporary Vietnamerican Art, Maier Museum of Art, Lynchburg, VAThe
Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, PA
2012 Alter/Altar: Meditations on the Past, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation Art Center
Collisions of Clamor and Calm, Galerie Quynh, HCMC, Vietnam
Art HK 12, Hong Kong International Art Fair, with Galerie Quynh
2011 Bite Sized Monsters, Modern Eden, San Francisco, CA
2010 Twombly House/Ephemeral Museum, Portland, OR
Outwin Boochever Portrait Exhibition, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C
2009 Family Pictures, Root Division, San Francisco, CA
2008 In Transition Russia, Municipal Centre for Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg
National Centre for Contemporary Arts, Moscow, Russia
2007 House of Adoration, Galerie Quynh Contemporary Art, HCMC, Vietnam (solo)
House of Adoration, Ryllega Experimental Art Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam (solo)
Small Works, Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka, CA
2006 Portrait of a Contemporary Family, First Street Gallery, Eureka, CA
Portrait of a Family, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
National Juried Exhibition, Marin Art Center, Marin, CA Juror: Rene de Guzman
Small Works Invitational, Gallery Dog, Eureka, CA
Out of Context, Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, CA
Face Paint, Bucheon Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2004 Monster Drawing Rally, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
Supernatural, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
Go West! Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
2003 Modern Day Fairy Tales, Oakland Museum of California, CA (installation)
Weatherspoon Art Museum
North Carolina Museum of Art
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, in the Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women
Post Vidai, Vietnam
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Vietnam
Municipal Art Collection, City of Raleigh, NC
Humboldt State University
SELECT AWARDS | RESIDENCIES
2016 North Carolina Artist Fellowship, North Carolina Arts Council
Artist-in-Residence, The Marble House Project, Dorset, Vermont
2015 Jimmy and Judy Cox Asia Initiative Award, Carolina Asia Center
2009 Outwin Boochever Portrait Finalist, National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC
Ingrid Nickelson Artist Trust Grant
2003 Artist-in-Residence, Sweeney Granite Mountains Research Center, University of California at Riverside, Kelso, CA
Artist-in-Residence, Oakland Museum of California, Oakland CA
2000 Jack and Gertrude Murphy Fine Arts Fellowship, The San Francisco Foundation, San Francisco, CA
SELECT ARTIST LECTURES
2017 Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC
2016 Mark Rothko International Art Center and Museum, Daugavpils, Latvia
Lavtian Art Academy, Riga, Latvia
Marble House Project, Dorset, VT
2015 Ackland Museum of Art, NC
Nha San Art Collective, Hanoi, Vietnam
2007 Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka, CA
Galerie Quynh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
2004 Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, CA
2004 Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
2003 Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, CA
SELECT REVIEWS | CITATIONS
2018 Glentzer, Molly, “…and still we banter with the Devil by Lien Truong,” The Houston Chronicle, March 21, 2018
2017 Dunne, Susan, “Women Create Art Reflecting Their Lives, Thoughts In Benton Exhibit,” Hartford Courant, April 8, 2017
2016 Vitiello, Chris, “The Most Essential Local Art of 2016 Punched Back at a Disgraceful Year,” Indyweek, December 28, 2016
Stamey, Emily. New American Paintings. Issue 124. Boston, MA: The Open Studios Press, June/July, 2016
2014 Luong, Ruben. “Ho Chi Minh City,” Art Asia Pacific. Art Asia Pacific Publishing LLC, July/August 2014
Bernstein, Roselyn. “Between Underground and Above,” Guernica/magazine of art and politics, www.guernicamag.com
2012 Cozzolino, Robert, Editor “The Female Gaze, The Linda Lee Alter Collection of Art by Women” Pennsylvania Academy Fine Arts
2010 Buckner, Clark with Introduction by Helfand, Glen. “A Year and a Half of Art in San Francisco,” Mission 17 Gallery
San Francisco, CA: M17 Books Publishing, 2010
2009 “Outwin Boochever Portrait Exhibition,” National Portrait Gallery Catalog, Smithsonian, Washington DC
2007 Uda, Motoko, “Lien Truong,” ARTit Japan’s Bilingual Art Quarterly, Issue 16, 2007
2005 “Out of Context,” The Huntington Beach Art Center Exhibition Catalogue, CA, 2005
2004 Ellegood,Anne. New American Paintings. Issue 49. Boston, MA: The Open Studios Press, January, 2004
Bing, Alison. “Portrait of a Contemporary Family,” The San Francisco Chronicle, www.sfgate.com, March 26, 2004
Buckner, Clark. “Portraits of a Family,” Critics Choice Review, The San Francisco Bay Guardian. San Francisco, CA, March 17
RIME was born in 1979 and grew up in Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey. By the mid-1990s, he had emerged as one of the most passionate and dedicated graffiti writers of his generation, and in the twenty-seven-plus years since then, he has become one of graffiti’s greats. Drawing on an extensive knowledge of graffiti’s history of lettering styles and techniques, he has a visual vocabulary and versatility with letters nearly unparalleled worldwide and has held his own on walls with the best of the best.
RIME has a knowledge of and facility with the entire vocabulary of graffiti lettering styles that is nearly unparalleled worldwide. He can paint pieces in what seems to be nearly every style from throughout graffiti’s fifty year history, yet they always feel fresh, not derivative, and always his own. Brooklyn born, Staten Island raised, and longtime New Jersey resident RIME’s playful, character-filled work is full of color and movement, and from simple to complex, from soft to jagged, he is one of the few who can truly do it all in graffiti. If he can’t, his alter-alter ego, quasi-performance artist JERSEY JOE probably can.
RIME’s knack as a graffiti writer is much like that of a great jazz musician: he is able to elevate everyone’s level of play with his presence. At this point in his life, RIME has painted alongside as many of the greats of graffiti as anyone, and he’s brought out the best in them. With a background of such versatility and strong individual performance, RIME moved to California from 2005 to 2013, becoming part of the great Los Angeles crews MSK and AWR. Culturally, the more laid-back collective attitude was an adjustment: the abrasive, assertive energy that comes with an upbringing in New York City that didn’t always fit in. But RIME was more active than ever, with the weather making for a pleasurable year-round experience.
When it came to studio work, the dynamic was very different. While he had made works on canvas before, he felt at something of a dead end, and RIME wanted to go back to basics before moving forward again. In great demand to paint and appear at graffiti events, where he would endlessly sign fans’ black books, RIME originally focused on what was portable and familiar, working on paper and finding the direction he wanted to pursue. After resettling back in New York in 2013, he set up a formal studio practice for the first time, cut far back on travel, and focused his energies deeply into new bodies of studio work while still actively painting outdoors.
RIME’s new studio works are dynamic, with the swoops and loops that he had perfected in graffiti with a combination of spray paint and sublime muscle memory and bodily control able to convey an emotional emphasis. His signature cartoon characters peek out from the bends of these swoops, often reduced to suggestive figurative elements. The color schemes of his outdoor pieces, were, like any graffiti writer, made with whatever happened to be in the bag of paint that day, far out in the field, and often that meant wild pieces with dozens of colors. Yet his studio works pared these schemes down to a few well-chosen colors that played brilliantly together. Like his graffiti pieces, RIME’s studio works are composed in a format meant to be read: figurative images are often presented in profile or in action, carrying a sequential order through the image, an algebra of image, phrase, and meaning.
RIME had always been pro-organic, anti-artificial, in his work. You could see it in the graffiti: the sacred radius of the swing of the arm, the full dip in the knees and waist to a crouch. Never to measure, never to tape off, instead to use the sacred geometry of the body, of the confidence of style, of the moment, to divine proportions. But in a recent DMT experience he encountered a sense of how technologically coded our minds and existence are. He experienced what felt like an artificial, full color, three-dimensional program. He reconsidered the notion that this life, the universe, and consciousness was of organic origin. He felt the ones and zeros, the perfection of right angles, the grid structure undergirding the cosmos, and he began to work with what he had once closed off.
2017 Up on Through, Galerie Wallworks, Paris
2016 Conclusions, Jonathan LeVine Gallery, New York
2015 Danger Zone, Galerie Wallworks
2014 Reaction Lines, Galerie Wallworks
2013 Out With The Old, Library Street Collective, Detroit
TWFSL, The Seventh Letter Gallery, Los Angeles
2012 Sketchy M@#%herfuckers [with KC], Known Gallery, Los Angeles
Dangerous Drawings About New York [with Toper], Klughaus Gallery, New York
2011 Perseverance [with Roid and Revok], Known Gallery, Los Angeles
Mural for Art in the Streets, MoCA, Los Angeles
2008 Will Rise, Robert Burman Gallery, Los Angeles
2006 Letters First [with The Seventh Letter], Tokyo and Taipei
2004 Application, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth, Australia
Transparent II, 2017, oil on canvas, 47″ x 31″, 120 x 80 cm
Per Adolfsen lives and works in Odense, Denmark, where he was born in 1964. His earlier work comprised emotionally charged acrylic paintings that seamlessly merge representational and abstraction and text, and engaged the viewer in a seductive world of fantasy and uncertainty that recalls classic Scandinavian angst. His most recent contemplative oil paintings, a marked break with his prior series, demonstrates his evolving commitment to using the medium as tool for breaking past stereotype and false exteriors in order to know other people and one’s self. The neutral palette and minimal backgrounds in many pieces allow the viewer to be fully focused on the people foregrounded in the paintings and punctuated by moments of brilliant color—a lavender head scarf, crystalline blue eyes. Adolfsen’s recent portraiture points the way toward an ethical vision by seeking to represent the colorful bonds that tie people together.
Select Solo Exhibitions
2018 “The Ribbons That Tie Us”, 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York
2013 ”Goodbye Blue sky”, Schuebbe Projects , Düsseldorf
2011 ”The Imaginary Eden of Mr. Adolfsen”, Art Labor Gallery, Shanghai
2011 ”Lifewire”, Schuebbe Projects, Düsseldorf
2010 ”The world is floating”, 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, Chelsea, New York
Select Group Exhibitions
2018. “Ten Years After” 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel , New York
2017 “Ecco Homo Ecco Homo” St Canscius Kirche Berlin, Curated by A. Ochs, Berlin
2016 Frederikshavn Kunstmuseum, “Another Land” Frederikshavn
2016 “50×50” Kastrupgaardsamlingen, Copenhagen
2016 Galleri Kirk,Groupshow , Eske Kath,Kasper Eistrup,Mie Olise Kjærgaard , Ålborg
2016 Art Labor Gallery,, artists of the gallery , Shanghai
2015. Kunsthal Nord, Selection of works from Ålborg Kommune collection, Ålborg
2015 “Menneske”,with Svend Engelund, Agnete Bjerre, Kirsa Andreasen Birgitte
Støvring, Kristan Devantier, Camilla Thorup, Kunstbygningen Vrå (October, 2015)
2015 ”Drei Räume, drei Künstler”, with Miriam Vlaming og Lu Song, Alexander Ochs Private, Berlin
2014 Dialogues with the collection” Kunstbygningen i Vrå, Engelund Samlingen
2014 ”Fatal”, with.Tanja Selzer, Nandor Anstenberger, Miriam Vlaming,
Kunsthaus Bethanien (Curated by Art Historian Heike Fuhlbrügge) Berlin
2013 ”Thank God I`m Pretty”, with Frederik Foert, Andreas Amrhein , Vanessa von
Heydebreck, Alexander Ochs Galleries, Berlin
2013 ”Septemberudstillingen”, Fanø Kunstmuseum
2013 ”Medley”, Udstilling Focus on drawing with Franz Burkhardt, Christian Schoeler
Yokako Ando, Piot Brehmer, Schüebbe Projects, Düsseldorf
2012 ”Springshow”, 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, Chelsea, New York
2012 ”Landscapes”, Schuebbe Projects, Düsseldorf
2011 ”High Five” with Lu Yang, Douglas Coupland, Eric Leleu, Ren Zhitian, Art Labor
2011 “Ode on Melancholy” with Tom Anholt, Marco Reichert , Marcy Brafman, Janine
Bean Gallery, Berlin
2010 ”Second Impressions”, Art Labor Gallery, Shanghai
Review ”Berliner Zeitung” 2013
Review ”Art Info” Berlin 2013, by Alexander Forbes
Kunst i øjet, DK4, 2011 (Danish television –artist portrait)
Portrait/article ”Glasschord art and Culture Magazine New York” 2011
Review ”Randian online magazine”, China 2011, by Jennifer Hall
Portrait on Danmarks Radio P1, 2010
Review ”Art Magazine M, The New York Art World” 2010, M. Brendon Macinnis
532 Gallery is pleased to present our second solo exhibition with Danish painter Per Adolfsen. An exhibition of figurative works and portraiture from 2014 to the present The Ribbons That Tie Us showcases the artist’s sensitive rendering of his subjects’ inner lives. A marked break with his previous emotionally charged acrylic paintings that merged representation, abstraction, and text (exhibited at 532 Gallery Jaeckel in 2010), the contemplative oil paintings in The Ribbons That Tie Us demonstrate the artist’s evolving and deepening commitment to breaking past stereotype and false exteriors in order to truly know other people. The neutral palette and minimal backgrounds in many of his paintings allow the viewer to be fully present with the people foregrounded in them who are punctuated by moments of brilliant color—a lavender head scarf, crystalline blue eyes.
In his Transparent series, Adolfsen abandons the superficial cliché as a starting point and instead looks deeply to reveal the multifaceted psyche of his sitter, a fellow artist friend. Transparent II is bathed in an invigorating pale blue haze that permeates the woman’s skin and clothing. The border between her body and the background blurs at times. Is she in a state of dissipation or becoming? Regardless, she stands unperturbed: shoulders square with the viewer, lips cocked in a confident smirk. Not the mere object of a consuming gaze, the woman in Transparent II asserts her own agency by looking back at the viewer. Transparent III shows the same woman slightly larger than life. Once again meeting the viewer’s gaze with blue-green eyes—whose lids are described in sharp orange lines with the geometric structure of Cézanne’s graphite portraits—she appears relaxed, yet strong.
Transparent I reveals a different facet of Adolfsen’s artist friend, and by doing so gives the viewer a fuller picture of her. A powerful warm light threatens to overwhelm the figure—her skin and yellow camisole almost lost in the blinding glow of the background—yet her eyes securely anchor her in space and bind her to the viewer even while a series of quick, repetitive diagonal strokes describing her hair bely an inner anxiety.
Adolfsen’s series of portraits of his Danish-Muslim friend Hibba are the apogee of his journey into empathic, deep looking. In Hibba I we see the bold contour of Hibba’s dignified profile against a background of alabastrine white whose light infuses the composition with warm energy. Brushmarks delicately sitting on the surface of the canvas attentively describe Hibba’s eyes, eyebrows, lips; her self-assured expression and her gaze are simultaneously introspective and assertive. As in all four portraits of Hibba, cascading lines follow the folds of her lavender hijab, which Adolfsen renders beautiful without exoticizing.
In the Hibba series, as in the Transparent series, Adolfsen’s multiple portraits work in concert to reveal a fully dimensional personality. In Hibba II and Hibba III, Hibba looks out at the viewer with disarming humor. She seems to say, “I caught you looking at me. Well, I can look back at you, too!” In Hibba IV she retracts her gaze, and playfully rolls her eyes. Rather than rendering her the passive object of the artist’s gaze, Adolfsen has opened a space where Hibba asserts her own agency.
In contemporary North America and Europe countless phobic and stereotypical images portray Muslim women as either cold and threatening or as helpless and oppressed. (In canonical Western painting Muslim women have been largely invisible, save for their exoticization in nineteenth-century “Orientalist” works.) At other times today, the Muslim woman becomes a political icon, as in Shepard Fairey’s We the People posters (2017), one of which features Queens resident Munira Ahmed wearing a United States flag as hijab. Adolfsen’s Hibba overcomes both extremes: stereotype and icon. By looking and looking again, he is able to truly see Hibba and know who she is outside of any political rhetoric, which in the present climate is paradoxically an implicit political act.
In 2014 Adolfsen painted a series exploring clichéd images of femininity. The most sophisticated works in this series occupy an ambivalent territory: on the one hand they investigate the flattening effects of stereotypes, which he imports from both the weighty tradition of Western figurative painting and contemporary advertising; but on the other hand, they begin to dismantle stereotypical roles and gazes by revealing an emerging agency in their female subjects.
In a pose that could have been appropriated from a cosmetics or facial cleanser advertisement, the poised figure in profile in Spanish Woman looms monumental. The side of her face, cast in cool maroon shadow, deflects the viewer’s gaze forcing it to ricochet among the patterns of painted parallel streaks composing her face and the background. Lubricious painterly lines fluidly slide along the figure in Berlin Woman who stares at the viewer with an intensity that recalls the paintings of Die Brücke. Her nakedness and closed body language suggest vulnerability and guardedness; her clenched fist indicates a latent ferocity. The pose is one that could have been taken from any number of titillating, sexy advertisements, but the figure’s psychological intensity—reinforced by the fiery orange shadows around the eyes—and the androgynous queering of gender defy prepackaged commercial messaging.
The Ribbons That Tie Us (2016)
The exhibition’s title The Ribbons That Tie Us refers to a homonymous series of still lifes included in the show, in which painted bands of ribbon glide back and forth across the surface of the canvas like dancers entering and exiting a stage. In one, orange ribbons occasionally twist and turn abruptly, like leaps and pauses in the choreography. The warmth of this painting’s color and the energy of its movement echoes the vitality of the portraits in the Transparent and Hibba series. In this way the ribbon paintings and their title serve as a metaphor for the relational character of the figurative work throughout the exhibition. In the journey from clichéd images to intimate renderings of friends, Adolfsen uncovers the colorful psychical, emotional, and empathic bonds that tie the artist to his subjects and, in turn, the viewer to the artwork.
Born in 1964, self-taught Danish painter Per Adolfsen has shown his work in New York, Germany, Hong Kong, and Denmark. His exhibitions include several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Frederikshavn Kunstmuseum- og Exlibrissamling and at the Kastrupgaardsamlingen. The Ribbons That Tie Us is Adolfsen’s second solo exhibition at 532 Gallery.
Celebrating its 10th year, 532 Gallery’s objective is to present fresh, vibrant works that capture the aesthetic dynamics of 21st century. The gallery represents a group of international artists who are producing significant works of lasting value that explore, engage and resonate with contemporary visual culture.
In celebration of our tenth year in Chelsea, we are pleased to present Ten Years After, an exhibition of works by artists we’ve been privileged to work with over the last decade. The show’s participants include artists from the United States, Europe and Cuba; the selection of works on display showcases the gallery’s commitment to exhibiting striking and thought-provoking works that embody a wide range of styles, techniques, and artistic visions.
Gustavo Acosta was born in in Havana, Cuba in 1958. His intensely hued portrayals of sites in Havana, Miami, New York, and the Middle East feature rectilinear overlays of strong, intensely moody colors that integrate multiple allusions to reason and its traditions — the ideal planned-city street grid; the Golden Ratio and its long history as a supposedly true and self-evident compositional principle; the sharp-edged, no-nonsense Bauhaus aesthetic — with subtle references to the small flashes of vitality and inspiration that lurk within even the most drab and desolate environments. His canvases engage with neglected, antiquated, and somber settings, in the hope of revealing their meaning and living purpose for the present.
Acosta’s work is in many major institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA; Lowe Art Museum; El Museo del Barrio; Frost Art Museum; and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. He completed his arts studies in Havana’s Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA), and currently lives and works in Miami.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. La Habana, Cuba
Centro Wifredo Lam, Havana, Cuba
Teatro Nacional, Havana, Cuba
Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, MACG, Mexico City, Mexico
Museum of Contemporary Art, MOCA, Miami
Diputación Provincial de Ciudad Real, Ciudad Real, Spain
Lowe Art Museum, Miami
Cuban Heritage Collection University of Miami, Miami
Fort Lauderdale Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale
Nassau County Museum of Art, New York
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo. Panama, Republic of Panama.
The Lehigh University Art Galeries Teaching Collection. Bethlehem, PA
University of Souththern California’s Fisher Museum of Art
El Museo del Barrio, New York
Frost Art Museum, Florida Internacional University, Miami
American Career College, Newport Beach, CA
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2017 “Inventory of Omissions” 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel New York.
2016 “Paper Trail” Panamerican Art Projects, Miami
2015 “Timeline” Latin American Masters. Santa Monica, CA
2014 “Space of Silence” Caixa Cultural. Sao Paulo, Brazil
2013 “Space of Silence” Caixa Cultural. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
“There”, Panamerican Art Projects. Miami
2012 “Duda”. Raymaluz Art Gallery. Madrid, Spain
“A Journal of References”. Frederic Boloix Fine Arts. Ketchum, Idaho
2011 “Here”, Panamerican Art Projects. Miami
2010 “Art of Illusion”. Latin American Masters. Santa Monica, CA
“Gustavo Acosta” Frederic Boloix Fine Arts. Ketchum, Idaho
2009 “The Time Machine”, Lile O. Reitzel Arte Contemporaneo, DR
“Questions to the Mirror”, Museum of Contemporary Art. Panama
”The Great Systems”. Panamerican Art Projects, Miam
2008 “Hipotesis de la Locura”, Pan American Art Projects. Miami
“Transit Zones”, Latin American Masters. Los Angeles, CA
“Recent Works”, Pan American Art Projects. Dallas, TexaS
“Temporary Current” Bentley Gallery. Phoenix, Arizona.
2007 “The News of the Day”, Alonso Art Gallery, Miami.
2006 “Los Juegos del Principe”, Nina Menocal Gallery, Mexico
2005 “Empire of Dreams”, Latin American Masters.,Los Angeles, CA
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2016 “La Madre de Todas las Artes” Wifredo Lam Center of Contemporary Art, Havana, Cuba.
2015 “Iconocracia” Centro Vasco de Arte Contemporaneo, Vitoria, Spain
“Shades of Gray” Panamerican Art Projects,Miami
“Agave y Caña”. Mexican Consulate Gallery, Miami
“Resilence, The Other Cuba”. Contemporary Cuban Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota
“The Reynardus Cuban Art Collection”. Selby Gallery at Ringlin College. Sarasota, Florida
“Cuban Art, The 80’s Generation”. Museo Linares, Nuevo Leon. Mexico
2014 “Welcome to the Jungle” Panamerican Art Projects, Miami
“Trayectos de Ida y Vuelta, Grafica Transiberica Desde Miami”, Diputacion Provincial de Huelva, Spain
“Papertrail” Latin American Masters, Los Angeles
“Made in Miami” Panamerican Art Projects, Miami
“Figurative & Abstract in Latin American Art. Nova Southeastern, University. Fort Lauderdale, FL
2013 “Global Caribean”, The Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance. Miami
“Works on Paper”, Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center
“1 Bienal del Sur en Panama”. Panama
“Flying”, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien. Berlin. Germany
“8 Derivas por la Ciudad Liminal”, Carrillo Gil Museum of Art. MACG. Mexico City
2012 “Urban Lifecycles”. Sun Valley Center for the Arts. Ketchum, Idaho
“Urbanitas”. Panamerican Art Projects, Miami
“Caribes”. Casa Cortes Collection. San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Fans Forever”. MDC Museum of Art + Design. Miami
“Persistence of Memories”.Broward College New Gallery. Fort Lauderdale. Florida
2011 “Florida Contemporary 2011”. Patty & Jay Baker Naples Museum of Art. Naples, Florida
“Campos de Asociaciones. Dialogos y Silencios entre Practicas de Dibujo. Centro Cultural Simon Bolivar, Guayaquil, Ecuador
2010 “Latin American Art: 3. Cuban Selection from the LUAG Teaching Collection. Bethlehem, PA.
2009 “Irreversible”. CIFO, Miami
“Herir la Memoria”. Siguaraya Gallery, Berlin
“No son Todos los que Estan”. Nkisi Projects. Miami
2008 “Visiones: 20th Century Selections from the Nassau County Museum of Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida
“Recent Acquisitions”. Latin American Masters. Beverly Hills, CA
“Unbroken Ties”, Museum of Art / Fort Lauderdale.
“Miami Ciudad Metafora”, Spanish Cultural Center, Miami.
“Andamiajes”. Allegro Gallery. Panama City, Panama
”Giants in the City”. Artformz Alternative. Bayfront Park, Miami.
2007 “La Fuerza del Guerrero”. Homenaje a Juan Francisco Elso, Galeria Luz y Oficios. Havana
“Cuba Avant-Garde: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection” U of Florida’s Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
“Art From Cuba” Oscar Niemeyer Museum. Curitiba. Brasil
“A Traves del Espejo, Arte Cubano Hoy”. Galeria Allegro, Panama City, Panama
2006 “Layers: Collecting Cuban-American Art” University at Buffalo Art Gallery. New York
“Tastes & Tongues”. The Spanish Cultural Center, Miami
“Rising Stars: North Latin Americans”, Nina Menocal Gallery, Miami
2005 “Real Space – Imaginary Space”, Praxis International Art, New York
2004 “Erase una vez en Mexico”, Mexican Institute, Miami
“De Ida y Vuelta”. The Spanish Cultural Center, Miami.
2003 “Paper Cut I”. ARSAtelier, Union City, New Jersey
“Xll Muestra de Pintura y Escultura Latinoamericana”, Espacio Gallery, El Salvador
2002 “XI Muestra de Pintura y Escultura Latinoamericana”, Espacio Gallery, El Salvador
“Reality and Figuration: The Contemporary Latin American Presence”. Boca Raton Museum of Art
1990 “Nuevas adquisiciones contemporáneas”, Museo Nacional, Havana, Cuba
1989 XX Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
1988 “Sings of Transition”, Museum of Contemporary Hispanic Art, New York
1987 Bienal de Cuenca, Cuenca, Ecuador
1986 Segunda Bienal de La Habana, Havana, Cuba
1985 Salón UNEAC. Museo Nacional, Havana, Cuba
1984 Primera Bienal de La Habana, Havana, Cuba
1983 “Encuentro Latinoamericano de Artistas Jóvenes”, Casa de la Américas, Cuba
Salón de Dibujo Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
“Paisaje del Paisaje”, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland,Czechoslovakia, India
1982 Salón Nacional del Paisaje, Museo Nacional, Havana, Cuba
1992 Medalla de Oro en Pintura, Primera Bienal del Caribe, Dominican Republic.
Medalla de Oro por el país mejor representado, Primera Bienal del Caribe, Dominican Republic.
Premio en Pintura del LVII Salón Nacional de Arte, Valdepeñas, Spain.
1991 Premio en Pintura, III Bienal de Cuenca, Cuenca, Ecuador.
1988 Premio en Pintura, Salón UNEAC, Havana, Cuba.
1984 Premio Nacional de Dibujo, Primera Bienal de La Habana, Havana, Cuba
Whitehot Magazin Review October 2017
The paintings in Gustavo Acosta’s “Inventory of Omissions” may initially seem like discrete chapters in a visual essay on the oppressive bleakness of the modern city, but such a reading misses the point of his static but intensely hued portrayals of sites in Havana, Miami, New York, and Aleppo. A closer and more thoughtful observation of these canvases reveals the artist’s focus on drawing our attention to the small flashes of vitality and inspiration lurking within each setting’s apparent drabness, and quietly warning us about the things that threaten to obscure our awareness of the vibrant world that’s immediately around us. Throughout these works, there is a concern with engaging with the neglected and the antiquated in the hope of revealing its meaning and its living purpose for the present.
Acosta’s rectilinear overlays of strong, intensely moody colors are the defining element of a unique visual language that integrates multiple subtle allusions to reason and its traditions — the ideal planned-city street grid; the Golden Ratio and its long history as a supposedly true and self-evident compositional principle; the sharp-edged, no-nonsense Bauhaus aesthetic — each of which in turn so partly symbolizes humanity’s forceful and conceited imposition of a supposedly more perfect and efficient order upon nature’s seeming unruliness.
However, each filter-like patch of color also hints that there are life-affirming revelations awaiting discovery in the seemingly exhausted old world immediately around us. The dawn-to-midnight juxtaposition of yellow, maroon, and dark violet in Catalog of Missing Parts II (2017) suggests a single scene viewed at different times through disparate eyes; the painting’s sunny accentuation of a few lively windblown palm trees clustered alongside a massive, inert concrete complex speaks of life’s joyous persistence in the face of entropy, cultural stagnation, and humanity’s fussy and stubborn desire to forever halt time by means of structures and systems. Acosta has said that his use of color in these works is partly rooted in an old memory of people in his native Cuba crafting their own versions of color television by tinting their black-and-white screens with abstract patterns of bright pigments. The story is a perfect symbol of Acosta’s faith in people’s ability to create their way out of the stultifying constrictions of a programmed rational system, if only they can learn to look closely at the world around themselves in search of its small wonders.
Yet Acosta’s paintings also remind us of how easily memory and perception can become fuzzy, especially when technology and mediation intervene to obscure our most vivid and immediate experiences of the world around us. In The Temptation to Look Back (2017), the serene, dark-blue image of a ship’s wake is violently bisected by a thin, garish yellow band that distorts the sea’s graceful undulations into a garish pixelated parody (once again, a technological grid intrudes and has its way with the natural world). A view of Niagara Falls is given a similar treatment in The Shortcut (2017), with an added wrinkle: the scene is derived from an 1857 painting by Frederic Edwin Church, making Acosta’s canvas an image of an image, a scene twice removed from nature and twice distorted by an additional level of nostalgic artistic and historical mediation. In these images, Acosta hints that we must never take nature or our connection with it for granted; there’s always another intrusive and artificial system of control lurking on the margins, waiting to deaden our perceptions. As in his cityscapes, the question as to whether our use of the world will help us perceive its concealed spark of divine life or lead us to snuff it out through domination and neglect is left up for grabs, and it’s up to us to never let our perpetually endangered sense of wonder become permanently entombed beneath the rubble of our collective past.
May 11 – June 29, 2017
Chris Ofili, Danny Rolph, Diana Copperwhite, Elio Rodriguez, Mary Heilmann, Jill Levine, Rebecca Smith, Vanessa Jackson
there is no harm in repeating a good thing
An exhibition of work which posits the idea that creativity exists in not knowing, maybe the answer is “I can’t go on, I’ll go on”. Risk is imperative, but we still know very little about the potential of what works and why. The pendulum has always swung between abjection and elation. Qualities such as tenderness and humour connect this ensemble, a conversation often overlooked in favour of what can be read or justified. An exhibition showing a particular group of artists, who look to possess these qualities, inhabit new and old at the same time. History is apparent in a show like this but so is the future through the prism of the present.
The title refers to the Peter Bogdanovich film of 1971 “The Last Picture Show” which was shot entirely in black and white, harking back to an earlier time (again old and new) populated with a soundtrack of pop songs and presenting actors including Cybil Shepherd and Cloris Leachman at different stages of their respective careers in dialogue together. There seems no reason for the town they inhabit in the film (set in 1951) to exist, but the directness and simplicity of the depiction creates a space which allows for dialogue and a kind of transgression to occur?
April 6 – May 6, 2017
There is a horror and a fascination in something as apparently permanent as a building, something that one expects to last many a human span, meeting an untimely end.
— Robert Bevan, The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War
All the shot works originate from the idea that the most valuable thing an artist can do is to record the world around them.
— Piers Secunda
Gathered together and displayed to potent effect at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, Piers Secunda’s ISIS Bullet Hole Paintings are the latest iteration of an ongoing project in which casts of bullet holes gathered from war torn or heavily militarized places are arranged into compositions that serve as both an indexical record of real world damage and a haunting reminder of the threat that contemporary armed conflict presents to our collective history. These works were created through a painstaking and sometimes risky process.
In late 2015 while under the protection of Peshmerga (Kurdish) soldiers, Secunda visited Iraqi villages recently liberated from ISIS and made direct casts of the damage inflicted on walls and other structures by gunfire. On returning to the studio, he arranged these within flat molds derived from ancient Greek and Assyrian artworks, poured in white industrial floor paint, and left it to set. The resulting objects are stark and compelling evocations of the barbaric violation of cultural heritage that is all too common in contemporary wartime. The violent erasure of noble classical imagery—gods, kings, elegant warhorses—beneath Secunda’s constellations of bullet-hole disfigurement elicits an acute feeling of loss and decay. In Assyrian Horse and a relief from the Pergamon:
Temple of Zeus (both 2016), the annihilation unfolds as a sequence of discrete moments frozen in time, with each succeeding panel rendered more fragmentary than the last until there is little to nothing of the original image discernable. Temple of Zeus is particularly pointed, for its use of a slick and absurdly faultless nineteenth-century restoration of the Pergamon Altar seems to hint at the futility of the age-old human desire to reverse the course of time in search of Eden.
Despite the obvious sculptural quality of these works, Secunda considers them to be a natural outgrowth of his continuing evolution as a painter, and has sometimes described them in terms that evoke the centuries-old tradition of arresting time’s passage in paint and freezing fleeting moments before they’re gone forever.
Although the ISIS Bullet Hole Paintings were not conceived as political statements per se, their emergence from his desire to capture the texture of geopolitics in paint has resulted in a body of works that succeeds as both a record of the ravages of time—aided in this case by much human brutality—and as a meditation on how fleeting and fragile even our greatest cultural achievements really are.
“Pergamon Alterations” New York University Institute of Fine Arts, New York 2016. “Perfectionism III”
Griffin Gallery, London 2016. “Piers Secunda, Circling Skies” Art Bermondsey Project Space, London 2016.
“The Missing: Rebuilding The Past” John Jay College CUNY, New York 2016.
“The Missing: Rebuilding ThePast” Jessica Carlisle Gallery, London 2016.
“Raw: Word And Image” Space 776, Brooklyn 2015.
“Community Hospital” WhyWhyArt, Shanghai 2015.
Nadine Johnson & Associates Inc.
+1 212 228 5555
Bernard Ammerer (1978) lives and works in Vienna. He graduated University für angewandte Kunst, Wien in 2010 and is the recipient of the Strabag Art Award. Recent exhibitions include “Vorher Nachher” Galerie Frey Wien (solo), Dagong Art Museum, Qingdao (group), “Subjects” Galerie Drees, Hannover, (group) “A Better Place” Galerie Frey, Salzburg (solo), “You Choose” Berlin Art Projects, Berlin(group).
2003-2010 Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien bei Johanna Kandl und Wolfgang Herzig
2004 Teilnahme an der Sommerakademie für Bildende Kunst in Salzburg bei Xenia Hausner
2001 Abschluss des Studiums der Rechtswissenschaften
Exhibitions (select) / Ausstellungen (Auswahl):
2017 „Hi(ghly) Unreal“ Galerie Frey, Wien (solo)
2016 „Interface“ 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York (solo)
2015 DAGONG Art Museum, Qingdao, China (group)
„Figur,Struktur. STRABAG Artcollection“, RLB Kunstbrücke, Tirol (group)
2014 „Figuration zwischen Traum und Wirklichkeit“, Museum Angerlehner, Wels (group)
“Subjekt“, Galerie Robert Drees, Hannover (group)
“vorher nachher“ Galerie Frey, Wien (solo)
2013 “A better Place”, Galerie Frey, Salzburg (solo)
“Pulse Miami art fair”, Solopräsentation
2012 “State of Mind”, Galerie Frey, Wien (solo)
“ABC”, Stadtgalerie Ternitz (group)
“Preview”, Galerie Frey, Salzburg (group)
2011 “You choose”, Berlin Art Projects, Berlin (solo)
2010 “The Essence”, Künstlerhaus, Wien (group) Diplomausstellung Universität für angewandte Kunst
2009 “Exit strategies”, Galerie Frey, Wien (solo)
First Danube Biannale, Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava, Slowakei (group)
2008 “7 parallel 7”, Artexpo, Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Bukarest (group)
“6 X 3”, Galerie Frey, Wien (group)
“The Essence”, Museum für angewandte Kunst Wien (group)
2007 “RED”, Galerie Frey, Wien (group)
Preisträgerausstellung Strabag Art Award, Strabag Kunstforum, Wien (group)
Qingdao Art Museum, Qingdao, China (group)
“move”, Strabag Kunstforum, Wien (solo)
2006 “The Essence”, Museum für angewandte Kunst Wien (group)
“Two Perspectives”, Galerie Frey, Wien (sol0)
“REAL”, Kunsthalle Krems (group)
2005 “New Perspectives”, Galerie Frey, Wien (group)
“Frisch gestrichen”, Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien (group)
“Malstrom”, Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien (group)
“Alle reden vom Wetter”, Hotel Kunsthof, Wien (group)
2004 Stadtgalerie Vienna (group)
Awards/ Auszeichnungen: Preisträger Strabag Art Award
Jose Angel Vincench
“The Weight of Words: Golden Irony”
March 9 – April 1, 2017
My abstraction starts with testimony of the violent actions on the dissidents, but more than a political statement I prefer to talk about the silence in the civil society and art. The artworks absorb the cynicism of this society, they are ironically based on the human drama found in images and words. – José Vincench
As an artist who lives, works, and raises his family in Cuba, José Vincench’s personal experience stems from a place where the fabric of free thought and expression is compromised. But seeing it through positive irony, the artist points the finger at this negative reality by creating works with hidden meanings embedded in deliberately smoothly executed and decorative gold abstractions. Vincench’s engaging creations provide an enticing combination of politicized practice, conceptual soundness and polished works of art.
In his geometrical abstractions, he applies a set of invented codes and characters to create a simplified alternate discourse and experience. In his action paintings, he references the defacement of dissidents’ homes by government enforcers (unreported in the controlled press) in a sheen of illuminating gold.
Images of strife are transformed into a shimmering landscape of gold abstraction. The depth of the dissident movement, with its suppression and injustices, is displayed in a vision that seeks an idealized sense of order.
A gold painting has its seductive allure in the metaphor of gold and vibrations of light, giving depth to the surface of the painting. In this group of José Vincench’s most recent Revolución series, the canvases, large, medium and small, create a world of opposites.
Against the use of rhetoric as a means of symbolic domination, criticism, or attempt to transform social reality by activism, José Vincench applies his own sets of characters, idioms and codes to freely deconstruct this reality in exquisite golden works of art.
This is José Vincench’s second exhibition at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel. One of his sculptures is currently showing at The Bronx Museum, “Wild Noise”, through July 3.
Vincench is a tenured professor at the graduate program of the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana. His works are in the collections of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes Havana; Frost Museum, Miami; Rubin Foundation, New York; Perez Collection, Miami; UBS Art Collection, New York; Chris von Christierson Collection, London; Celia Birbragher Collection, Miami; CIFO Collection Miami, among other public and private collections worldwide. He is the recipient of the 2016 Art Nexus-EFG Bank prize.
February 4 – March 4, 2017
Reception: Saturday, February 4, 4-6pm
It’s that time of the year for the gallery’s annual Winter Salon. This show features new works by Gustavo Acosta, Bernard Ammerer, Bergman & White, Marcy Brafman, Kathy Bruce, Marie Dolma Chophel, Jallim Eudovic, Reynier Ferrer, John A. Parks, Ian Hughes, Ilyan Ivanov, Julie Langsam, Nadja Marcin, Darrell Nettles, Alastair Noble, Eva O’Leary, Tanja Selzer.
By Stephen Maine
Sometimes a single, simple pictorial device is all it takes to set your work apart.
Sometimes a single, simple pictorial device is all it takes to set your work apart from your contemporaries. At mid-career, the Dublin-based painter Diana Copperwhite has hit upon a crazily recognizable way of applying paint that both updates (somewhat tongue-in-cheekily) the concept of the “autographic mark” so prized by the analysts of Abstract Expressionism, and simultaneously taps into a leitmotif of contemporary, computer-inflected visuality, the color gradient.
She hasn’t totally figured out yet what to do with it, but her command of painting’s essentials is sure and her determination to work through the ramifications of this particular device amply evident, so it seems like just a matter of time before she starts making truly magnificent work.
Six oil-on-canvas paintings dated 2016 constitute Depend on the Morning Sun, Copperwhite’s second solo show at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel. They are broadly and energetically painted, using (apparently) an array of tools for scraping, wiping, splashing, and smearing— nothing unfamiliar there.
But Copperwhite also uses wide, flat brushes that were evidently loaded with a precise sequence of hues along the bristles’ tips, so that the resulting stroke is a multi-colored band. The constituent colors blend a bit where they meet but generally hold their places in the line-up whether the mark is short and choppy, drawn out into a meandering trail, or (most often) something in-between, taking a curve or two. It is a flashy move — it could become gimmicky if Copperwhite’s not careful — but for the moment, at least, the artist’s mark-making chutzpah is working in her paintings’ favor.
These blended blurs tend to be the paintings’ focal points. A tricolor swatch in red, pale yellow and yellow-green pops up near the center of “Green light,”flapping like a flag in the wind. Nearby, crimson and blue striations (merging into purple and violet variations) punctuate the canvas, structuring the otherwise chaotic space. Just above the centerline, an incongruous semicircular curve, fat with phthalo blue, naphthol red, and a salmon-pink core, puts a brake on the action around it— ultimately, it is the composition’s primary figure, and the rest of the painting is ground.
It may be an abbreviated human figure, as well — a cranium, to be exact. At the center of the 90-by-70-inch “Weird glamour” and the smaller but compositionally similar “A pale thunder” are juicy strokes tracing the unmistakable contour of head to neck to shoulder to upper back (or upper arm). In “Weird glamour,” a window of deep space behind the head and a subtle but telling diagonal descending from the upper left are enough to place the figure in an architectural interior: an office, maybe, full of free-floating banners and awnings in orange, scarlet, magenta and teal.
My American eye detects the possibility that California painters such as David Park and Elmer Bischoff, who painted figures and their immediate surroundings with both precision and laden brushes, lurk at the back of Copperwhite’s mind. (For that matter, so might the British painters Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach.) But beyond the matter of Copperwhite’s touch is the strong sense that the personage in the picture is going it alone in a hostile (or anyway bewildering) environment, making his or her way through a signifying blizzard of signs (be they icon, index, or symbol). As such, they are second cousins to Francis Bacon’s forsaken souls.
Bacon often isolated his subjects at the center of oppressively stark settings in which details are scarce. Copperwhite goes in the opposite direction but arrives at the same place; though nearly engulfed by the sensations that accrue to their situation, her head-and-shoulder figural units are no less isolated than Bacon’s naked, abject loners.
Not much in painting is truly new, but some tropes, once adopted, can be amplified and recontextualized, their potential rediscovered by another artist’s creative imagination. I associate this banded-brushstroke technique with Howard Hodgkin, who has for many years made occasional use of a rougher sort of proto-gradient, loading his brushes with multiple colors and laying in blunt and/or sensuous strokes of thick, multicolored paint.
In my read of Hodgkin, whose eye-hand coordination was formed well before the digital era, the device accentuates the manual; the much younger Copperwhite (b. 1969) makes it look technological, potentially abrasive and slightly hallucinatory. Not as hallucinatory as Bernard Frize does, mind you — though Frize seems to me to be concerned primarily with painterly procedure for its own sake. I’ve no doubt there are others working with this method. (There must be someone in L.A.)
“Predilection for fiction” contains no overt figurative hook. There are few indicators of architecture but for a pretty arch — two strokes of the brush — peeking out from behind the painting’s main event, a central, horizontal rectangle streaked vertically with some of the punchiest chroma in the show. Here as elsewhere, it appears that Copperwhite used a blending brush to further soften the transitions between the bars of color. The painting’s interior framing of this cloistered, intensified core echoes another of Hodgkins’ pictorial inclinations. It is a take on the painting-within-a-painting idea, or (if you shift the scale to landscape) maybe a drive-in-movie-screen-within-a-painting.
At about five feet square, “Depend on the morning sun” is among the smaller paintings in the show, but it contains one of the broadest gradients — two horizontal-ish swipes of a brush outfitted with crimson, titanate yellow, Prussian blue and orange-pink, about a foot wide — slapped onto the upper right corner like a warning sign. Secondary, vertical banding on this patch looks like a blurred reflection such as you might see on the side of a passing train, and thus creates the illusion of rapid movement (which, interestingly, most of these blended passages don’t). Copperwhite uses whites, light grays and pale tints (especially pinks and violets) extensively, but here her snowy palette becomes chalky, and the artificial light she seems to be pursuing dissipates.
When a painting or other artwork is titled after a song lyric, you’ve got to wonder what aspect of the music is reflected in the art. New Order’s “True Faith” contains the phrase “depend on the morning sun,” so we surmise that a wistful daybreak epiphany of self-worth and personal agency is somehow relevant to Copperwhite’s motivation for the eponymous painting. But actually, looking at the show I found myself thinking about the great Dublin band My Bloody Valentine.
Phenomenally loud, MBV’s guitar-driven avant-rock features drifting, haunted melodic lines that emerge from a deluge of electronic distortion, dissonance, and pure noise. There are correspondences in the way Copperwhite’s squalls of non-depictive paint frame and support her shimmering pools and polychrome slipstreams, which seem to border on description (acid rainbows? ribbon candy streamers?) but sidestep mimesis. The music’s layered construction, cavernousscale, and otherworldly glissando effects call out for a Copperwhite painting on the band’s next album cover.
The presence of an elliptical narrative is clearly discernible, if not readily deciphered, in Copperwhite’s paintings of just a few years ago. While the artist has eliminated (or temporarily set aside, as time will tell) all but traces of narrative from her working method in larger canvases, she continues to paint heads, roughly life-sized (though this show includes none). The attitude and disposition of these heads is so specific that they function as portraits, even though facial features are usually absent, partially obscured, or eclipsed entirely by passages of brushy paint.
On the same scale as these heads is “Confucius confused,” a real gem. It’s a raspy, slithering, half-head-shaped arc — purple into red into pink into a yellow or two into charcoal gray — against a tar-black ground. As usual, the palest hue (in this case, the pink) is the centermost stripe, so the whole stroke seems to radiate light, to glow. It’s both a curiosity in this show of ambitiously-scaled paintings, and its most succinct embodiment of Copperwhite’s paradoxically impersonal “signature” move. If only it were seven or eight feet wide!
So is Copperwhite’s work Ab Ex redux? No, but not because it isn’t truly abstract — why, de Kooning himself almost never quit the figure entirely. If a key strategy of historical Abstract Expressionism was to trim the lag time between impulse and response — the belief being that doing so would allow form to emerge from the subconscious, unmediated by culture, the “literary,” or the artist’s internal editors — then Copperwhite’s calculatedly eye-grabbing tricks with the brush are in quite the opposite spirit. (And anyway, you can’t go home again.) Rather, Copperwhite approaches “action painting” as an inherited language, to which she contributes some striking dialect of her own.
Diana Copperwhite: Depend on the Morning Sun continues at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel (532 West 25th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan) through January 28.