American Contemporary Art (September 2011)

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Antonio Petracca “10” Jay Fine

“The End of Manhattan” September 8 - October 15, 2011

Kim Foster Gallery 529 West 20th Street New York, NY 10011

212.229.0044 Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11 am to 6 pm

BOGDAN VLADUTA Urban Archeology

September 8 – October 8, 2011

Ana Cristea Gallery

521 West 26th Street, New York, NY 10001, T: 212-904-1100; F: 212-904-1171,

September 14 – October 15

Sara Bright

GEORGE LAWSON GALLERY GEORGE LAWSON GALLERY | LOS ANGELES 8564 Washington Blvd. Culver City 90232 | 310-837-6900 |







EXHIBITIONS Los Angeles San Francisco New York Philadelphia Denver Washington

42 43 44 47 48 49

ARTISTS Ashley Christine Bauer 56 Chistine H. Buchsbaum 58 Lesley Vance 62

FEATURES 14 18 24 28 34

Letter from Washington DC Q&A with Alevé Mei Loh 343 Dresses in Los Angeles Brianna Martay’s “Shadow Happy” Man and Nature in Art

PACIFIC STANDARD TIME A Special Insert (After Page 41)

BOOKS 53 Reconsidering Van Gogh

ON THE COVER David Scanavino, Untitled,

2011, Institutional Linoleum, Wood, Hardware, 120”x120” More on page 44

24 Richard Kalisher PUBLISHER Donovan Stanley EDITOR Eric Kalisher DESIGN New York Editor Tali Wertheimer Los Angeles Editor Simmy Swinder Washington Editor F. Lennox Campello Contributing Editor Roberta Carasso Contributing Writers Tracy Tomko, Nikki Sapp Julie Novakoff, Maryam Parsi Advertising Inquiries 561.542.6028 / Richard Kalisher © 2011 R.K. Graphics. All Rights Reserved.

Exhibition information courtesy of represented institutions.


Brave Old New World

Samuel Rousseau September 23 - October 30, 2011 opening reception Friday, September 23, 6 pm - 9 pm

193 Grand Street Brooklyn, New York 11211 +1 718 388 2882

Special Thanks to pointB Studios, Williamsburg along with other williamsburg galleries, parker’s box will be open until 9 pm on 2nd friday, october 14.

Samuel Rousseau is a nominee for the prix marcel Duchamp, 2011, to be presented at the Grand palais, paris, October 20-23. Gallery Hours: Thur-Sun, 1pm-7pm

santa monica civic auditorium january 12 - 16, 2012 the 21st annual international los angeles photographic art exposition

Š Anthony Friedkin, Woman by the Pool, 1975

Letter from Washington, DC F. Lennox Campello The big news in the capital region’s art scene this fall

picting paper bags pervading all aspects of his life.Also look for J.J. McCracken, Calder Brannock, and Kristina Bilonick is the inaugural (e)merge art fair, which will once again try to stand out in the unrepresented artists field. They are all to bring to the DC region an annual international art fair – hugely talented artists with unique visions. others have tried in the past and failed, but (e)merge, with No art fair would be complete without a satellite art fair, the powerful backing of well-known art collector Mera Ruand (e)merge already has one in record time. Timed to run bell, brings something new to the art fair scene. concurrently with (e)merge is the ironically-named But Is It’s all in the name, as the fair focuses on a dual presenIt Art? Art Fair. This fair is the tation scheme featuring galleries brainchild of artists Alex Ventura — from all over the US as well as and Victoria Milko; it will showFrance, Italy, Holland and Austria case 25 additional artists, includ— that will bring and showcase ing such well known DC area artthree emerging artists each, in adists as Kelly Towles. dition to a platform of 75 unrepreAside from the excitement of sented artists. The fair runs Sephaving these art fairs in the natember 22–25, 2011, at the Morris tion’s capital region this fall, one Lapidus-designed Capitol Skyline of the best things that we have gohotel in Washington, DC, which ing as far as the visual arts around is owned by the Rubell family and the area is the Bethesda Contemadjacent to the site of the their fuporary Art Awards, better known ture museum. around here as The Trawick Prize. In examining the list of unThe Trawick Prize was estabrepresented artists, I will stick my lished by local Bethesda business neck out and pick a few whom I owner Carol Trawick. Ms. Trathink will not only stand out from wick has served as a community the rest, but also will be picked up activist for more than 25 years by some of the participating galin downtown Bethesda. She is leries. Look for Wilmer Wilson the Chair of the Bethesda Arts IV to come out as the emerging & Entertainment District and new find of this art fair. [Full dispast Chair of the Bethesda Urban closure: together with DC artists Partnership. The Jim and Carol Tim Tate and Susana Raab, we Trawick Foundation was estabmentored Wilson and three other lished in 2007 after the Trawicks superbly talented young artists as sold their successful information part of the Strathmore Art Centechnology company. In my book, ter’s terrific artists’ mentoring program -- so I know what I’m (top)Wilmer Wilson IV, Untitled (Still 2) from Study for I Voted (2011), Carol Trawick is a local art hero ultrachrome pigment print, edition of 7, 10"x15" (bot) J.J. McCracken and someone who not only betalking about!). Hunger, Philadelphia, Hunger c. 2010, active installation (clay, cast vegliving models, smell of baking bread, soundscape). lieves in the importance of the vi I don’t know what Wilson has etables, clay platters, Image courtesy of Janine Parziale. sual arts to our communities, but in store for us for (e)merge, but also someone whose actions prove that belief. if it is anything like what he delivered for the Strathmore The annual first place winner of the prize is awarded program, get ready to be blown away. Wilson usually cre$10,000; second place gets $2,000 and third place is awarded ates site-specific sculptural works using accessible consumer $1,000. A “young” artist whose birth date is after April 10, goods. By making use of everyday materials in his work, he 1977 may also be awarded $1,000. The prize is open to any transforms everyday experiences into aesthetic ones. For visual artist from Maryland, Virginia or the District. Strathmore he used more than 1,000 inflated paper bags to The Trawick Prize finalists are chosen each year by a create a room-filling organic form. The installation explored different set of jurors, and for 2011 they are: Lillian Bayley the implications that one oft-overlooked and mundane obHoover, Baltimore, MD, Ryan Browning, Frederick, MD, ject can have when amassed in one place. Also included in Caryl Burtner, Richmond, VA, Warren Craghead III, Charthe exhibition were photographs of his previous works, de-

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(clockwise from top left) Work by Mia Feuer, winning of the Trawick Prize Best in Show; David Kramer, Hindsight (The Scenic Route), 2010-2011, oil on canvas, 60”x61.5”, courtesy of Heiner Contemporary; Sofia Silva, Fence, 2007, c-print, 80x20 inches

lottesville, VA, Adam Davies, Washington, D.C., Mia Feuer, Washington, D.C. , Skye Gilkerson, Baltimore, MD, Michelle Rogers, Alexandria, VA, Sofia Silva, Baltimore, MD, Marty Weishaar, Baltimore, MD and Lu Zhang, Baltimore, MD. Most of these names are new to me, which is quite a novel surprise, but considering that 8 of the 11 finalists are not from the Greater DC region, understandable. Who will win this year? Hard to pick, since there are so many new names on the list and since it is hard to tell who is the dominant voice from the jurors, but I suspect that it was whoever lives in Baltimore, since so many of the finalists are from there. My pick for the winner? Sofia Silva, not only the owner of enviable photographic and artistic skill and integrity, but also a very hard-working artist who knows that a key to success is making sure that the result of your work is seen beyond your studio. [Since this column was written, the winners of the Trawick Prize were announceed.

Mia Feuer was awarded Best in Show.] Finally, 2011 has been a tough year for DC area art galleries, with several notable galleries closing their physical spaces and going the “art fair only route.” Swimming against that tide and already doing well, is Heiner Contemporary in Georgetown. They open the fall season with a strong solo exhibition of work by New York artist David Kramer. Trained locally as a painter at DC’s George Washington University (BA Fine Arts 1985) and as a sculptor at Pratt Institute (MFA 1987), Kramer's work has been exhibited throughout North America and Europe. The exhibition, titled Prequel to the Sequel: Waiting for a Hollywood Ending, includes 16 works on paper, three canvases, and a large installation reminiscent of a vintage 1970s modernist suburban living room, but built using cheap and remaindered building supplies. Heiner Contemporary is also one of the 16 DC area ACA galleries in (e)merge. Read more from Campello at




PULSE L A B o oth B -4

S E PT E M BER 30 - O C TO BER 3, 2011 Th e Even t D ec k at L. A. Li ve 1 0 0 5 West C h i c k Hearn Cour t , Los A nge le s PATR I C I A S WEETOW GALL ERY / 415.788.5126 /

cont act @pat riciasweet owga l l e ry.c om

A Q&A with Alevé Mei Loh Simmy Swinder Alevé Mei Loh is an Melbourne-born are they in a dreaming state. Rather an-

artist living and working in Los Angeles. As a child she observed how her perception would start to shift if she stared at an object for a long time. This intrigue with consciousness and perception led her to explore lucid dreaming and its applications for art. It also brought her to Los Angeles, a place which she describes as being “continually on the creative cusp”. Artists, particularly the surrealists, have often drawn upon their subconscious as inspiration for artwork. This convergence of art and dream states led me to interview Alevé in order to see how a contemporary artist continues this tradition.

other form of consciousness. Many artists intuit and express this tapping into of other worlds. For me this is kind of the proof behind the intuition. SS: How does one tap into this? AL: Salvador Dali documents a technique called “Slumber With A Key,”

SS: Could your work be classified as dream found objects?

Simmy Swinder: Could you tell us about your fascination with lucid dreaming? Alevé Mei Loh: The idea that other worlds exist as layers upon this one, other worlds we can tap into, perceive and actually be in, is an extremely thrilling and captivating premise for any artist. Lucid dreaming is one form of perceptual transportation. I find it comforting to know that during lucid dreaming we actually enter into a completely unique or “new” type of consciousness. This is not just a fantastical idea. German researchers verified with EEG monitoring that during lucid dreaming brain waves are not in an awakened state, nor

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cause you want to go to sleep! It’s really quite a struggle but the more you train yourself to be in that in-between realm, the easier it becomes to access lucid dreams. Also in this state you are able to make image connections of objects you normally wouldn’t make. Imagine discovering objects that you find in your normal environment, but in this state they’ve changed in some way, becoming “dream found objects.” You bring these works from the unknown into waking reality, how extraordinary.

where he would sit in a chair with a key, or something equally heavy, in his hand. The purpose was to try and reach the point of an awakened dream without falling asleep, thus the key which would fall and make a loud noise to wake you up. It’s very annoying be-

AL: The intention behind my current body of work is to be “dream found”. Some of the works are direct recreations of objects I find in dreaming while others are results of discoveries I made in dreaming that change a process or approach to the work. I strongly feel the byproduct or affecting result on the viewer of a dream-found work is to subtly shift perception. Similar to the way that some tribal artifacts are imbued with power or magic, I feel that dream found objects can have perceptual shifting affects. SS: How long did it take to learn the technique?

AL: I’ve been actively practicing lucid dreaming for over 15 years. Around the time I started I was becoming increasingly annoyed with status quo and the idea of “fitting in”. I attended a very conventional private girl’s school in Melbourne, but really I wanted to be an artist, to be in an environment that nurtured artistic freedom. I loved the graffiti scene in Melbourne and wanted to be around other creative types, so I signed my mother’s name and enrolled myself in an art high school. My parents were actually quite liberal so in retrospect I could’ve just asked and got permission. Everyone was an artist or a rebel of some sort at this school. I had a high level of personal discipline so within this unstructured environment I found the freedom to carve out who I wanted to be. Around this time, an older student at the school introduced me to the books of Carlos Casteneda. One book in particular called The Art Of Dreaming was pivotal for me because it outlined specific practical techniques to enhance dream awareness. I spent all my lunchtimes and after school hours hanging out in a local “esoteric bookshop” reading books about mind expansion, psychic perception and ways to enhance creativity. Every night I diligently practiced dreaming techniques. After a few months I was able to fine-tune these and be much more directional with my dreaming experiences. You can learn the fundamentals and technique fairly quickly but to get good requires continual and lifelong practice, sort of like making art, or yoga. SS: Could you talk about the lucid dream you had when you found yourself at the

National Gallery of Victoria. You mentioned that this particular dream was very influential in a large body of your work and that you saw a monochrome piece that led you to perceive “real depth.” AL: It began as a “normal” dream. That is, I was in the dream quite unaware I was dreaming, just going about reacting to things as they happened to me. Then something caused me to notice that the world was a little odd, I seemed to have more flexibility and stretchiness in the way I moved. This was a trigger for me to check in to see if I was in a dream. When I checked I realized that I was indeed dreaming. I noticed I could also feel my body asleep in bed at the same time that I was aware in my dream body. I decided to look around

and see if I could figure out where I was. It soon became apparent that I was in the National Gallery of Victoria, a place that I had frequently visited as a child. I stabilized my dream awareness and decided to task myself with looking at paintings. I wanted to see if I could perceive something deeper than was possible in waking life. I found myself being pulled towards a kind of storage area, a place I had never been. There was a painting propped up near a shelf. I distinctively remember reading a tag indicating the artist was “Ian Burn” It was

a minimalist work done in blue with one or two tones at most. The thing that intrigued me though was as I stared at the painting I started to perceive this depth almost like a topographical landscape. It was fascinating. I was glued in front of it for what seemed to be a really long time. Then I moved on to another painting and another and another. The same thing happened each time. As I looked at the works, at some point a highly dimensional geographic texture revealed itself. I had a realization that what I was seeing was one of the “cores” of painting. This was the beginning of my studio practice of seeking out objects in the dreamscape and attempting to recreate them in waking life. The crushed works I create are a product of this exploration. SS: Speaking of your crushed work, it has been compared to John Chamberlain. In my opinion, there’s something more feminine and caring about the way you deal with your materials. You start with a malleable material and mold it, to create a crushed option, while Chamberlain manipulates a tough object into the form he wants. Can you speak about your process in this regard? AL: I agree that the process of crushing the canvas is probably better described as shaping and molding opposed to Chamberlain, who actually crushes steel using a car crusher to manipulate the material. I have worked with car parts and steel and while I love the permanence and inflexibility of the material at the same time it drives me crazy. Feature


It doesn’t let me flow or change directions or turn around and go back in the way I want to. Even when canvas is reinforced and stiffened to emulate metal

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sheeting, it still retains fabric-like qualities and is still much more forgiving. I like a certain amount of room for spontaneity with the materials I use; at the

same time I do find myself constantly drawn back to the painterly tradition of using linen, gesso, paint and stretcher bars. The crushed works were for me

as I mentioned before a product of my dreaming investigations. SS: In addition to your wall sculptures, you also make sculptures with text or text on canvas. Where do the words come from? What kind of message are you trying to deliver? AL: I feel a strong compulsion to use text on some pieces. We talked about the use of text being in the vernacular of many West Coast artists. And that perhaps influences stem from the driving culture, billboards and the entertainment industry. I feel that graffiti, tagging, advertising and copywriting have been influences for me. Advertising fascinates me. I like the distillation or funneling of ideas into one message. I like words or combinations of words that express the invisible, conjure up specific feelings or stir ideas. SS: Why do you decide to crush the text you paint? Is it to obliterate the message? AL: Words on canvas often feel like commands. Crushing this is on one level subverting the command. I also like the idea of having text that’s crushed because it is somewhat analogous to how the brain functions. For example, when we read we don’t necessarily see the letters, but just the word and from it get a sense of what the word is communicating. This happens especially in driving and the almost unconscious reading of billboards and advertising. It makes me consider questions like “What is perception, what is communication?” A good example is Freedom. The “o” is missing here. I think of this “o” as the opportunity in freedom, a passage for it to go through. But then I crushed it. It felt like something I wanted to do. I definitely plan out a work and I’m convinced it’s actually how it should be and I try to stick to it. But then there’s an element that’s out of your hands and that’s when the real flow comes in and you can’t tell what it’s going to do. I’ve often had a painting stretched and for

a moment I think it’s finished, I’m feeling happy with the aesthetic and then something in me makes me want to crush it. Something gives way. I push up against something. And something collapses. And then there’s an urge that wants to come through you. You’re possessed and you have to do it. SS: Does this uncontrollable compulsion lead you to believe freedom doesn’t exist? AL: It makes me believe the opposite. That freedom really does exist. But it is not a given. It must be earned. When I say earned I mean in the sense that we probably couldn’t recognize it if we hadn’t understood and worked within the boundaries first. It’s weird that planning and discipline are ingredients in the mix. You have to know the rules to know when you are throwing them out. Being in total control of the process and sticking to the plan isn’t freedom. Being in “flow” with the work and channeling that art spirit is freedom. I am always amazed at the way order reinvents itself in the most chaotic environments. I like to remind myself, at any given moment, especially when facing the work, that there are 3000 choices in front of me. Perhaps I’ve been choosing to go down one again and again because that’s the neural pathway I’ve been carving out. But I can recognize another choice and by doing so I could open up another world. SS: There’s something in particular about the car hood piece that seems to be wrapped in ribbon and claims “you know the future before it happens.” Are you alluding to lucid dreaming with this? I feel many people are blessed with a foresight but many are blind to this higher level of understanding. How do you differentiate? Not lucid dreaming specifically in this piece although I think higher states can be reached through dreaming. Dreams are portals to the parts of us that are not always accessible. But maintaining consciousness is the difficult part

in dreaming and awake life. This is the differentiation. I think knowing the future before it happens requires a tremendous amount of confidence, zero cockiness and as much lightness and sincerity that can be held in one human vessel. Constantly reinforcing the idea that we know the future before it happens brings about a change. It draws out that “all seeing” shy part of us that hardly ever gets its time in the spotlight. SS: What are you working on now? AL: In addition to my studio practice I’m working on a performance piece that involves oocyte extraction and cryopreservation (aka “egg freezing”). This juncture between technology and evolution is fascinating, exciting and scary. For an artist there is so much material in this inquiry. The project is still in its infancy, so I can’t say too much. But I’m noticing people do feel challenged by the idea. Definitely on a personal level it is confronting, both ACA physically and emotionally. Alevé Mei Loh is showing her work at the Fountain Art Fair in Downtown Los Angeles from September 30 through October 2. For more information about the artist, visit About Swinder: Following her successful direction of photo l.a. | artLA projects in January 2011, Swinder was appointed Director of Carmichael Gallery, Los Angeles, to assist the gallery’s transition in program from its primary focus on street and urban art to a wider range of fine art, sculpture, film and photography. She continues to curate independent projects through TS+ Projects, an art advisory and creative venture enterprise she cofounded in 2010. To date, TS+ Projects has curated shows in galleries, corporate and temporary exhibition spaces, and contributed to the limited edition print company, Artstar. She continues to write for Gallery Crawl and, most recently, American Contemporary Art and tasj, magazines. Feature


(e)merge art fair September 22–25, 2011 The Capitol Skyline Hotel Washington, DC

Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday:

Opening 7–9 pm 12–7 pm 12–7 pm 12–5 pm

For information about programs, panel discussions and events please visit:

343 Dresses: The Chromatic Convergence Project by Nikki Sapp

With a physical life span of 343 days, Los Angelesbased artist Mary Younakof ’s Chromatic Convergence Project color-blocks the city’s streets. In an act of interactive speculation, this project incorporates several artistic mediums in a plot that unveils a human response to color. With 49 hues for each tone of ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet), Mary Younakof has designed and created 343 dresses that she will wear throughout the year. Kicking off on January 23, 2011, the project will come to a close on the final day of 2011. The artist takes off on the streets of LA in a new color each day to find the given hue’s presence in our urban community. After two long years of prep work, she has scouted every nook and cranny of the million mile radius that makes up LA, and has been documenting the vibrance of color that is often overlooked by on-the-go, car-encapsulated urbanites. The Project is organized mathematically. It was carefully designed around the number seven in order to present 343 dresses in 343 colors, with each dress being worn over a period of 343 consecutive days. Repetition is a key factor here. Breaking it down further, the pattern of the dress is composed of seven pieces of fabric, which are linked to the seven-hued color palette. These colors will extend into 49 different tones exponentially equating to a total of 343 individual colors.

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The star of the show is Color, and it’s everywhere once she’s wearing it. Mary has described the experience as wearing “rose colored glasses.” As she goes through the phases of each hue, its presence in her surroundings jumps out and catches the eye, which cues a worthy color relationship with the environment. Her senses are heightened towards everything that matches her dress, and the world becomes pleasantly, yet unexpectedly tinted. It all sounds very sweet, surreal, and simplistic; but there is much more to it than one would imagine. In an effort to challenge viewers to acknowledge the basic presence of colored life, an emotional reaction takes place. With the moving mass of color that is Mary, we find that feelings are shifted and a universal magnetism draws people in to a place in which color theory provokes visceral perception. Not only does the shade affect the artist’s own attitude and daily feeling, but it also generates an emotional reception from the public. From the artist’s personal experience over the past six months, she has noticed a consistent behavioral response: Color prompts memory. Mary recalls instances where people in the market or on the street would come up to her, only to share a story of an event involving a red dress or a yellow childhood toy. Besides evoking memories, Mary also noticed a less forward emotional connect – non verbal body language. Maybe it’s just a coincidence that more men stop to stare at (perhaps flirt with) a woman walking down the

street with a pink dress on, and maybe it just so happens that more people do the cheesy-smile-with-athumbs-up-thing when a lady in yellow moseys on by. And orange? There is something funny about orange that makes people want to touch. It is of no surprise, as pink/red is most commonly associated with love, yellow with happiness, and orange with physical energy. Nevertheless, while the dress appears to be the center of attention, it really serves as a tool that activates a much larger art venture, which incorporates a plethora of creative channels. The project is jam-packed with artistic mediums that highlight the artist’s versatility. The exploration of color is documented through means of fashion, installation, photography, sculpture, performance, video, and social networking sites. While Mary appears at predetermined, color-relevant locations, chance encounters with pedestrians occur and provide unscripted results. Such chance happenings and social reactions are recorded and promoted via the internet. As the project unfolds, the worn dresses go into a public vault at the Pacific Design Center, where aficionados can find clips from previous community interventions. Social involvement is an integral aspect of the artist’s plot, and thus the typical outsider receives a silent invitation to be

a part of what may be an otherwise foreign art world. With such a publicly played out project, Mary Younakof has succeeded in including the every-day person in her work, and ACA in a sense, she has brought the gallery to us. More about this Project coming soon to Feature









82ÊArtistÊStudiosÊ•Ê6ÊGalleriesÊ•ÊTheÊArtÊLeagueÊSchoolÊ•ÊArchaeologyÊMuseum OPENÊDAILYÊ10AM-6PMÊ•ÊTHURSDAYSÊUNTILÊ9PM


Brianna Martray’s “Shadow Happy” at Denver International Airport Introduction by Mark Penner-Howell | Interview by Tracy Tomko

There are any number of ways to experience an air-

port. But given the pat-downs and digital undressings, the chronic flight delays and the human tendency to run just a bit late for pretty much everything, then it’s easy to understand why public art of any kind is all but invisible to many harried travelers. In this context it’s especially remarkable that a work as subtle and contemplative as Brianna Martray’s Shadow Happy, not only holds it’s own, but literally activates the space it occupies, on the walkway between the main terminal and Concourse A at Denver International Airport. I have watched as travelers stop conversations mid-sentence when they suddenly notice the ten thousand white origami cranes, and little circles of glued glass fragments, swooping and swirling around the columns and overhead spaces of the walkway. These ephemeral materials, paper and glass, are brought to life by the ever-changing shadows and reflections cast by the movement of sun and cloud throughout the day.

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The experience is further enhanced by the sense of motion the installation has when viewed from the moving walkway. It is simply amazing to watch as a work of art so delicate interrupts the cares of busy travelers. A lot of artists talk about how important it is to follow where the artwork leads. In Shadow Happy, Martray has followed as her work led into some very fertile, if unfamiliar territory. Several years ago Martray finished a novel. A coming-of-age story. After a NY literary agent requested a copy, Martray re-read it, and decided against submitting it for publication. In her own words, the story “wasn’t good enough.” It seemed Martray had outgrown her protagonist, and rather than go back into the work, she shelved it, and began to explore painting as a creative outlet. What does an artist-in-transition do with stacks and stacks of manuscript that aren’t good enough? In Martray’s case she began folding paper cranes, page by page. Over the next several years she experimented successfully with both painting and Photos: Tony Gallagher

metal sculpture. All the while folding cranes. Over time it became clear that the novel was going to have another life. By daring to dismantle her novel and step away from her original intentions, Martray had transformed her nascent literary exploration into something far more profound and inclusive. Each origami crane contains bits of the original text, and so provides a mysterious and fragmented glimpse

Tracy Tomko: When did you start

folding the pages of your manuscript into origami cranes? And why?

Brianna Martray: The folding began

in the fall of 2006. I had been staring at stacks of manuscript pages scattered throughout my house for years, but they still seemed too precious to casually toss into the recycling bin. Once I started folding my novel, I had vague ideas for a future installation. My first instinct was to dye them all because my work at that time was based on the emotional response to color. I thought to create a 3D mosaic with them, but the ideas shifted endlessly and nothing serious ever took hold. When my

into the piece’s origins, but it’s no accident that the story has been folded into thousands of birds which now soar across an immense public space. By offering the manuscript up as raw material for complete recycling, Shadow Happy both embodies the original coming-of-age story and signals Martray’s emergence as a mature artist capable of truly expansive and moving work. — Mark Penner-Howell

computer and backup copy of the digital version of the novel were stolen, the poetry was too big to ignore. I realized that the only complete copy was now folded into origami cranes. It wasn’t even possible that I could just unfold, since I had cut many of the pages to make a variety of sizes. TT: How did the circles of glued broken glass come to be? BM: More than a decade ago, and before all the advancements in security at airports, my boyfriend at the time and I loved to drive out to Denver International Airport (DIA) in the middle of the night, to wander around and talk.

On one of those evenings, we were talking about the interconnectedness we saw in everyone and everything. We wanted a symbol for what we meant and eventually came up with the idea of the glass. We visualized everyone as pieces of the greater whole, being a sheet of glass. Then with purpose, for the thrill and for the experience of it, and because it was too lonely not to, the glass shattered. It was decided that we were more beautiful broken. That analogy made its way into “Barefoot Bearing Weight” at a crucial moment in the story. So, it was born at the airport, written in the pages of the cranes, and is shown in physical representation of our circles of community, with the glued Feature


glass circles finding their way back to the very space where the idea was conceived. It’s so interesting to me that it has all come back to the airport. TT: When did the connection between the cranes and the glass circles happen for you? BM: After I realized that the only remaining copy of the final draft of my novel was all folded up, I knew I wanted to express the poignancy of the circumstances in some way that you could feel the tension between the different elements of it. At first the installation was going to have three parts: environment, self, and community. Environment was to be represented by black and white paintings done in the same vein of my abstracted, surreal landscapes of the past, with self being the cranes, and community the broken glass glued into circles. The layout didn’t really come together until I took the 2D work out of it. I wasn’t able to visualize it in the

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space until I let go of creating a false environment for it. TT: How did “Shadow Happy” come to be a part of the art at Denver International Airport? BM: A friend and I were recently marveling at that very thing. In 2006, when I had a large number of cranes folded, she had asked what I was going to do with them, and I casually answered, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could put them up at DIA?” When I decided to install “Shadow Happy” at Core New Art Space, as my show in 2010, I wasn’t thinking about anything more than that until I realized it would have to come back down in three weeks, so that the next show could go up. A friend of a friend called the public art coordinator at the airport and they contacted me to schedule a time to see it. There was a long process of finding the right place in the airport, submitting a proposal, and getting approval for the project.

TT: Did the change in setting [from a gallery to the airport] change the feeling of the piece in any significant ways? BM: The bridge to Concourse A, at DIA, feels like the most perfect place for it. Though it was beautiful and I was really satisfied with the way it showed at Core, I now know it was a little “closed in” by the walls. At the airport it has the advantage of the windows allowing the sky to be the backdrop. They also add the natural light, which makes really dynamic and ever changing shadows. It looks completely different in the day than the night or on a cloudy day versus a sunny one. The way that it grew with the space is incredible and it seems like the whole thing could just keep flying, since there are no walls at either end of the bridge. Shadow Happy is on view at Denver International Airport on the pedestrian bridge to Concourse A. For more information, visit Photo: Mark Penner-Howell


3340 Walnut Street, Denver, Colorado 80205

i n f o @ r u l e g a l l e r y. c o m

303 777 9473

w w w. r u l e g a l l e r y. c o m

Peter Plagens Love and War, and Other Non-Stories September 9 - October 29, 2011

Image: Peter Plagens, Love and War 2, 2011, mixed media on paper, 12 x 9 inches


The all-to-familiar question of man’s relationship to nature has seemingly been exhausted, and yet we continue to ask and presume to define it. The obvious reality of the matter is that there is no single answer or opinion. There is the Euro-centric belief that maintains man is superior to his environment; the natural world is only of secondary importance, supplying for man the tools for his existence. In a

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dissimilar vein, Native American cultures consider there to be no division between man and nature, a worldview they believe helps to maintain the existence of global harmony. This variety in opinion is symbolic of, and subjective to, time and space. Evidence of this is visible in the fact that throughout history, nature has been a prominent, yet continually evolving, subject matter for the arts. Many contemporary

artists throughout the art world have sought to understand mankind’s complex relationship with nature. In this article, I look at examples of such work. As a global community we reflect human evolution; therefore, we cannot ignore the developments that have paved the way for our advancement. The Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero eloquently conveyed this thought when he declared, “To be igBright Ugochukwu Eke. Acid Rain,2005-2009, Copenhagen

norant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child." In this respect, we can not deny the fact that the rise of the Industrial Revolution and the resultant technological advancements have not only raised our standard of living, made our daily lives more convenient, and helped to unlock many scientific mysteries of the past; yet, these advancements have also led our civilization down a path towards the inevitable collapse of the global ecosystem. Now more than ever, mankind is becoming fully aware of the ramifications of its previous choices, and never has there existed a time where the desire to change has been more prominent in the collective conscience of the population. As Brazilian artist Nelé Azevedo states, “The disappearance of biodiversity, the finite natures of energy resources, and the threat of climate change are all concerns that are deeply permeated in the perception of the public.” The reality of this state of emergency is also communicated in the work of numerous artists around the globe. In Acid Rain (see opposite page) and Heavy Clouds, installations by Nigerian born artist Bright Ugochukwu Eke consisting of hundreds of suspended cellophane bags filled with water and carbon, the artist reflects on surrounding environmental issues and the interconnectedness of humans and nature; the artist uses water as the focus of these installations as a constant reminder of the universal source of life. Eke reveals that his body of work was greatly informed by his contact with toxic rain in southern Nigeria, where “the ubiquity of foreign oil corporations has resulted in serious pollution, and ethnic

and political unrest.” Eke emphasizes the notion that man has certainly created a division between himself and his environment, a thought that the artist considers “self-deceit”. This system of thinking suggests that most people in today’s culture only consider the specific history of their own lives and draw almost all of their perspective on that particular account; however, if we, on a large cultural level, continue to avoid the realities that exist outside of our own lives, how can we instinctively make decisions that would affect the future of humanity? In essence mankind would simply op-

erate in a reactionary manner, as opposed to thinking preventatively. The precursors of the most recent incarnations of this debate were the artists who initiated the Land Art movement that emerged in the United States in the 1960s and ‘70s. Many artists working during this time felt perpetually trapped by what had become the necessary relationship between art and commerce, protesting against the increasing production of art they perceived as artificial aesthetics; art that places form over content, and thus interchangeably, lacks moral consciousness. These constraints not only diminished the capacity of their artistic creativity but also served to marginalize their status in society. To

Nele Azevedo, Minimum Monument, National Congress, Brazil

forge their own path, artists like Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, Walter de Maria, and Richard Serra looked back to one of the earliest iterations of art [--] art where nature formed the canvas for their interventions. Clearly departing from modern art making techniques, these artists often created works that underscored the danger to the natural world in an industrial society, while simultaneously paying homage to ancient artistic practices. Today, American artist Robert Cannon employs the omnipresence of nature in a similar fashion as the inspiration and foundation for his terraform sculptures, sculptures that have been “engineered” to be in the likeness of Earth’s topography and ecology. According to the artist, “In the technology driven world, where artificial reality, genetic engineering, and pharmaceutically altered personalities are becoming ubiquitous, Terraforms pursue a conscious and direct experience of Nature.” Cannon, who acknowledges the aerospace industry as pioneering the concept of terraforming, combines both man-made and natural systems to confront the disinterested behavioral tendencies we institute when establishing our relationship with nature. The sculptor, who previously identified Nietzsche and Camille Paglia’s writings on the history of man and nature as influential to the direction he has taken with his art, candidly admits, “Yes, technology has blinded us to our place in the universe. I am pro-technology, capitalism, civilization, etc. It’s the only place where man's dream of individual freedom can be realized. But nature must Feature


be considered; it demands it sooner or later.” Cannon’s terraforms seek to address our limited view of nature as the sublime source of life and reality, which the artist says has been forgotten by contemporary society. Cannon expands further on the greater objective of his art and on the present social climate when he explains, “In an overly processed pop obsessed culture, untethered from the ships of history and the environment, Terraforms reflect the Green Movement as the reboot of the Modern, as Modernism 2.0, and present a challenge to the dreary reign of post modernity. The ship of civilization is moving again.” The uSE of art as a means to extend the breadth of the environmental movement is both a necessity and a testament to the versatility of art as a universal language. Although origi-

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nally intended as a critical reading of the role of urban monuments, Nelé Azevedo’s Army of Melting Men (see opposite page) has recently been coopted by the environmental movement as a poignant symbol of climate change, and the artist reveals that she is pleased her art can speak of urgent matters that threaten our existence on the planet. In this respect, the Brazilian artist states that our relationship with nature is something we have to rethink. For Azevedo, climate change reveals the interconnectedness of humanity by placing the same level of urgency upon all individuals, which from her perspective “demands a change in the paradigm of development.” By positioning her work towards the public milieu of social, political, and environmental life, Azevedo forces her audience to surpass the tired convention of sterile thought through direct interaction. In doing so, the artist engages the

community to assist in her investigation of man’s relationship to the monument, a symbol of urban development and the artificial world, which is an underlying topic of this series of installations referred to as the Minimum Monument project. After three years of experimenting with a variety of materials that ranged from clay to resin, Azevedo finally discovered the perfect medium that could poetically translate her stance on the fragility of man: ice. Since 2005, Azevedo has been creating her Army of Melting Men and subsequently placing them in urban metropolitan centers around the world. Although the amount of ice sculptures is dependent on the location of the installation and can reach anywhere from hundreds to thousands, wherever she goes, Azevedo creates a psychologically stimulating experience for her audience that is influential on a monumental scale. The heat that Robert Cannon, Hanging Garden

reaches the sculptures from exposure to the sun and the close proximity of its mass audience causes these tiny figures to slowly melt, each at a different rate. Having an estimated lifespan of thirty to forty minutes, the juxtaposition of the installation with the monument itself gives the inanimate objects a voice that visibly speaks of man’s vulnerability. The ephemeral and transient aspect of Azevedo’s Melting Men is symbolic of life and death, movement and change. In essence, man’s existence parallels that of nature; both are cyclical and can not be governed. The Brazilian artist explains how she and fellow artists Ana Rusche, Juliana Corradini, and Ana Paula do Val plan to expand on this theme with their upcoming project, Anhangabaú: a river for the absent ones. This installation, currently awaiting authorization from the Brazilian government, analyzes the concept of historical memory

while honoring the indigenous Guaraní people by resurfacing the historical layers of São Paulo, Brazil. Upon authorization, Azevedo and her team will symbolically recreate the Anhangabaú River that has been channeled and submersed beneath the concrete valley of São Paulo; once constructed, the work will display a specific text written in Guaraní and its adapted translation in Portuguese that reads, “The night of the new moon asks us for the maps submerged among the stars.” The recreation of the Anhangabaú River reflects on human evolution and the extent of our dependence on the artificial world that we have created, and thus by default, our disconnection with the natural world that we originally inhabited. In her own words Azevedo states, “the work forces the audience to nurture the necessity of poetic roots and to remember the urban rivers that once channeled and tend to be forgot-

Nele Azevedo, Minimum Monument, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin, 2009

ten by most of the population.” Just as Azevedo is channeling the memories of a more organic past, so does Israeli born artist Aharon Gluska who uses his art to stress the necessity of recollection in human consciousness. For Gluska, the direction of his art was easily dictated by the environment in which he spent most of his life. Growing up, the Israeli artist spent a substantial amount of time in the desert, which he says contributed to his love for nature. His fascination lies not merely in the beauty of nature, but more-so in the natural phenomena that has shaped the current landscape. The process of creating his art was akin to the complication of understanding nature itself. Without depending on technology, Gluska had to experiment with various methods, unconventional as they may be, that would metaphorically bring nature Feature


into his studio. The artist ultimately constructed a large bathtub, which he fills with water, black paint, and acrylic matte gel. After using a stick to create a series of disordered waves, Gluska begins to dip large pieces of Coventry paper into the water, holding it at various angles while moving back and forth. The final product mimics the natural movement and presence of wind responsible for the gradual and multilayered formation of the desert, depicting a landscape that appears virginal and untouched by mankind; the endless terrain bears a sense of peace, tranquility, and truth. The artist states, “It is important for me to remind the audience of nature before it was built and destroyed by civilization.” The fluidity of the process, and thus, the artist’s lack of absolute control on the final product echoes humanity’s inability to control the natural world: In the end it is nature that controls our existence. The contextual approach of Japanese artist and architect Kimihiko Okada is similar to Azevedo in that it relies on the forces of nature to help illustrate the changes occurring in the natural world. Okada’s Aluminum Landscape, which takes its name from the material used to create it, measured nearly seven meters in height and was supported by an internal steel structure that covered an area slightly over 900 square meters. Displayed in the sunken garden within the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo during the summer of 2008, the psychological weight of the installation was clearly matched by the magnitude of its physical presence. According to Okada, “The installation is complete when it affects or is affected by the surrounding environment such as light, wind, and the people who see it.” Mimicking the mountainous topography of the natural world, Aluminum Landscape relies on weathering, physical contact, and the passage of time to produce a scene that tangentially and organically alters its appearance. Okada, thus reliant on the forces of nature

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to complete his work, is keenly aware of what he sees as the escalating violence perpetrated against the world by natural disasters. The artist recounts the earthquake that struck North East Japan in March, 2011 and the resulting decrease in population, economic crisis, and disruption of nuclear power plants that caused both environmental damage and physical harm to the citizens of the country. For Okada, who was a victim of the natural disaster, the earthquake not only maintained the great power of nature but also emphasized that humanity is now at a stage where, as a collective society, antiquated belief systems need to be thrown away. The artist elaborated on this thought by stating that the earthquake “taught us that humans are no superior beings; humans are but one being that exist in one moment of Earth’s long history. We need to realize that the thought-tobe great [urban] developments can easily be swept away by the amplitude of nature.” One can only assume that, as a global society, we are not fully aware of the dangers we will face in the future. The work of Canadian sculptor Aganetha Dyck also represents the limited scope we currently have on the possible loss of a species we depend on. Although Dyck’s process of creating art may be considered an unconventional practice by canonical Western thought, it is one she has been executing for over twenty years. Her procedure begins with the placement of an object within the confines of a beehive. Giving up artistic control, Dyck depends on the honeybees, which she calls “the true creators”, to the build richly ornate and vibrantly colorful honeycomb structures around

each item. To Dyck, it is the mystery surrounding the honeybees, their gift of scent and their architectural abilities that attracts people to her work. While the compelling aspects of her sculptures conjure aesthetic stimulation, it also addresses the greater issue surrounding the extinction of the species. Many people are unaware of the fact that bees are the best pollinators

in the world, and thus by association, they remain oblivious to our dependence on them for successful farming. Moreover, these individuals neglect the reality of our economic reliability on the food and crops bees are responsible for yielding, and they forget the basic necessity of this agricultural produce for a fundamentally healthy diet. While many artists use their art to speak to greater levels of environmental issues, Dyck focuses on the power of the small. Her art not only represents her interest in interspecies communication, but on a symbolic

level, it questions the ramifications for humans, plants, and animals should honeybees become extinct. As Dyck utilizes her art to highlight the potential dangers humanity faces at the potential loss of our global ecosystem, Seattle based artist Vaughn Bell produces art that serves as a vehicle to challenge a viewer's outmoded perception of nature and humanity as

mutually exclusive. For Bell, producing art that does not conform to traditional practices provides a simpler manner in which to use the work as a vehicle to speak about complex issues. The artist is clearly more stimulated by attracting an audience through involvement, humor, and sensory elements than taking a didactic or confrontational approach. Simply step into one of her exhibitions and you are automatically confronted with her witty, yet engaging, artistic methods. In Village Green, a series of suspended terrariums that invite the viewers to physically “go inVaugh Bell, Village Green

side” (see above), Bell calls upon her audience to transcend their traditional modes of experiencing art and replace them with one that is more participatory and thought-provoking. Her playful tone is also evident in Surrogate Mountains, where the audience is invited to take a miniature version of Mt. Rainier for a walk. The nomadic mountain travels around the city using three wheels, a leash, and the assistance of its temporary guardian who happens to be listening to a recording of the mountain’s soundscape. As the natural soundtrack continuously merges with the sounds of city traffic, some very interesting conversations take place on the city streets. These moments of surprise and unexpected attention form the foundation of the artist’s public works. For Bell, who describes her work as a response to her “exploration of the paradox and ambiguity of our definitions of nature as something separate from humans,” creating sculptures that produce direct interaction with nature and the environment forces viewers to both confront the myth that humans and nature are separate entities and address their own interdependence with the natural world. It is evident that mankind’s inability to distinguish desire from necessity has greatly altered the planet’s natural landscape. While humans have become reliant on the natural world to secure their own resources, there seems to be a lack of awareness that humanity and nature are inter-dependent. There have been times in history when a more symbiotic relationship was the foundation of social order, and as these ideas are all but lost in a post-modern society, it is important

for artists to create works that remind the viewer of his or her responsibility to protect our global ecology, and thus, our future. Perhaps former president Lyndon B. Johnson said it best when he reminded us, “If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.” With a world full of people seemingly locked in a perpetual cycle of bad habits, this task is a daunting one. Similar to an infinite amount of other moral and cultural issues that our society is facing, sometimes a direct approach may not be the best one. The artists presented here utilize their cultural backgrounds and a wide range of media in an attempt to bring this relationship to light through their own interpretations. People need to know about these necessary changes, but they also need to feel them. The ability of art to affect people combined with the role of art as a universal language affords these artists and numerous others around the world a unique platform from which to provoke change. Los Angeles native artist Robert Standish makes the comparison in a musical context when he says that “Bob Marley could take a listener of his music to a place of relaxed listening with seductive rhythms and tranquil grooves as he called upon people for radical change and rebellion.” By virtue of the fact that nature has long served the arts as muse or canvas, these artists have a unique way of drawing the audience in, stimulating their senses, and engendering them with an unexpected and grave new perspective: without a more acute realization of our interdependence with the environment, humanity’s vital connection with nature might soon be lost forever. In Fall 2011, an exhibition featuring these artists will be on display at Rivera & Rivera Gallery in Los Angeles. Feature



LOS ANGELES David Scanavino Michael Benevento [Sept 23 - Oct 29]

Los Angeles

David Scanavino, Untitled, 2011, Institutional Linoleum, Wood, Hardware, 120”x120”.

Christopher Murphy and Michael Gregg Michaud Lora Schlesinger Santa Monica [through Oct 22]

(top) Christopher Murphy, Self Portrait as a Thug, Age Three, 2011, oil on panel, 30”x23”. (bot) Michael Michaud, Francisco, 1995, archival inkjet print, ed. 5, 8.5”x11”, printed in 2011.

This exhibition of new work from New York-based artist David Scanavino features site specific sculpture and installation. Installed near the gallery entrance is Corral (2011), a pair of parallel ten-foot columns laid sideways across a series of multicolored institutional linoleum tiles mounted on the gallery floor. Using the width and length of the modular 1x1 square foot tiles to inform the size and shape of Corral, Scanavino’s floorpiece examines the built dimensions of the gallery space. Interested in the architecture of intermediary spaces, Scanavino’s use of linoleum tiles as both flooring and a sculptural material creates an optical and material tension, his objects appearing to simultaneously dissolve into and pull away from the floor. Reorienting his focus form the horizontal to the vertical, Scanavino’s Untitled, Rope Column (2011), is a concrete cast of a structural column wrapped

in heavy rope that is later removed, leaving a deep impression. Installed to spiral upwards from the floor, Untitled, Rope Column plays with gallery’s unfinished black ceiling and calls attention to issues of positive and negative space. Installed in the gallery back room, Untitled (2011) – see left – nearly protrudes into the hallway. While elsewhere in the gallery the linoleum may function passively as a floor, Untitled uses the material aggressively. By installing such a large object in a small space, Untitled literally pushes the viewer from the room and creates a heightened awareness of often overlooked intermediary spaces. In site-specific, relief sculpture: Untitled, Los Angeles Times, August 13 – September 13 (2011), the artist reconstitutes newspaper pulp from a month-long collection of the L.A. Times and applies it directly to the gallery wall, leaving the identation of his hand.

Forget That You Were Young, a new series of paintings and drawings by artist Christopher Murphy, ingeniously examines the relationship between imagination and authenticity as it pertains to the essence of memory, creating harmonious imagery between dissonant elements. Through the combination and juxtaposition of old family photos and photographs found at estate sales and thrift-stores, Christopher Murphy explores the gauzy and hazy nature of memory. The unique qualities of semi-permanence and staged semblance, caught by dated technology in a moment's time, serve as a basis for the artwork. This series of work exaggerates, distorts and re-contextualizes the figures and objects creating an obscured reality that exists simultaneously, at the moment the photo was taken, in the memories of the moment, and in alternative possible realities. The oil paintings mimic and enhance the complexity of the imagery through their slow and laborious attempt to address a transitory moment that was initially captured with an instantaneous snapshot of a camera. The marriage of the imagery and the contrast in medium create an interplay of tonal contrasts in these works,

in which the humor flits around anger and absurdity pokes at earnestness. The gallery will also be featuring photographs by Michael Gregg Michaud. This collection of intense portraits began fifteen years ago as a photographic project. There are certain faces we are encouraged to admire, like those of celebrities and models. There are certain faces we are conditioned to ignore. We turn away from beggars and homeless people; we are afraid our gaze might be construed by some people as a confrontational challenge. 4th and Kenmore, Neighborhood Portraits in the Rampart Division of Los Angeles provides a personal and intimate look at the people who live in, or pass through, an infamous neighborhood of the city of the Los Angeles. Representing many nationalities, these unexpectedly beautiful faces not only define a certain neighborhood in a vast city, but they represent the body and soul of a city born of immigrants. Their eyes are filled with the same wonder, hope and fear all young people feel as they navigate their way into adulthood. Since the project began, many of these young men have moved on to attend school, work, and begin families of their own. Several have died.

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SAN FRANCISCO The nine paintings from Ruth Pastine’s Double Primary Red Blue series included in this exhibition examine the relationships between light, structure, and perception through the subtle gradations of primary and complementary color systems. With the introduction of deeply beveled canvases that liberate the painted surface from traditional stretchers, Pastine’s current iteration of painting brings the work into the realm of light and space. The tonal modulations are now enhanced by an ethereal quality, and create a dialogue between object, presence, and phenomena. The artist describes her process of painting as "driven by working serially and invested in the perceptual experience of color, light, and temperature.

The work is focused on the systematic process of painting, and draws from my interest in transforming the materiality of the painted surface into an optically immaterial experience." Within the layers of Immaterial Matters exists a dichotomy between structure and unpredictability, which informs the tension and the content of Pastine’s work. The duality between passion and control is represented in the seamless hand-painted surfaces of delicately shifting fields of opposing values and hues, an interplay between brilliantly saturated and more nuanced color. Pastine was born in New York City and has been exhibited widely in the United States and Japan, and is included in many public and corporate collections.

This two-person exhibition features sculptural works from Iranian artist Monir Farmanfarmaian and Beijing-based Zhan Wang. While addressing their respective cultural heritages, these artists share a concern for the distinct materiality of their sculptures. Utilizing materials with highly reflective surface qualities — with associations of progressive, cultural artifact — the works bring forth a palpable sense of contemporary place when encountered. The resulting dialogue of historic and aesthetic reference, alongside issues of cultural specificity, engages with the timely debate regarding the positioning of tradition within the context of expanded global access and widespread innovation. Monir Farmanfarmaian has articulated her singular vision for the last half century through reverse-painted glass and mirror objects that recall both Qajar-era Persian interior decoration and high modernist abstraction of the 20th century. Having lived in New York during the 1940s and 1950s, she absorbed the art of the new, Abstract Expressionism. This novel perspective — layered upon her knowledge of the arts and crafts of her native Iran and the refined historical decoration of its ancient cities — produced a distinct aesthetic fusion of Persian pictorial language and pristine geometry. Her work at once references the spiritual geom-

etries of Islamic architecture, most notably the tenants of Sufism, but with a distinctly post-modern edge. Farmanfarmaian was nominated for the 2011 Jameel Prize — the Victoria & Albert Museum’s biennial award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition — and will have a commission unveiled this spring at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the renovation of their Islamic galleries. For many years, artist Zhan Wang has produced sculptures based on an object symbolic of China’s past, the Scholar’s Rock, which was traditionally collected and placed in courtyards or other places of private contemplation. Zhan Wang’s stainless steel reinterpretations of this form draw attention to the shifting value system in China, from an appreciation of contemplation and meditation to the fervent pursuit of commercialization and commodification. These highly reflective works not only utilize the preferred new building material in his native country, but also quite literally reflect the rapid urbanization of modern day China and its increasing estrangement from the natural world. He recently completed a commission for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. Later this fall, Zhan Wang will be featured in a solo exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing.

Ruth Pastine Brian Gross San Francisco [through Oct 29]

Ruth Pastine, Fetish Red, part of Double Primary Red Blue Series, 2011, oil on canvas, 32"x32".

Monir Farmanfarmaian & Zhan Wang Haines Gallery San Francisco [through Oct 29]

(top) Zhan Wang, Artificial Rock #148, 2007, stainless steel, wood; with base: 34”x32”x19”, Monir Farmanfarmaian, Convertible Series, Group 12, 2011, mirror and reverse glass painting on plaster and wood, 6 parts, 59”x 59”x1.5”. Both Photos by Monique Deschaines, Courtesy of Haines Gallery.




NEW YORK CITY Sara Greenberger Rafferty Rachel Uffner Lower East Side [through Oct 13]

Rafferty: (top) Fig (Back), 2011, direct substrate print on plastic, 78”x48” Edition of 3; (bot) detail of Pat, 2011, c-print, 29”x18”, Edition of 5.

Jay Fine Kim Foster Chelsea [through Oct 15]

Jay Fine, Cloud over Ellis Island, pigmented ink print, 30”x29”. Courtesy of Kim Foster Gallery

Remote, a show of new work by Sara Greenberger Rafferty will inclde photographic portraits as well as larger scale works on acetate and Plexiglas. Sara Greenberger Rafferty has exhibited solo projects at The Kitchen, New York, MoMA PS1, New York, and The Suburban, Illinois. She has participated in several group shows at venues such as the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado, Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, Gagosian Gallery, New York, and the Jewish Museum, New York. While in the past Rafferty used the subject of mid to late 20th century comedy as an immediate reference point, her new pieces employ images of comedians and entertainers in a rather more openended way. With the “waterlogging” technique she developed for her gallery show in 2009 — with which she works liquid into inket just printed extant images, then rephotographs and digitally manipulates the mottled, apparently damaged results — Rafferty suggests not only the destruction and bifurcation experienced by individual bodies, but also the fascination with which our culture gazes at such images of harm. In a series of portraits that are arranged on a wall built at an angle within the gallery space, Rafferty presents worked-upon photographs of stills captured from disparate moving image sources, such as Steve Guttenberg in Police Academy or Gilda Radner from an uploaded YouTube performance

clip, in addition to contemporary television characters. Rafferty crucially renames them using gender-neutral monikers (such as Sam or Pat), to suggest the portraits’ detachment from their original subjects. This gesture towards interchangeability or shapeshifting chimes with the often abstract form the portraits take, where once-particular human faces devolve into bruise-like blurs of red and purple, or swampish green and yellow lacunae, suggesting the body’s halfdisturbing, half-striking destruction. The portraits’ uniform installation and sometimes repetitive source images are reminiscent of the now almost quaint arrangement of a TV store window, or even the more au courant, scrollable interfaces of a webpage or iPhone. The aggression inherent to the act of surveillance is further mined in the show’s larger scale work. In the life sized Fig pieces, the performing body’s vulnerability to the gaze is both emphasized through the water damage the images incur, and made more palatable by their sleek printing on acetate. Legs III’s empty nylons, hung high on the wall, can be seen as shriveled standins for the reduced human body, while in Window Piece, fluid-blurred kitchen knives are directed at a cut-out figure of an entertainer, suggesting violence, albeit one tinged with absurdity. [In conjunction with the exhibition, the gallery is publishing a catalogue with a text by Claire Barliant.]

The End of Manhattan, an exhibition of photographs by Jay Fine, which focuses on Lower Manhattan. Fine’s photographs have appeared in newspapers, magazines, websites, and on television throughout the world, including New York Daily News, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, BBC, The Sun, The Daily Mirror, National Geographic Magazine, as well as the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. In 2003, Fine moved to Battery Park City and began an ongoing project to document his surroundings. Perched forty stories above the City, he could find drama or news by looking out his window. Everything from

dramatic electrical storms (NY Harbor 9/22/10), to the errant use of Air Force One (Photo Op 2009), or the frightening echo of a mushroom cloud (Bayonne, NJ Monday Morning) were fodder for his camera. He focused on the daily comings and goings of NY Harbor, recording the sublime beauty and dramatic weather before him. On each anniversary of 9/11, he would aim his lens to the sky to capture the memorial lights as they rose into the clouds. Whether shooting aerial landscapes from his window or photographing from the street, his goal was always to capture the changing environment of Lower Manhattan after 9/11.

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EXHIBITIONS This exhibition includes a selection of photographs from Charlotte Dumas' new project and book Retrieved. Dumas was born and is based in the Netherlands. She takes animals as her subject, from domesticated pets to “wild” animals who live in varying forms of captivity. In all of her studies of animals, Charlotte Dumas highlights the intensity and intricacies of the relationship between animals and their human counterparts. Earlier this year Dumas set out to photograph the surviving rescue dogs that, in the aftermath of 9/11, worked at the sites at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Out of the group of almost 100 dogs originally deployed by FEMA, she located

15 surviving rescue dogs and arranged to photograph them. The now retired dogs are all still living with their owners, and she visited them in their homes in twelve different states. At the time of the attacks, all of the dogs were at least 2 years old, so today they are in their old age. Dumas has portrayed these dogs nearly a decade later, with the intention of reuniting them and bringing them together in the form of a book and body of work. She photographed the retired dogs in the familiar surroundings where they live with the handlers who accompanied them in 2001. [This series of photographs has just been published as a book by The Ice Plant.]

Lost Divers, Josh Dorman's new exhibition, includes new paintings on wood panel that combine the artist's unique mix of ink, acrylic and collage over antique paper. Dorman's use of weathered bits of collage material-all pre-photography, generally engravings from antiquarian books and manuals-allows his work to exist somewhere between the past and present, and often in both at once. This sense of dislocation in time is essential to Dorman whose influences range from Bosch and Sassetta to Andrew Bird and Italo Calvino. Dorman has always been interested in dualities, contradictions, and simultaneous realities. In his work, "Time shifts constantly, moves backwards, ceases. Space and scale are also unfixed: cities can be microscopic, paper-thin. They can mirror themselves underground; they can be inhabited by the dead," says Dorman. "My primary goal is to create worlds that are utterly specific and completely open." True to form, Dorman's newest paintings offer infinite suggestions

to their meanings and no explanation. The title Lost Divers hints at both purposeful exploration and accidental disappearance. Divers, many of which can be found hidden or plainly exposed in the works in this exhibition, are suspended between worlds, moving through atmospheres, and fraught with potential. The engravings of divers come from an antiquarian book on swimming and diving techniques and a Russian scuba manual from the 1940s. In recent paintings, Dorman has begun to collage in his own finely detailed graphite drawings, adding yet another facet to his kaleidoscopic images. Dorman works on the small drawings in an automatic fashion, moving from left to right across the paper without any initial sketch. In The Big Picture Show, the graphite drawing takes center stage. Illuminated by searchlights, it functions as both a billboard and movie screen, in what seems to be an otherworldly theater-laboratory hybrid. Whether man, beast, or machine is running the show is not clear.

This solo exhibition by Ian Pedigo will consist of recent sculptures, installations, and wall works. Pedigo continues to make sculptures imbued with artifactual significance. This is revealed through a process of peeling layers, creating visually formal relationships and conceptual congruence. The works begin with found images and objects that are added upon, altered, and edited in a process that echoes ritualistic practices. The results are forms woven from threads of ba-

nal occurrences and everyday life; evidence lying dormant in the dross surrounding us. The title of the show is an adaption of a line from Paul Eluard's Surrealist poem, "The Earth is Blue Like an Orange". Pedigo makes reference to the sense of melancholic beauty coupled with the impending mortality eluded to in Eluard's verse. Pedigo shares an interest in the temporal relationship with our environs. [The show coincides with the publication of Ian Pedigo 2007-2010.]

Charlotte Dumas Julie Saul Chelsea [through Oct 15]

Charlotte Dumas, Merlyn, Otis, CO, 2011, chromogenic print, edition of 7, 12”x16”. Courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery in New York.

Josh Dorman Mary Ryan Chelsea [through Oct 22]

Josh Dorman, A Mighty Rain, 2011, ink, acrylic and antique paper on panel, 34”x33”. Courtesy of the artist and Mary Ryan Gallery, New York.”

Ian Pedigo Klaus von Nichtssagend Lower East Side [through Oct 16]

Ian Pedigo, An Article From Distant Memory, 2011, found metal wire structure, charcoal, paint, paint marker, permanent marker, canvas, wood 96”x30”x4”. Courtesy of the artist and gallery.



EXHIBITIONS Sarah McKenzie Ian Bekman Bowery [through Oct 23]

McKenzie, Memorial, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, 36”x54”. Courtesy of artist and Jen Bekman Gallery

Kris Chatterson Jeff Bailey Chelsea [through Oct 16]

Kris Chatterson: (top) Untitled, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 60”x66”; (bot) detail of Untitled, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 30”x40”.

Samuel Rousseau Parker’s Box Williamsburg [Sept 22 - Oct 30]

Samuel Rousseau, Brave Old New World #3, 2011, medium board, acrylic, video projection, 41.75”x27.5”x1”. Courtesy of Parker’s Box.

Void is the second solo exhibition of paintings by Sarah McKenzie. Anonymous hotel rooms, nondescript city views, and construction sites are the subjects of McKenzie’s show. Depicted in large-scale and intimately-sized works with subdued colors and minimal compositions, these spaces belie the power and intensity of McKenzie’s newest paintings. A sense of wanting in their solitary, empty atmospheres is heightened by obscured vantage points— McKenzie’s subjects are seen from above and at ground-level, through hotel win-

dows, curtains and screens. Alternately transparent and opaque, Void gives shape and presence to absence and loss, enveloping the viewer in deafening silence. McKenzie says about the thresholds: In addition to the windows, there are doorways, tunnels, holes. These are liminal zones, where one might pass from one space or state of being to another, but often a curtain, screen or reflective surface interferes, holding the viewer back at the point of transition. Transition is thus presented as a continuous state. We are ever in flux.

Kris Chatterson's abstract paintings evoke vast, ever changing and unfamiliar spaces. In a multi-step process, he combines images from his earlier paintings with layered patterns that he creates on a computer or smart phone. These are manipulated, distorted, then printed and transferred to a painted surface (where he continues to paint and build the overall image). As Chatterson states, "Being able to work digitally allows me to create infinite possibilities while working with very little". The computer acts as a synthesizer of Chatterson's

abstract forms: calligraphic gestures are manipulated into non-linear spatial compositions. However, the physical act of painting is equally important. It is the combination of each method that enables Chatterson to create his unique imagery. Shades of grey and black are mixed with one or several highkeyed colors. Giant brush strokes, magnified pixelations, dot matrixes and tunneling perspective collide and morph, suggesting both creation and destruction. Distinctions between physical and abstract worlds break down and shift into a new type of pictorial space.

French artist Samuel Rousseau will present part of a new body of work developed specifically for the exhibition during his recent residency at PointB studios in Williamsburg. The new works constitute Rousseau’s homage to the energy of New York City, and will concurrently feature as his participation as one of four nominees for the Prix Marcel Duchamp, France’s most prestigious contemporary art prize, to be presented at the Grand Palais in Paris in October. While Samuel Rousseau’s practice may be unreservedly pluridisciplinary, he regularly returns to one of his most successful formulas, that of projecting images onto, or into three-dimensional volumes of vastly varying scales, placed in diverse contexts. A number of works corresponding to this technique emerge as landmarks that trace the development of the artist’s career and recognition. On previous visits to New York, Samuel Rousseau had been struck by the feeling that the city was a huge, perhaps slightly archaic machine, nevertheless

full of energy and unstoppable movement. In observing the buildings, sky-scrapers, chimneys etc. he began to see them, not only as phallic symbols of power and potency, but also as if they were pistons of this huge, living, breathing, fuming, clanking, sighing, grinding machine, constantly in action 24/7. The title of Samuel Rousseau’s exhibition, and his latest series of works, indirectly revives the irony of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 book, while somehow situating New York in it’s evolving position in the pecking order of world cities. It was once the freshfaced archetype of the New World in comparison to the Old World of Europe, while today it increasingly feels as if it represents the “new Old World” of aging skyscraper cities in relation to the “new New World” of sparkling skyscraper megalopolises such as Shenzhen or Chongqing. At the same time, New York’s authenticity, energy levels, and belief in itself have not diminished, an aspect that both inspired and influenced him in the realization of these new works.

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PHILADELPHIA New paintings by Philadelphia artist Neysa Grassi are presented alongside a selection of works that marked the development of her art in the last decade. The idiosyncratic technique of Grassi creates a tormented, multi-layered surface that “owes much to destructive forces – abrading, scraping, running out – to the extent that what has been removed from the linen support, what was once there but can no longer be seen, significantly contributes to the power of the work.” (Jonathan Binstock) The artist’s new paintings unveil an inner radiance in old rose and grey hues or in shades of blue, from cobalt to steel color. Here, the meditative abstractions mistily evoke water, rosebushes, stones, or clouds, but Grassi’s paintings “neither exclude resemblance nor rely on it. Its point is to aid us in approaching the singularity of the pictorial sensation, not lead away from it.” (Barry Schwabsky). IN COG NITO, a solo show of Rob Wynne featuring new glass sculptures together with early works from the ‘70s on. This exhibition of Wynne’s work presents

Dust And Shade: Drawings By Charles Ritchie will show 27 drawings completed in the last two years. The works are in a variety of sizes, the smallest 3 ¾ x 2 ¼, the largest 18 x 22 inches. Intimate in both scale and subject matter, Charles Ritchie draws what is most near and dear to him; his studio, his home, and surrounding houses in the small cul-de-sac where his lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. The drawings are both monochrome and color. Some are all graphite. Most contain some mixture of the following media: graphite, conté crayon, watercolor, pen and ink, and gouache. A set of three drawings was done quickly, two hours each. Many drawings were done over periods of years. One drawing is still being developed after twenty-five years. In addition to the drawings, Ritchie will show several journals. Since 1977, he has recorded images and notes in a series of sketchbook/ journals that now number 135 books. These volumes are both settings for intimate wa-

new mirrored-glass words and revisits early mixed-media pieces that contextualize his long-standing interest in, and engagement with text. The early framed pieces on display include embroideries, candle-smoke drawings, photographs and photograms, “typewriter pieces”, collages, and cutouts. Wynne’s early pieces unfold what would become a long-lasting exploration of words, connotations, metaphors and the relationship between text and its visual rendering. The first glass sculpture that Wynne created lies on a strip of sand; the transparent threedimensional letters read Invisible (1992). Recent poured-mirrored-glass letters spell out After All, Be For Long, For Ever, In Tu Ition, In Cog Nito… Wynne choreographs the glimmering letters on the wall, giving them a “theatrical form.” “I pick words or phrases from anywhere I find them –from existing poetry (from Charles Baudelaire to Gertrude Stein, and Wallace Stevens), from things that pop into my mind, snippets of conversation overheard, to obsessive rhythmic reference to words that resonate in my mind.”

tercolor studies as well as dream repositories. Ritchie’s work is included in the collections of The Baltimore Museum of Art, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Yale University Art Gallery. He is the recipient of the Franz and Virginia Bader Fund and five Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Awards.

Neysa Grassi & Rob Wynne

Locks Philadelphia [Sept 1 - Oct 8]

(top) Neysa Grassi, Untitled, 2011, oil on panel 20”x20”. (bot) Wynne, Invisible, 1992, blown glass, sand. 96”x18”x7”.

Charles Ritchie Gallery Joe Philadelphia [Sept 24 - Oct 22] Ritchie: (top) November, 1999-2011, conté crayon, graphite, and water color on Fabriano paper, image: 18x22.25"; (bot) detail of Graphite Night I, 2009-2011, graphite and watercolor on Fabriano paper, image: 4.75x9”.





FORSMAN, Chuck_Interstate Alms_ oil on panel_51.5 x 72.5 inches

Chuck Forsman Robischon Denver [Sept 15 - Oct 29]

Gregory Euclide David B. Smith Denver [Sept 15 - Oct 15]

Euclide: (left) Surrounding my hands in the stain of warmth sinking, acrylic, pencil, found foam, lichen, lily seed, moss, Mylar, photo transfer, pine, plasti, sage, sedum, sponge, wood, wire, 23”x29” x 8 in. (right) Patterns of my own acceptance became making, acrylic, pencil, fern, found foam, lichen, moss, photo transfer, pine cone, plastic bag, sage, wire, 23”x29”x6“.

Esteemed Colorado artist Chuck Forsman’s newest exhibiton, Interstate Alms, features ten paintings highlighting the culmination of the artist’s decade-long “Vietnamerican” series. As one of the region’s most distinguished artists, Forsman states that by blending images from Vietnam and the U.S. his work offers to “bring union where division once reigned; reconciliation where there was discord.” Speaking to this timeless, human desire for post-war restoration, Forsman presents his singular perspec-

tive, bridging the politically-charged landscape of foreign policy while reflecting on an American way of life through domestic land-use. From his inimitable soaring vantage point and the juxtaposition of East and West, “Interstate Alms” points to a complex and deeply-felt period for Americans and for the artist as a veteran. Forsman often returns to Vietnam on extended visits, acknowledging one of the formative influences of his life – viewing now both its landscape and culture from a much different perspective. The artist brings his perspective back home in two of three new paintings solely about the West. The potent theme of humankind’s mark on the landscape is carried forth demonstrating Forsman’s uncanny ability to find the sublime and heroic in even the most devastated terrain – real or surreally imagined.

In this new series, which includes installation work, Gregory Euclide moves his artistry to a new level while exploring the tensions, confusion, and contradictions between pristine nature and the culture in which we live. He continues to ask how we can simultaneously preserve the environment and maintain the benefits of a modern lifestyle. Euclide poses these questions in the form of increasingly complex and engaging relief works. The compositions contain a mixture of landscape images, painted on paper and shaped into threedimensional sculptures. The wrinkled sheets of paper that are the foundation of these works carry a blend of imagery containing picturesque landscapes drawn from memory, photo transfers based on nature photography, and areas of raw paint. Euclide integrates actual artifacts from the land, such as geranium leaves and fungus, and places them in juxtaposition with found, inorganic materials, such as Styrofoam (used to represent strata) or

plastic bags (delicately reformed to represent trees). It is this tension between the realistic and the representational, the pristine and the changed, which makes the work so engaging. The exaggerated folds of thick paper transform the traditional landscape images into a dimensional topography that should be viewed from a variety of perspectives. These new terrains - painted on both sides and containing hidden vignettes and small treasures - encourage the kind of exploration one might experience in nature, rather than in a traditional landscape painting, and invoke a mindset of investigation, discovery, and imagination. The exceptional craftsmanship and detail, clear artistic ability and skill, and uniqueness of the presentation combine to create individual and intriguing works of art. One of the works on display in the exhibition is Untitled, the inside album cover artwork for the recently released, self-titled album by Bon Iver. It was also featured on the cover of "Calgary," the group's first album single.

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EXHIBITIONS For his new exhibition of collage-paintings, Art and the Law, Love and War, and Other Non-Stories by Peter Plagens. the renowned artist and art critic explores sets of collagepaintings. Peter Plagens is essentially an abstract painter, albeit in the artist’s words, an impure one. The sets aren't narratives, but stories. Deliberately ironic, the artist/writer’s clichéd, textbookish titles are Plagens’s way of attempting to achieve the great and overarching, exampled by an eccentric and very specific visuals. Plagens’s present work includes mixed media on paper. Explosion of colors are presented on virtually a white background. The use of oil and water allows for colors to spill out from each other and seep into the paper. The full-chroma on a loose, painterly ground or “color badge” technique creates staggering layers, add-

ing brilliant and contrasting effects, such as depth, contradiction, and spontaneity. “The physical material itself often decides the question: when I just can't do anything more to the painting without turning it into the beginning of another one, then it's done,” explains Plagens. Peter Plagens was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1941. He received a B.F.A. degree from University of Southern California in 1962 and an M.F.A. from Syracuse University in 1964. Plagens has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in Painting and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in Painting. He was Mellon Distinguished Visiting Professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, Fall 2005. Peter Plagen's work has been shown in solo exhibitions throughou the US, including the Hirshorn Museum

Kabakov, an exhibiton of the work of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, is the first time the artists have been show in DC since the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s 1990 exhibit of Ilya Kabakov’s Ten Characters, an installation recreating the conditions and attitudes of the communal apartments that sprung up and flourished just after the 1917 revolution in Russia. Ilya Kabakov (b. 1933, Ukraine) began his career as an illustrator of children’s books in 1950s Moscow. His government-sanctioned career provided him with the resources needed to pursue secret artwork in his spare time. In these private works, he explored the illustrator’s role as an interpreter of text and image, often highlighting the inevitable discrepancies between the two kinds of information. As he says, “I see this fundamental conflict—of speech devoid of meaning and meaning not given form by speech—in everything that surrounds me, and above all, in myself.” Through fictional characters, his works examine societal transitions between construction and decline, two opposing and linked forces that form a similarly imperfect cycle. Emilia Kabakov (b. 1945, Ukraine) and Ilya have worked collaboratively since 1988. Their work has been shown in more than 170 museums in more than 40 countries, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum,

the Centre Pompidou and the Stedelijk Museum. In 1993, they represented Russia at the 45th Venice Biennale. Their work is the subject of more than 40 published books. In 2004, the Kabakovs became the first living Russian artists to exhibit at The State Hermitage Museum. Earlier this year Ilya and Emilia gifted to the museum Ilya’s The Red Wagon, an installation first exhibited in 1991 at the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf, Germany. The gift is in celebration of the museum’s upcoming 250th anniversary. Kabakov features a scale model of the “Ship of Tolerance,” a proposed project to construct and launch a life-size ship following an ancient Egyptian design. Children’s drawings depicting social, cultural and political tolerance decorate the ship’s masts. The project was conceived as a worldwide event and was first realized in Siwa, Egypt, in 2005. Launches from several ports across the globe have been made, and future launches proposed. Also on view: a scale model, drawings and schematics for “The Large House of Humanity,” 1998, a project designed for Washington, DC that was never implemented. The model shows a traditional American home with a mansard roof. Suspended from the ceiling inside the house are wire letters that read: “Since home we have but one, this earth we live upon. With our home in constant motion we are striving toward the stars.”

Peter Plagens Rule Denver [through Oct 29]

Peter Plagens, Love and War 2, 2011, mixed media on paper, 12"x9".

Ilya & Emilia Kabakov Hemphill Washington DC [Sept 24 - Oct 22]

Ilya & Emilia Kabakov: (top) The Ship of Tolerance, 2006, Ed. 3, wood, cotton, bamboo, 56”h x 21”w x 65”l (bottom) Charles Rosenthal: The Unfinished Landscape # 3, 1912, 1999, oil on canvas, 34” x 47”. Courtesy of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov and Hemphill Fine Arts.



“Crouching Warrior” oil on panel , 13”x11.75”

1 O1 Grand Street Brooklyn, NY 1 1 21 1 71 8 302 2242

Richard Timperio Paintings 2O11 Through 9 October

Take the L train to Bedford Avenue, walk south on Bedford to Grand Street, then walk west to 1O1. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 1 pm to 6 pm Or by appointment 71 8 302 2242

Kathleen Vance New Work 14 October – 6 November


Award-winning artist and art critic F. Lennox Campello has authored the first ever art book focusing on artists from the greater Washington, DC area. With more than 700 images, this beautiful hardcover coffee table art book from Schiffer Press is available from your local bookstore, online or by calling 610-593-1777.

Book Details ISBN: 9780764337789 224 pages, 8½x11â€? Hard cover with 735+ images

Reconsidering Van Gogh A New Book Takes a More Sympthatetic Look at the Artist by Roberta Carasso

Perusing the recently-released book, Van Gogh’s Untold Journey by

William J. Havlicek, I gained several insights on Vincent Van Gogh’s artistic genius and the essence of the man himself. Most striking are the three areas of the artist’s life the book reveals. First, and woven throughout, Prof. Havlicek (who teaches Contemporary Art at the Laguna College of Art and Design) focuses more on when Van Gogh was “normal” and lucid than on his periods of mental depression. While Prof. Havlicek does not deny that the artist was disturbed, he prefers to hone in on times that depict Van Gogh’s art at its best so that the reader can reach its true legacy. Second, the author highlights Van Gogh’s literary passions; and how he cherished those, like himself, who suffer. His Christian perspective saw the experiences of those in distress as a religious devotion, a sacrifice for a higher spiritual purpose, perhaps leading to Van Gogh’s appetite for books about those who were the underdogs of society, books by Charles Dickens, Harriett Beecher Stowe, and Victor Hugo. The works of these literary giants, who elevated the lonely, poor, and scorned, brought Van Gogh comfort as their writings confirmed his belief in the sufferer — those who sought “light in darkness.” Readers will be surprised to learn that literature was, at times, a source of inspiration for Van Gogh’s art. Third, Van Gogh’s Christian beliefs are shared by the author and are the underpinnings of Prof. Havlicek’s research. His research parallels the philosophy of the artist making Prof. Havlicek the perfect writer of this book. The book has been written based on the original letters of the artist. Prof. Havlicek spent 15 years reviewing all the letters and immediately came to the conclusion that it was best to focus on what Van Gogh wrote rather than rehashing what had previously

(Clockwise from top left) Van Gogh: The Starry Night, 1889. Oil on canvas. Museum of Modern Art, New York; Self-Portrait, 1889. Oil on canvas. Musee d’Orsay, Paris; Portrait of the Artist’s Mother, 1888. Oil on canvas. Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, California.



been presumed from his art. The author attempts, and succeeds, in avoiding the trap many have fallen into, of engaging largely in Van Gogh’s degenerative behavior. Rather, Prof. Havlicek throws the spotlight on his highly artistic nature, his love of literature, his being a brilliant writer, which is clearly evident in 902 letters written in Dutch, French, and English. Also of importance is that the artist had studied Latin and Greek. Van Gogh was a key artist in the Post-Impressionist era, a distinction he never realized in his time. He painted at a critical era, when art was undergoing a fundamental shift; artists were depicting color, shape, space, and light for their own sake, a perception that paved the way for further art movements and eventually pure abstraction. Van Gogh’s oil on canvas brushwork transcended convention. He painted freely in thick, twisted and turned strokes of paint. His masterfully applied brush work evolved into heavy surfaces that often combined the three with the two-dimensional. Van Gogh was a colorist. He often dared to break with tradition to bring about unrealized color possibilities others may have tried briefly — or never have considered. Van Gogh would put two colors together to electrify an image. Or, he would put a light pigment next to a dark pigment; or one over the other or close together. He freely used light tones close to its darker version. The artist used green for the face, yellow for the sky, and many other color configurations that forced other artists to rethink their palette. Van Gogh worked passionately as if he were being directed outside himself. A devote man, he rendered landscapes, flowers, fruit, and portraits in homage to the holy magnificence of the universe he cherished. He was, indeed, a prolific artist, turning out a staggering body of paintings, drawings, and prints — an amazing accomplishment considering his brief life of just 37 years. Prof. Havlicek explores the artist’s life through letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, and the correspondence of his sister-in-law Johanna. In this daunting task, Prof. Havlicek real-

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izes that there was a neglected dimension of Vincent, the untold journey of “…an unknown, adventurous, deeply compassionate man whose essence seems to have been lost in the dramatic and often apocryphal stories surrounding his illness and early death.” Prof. Havlicek writes that Van Gogh was healthy and outgoing most of his life but during his final 16 months he developed a form of epilepsy accelerated by his abuse of absinthe, a toxic liqueur which affects the central nervous system. Hollywood movies, sordid stories, and other misperception of the real facts have altered the public’s perception of the artist. Those final months were to sadly eclipse Van Gogh’s otherwise positive attributes, and belie the true character of the man. The most important person in Van Gogh’s art historical life was his sister-in-law Johanna. It was she who preserved and chronicled over two thousand of his works of art and all his correspondence. Both Theo and his beloved brother Vincent were to die within about a year of each other leaving Johanna with a baby and very little money. Yet, despite Vincent’s art not being appreciated during his short lifetime (he had sold only one painting), it was primarily Johanna who realized his genius and his value to art history. Prof. Havlicek made a significant discovery while living and researching in Holland. He found that Van Gogh’s idea for the renown painting Starry Night came directly from a passage in Viktor Hugo’s book Les Miserables. Prof. Havlicek points out that Vincent’s favorite motif was a shining star or the blazing sun or moon. He was fascinated by the idea of “light out of darkness,” which was also the theme of Les Miserables. Hugo’s hero, Jean Valjean, in

his youth was imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread, spending years in the most vile of prisons. Light came, but darkness, in the form of the policeman, Javert, sought to extinguish it. In Les Miserables, there is also a priest, Father Bienvenu (translated as “good is coming”), also called the “Benedictine Father.” The priest represents supreme holiness, the best of humanity. At the end of his day, the Bishop would go into his garden and would see the starry night. The bishop — the epitome of charity, especially for neglected children — spoke to Van Gogh’s soul and to his early experiences, working with coal-mining families. In reading Van Gogh’s letters, the great art historian Meyer Schapiro, suggested the connection between the book and the painting. Schapiro saw how the writer and the artist both saw that “God is a lighthouse in eclipse.” Prof. Havlicek takes Schapiro’s concept and supports it with further evidence, making the connection a reality. Interestingly, Starry Night is considered one of Van Gogh’s most significant paintings, and the contemporary musical, an interpretation of Hugo’s great literary masterpiece, has also been extremely successful. Perhaps viewers of both works of art are drawn to their profound and similar message of the just underdog who finally realizes light out of darkness. Prof. Havlicek adds that there is a thirst in many people for uplifting and true stories. They especially side with the defeated, which to some extent is true of both Van Gogh and Jean Valjean. Prof. Havlicek’s seminal book Van Gogh’s Untold Journey reveals a far more sympathetic Vincent, and to a large extent, redeems much of the apocryphal renderings of the artist’s true nature by ACA past commentators.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam features William J. Havlicek’s book in its bookstore. It may be purchased directly from the publisher at Creative Storytellers at — a division of Progeny, Inc., a children’s charity committed to exploited and endangered children worldwide. A large percentage of net profits go to support these children. nReaders might also be interested to know that Van Gogh’s letters are available online at: Roberta Carasso can be reached by email at:

56 A|C|A September 2011


Ashley Chistine Bauer

IN HER OWN WORDS This latest series is about identity issues involving the unchosen aspects of selfhood, while using my own identity as a vehicle. I have abstracted the most basic aspects of what a stranger sees in passing, a Caucasian female, and then ascending into an exploration of my relationship with these aspects in regards to a lost sense of heritage and the burden of an illusive history passed down by unknown ancestors. The work has a presence. It seems to breathe and demands a whisper as the hair clings on to passerbys. The notion of these objects as predominately decorative, weak and inherently female in their perpetuation of societal expectations of gendered values is subverted as the figures are purposely innocent and sexual, powerful yet unaware of the power they possess, while confrontational and unforgiving in their stance. The bras are presented to the viewer as if they are something they can try on, as if one can change these aspects about oneself similar to just trying on a new outfit. Growing up I had always wanted to be a boy. It was never that I did not like being a girl, it was more that I got along with and fit in with the boys in their allowance of terrorizing the playground. As I got older there seemed to be a forceful transition of how the world worked, where gender now permitted or deterred certain behaviors. The problem lies in knowing that there is an enduring acceptance of sexism and continuation of racism. Even in the language we use on a daily basis we can see a gendering of words, not to mention a hierarchy of how we implement language. Take for example how people typically describe themselves. We would rarely meet a Caucasian male that would describe himself according to his gender or race, but a female or non-Caucasian would be more inclined to include one or both of these attributes. Small differences like this have an effect on culture. This installation originated from a previous project I had been working on, which dealt with issues involving stereotyping in the media. I was playing with ideas involving self-fulfilling prophecies and the pigeon-holing of groups by Both images: Ashley Christine Bauer, Shedding My Skin, 2010, mixed media installation.

the West's media saturated culture. This made me wonder where I stood in regards to Caucasian women in the media. In looking into myself, I wanted to challenge and explore notions of idealized femininity. I decided to focus on the time period in one's life where there's a split of sorts, where you are forced to realize a gender or risk being ostracized. It's strange how we continue to chase after that idea of what a woman, or even a man for that matter, “should” be for so many years after puberty comes into fruition. It's hard to avoid. Just going through the check out at the grocery store can be a belittling experience with all the magazine covers spewing “weight-loss secrets” and tips on how to “snag the right man.” The funny part is we live in a very media literate society and we know that most of what we see is not a reality, yet we still buy into these old scripts. It's incredibly frustrating because as far as we have come, these ideals are still upheld, otherwise the world of advertising wouldn't be so permeated with them. My inspiration comes from a number of sources which include Hollywood glamour, editorial fashion, and artists such as Aurel Schmidt, Princess Hijab, Jessica Stoller, Sue Williams, Cindy Sherman, Hank Willis Thomas, and Nathalie Djurberg to name a few. I have also been very interested in Stanley Deetz's theories about the structure of language and how it constructs our realities. In his book, Communication and Society, he states: “The concept of ‘race’ and a full linguistic system of race distinction and talk arose out of 19th century biology and was developed as a means of explanation, division and exclusion. Modern biology does not support the naturalness of the distinctions but we still talk as if ‘race’ was a category of nature.” A similar distinction can be made with gender and the language used in describing distinctions and said characteristics of masculinity and femininity. As for the future, I am shifting my work's focus from the chapters of our lives that have been written for us, to those in which we have yet to discover. As my mom used to say, we must know where we've been to know where we're going. Artists



Christine H. Buchsbaum


Christine H. Buchsbaum does not pander. At a

glance you see tragedy, then you laugh, then you realize your laughing at tragedy, then you become conscious of this affect, then you marvel and realize this paradox and actually see the work, and then you just want more. This cycle is why Christine is not a photographer. She uses ‘photography’ to document events from her life via “actual’ irony -- as opposed to this delusional trend in pop culture of what “irony” is. Christine’s irony, however, becomes inert once the viewer becomes aware of the “actual” content; thus, as she doesn’t speak, she is saying even more. This secret forces a narrative within the mind of the viewer: it’s more than photography; it’s relational aesthetes, obscured. Her works taps into what Nicolas Bourriaud recognizes as “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.” The paradox and the tragedy is that she can never experience her work, and another irony is this is, in fact, what she is attempting to do, to re-see herself. It’s impossible, and this aspect makes her work stand out from most. Also impressive is that she has achieved all of this without making that much work; in 2010, she only made four pieces but was in fourteen shows. She therefore ducks the cliché of the photographer who takes 1000 shots to get 10 good

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ones. Instead, she is much more in the realm of a painter/ sculptor with regards to her practice of production. She does the same when it comes to the ‘objects’ she presents in the white cube: large scale digital prints mounted on aluminum in editions of 2 — they confront you in a way that seeing them online doesn’t. From a formal standpoint her work has carved a landmark in the Denver art world — as a refreshing departure from politics, poetics, kitsch, preaching, superstition, technology, gossip, redundant trends and interior design wall-art. Of course, at times all of those things exist within her work, when viewed, because of the baggage of the audience (and that’s fine: it always happens, but it’s a jugger-


Christine H. Buchsbaum

naut of postmodern/hollywood miscommunicated jargon). Christine is fighting against ideas like, “the presumption of mass-produced identity and ready-made experience - a preseumption that makes the expression, appreciation, or even the perception of our everyday distinctions next to impossible,” Dave Hickey. People cry: it’s ok to cry. The appearance of nostalgia happens for a reason — so you remember: good, bad, so you don’t get eaten, et cetera (“Why then,” said one, “do you not die?” “Because,” said he, “there is no difference,” Diogenes Laertius {Thales}). We live in a surreal world and her work evokes emotions that few do - there is a difference between ‘trying to impress’ and ‘impressive’ (It‘s funny how people who know about art don‘t seem to know what ‘art’ is while people who claim to know about art often say things like, “…but, I know it when I see it”.) Christine is ‘phenomenon’. And ‘I’ happen to know that she is constantly working on her pieces in concept and theory - both consume her: ’I’ know this because I live with her. Everyday she is perfecting and I’m just waiting for the next explosion. And, I’m not

alone: people are excited to see what she will do next, which is also a testament to the raw power of her work. As is this article. The fact is that if you find her work dark, it is you who are dark, for you are supposing such content. Christine is also a member of the Denver based collective Pink Collar Glam (Tiffany Kennedy, Chrissy Espinoza, Holly Johnson, Brittany Gould, Helen Logan, Margret Neuman and Christine Buchsbaum). A group of female artist based around friendship in contemporary art: a combined affect towards community via synergy. And, though feminist issues my be address at times - they are not exclusive (to assume that Pink Collar Glam is a feminist coalition because they are all female is sexist). They just happen to be female and friends and want to have shows. They have recently become members at the Ice Cube Gallery in Denver. — Harry C. Walters Buchsbaum’s show, Ghost, is at Pirate Contemporary Art in Denver. For more info, visit Artists



Lesley Vance


Lesley Vance: Untitled, 2011, oil on linen, 13"x10.75"; Untitled, 2011, oil on linen, 19"x14". Both images courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Photography: Fredrik Nilsen

From June 25 through August 13, 2011, David Kordansky Gallery will exhibit a new body of work by painter Lesley Vance, an artist who quickly entered the spotlight after her work was selected for the 2010 Whitney Biennial by curators Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari. I sat down with Stuart Krimko, Associate Director of the David Kordansky Gallery, to gather an inside perspective on the artist, her theory of painting and why demand for her work is flourishing. Julie Novakoff: How did you discover Lesley Vance’s work and when did you start working together? Stuart Kimko: We are very proud to say

62 A|C|A September 2011

that Lesley Vance is one of the foundational artists of the David Kordansky Gallery. David Kordansky and Lesley Vance attended CalArts together. They were part of a small group of friends that formed an artist collaborative, so you could say that early on there was recognition of a shared scene, if you will.

she is also a theorist. I think this is what set her apart and allowed her to participate in a dialogue among more conceptually based artists at CalArts. Even so, it is interesting that Vance thrived in this environment. She trusted her process, developed her ideas, and became a very strong artist.

JN: CalArts has a reputation for critiquing conventional ideas about art making and it is arguably a particularly antagonistic environment for painters. It is interesting to note that Vance, a painter in her own right, excelled in this environment.

JN: Vance has cited seventeenth-century still life painting as having an influence on her work. Can you elaborate on this idea?

SK: Vance has always painted and has known she wanted to be a painter, but

SK: Vance draws from the history of painting and has taken an interest in 17th-century Spanish still life paintings, particularly looking at the affects of light and the way it transforms ob-

EXHIBITIONS ARTISTS jects. Like 17th-century Spanish still life painters, Vance’s process begins with the observation of actual objects that she arranges and lights in the studio. She records her observations in the form of drawings and then moves to the canvas to begin building a painting. JN: Can you further explain what it means for Vance to “build a painting”? SK: For Vance, paint provides a window into a fictional space. She experiments with colors, shapes and forms, often inventing things on the canvas. Vance's paintings make use of a full range of effects associated with oil paint. Their compositions, activated by illusionistic plays of light and wet-onwet brushwork, function as vessels for the movement of paint itself: for hue, viscosity, and the relationship between hand and medium. The work is defined by this simultaneous action, one in which paint can be seen both for its intrinsic properties and for its ability to imply fictive spaces. 
 A still life is a perfect metaphor for what is possible in art. With them we can take objects from the real world, represent them, kill them and also keep them alive. A few years ago Vance’s work had a blatant representational ethos. Now, you will never quite recognize a particular tableau that she has arranged in a finished painting. It has been very cool to see this evolution in her work. JN: So there is a definite spontaneity to Vance’s paintings? This is something to get excited about… SK: Absolutely. The still life part of her work is really just the fuel for the invention on the canvas. JN: What is something most people would not know about Vance’s paintings? SK: Most people would not know that Vance has been looking at Surrealist work. She has been looking at Magritte and you will notice that the light in her paintings has begun change. It has be-

come more “other worldly”, more open and mysterious. JN: Can you tell us a little bit about the current exhibition? Are there any overarching themes/premises? SK: Vance has been working on this body of work for the past year. The exhibition will include twelve drawings and ten watercolors, works on paper. The watercolors are completely finished works, and I think it will be really nice to see these in the context of her work. They all [watercolors] have a different relationship to the hand because of the material and the kind of light that is transmitted onto water as opposed to canvas and oil paint. No overarching themes. Each painting is its own universe. If people have only seen the works in the 2010 [Whitney Biennale] the forms in these new pieces, both the works on paper and paintings, look more attenuated. In some cases, it is less about a solid mass in the foreground or the center of the painting as it is about more calligraphic forms that inhabit the borders and edges of the composition. That is not a blanket statement but rather something to look for in this body of work. JN: Vance is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but has lived in Los Angeles since graduating CalArts in 2003. What exactly do you think has kept Vance to Los Angeles? Does this feed into her work? SK: (laughs). You hear Ed Ruscha talk about the light of L.A., but I have never heard Vance talk about this specific goldenness. I do not think with her that the influence of Los Angeles overt. I think being in Los Angeles in a more indirect way feeds into her work. The strength and breadth of the Los Angeles art scene has been growing during the last ten years and this is something that many artists want to be part of. JN: You mentioned that the gallery has received many calls regarding this forthcoming exhibition. Are all the

works already on reserve? SK: I can’t say for sure. I mean, yes the demand far outstretches the amount of work we will have in the exhibition. We have had a steady, well, more than steady (laughs), interest in her work. Demand for her work has been building within the last year and a half, shortly before her work was chosen for the last Whitney Biennale [2010] and her work is already in great private and public collections. JN: Any particular collections? SK: I really can’t say. JN: Can we find out which collections on your website? SK: No. We do not include this information in an artist’s CV. I can only say that Vance’s work has already been placed in great local institutions and private collections all over the world. JN: Would you consider this Lesley Vance’s “breakout gallery show”? SK: Vance has already received a lot of attention. Before the 2008 crash, people were super-heated about any artist coming out of a decent MFA program. Now, I think people are redefining their focus and responding to artists who are in their 30’s, who are showing at a good gallery and making stronger and stronger work. That I think is more valuable in every sense of the word. JN: What is most captivating about Vance’s work to you? SK: As a contemporary artist it is interesting to see how she takes the traditions of painting and makes them her own. I am magnetically drawn to her work, captivated time and time again by the brushstrokes in her paintings and their ability to seduce you into thinking they are actually transmitting ACA a real light. Artists


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