MADISON, Wis. — Nathaniel Mary Quinn is one of the best portrait painters working today and the competition is steep. Think of Amy Sherald, Elizabeth Peyton, Kehinde Wiley, Nicole Eisenman, Allison Schulnik, Mickalene Thomas, Jeff Sonhouse, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Chris Ofili, Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Lynette Yiadom- Boakye to name a few. It could be argued that these artists are not exclusively portrait artists but artists who work with the figure. The line blurs. If identity, memory, and personality enter the pictorial conversation, however, then the work tips toward portraiture — meaning it addresses notions of likeness in relation to a real or metaphorical being. No longer … Read the rest
LONDON — At first glance, Bill Viola and Michelangelo seem to have little in common. Born a few centuries apart, one is a pioneer of video art who is influenced by ancient religions, the other is a Renaissance master and a devout Catholic. The contrasts could not be sharper, yet Bill Viola/Michelangelo: Life, Death, Rebirth at the Royal Academy of Arts faces the challenges of highlighting their shared preoccupations with grand themes.
The two artists meet in the exhibition’s second gallery, which houses Viola’s three-video installation, Nantes Triptych (1992). From left to right, it portrays a woman giving birth, a … Read the rest
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Skulls proliferate. Scraps of faded denim merge with handmade embroidery and store-bought Día de Muertos fabrics. Images of the Virgen de Guadalupe minister to innumerable names — hundreds, thousands — and an equally innumerable number of anonymous human remains, indicated as “unknown,” or by the analogue term in Spanish, desconocido. This is the Migrant Quilt Project, and it serves as a register of every soul whose remains have been found since 2000 in the Tucson Sector border-crossing area between Arizona and Mexico.… Read the rest
Patchworks of brilliant periwinkle, coral, cyan, canary yellow, and papaya orange-red tiles make up the stalks beneath teal, turquoise, and pistachio leaves. Amidst them, a hair pick of charcoals, mochas, and ash grays with a handle resembling a fist stands poised in a leafy base. The intricate design by Firelei Báez resides not with her artworks at the Studio Museum of Harlem or MoMA, but in Washington Heights’ 163rd street subway. It’s one segment of Báez’s proposal commissioned by MTA Arts & Design for the station’s redesign. According to … Read the rest
SINGAPORE — Of the three works visitors are most likely to bump into first after entering the 60,000-square-meter space of the National Gallery Singapore to view its latest — as well as Southeast Asia’s first — show on Minimalism, Minimalism: Space. Light. Object., none of them feel explicitly Minimalist. Sopheap Pich’s “Cargo” (2018), which comprises two, six-meter-long shipping containers made out of bamboo, rattan, and metal commissioned by the gallery, suspended by wires several meters in the air, looms over the heads of guests and gives the sense of an alien light fixture before it registers as … Read the rest
In 2015, I flew to Detroit to see a large survey of paintings and drawings by Brenda Goodman at the College of Creative Studies, with some works dating back to when she was a student there (1961-65). Michelle Perron, a longtime champion of the artist, organized the show. That exhibition, along with a survey exhibition of her works on paper at Paul Kotula Projects in nearby Ferndale, gave me a wider perspective on an artist whose trajectory over the past 45 years — when she first began exhibiting — is unlike anyone else’s. Central to this path is Goodman’s preoccupation with the … Read the rest
David Rabinowitch was born in Toronto, but since 1972 he has been living in New York, where his artistic output, mostly sculpture and works on paper, has been the source of admiration for those who appreciate craft and the transmission of cultural knowledge in art.
His Périgord Construction of Vision Drawings, the series currently on show at the Peter Blum Gallery, on the edge of Chinatown, derives from Rabinowitch’s extended experience in the Périgord region in southern France; he has been visiting the Romanesque churches in abundance there, and has used their physical plan as a source … Read the rest
SEOUL — Noh Sangho’s solo exhibition, The Great Chapbook II, contains more than 1500 works. Hundreds of plastic ziplock bags containing Noh’s watercolor drawings hang on 11 chrome garment racks affixed to the brick walls of Seoul’s underground gallery, Arario Museum in Space. The drawings are the results of the artist’s daily digital activity: Noh collects images from social media and search engines, prints a dozen every morning, traces them using carbon paper, often merging two or more source images, and “colors” them. His sources include Instagram posts, mostly from fashion or commercial photography; video chats; stock photos of people at the beach … Read the rest
British-Ghanaian artist Lynnette Yiadom-Boakye’s canvases call attention to the simple pleasure of looking, even as they acknowledge the complex, freighted nature of the act. Her celebrated portraits of fictional imaginary black people, whose bodies are in various states of pose and repose, are expressive marvels of wet-on-wet painting. Her charismatically nonchalant brushstrokes contour moody sections of paint that cohere into low-contrast compositions in which figure and ground incorporate shades of coffee, tan, and brown. Even as she uses overcast, muted hues to underscore her subjects’ bodily expressions of malaise and ennui, Yiadom-Boakye’s canvases affirm painting’s tactile verve.
Yet her subjects’ introspective languor can make … Read the rest
Jim Osman’s suite of new sculptures in The Walnut Series, the artist’s sixth solo show at Lesley Heller Gallery, lures viewers into a charmed pathway of house-like, stack-like, friendly-like, even rather unlikely-like wooden constructions that invite interaction and visual deconstruction, dismounting, repositioning, and intermixing.
And they do so individually as well as collectively.
And they all derive from plentiful tinkering.
Osman’s sculptures are generally autonomous and individually considered, but the artist tends to produce them as series of works conceptually or materially tethered in various ways. On the conceptual end, he has made and presented his very selectively, softly … Read the rest