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NYC January 25, 2014

To begin, I need to back up for a second to last Thursday, Jan. 23. I forgot to tell you that “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago is at the Brooklyn Museum. If you have never seen it, you may want to check it out. First exhibited in 1979, it created a lot of controversy. I’ll say no more. You may want to “google” it and read about it. I’ll include a couple of photos in this blog post.

Now, on to Saturday, January 25, when Carl and I visited several (not all) galleries in Chelsea. I won’t tell you about everything that we saw, that would be way too much, way too long. I will concentrate mostly on art that has something to do with collage and/or assemblage – even if the relationship is a slight one. Our first stop was at Paul Kasmin Gallery where we saw photos by David LaChapelle. These photos are huge and, in person, it takes a little while to realize that they aren’t what they seem. The size obscures the details more in person than in my photos of the photos. On first impression they appear to be strangely lighted real factories or refineries or something big and industrial and in full operation, pulsing and smoking. The colors are rather garish and bright and seem out of place. Then, on closer look, these “factories” are actually assemblages of junk. Here is a descriptive quote by someone named Shana Nys Dambrot:

“The sites depicted in LaChapelle’s LAND SCAPE represent the globally networked industrial infrastructure of oil production and distribution. The gas stations and refineries that populate iconic locations are staged as architectural avatars of a planet coping with the stresses of peak-oil – even as the buildings’ dazzling spectacle and retro-future aesthetic distracts from the dangers of their function. Both bodies of work use handcrafted scale models, constructed of cardboard and a vast array of recycled materials from egg cartons to tea canisters, hair curlers, and other by-products of our petroleum-based, disposability-obsessed culture.”

Three artists were exhibited at Gallery Ho, and one of them was Manju Sandler. I was intrigued by her combination of materials: acrylic paint, grease pencil, handmade paper, graphite, thread and changeable vinyl on printed and sewn polyester film. I have no idea what changeable vinyl is – I’ll have to look that up. SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery was showing the work of Eve Ingalls, whose collage work was bordering on sculptural. A large piece of fly screen , with an open-gridded weave and no frame hangs 12 inches out from the wall. Paper pulp has been embedded in the gridded structure of the screen, forming marks that resemble pixels. The lighting is such that moving shadows spill out of the screen and are caught and focused on the wall. The screen and the shadows play against a collaged background piece that is attached flat against the wall. An interesting take on collage, almost 3-D. I can’t say I really liked either of these works, but the methods and materials did inspire me.

The Painting Center presented a group exhibition titled “Materialists” and the work of one artist caught my attention – Art Guerra: “Guerra is an artist who makes his paint from beginning to end, using outrageously “outside-the-box” materials, as well as traditional ones. He paints in layers, paying equally close attention to the under-painting and over-painting, and working until a previously unseen visual effect reveals itself. In these works, much of the paintings surface is covered by glass beads of various sizes, as well as glass flakes. He colors beads and flakes with transparent and light reflective pigments. The beads reflect in a 300+ degree arch, while the flakes reflect directly back at the viewer. Effect-pigments shift color through interaction with the existing environment. In essence, the painting will reflect in a myriad of ways, depending upon both its surface as well as the prevailing ambient light. He also uses other media, such as tire rubber, to tone down the surface in order to intensify the reflective elements.” So, my question is, is this painting or collage? Or is it, perhaps, some sort of hybrid of the two?

Also, at The Painting Center, but not a part of the “Materialists” show, was a great exhibit of collages by Lawrence Terry. I had never heard of this artist, but I really enjoyed this work. His composition and color are both very strong, and his methods and materials include “smoking, burning, line carving, metals and pigments.” Here is his website in case, like me, you are curious to see more: lawrenceterryarts.squarespace.com

Christophe Pouget was showing at Emmanuel Fremin Gallery – not a new process, but I figured I would include it anyway. He merges multiple photographs into a single image; the overall pictures seem to form a coherent whole, but is contradicted by small details, noticed at a second glance, which defy the normal logic. He lives and works in Lyon, France and some of his images made me long to be back there, as well as back in Nice. Sigh.

At Galerie Lelong we saw an exhibit titled “Footprints on the Ceiling” (which I could see no meaning for) by Emilio Perez. The works themselves, although well done, didn’t interest me all that much, but his method interests me a lot. Here is a description: “Perez’s paintings result from an unorthodox method, which oscillates between additive and subtractive mark making. Perez begins by covering one or more wood panels with enamel paint in a variety of colors. After the enamel dries, congealing into a shiny plasticlike surface, he covers it over with coats of white latex, creating in essence a new blank surface upon which to paint once again. He then applies acrylic paint in a loose,gestural style. Once he has assembled those thick layers of paint, he then cuts into them with an X-acto knife, much the same way that Henri Matisse drew his late cutout collages with a large pair of scissors. Removing angular blocks and serpentine strips of paint, he lifts one small area at a time, to reveal passages of the enamel beneath. The result is that the traditional distinction between foreground and background collapses,and negative space all but disappears. Perez’s studio floor bears witness to this subtractive method: piles of dried paint in peeled tendrils and arabesques have accumulated along the concrete floor.”

Stephen Haller Gallery was showing the work of a photographer, but had a few works by other artists in the far back room. One of them was a collage by Michel Alexis, and it reminded me of the work that Jean Swanson brought to the last ISW meeting – the one that the group declared finished but that Jean feels is not. So, Jean, does this work remind you of yours?

And my final artist to show you in this post is Mark Fox. His exhibit was titled “MFKPMQ” and was at Robert Miller Gallery. Here is something from the press release: “Mark Fox’s process revolves around the interplay between chance and intention. His two-dimensional drawings often begin with paper “drop cloths” upon which stains, spills, doodles and stray text fragments accumulate before he makes the first intentional mark. His “cut” drawings involve cutting and reassembling the original images into formal constructions, creating new meanings and associations from the juxtaposition of elements. Fox often references text ranging from mythology to religious doctrine by painting the words in oil, ink and acrylic, then cutting them from their paper grounds and assembling amorphous, cloud-like masses that render the text difficult, if not impossible, to read. The resulting forms reflect the power and delicacy of the texts Fox has destroyed to create them. These works also allude to his fascination with narratives that often govern our actions, even though we may not fully understand them.”

Well, we saw about 3 or 4 times as much art as I’ve shown you here. And I have 10 photos I didn’t show you for every one that I did show you. And I’ve only spoken very briefly and incompletely about the artists and the works, yet this is a very long blog post! So, if any of these artists interest you, you can look them up and read more about them and see more of their works. And, if I have worn you out, you can sit and rest awhile on that bench in the final photo. But don’t sit too long or you will get frost-bitten. Check back again soon for blog posts for Tuesday and Wednesday. And I’m heading out again tomorrow, Thursday. So lot’s more to come.

Judy Chicago, "The Dinner Party."

Judy Chicago, “The Dinner Party.”

Judy Chicago, "The Dinner Party," Detail.

Judy Chicago, “The Dinner Party,” Detail.

David La Chapelle. Sorry, I don't have the titles for each work. This is the full photograph.

David La Chapelle. Sorry, I don’t have the titles for each work. This is the full photograph.

David La Chapelle, Detail. Bowling balls! Baseballs! Cell Phones! Lighters! All kinds of junk! And, yes, that's me reflected in the glass covering the photo.

David La Chapelle, Detail. Bowling balls! Baseballs! Cell Phones! Lighters! All kinds of junk! And, yes, that’s me reflected in the glass covering the photo.

David LaChapelle. The complete photo.

David LaChapelle. The complete photo.

David LaChapelle. Detail. Hair curlers!!! Does anybody use these anymore? Maybe only for assemblages such as this.

David LaChapelle. Detail. Hair curlers!!! Does anybody use these anymore? Maybe only for assemblages such as this.

Manju Shandler, "Moby Under," 2012. Full work.

Manju Shandler, “Moby Under,” 2012. Full work.

Manju Shandler, Detail.

Manju Shandler, Detail.

Manju Shandler, Detail.

Manju Shandler, Detail.

Manju Shandler, Detail.

Manju Shandler, Detail.

Eve Ingalls. Sorry, don't have the title for this one.

Eve Ingalls. Sorry, don’t have the title for this one.

Eve Ingalls, Detail.

Eve Ingalls, Detail.

Eve Ingalls, Detail.

Eve Ingalls, Detail.

Art Guerra. Sorry, don't have the title for this one. Complete work.

Art Guerra. Sorry, don’t have the title for this one. Complete work.

Art Guerra. Detail showing the glass beads and glass flakes. I'm wondering what else he might have in there.

Art Guerra. Detail showing the glass beads and glass flakes. I’m wondering what else he might have in there.

Lawrence Terry. From the "Tattoo" series, but I don't know the specific title. Complete work.

Lawrence Terry. From the “Tattoo” series, but I don’t know the specific title. Complete work.

Lawrence Terry. Detail.

Lawrence Terry. Detail.

Lawrence Terry. Detail.

Lawrence Terry. Detail.

Lawrence Terry. From the "Tattoo" series. Don't have exact title. Complete work.

Lawrence Terry. From the “Tattoo” series. Don’t have exact title. Complete work.

Lawrence Terry. Detail.

Lawrence Terry. Detail.

Christophe Pouget. Don't know the exact title. Complete work.

Christophe Pouget. Don’t know the exact title. Complete work.

Christophe Pouget. Detail.

Christophe Pouget. Detail.

Emilio Perez. Again, I am missing the exact title. Complete work.

Emilio Perez. Again, I am missing the exact title. Complete work.

Emilio Perez. Detail.

Emilio Perez. Detail.

Michel Alexis at Stephen Haller Gallery.

Michel Alexis at Stephen Haller Gallery.

Mark Fox. Again, I don't have the title. Got to get better about that! This is the complete work.

Mark Fox. Again, I don’t have the title. Got to get better about that! This is the complete work.

Mark Fox. Detail.

Mark Fox. Detail.

Mark Fox. Even closer detail.

Mark Fox. Even closer detail.

Mark Fox.

Mark Fox.

Mark Fox. Complete work.

Mark Fox. Complete work.

Mark Fox. Detail.

Mark Fox. Detail.

Mark Fox. Even closer Detail.

Mark Fox. Even closer Detail.

View of our icy cold walk through Central Park last Sunday, Jan. 26.

View of our icy cold walk through Central Park last Sunday, Jan. 26.

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Debi Pendell Artist by debipendell.com