Category: Exhibition Reviews

Deborah Brown’s “Things As They Are”

Deborah Brown’s Reprieve from Isolation 

Photography by Stan Narten. Image courtesy of Anna Zorina Gallery, New York.

In her first solo show with Anna Zorina Gallery, Deborah Brown’s “Things As They Are” is a reflection on the world as a whole, not just the state of humanity during COVID-19 quarantine. The exhibition features new paintings that were created over the last year in complete isolation from the world. The show takes place at the 532 West 24th Street from January 7 through February 13, 2020.

The artist has spent the last ten months furiously working on this new grouping of works. Many creatives have spent their quarantine flooding social media with memes and views of their homes, but seasoned painter Brown has done the opposite and created a spectacular exhibition that has transformed the way she creates by looking within herself for inspiration.

The themes in her Anna Zorina debut depict art historical standards of self-portrait, still life, and landscape, but cumulatively, Brown paints a cohesive new body that truly captures the feeling of isolation. Though the drudgery of everyday feeling exactly the same is present, there is a lot of optimism that seems to ground every work. In the stand out work entitled Tiger, the artist depicts herself sitting in a post-modern chair seated with her legs crossed reading an unnamed book. On one side of the figure is a small dog, the other a large tiger sculpture, and the entire scene is draped in shadow and light from a paned window. With a moderately ambiguous space, the artist expresses a lot of what is going on the entire exhibition and in the world around us. There is an overall feeling of isolation, solidarity with the artist’s surroundings, and a very abstract and uncertain understanding into what … Click here to read more

“EXODUS V: Aesthetics in the Political”

The Elixir of Ataraxy in a Sea of Trouble

Image courtesy of WhiteBox Harlem

For nine long months the United States has been facing severe distress from the coronavirus forcing the closing of galleries, museums and art centers in New York City. But WhiteBox Harlem continues to independently operate as a community engaged nonprofit venue, a beacon for art lovers for 22 years despite facing numerous crises over the years. Over two decades, it has nurtured many outstanding artists in New York City and abroad, continuing its mission as an experimental center for experiencing new art with social èlan. 

“Exodus V: Aesthetics in the Political” is an exhibition curated by New York-based Kyoko Sato. This remarkable curatorial creates new metrics putting under scrutiny a diverse, singular group of 17 contemporary expat Japanese women artists aged 31 to 84 who chose to emigrate to New York to continue and expand their careers in a less constrained atmosphere than back home. Due to the increasing number of practicing female artists in the art scene in the past 30 years, art museums in Western countries have begun to have many feminist inspired exhibitions awakening the public’s attention to this voluminous subject. Most exhibitions tend to emphasize the inequality between men and women, or talk about women’s sexuality openly such as women’s awareness of the autonomy of their bodies. Time and again, some of these thematic shows unfortunately become cliché. In the spirit of finding a differential, I was quite curious to see how “Exodus V” may be different from many of these other women’s exhibitions I have witnessed.

Image courtesy of WhiteBox Harlem

At the opening reception I went through the entire exhibition and interviewed several of the exhibiting artists. I must confess my experience and exchanges observing the whole affair felt like … Click here to read more

Ned Martin “Spirits Through Time”

The Duality of Ned Martin

Image courtesy of Robert Berry Gallery

Ned Martin created a dual style presentation that features both sides of his personality in “Spirits Through Time,” his second solo exhibition with Robert Berry Gallery, and challenges the viewer to contemplate the notion of time, the balance of humanity, and to reflect on the state of the world in these 15 new works mostly painted in the past few months during his unexpected quarantine in South America. 

There are two parts to the show: the abstracted landscapes that Martin has been working on over the last few years, and the new portrait paintings combining elements of abstraction and figuration. To anyone who has been following the artist over the last four decades, you’ll know that he was classically trained at the Schuler School of Fine Art, and to this day still mixes his own colors and always builds his own painting surfaces to ensure that he has full control over every element that goes into his work. 

For the last few years, he has used reclaimed aluminum printing plates on which to create his landscape works. The metal plates were originally used to print tabloid stories and advertising, which tend to be disposed after a few uses since there are remnants of images and text. The artists states that, “All of that imagery, paired with the landscape work, creates a sense of beauty mixed with commercial messages.” It’s the juxtaposition of the natural beauty of the landscape imagery that is combined with consumerism which is the driving force behind a lot of Americans that creates such a powerful dynamic. Martin also discusses his background of living in rural Pennsylvania on a farm, and his recent passion for camping, which has changed how he relates to nature compared to … Click here to read more