Category: Exhibition Reviews

Taney Roniger “Other Rivers”

Capturing a moment that will never occur again

Installation view of Taney Roniger “Other Rivers”. Courtesy of Robert Berry Gallery.

In her first virtual solo exhibition taking place at Robert Berry Gallery from February 11th – March 14th, 2021, New York-based artist Taney Roniger has created large-scale charcoal on paper drawings that are recreations of tiny gestural drawings that she had made in under a minute. These monumental re-creations take up to a hundred hours to create per work.

The original process of creating spontaneous gestures is all about capturing a moment that will never occur again. They are expressions of unconscious impulses, both internal and external. The laborious recreating the spontaneous is a way to preserve a specific moment of time. She understands that there is a bit of humor in the process, but it’s not about that. It’s about capturing the energy and uniqueness of an instant that is typically lost forever. Similar to her early work where the process of creating was depicted on the canvas by creating patterns and sequences of pin prick holes added to an ornately surfaced media. In those works, the specific process of creation is readily apparent to the viewer, whereas in these new drawings, one only sees the accumulation of time spent marking charcoal on paper. 

“Other Rivers #8”, charcoal on watercolor paper, 42 x 65 in | 107 x 165 cm 2020
Courtesy of Robert Berry Gallery.

Other Rivers refers to Heraclitus’s dictum that you never step in the same river twice, as the river is always changing, and so are you. It refers to the fact that the artist is trying to recreate something that cannot be re-created–a particular moment in time–so it’s not the same river but rather another. The charcoal drawings might be thought of as odes … Click here to read more

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