Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Some shows that went away, but still resonates

All of these Chelsea based gallery shows written about below are closed now, but I could not bear the thought of deleting pictures of them before writing a bit about them.

Laurie Hogin’s paintings engorge the optic nerves with their hyper-realistic attention to detail using an old-master type technique to critique facets of the American culture. At Schroeder Romero, she showed four small works that takes aim at the pharmaceutical industry and their fixation on selling sleep inducing and anti anxiety medications to a public that may not have the greatest need for them - of course, once presented with an easier way to achieve a stated goal, we automatically drift to procure the same (medications that ease the attainment of sleep, sex, food or work fall into the same genre). Sonata, Ambien, Lunesta - all these have become common place names thanks to the heavy dosage of marketing that accompanies the sales of the same. On seeing these pictures again this evening, it did not escape my mind that anti-anxiety medications Xanax, Valium, and Ativan, the sleeping medication Lunesta and the sedative Restoril were found close to the dead body of the Australian actor Heath Ledger (from TMZ.com). A great review of her paintings here on Salon.

On the hundredth anniversary of Cubism, I ran into some endearing wood sculptures/ paintings by Donelle Woolford at the Wallspace gallery. She is a Harlem based artist who weaves wooden chips and cast off wood pieces into a collage-like sequence within the borders of a traditional picture to produce compelling works. On entering the gallery, the works seem like meticulously rendered paintings with their stark contrasts catching the eye. On closer examination, it is clear that the artist has carefully assembled the wood scraps to develop what she calls 'objects from memory'. Thought I did not find any recognizable patterns in the paintings here, it definitely was a visual treat

Autoversion Ltd, a nondescript gallery on 17th street, housed on the second floor of what looks likes a fallout-shelter type building hosted a 'themed-group' show featuring three artists and their interpretations of the human skin (titled, well, appropriately SKIN). From raw urban sexuality to defining identity, this small, one room gallery show was good. Pia Dehne stretches shimmering pantyhose over her oil on canvas paintings giving them a dark, albeit sexy allure. Paul Brainard shows skin in a very Paris Hilton kind of way - flaunting it for all its worth, large sunglasses and all. His drawings were detailed and the single oil painting on the show was fabulous. Sissel Kardel's paintings were the ones that I least understood in relation to the subject matter of the show. The brochure purports that Sissel's paintings of mythical nudes depict them in a state of unbalance on their way to nirvana, but I did not run into any karma here save for the visual pleasure of good work and technique. This show might have been a little better off had there been some kind of accompanying material/handout that viewers could use to glean the historical aspects of appropriating skin in art, but wishes were not horses..

Laurie Hogin, ‘Rozerem’, Oil on panel, 12” X 12”, 2008


Laurie Hogin, ‘Sonata’, Oil on panel, 12” X 12”, 2008

Laurie Hogin, ‘Lunesta’, Oil on panel, 12” X 12”, 2008

Laurie Hogin, ‘Ambien’, Oil on panel, 12” X 12”, 2008

Laurie Hogin's pictures, Installation view

Donelle Woolford’s painting/sculpture

Donelle Woolford’s painting/sculpture

Donelle Woolford’s painting/sculpture

Donelle Woolford’s painting/sculpture

Pia Dehne, 'Untitled', nylon and collage on canvas, 40" X 48", 2007

Pia Dehne, 'Untitled', nylon and collage on canvas, 40" X 48", 2007

Paul Brainard, 'Our lady of Joy', Oil on canvas, 46" X 52", 2004 - 2006

Detail of above

Paul Brainard, 'The sound of violins', Graphite on paper, 13" X 16", 2007

Paul Brainard, 'Sporty tits for summer (Apologies to Sne Ha Raja)', Graphite on paper, 29" X 36", 2004 - 2006

Sissel Kardel, 'Humpty Dumpty', Oil on wood, 12" X 16", 2008

Sissel Kardel, 'Uroborus', Oil on wood, 45" X 66", 2008

Sissel Kardel, 'Prey Not', Oil on wood, 12" X 16", 2008

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