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Archive for January, 2013

Aran Cravey Gallery: Tara Geer | when we are at sea in the evidence

This week’s post comes compliments of Aran Cravey Gallery. We asked them to write about their upcoming solo exhibition of drawings by Tara Geer . If you happen to be in Venice, CA. between January 26th and March 10th, definitely stop in to see it!

Tara Geer: when we are at sea in the evidence

What does it mean to have a visual experience? ‘Seeing’ is not a passive occurrence – to see an object or facial expression is an active experience.  It is at once an act of cognition and visual exposure; we recognize, identify, and conceptualize. For Tara Geer, the act of drawing becomes a way to see the world, and in her works, deconstruction becomes a strategy to expose the comfort of recognition. Every instance of seeing is manifested through the lens of our experiences; to see is to make intentional connections between what is in front of us now and instances in the past. Thus, in her works a division takes place between our visual experience with the abstract flurry of charcoal, chalk and pencils and the title, implicating what the viewer observes on the paper is a documentation of something found in the tactile realm.

Tara Geer, staring into space, 2012 charcoal, chalk, pencil, and pastel on paper 20"x30"

The twelve works exhibited for this show materialize through the medium of drawing: chalk, charcoal, pastels, pencils and erasers on paper. There has been a notable return to abstraction in painting; these works attempt to negotiate the practice of painting itself rather than the experience of a painting itself. Geer’s resolution in limiting her palette through the use of drawing materials allow the works to disembark from a discussion on abstraction as it is expressed in painting. Despite being abstract, the viewer does not have a purely optical experience with the works. Through our struggle for recognition we are pushed to reflect on our own engagement with visuality in the day to day.

Tara Geer, how it feels--inside the space, 2012 charcoal, chalk, pencil, and pastel on paper 20"x30"

As a drawing instructor, Geer’s philosophy on how one learns to draw is intertwined with her idea of seeing. Geer explains, “The hardest thing about drawing is nothing technical in your hand; the hardest thing about drawing is looking.” It follows that interacting with Geer’s drawings is itself a visual exercise. We question the process with which we recognize things, what happens when we look at a recognizable object for an extended period of time, until the individual aspects which made the object whole and perceptible fall apart into their own visual entities. What happens here is curious; words become a useless descriptive tool.

Tara Geer, diebenkorn's driveway, 2012 charcoal, chalk, pencil, and pastel on paper 20"x30"

Paul Thiebaud Gallery: Work in Focus

This post comes courtesy of Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco, CA.

Work in Focus: A painting by Mark Innerst

Mark Innerst, Ferris Wheel, 2006, oil on panel, 9 7/8 x 11 7/8 in.

Ferris Wheel, 2006, depicts “The Giant Wheel,” a Ferris wheel located on Mariner’s Landing Pier, a part of the Wildwood boardwalk, not far from Innerst’s home in Cape May, New Jersey. The structure congers the feelings of the nostalgic, carefree joys often associated with childhood. One is reminded of the palpable thrill of riding the line between balance and uncertainty, alternately lifted and lowered by the revolving wheel.

Several years ago, the artist moved from Manhattan to Cape May, one   of the country’s oldest seaside resorts. Unlike the urban landscapes depicted in prior bodies of work, the artist focused on images of classic Americana, especially as derived from amusement parks and boardwalks.

Innerst’s begins with photographs and sketches of the subject matter. Commencing on the actual painting, he layers oil paint and glazes onto the panel, achieving an almost jewel-like, enameled finish. In Ferris Wheel, resplendent shades of rust, crimson, yellow, and white create a luminous structure that shines and shimmers in contrast to the dark background. The sky glows teal where illuminated by the Ferris wheel and fades at the edges into the deep blue of night.

The structure becomes almost abstracted, a crisscrossed pattern of line and color. Quick, short brushstrokes hint at the shapes of bucket seats hanging precariously at the upper edge, high above the unseen ground. There is no true sense of time or place, as only the top half of the ferris wheel is visible. However, movement is inferred, as the wheel continues revolving outside the picture plane.

Innerst’s work has been compared to that of the Luminist painters, such as Martin Johnson Heade, John Frederick Kensett, and Fitz Hugh Lane, active in the late 19th-century. These painters were linked in their concern with the clarity of light in landscapes or seascapes, use of an aerial perspective, exceptionally detailed objects, and few visible brushstrokes leaving a smooth surface. He has also been compared to the Precisionists of the 1920s—a group strongly influenced by Cubism, whose industrial subjects focused on sharply defined, geometric forms. This painting by Innerst certainly embodies characteristics observed in both styles, tempering the tranquil mood conveyed by the luminist painters with the harder-edge realism of the precisionists.

Time and Space on the Lower East Side: 1980 + 2010

This week we’ve been lucky enough to have Dillon Gallery’s director, Eric Walstedt, share his personal thoughts on their March show “Time and Space on the Lower East Side: 1980 + 2010”.  Enjoy!

1980 was a crossroads year in New York, both for the city and for me. The city was just beginning its recovery from the financial collapse of the 70s and the heroin epidemic had peaked and begun its slow decline. I bought my first apartment that year, a railroad flat in a tenement between avenues C & D that cost $1,000 and looked out over desolate 8th Street. Blight was everywhere, particularly in the East Village with its burnt out buildings and burnt out human beings, but creative ferment and unexpected beauty also found expression.

East 4th St.

Last fall, when I first saw the series of Brian Rose photographs from his recently published book, “Time and Space on the Lower East Side: 1980 + 2010”, the connection was immediate and visceral. I knew these places; I had lived in that world, on those same streets at that exact time. There are many ways a gallery chooses artists but the most interesting tend to involve a type of serendipity; such was the case here.

The logic of taking on a new artist, of course, has to go far beyond affinity and coincidental connection. As a gallery just beginning to expand its photography presentation, Brian Rose represented a major step forward for Dillon Gallery. We were clearly attracted by the extraordinary quality of the images, but also by his artistic lineage as a student of Joel Meyerowitz, renowned street photographer, mentor and inspiration to an entire generation of color photographers, and by Brian’s representation in some of the most important museum photography collections in the world, including MOMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the George Eastman House.

We made a fairly quick decision to include works from “Time and Space…” in our rather eclectic booth in Art Miami 2012. Our show there combined works by young Japanese artists, Ultra Violet, Warhol’s muse of the 60’s and 70’s, and the photographic works of Maurizio Galimberti, Seth Casteel and Brian Rose, among others. We were gratified, even a little surprised, at the intensity of the reaction to what Suzanne Vega calls, in her introduction to the book, Brian’s “unsentimental, pitiless vision.” However, she also cites his “deep love for New York City, which is abundantly evident here in these pictures,” and which undoubtedly contributed to the response. It certainly had resonance for me.

Booth in Art Miami 2012

The photographs from 1980 were executed in collaboration with fellow Cooper Union graduate Edward Fausty and the works from 2010 on Brian’s own, with Edward’s blessing. In 1980, it was probably essential that they traveled those streets together. I remember a friendly block party at a community “garden” on 7th Street that year, a few raised beds amidst the rubble, where in a short space of time a friend’s Nikon was stolen and a loaded revolver was flashed. That place appears, more real than my memory, in the book.

East 7th St.

Dillon Gallery will present the exhibition, “Time and Space on the Lower East Side: 1980 + 2010,” in March 2013.

Written by: Eric Walstedt, Director