Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Deux, baby, deux

Welcome back to Part 2 of my Pulse 2009 rundown. Get ready for some serious color. You might need to wear shades.

It's not often I get to see what's going on in Hungarian art today, but at Pulse I got a quick lesson in some quite nice color abstractions of Istvan Nadler at Lena Roselli Gallery. If you click here you get to see a slickly made video of the artist in action. Even though I've seen works like these time and time again, there's something engaging about their even flow and sinuous formations.

The above gravity-enhanced drip painting by Ian Davenport was one of my favorite works of all the five fairs I attended. There's something special about a work that needs so very little light to achieve its full effect. Here, Slewe Gallery of Amsterdam really did a nice booth-- as well as the simplistic, but highly disciplined, geometric abstraction work by Steven Aalders directly below.

The above Markus Linnenbrink works again establish him as one of the top fair artists of 2009 in terms of sheer production value, and the multitude of galleries showcasing his works. The difference is that in these versions he explored his different choice of mediums in much further detail than previous years. The above encaustic piece, In the Wrong Place is unfortunately mistitled, for it felt just in the right place in its central location at Berlin's ftc./Fiedler Taubert Contemporary. The top work in epoxy resin has such a glistening sheen it took me numerous viewings before I could see all the layers in full detail. Linnenbrink doesn't necessarily make his art for critical approval, but they are beautifully done color-saturated creations with a broad range of mass appeal to the general art buying public. It's no wonder he comes back time and time again in even more prominent focus.

Next up on the color wheel wagon is German artist Peter Zimmerman at Spain's Galeria Horrach Moya. These three epoxy resin lovelies look like they just stepped out of a Jeremy Blake retrospective. The works' immaculate surfaces belie a peaceful undercurrent not unlike a zen retreat. I could have stood in front of these for hours just soaking in their mellow vibes. Who needs a massage therapist when you have great visuals to calm your inner soul?

Next, something totally different. From before where I was celebrating color, now I've come to celebrate texture. David Hevel's creations come in like a dirty bomb at Mardi Gras, if it was held in Carol Channing's closet. These wondrous assemblages truly floored me with their originality. I couldn't get enough of these freaky little dolls with baboon faces. They have an almost religious iconography about them; mixing in little girl dress-up parties with pop culture references of perhaps an unreleased Planet of the Apes. The floral installations with beading are immaculate constructions-- flawless in every manner. I had never even heard of Marx & Zavattero gallery before Sunday, but I will say that it certainly won't be the last I'll hear of them-- a gallery not afraid to take risks (betting its entire booth on Hevel), with stunning results. They're definitely one to watch in the coming years.

Recently I did a post where I mentioned how Allison Schulnik's works sometimes creepily move a bit too close in terms of resemblance to Nathalie Djurberg's claymation creations. But this time, at Mark Moore Gallery, they were transformed by a fabulous curation and hanging, as well as the artist's own delving into the depths of despair, as well as depravity. Utilizing her palette knife almost as if she were frosting a cake, her layers and layers of paint give rise to a sad cast of characters-- clowns a bit down on their luck; apes in screaming poses; and floral arrangements that all look a tad bit "off." I hope Schulnik continues on this path. These were some delicious works that looked almost edible at times. Luckily for me, about this time, I got my ridiculously overpriced-- $11-- veggie panini from the snack bar and continued on.

The below new work, Self-Portrait as Sky Scraper by Julie Heffernan at Catharine Clark's booth was a bit surprising, given that her usual solitary focal point surrounded by a bountiful harvest must have had a headache tonight, dear. In its place was a condo-like towering structure, seemingly referencing urbanity amidst a lost Eden. Interesting, but I must say I prefer her previous works-- they felt more real to me. Heffernan continues to out-Currin John Currin in sheer painting ability, so she's always a good one to look for at the fairs.

Next up, an eternal Oly's Musings favorite-- Nicholas Touron at Virgil de Voldaire. I truly love Touron. He makes me laugh and feel extremely troubled at the same time. His creepy cast of characters are back in action again-- the evil green penguins who go aimlessly to and fro, following no set leader; the beast of burden deer/moose/log hybrids; the military helicopters overhead leading the pack, all whilst nebulous prophylactic monsters appear ready to devour anything in their path. Truly the stuff nightmares are made of-- well, cute nightmares, at least.

Below, all I'll say is Vadis Turner made this entirely from tampons. That's pretty sick... sick in a pretty awesome way! Her B.U. (go fellow Terrier!!!) education I think is really showing here, for the small and intimate nature of its art school really brings out the imagination in its grads. I simply adored this work, but got this weird sensation for a Billy's Bakery cupcake and purchasing a new supply of Midol after I saw this. Michael Lyons Wier continues to be one of my favorite gallerists in Chelsea, and for good reason with this choice.

Above, Jim Lee at Freight + Volume showcases works that at first are not what you'd think of as "painting," per se, but they truthfully delve deeper than anything at the fair into redefining its very meaning. A portion of generic carpet, as shown above, stain intact, could be a crime scene; a lover's "gift" left behind; or maybe, just maybe, some vomit leftover from a bad day at preschool. The black lines reign in the work, giving it much better depth perception.

Jeanne Silverthorne at Shoshana Wayne puts new meaning into the term "miniature." In fact, after Zadok Ben-David's foil trees, I didn't think anything could top their Lilliputian nature. But Silverthorne does. All I can think of here is Romeo finding his sleeping Juliet, and taking a sip of the hemlock. Where's my Pelican Shakespeare when I need it?

And finally, last, but not least, Lincoln Schatz's amazing foray into digital video delay, I, You, We at Catharine Clark. Forming a mosaic of imagery on time-delay, I was seeing my silhouette tagged onto someone else's face in negative image, along with a multitude of other disjointed parts to and fro. What a magnificent ending, for how else could I define Pulse, other than a fair that's mismatched at first glance, but beautifully comes together in the end as a new creation.

Bring on 2010!

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