RICHMOND BURTON, July 12 - August 11, 2014
Known for his dazzling kaleidoscopic abstractions, Richmond Burton melds geometry and naturalism to expand on the pictorial language of his predecessors into a contemporary context. Since his successful inauguration into the New York arts scene in late 1980s, Burton has devoted his practice to learning, citing, and rupturing the canon of abstract painting. In 1998 he moved into the former East Hampton studio of Elaine DeKooning, in which he lived and worked until 2011. This exhibition will feature several of the last large-scale paintings Burton created before leaving the east end, as well as a number of recent works. The juxtaposition of these paintings, whose origins span from East Hampton, to Santa Monica, Brooklyn and Woodstock respectively, draws attention to Burton’s ability to adapt his distinct mosaic-like style to reflect the shifts in his surroundings.
JASON MIDDLEBROOK: Every Tree is a Map, August 16 - September 14, 2014
Every Tree is a Map consists of the artist’s recent “plank” paintings. Hand-selected, rough-hewn slices of various hardwoods are adorned with brightly hued patterns that mimic the trees’ natural growth rings in a language and materials that are manufactured by contemporary culture. In the work Redrawing History, strands of black acrylic paint wind down the cross section of an 18-1/2 foot Cherry tree. The paint carves undulant black waves into the plank’s warm surface, the shape and tone of the wood grain stunningly “redrawn” by Middlebrook’s meticulous hand. Middlebrook’s reputation for mingling media and genres can be seen in a freestanding sculpture titled The Green and White Warbler. A brilliantly articulated bird painted on a wooden tablet sits atop a modernist steel stand. Balancing on the stand are plastic bottles cast in concrete. These intriguing combinations of constructed and organic beauty are the guiding force throughout this exhibition, and illustrate the artist’s investigation into the parallels and divisions between nature and culture. Jason Middlebrook was born
LOUISE EASTMAN: Loop Holes, October 11 - November 8, 2014
Louise Eastman creates large-scale weavings that are undeniably akin to the brightly colored woven potholders of the 1950’s. Eastman’s works do not attempt to disguise their relationship to this traditionally utilitarian and kitschy object, but rather embrace and expand on the allusions that it offers. In the works Potholder I, 2014 and Potholder II, 2014, the artist combines boldly colored natural wool, acrylic wool and felt to create a textured 3D mass of vibrant geometric abstraction. Despite their Claes Oldenberg-esque physicality, the formal qualities of these artworks resist a Pop Art association. In Toilet Paper II, 2014, Eastman weaves folded toilet paper that has been stitched for strength, into a seven-foot square: a minimalist painting, minus the paint and canvas. Trace lines of colorful thread playfully punctuate the reductive composition. Eastman indulges herself in the more crude aspects of her materials: the “loose ends,” hasty knots and dangling strings that return us to the craft, commingling kindergarten musings with the vernacular of contemporary art.
HOMESPUN: November 29 - December 21, 2014
Home Spun explores various ways in which artists use traditionally craft-based materials and techniques to communicate contemporary ideals. Artist Sheila Pepe speaks to this theme in an article in the Brooklyn Rail earlier this year: “I unplugged the lights, stopped drawing on walls and began crocheting big, formal drawings in space. It was a bit lonely at first, but then I found the others—first the D.I.Y.ers, and then all at once, young feminists, queers, and craft theoreticians. Craft Theory? Yup, there’s no going back now.”
Artists Aaron McIntosh, Susie Brandt and Elizabeth Duffy use traditional quilting methods to communicate ideas surrounding identity, security and socioeconomics. For the handembroidered Redwork Quilt Some Assembly Susie Brandt appropriates images from the owner’s manuals of appliances she has purchased throughout her adult life, in a gesture at once nostalgic and commercial. Elizabeth Duffy uses fabric printed with security envelope patterns in her work, Bankrolling Climate Change. The patterns are patchworked into a Friendship Quilt with the names of 20 banks that contribute to climate change. Aaron McIntosh decontextualizes images sourced from romance novels, erotic magazines, and digital media by printing them onto cloth and reconstructing them as conventional quilts.
Saskia Friedrich creates minimalist color studies by draping, pinning or taping strips of fabric into seemingly simple geometric compositions. Friedrich’s works shift from monumental to miniature scales with equal potency, highlighting the 2D and 3D potential of her materials. Field Kallop’s canvases, like textiles, are stitched, dyed and bleached prior to being stretched on their supports, yielding elegant patterns that further magnify the works’ relationship to fiber arts. Louise Eastman’s large-scale weavings embrace their utilitarian, kitschy inspiration - the potholder – and expand on the form in a variety of domestic materials. Sydney Albertini has walked the line between craft and fine art throughout her career. The artist’s colorfully knitted “Heads” reference classical busts, tweaked with an absurd sense of humor. Meanwhile, Albertini’s dyed and stitched quilts take a more tactile approach to the modernist grid, recalling the work of Alan Shields. Josh Blackwell explores the purpose and use of everyday disposable items, in this case embroidering a variety of brightly colored wool, silk, and paper into rhythmic abstractions, all but completely encompassing the cast-off bags onto which they are stitched. The final works conjure various associations, from folk art to environmentalism.
Well-known feminist artist Sheila Pepe has created a three-dimensional drawing to activate the barn-like space of the gallery. Vines of colored yarn hung from the ceiling to suspend drape a silvery crocheted grid to the floor of the room. At the foot of this grid, an offbeat composition of small sculptures anchors the work to the floor.