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Elizabeth Buhe

Elizabeth Buhe is a critic and art historian based in New York.

Donald Judd: Maker, Baker

Crisp, clean, cool, no-frills, matter-of-fact—these and similar adjectives constitute a familiar lexicon for the work currently on display in Judd, the appropriately tight, monosyllabic title MoMA has given its Donald Judd retrospective, the first in New York in over 30 years.

Abstraction in the Black Diaspora

A signal feat of Abstraction in the Black Diaspora and other similar efforts that draw attention to formally adjacent but culturally distinct iterations of artistic practice is that they dislodge entrenched hermeneutic methods that are part and parcel of the dominant narratives themselves.

Lumin Wakoa: In Time

Lumin Wakoa made all of the 17 paintings on view at Deanna Evans Projects this year, beginning many at outdoor sites—including her own front garden—near her home in Ridgewood or her nearby Bushwick studio. This was in part occasioned by the pandemic, which made commuting via public transit inadvisable. The result is a body of work self-confidently located within the tradition of plein air painting,

Ellen Lesperance: Velvet Fist

The title’s synecdoche—in which something modestly sized stands for something larger—resonates throughout the exhibition, whose unassuming scale belies the ambition of the work, which extends beyond the museum’s walls and reaches into both the past and the future.

Aliza Shvarts: Purported

Shvarts’s work engages a remarkably capacious set of considerations: the interpersonal and the institutional, the practical and the theoretical, a historical act and its circulation. These concepts expose the systems that structure our societies, revealing their inequity while encouraging us to imagine how our own bodies are already ensnared within them.

Leilah Babirye: Ebika Bya ba Kuchu mu Buganda (Kuchu Clans of Buganda) 

Entering Leilah Babirye’s show at Gordon Robichaux feels like walking into a solemn space loaded with gravitas—a regal court of yesteryear or, at least as I imagine it, Brancusi’s studio. This is another way of saying that the 39 wooden and ceramic works and the handful of monotype prints on view here command an extremely powerful sense of presence.

The Symbolists: Les Fleurs du mal

With Baudelaire’s compendium as their touchstone, gallerist and artist Karen Hesse Flatow and guest curator Nicole Kaack show that Baudelaire’s chief concerns remain productive terrain for an emerging generation of artists whose diverse work is gathered in The Symbolists: Les Fleurs du mal at Hesse Flatow.

Deb Sokolow: Profiles in Leadership // Drawings without words

From anecdotes relayed in “Profiles in Leadership,” we learn, among other things, that David Copperfield has been employed by a political campaign to disappear candidates about to commit verbal self-sabotage, that Vladimir Putin has prepared muffins from the flesh of a shark he single handedly overpowered, and that Fidel Castro categorically evaded women to avoid being poisoned.

Emily Mason: Chelsea Paintings

In looking at the canvases of Emily Mason now on view at Miles McEnery we sense not so much a relation to a certain place or thing, but a lifetime of visual experiences put down onto canvas through a keen process of filtering. The result in Mason’s work is necessarily nonspecific yet points nonetheless toward layers of feeling: light reflected off a rippling canal, a gleaming gold surface, flowers in mid-summer.

Huguette Caland: Tête-à-Tête

One of the questions posed by Huguette Caland: Tête-à-Tête (Head to Head) at the Drawing Center is how the artist’s works link embodiment with experience of the built environment—or how they are, as one wall label notes, “at once bodies and maps.” Both of these terrains have been subjected to the kind of seeing, measuring, and regularizing that is the inheritance of colonial modernity, but Caland reorders this logic through soft, sensorily evocative form, winding continuous lines, and layered mark-making that yields densely hatched thickets vibrating with electric poppies.

Katelyn Eichwald: Never

There is a wicked alchemy to Katelyn Eichwald’s work. Her modestly-sized paintings of ordinary subject matter—piled rope, a gleaming white turret, a shadowy clockface—bewitch us, like scrims, portals, or talismans might.

Samara Golden: Upstairs at Steve’s

Unlike those in which we find the Rückenfigur, that singular figure of the romantic sublime, Golden’s vast landscape is not a verdant expanse unperturbed by human hands but something like its opposite: the apparent site of both personal and natural disaster. Yet evacuated of human presence, the narratives suggested here remain open to our imagination.

Sanam Khatibi: An hour before the Devil fell

The show at PPOW consists of 22 paintings and two wall-bound sculptures (all 2019). Five large paintings depict reposing, peachy-porcelain nudes arranged on shallow, tree-framed outcroppings, surrounded by the detritus of extravagant feasts: dishes loaded with fruit, meticulously-crafted cakes, chalices alight with flames, even an oyster shell full of pearls. This bounty, however, is haunting.

Lily Stockman: Seed, Stone, Mirror, Match

Under deceleration’s magnifying glass, our deliberate politics of self-care is extended, in Stockman’s hands, to the odds and ends that surround us. The artist’s meditation on these circumstances in the Moffett paintings takes her work in a new direction, while still tethering it to her familiar language of softened geometric forms.

“Pleasures and Possible Celebrations”: Rosemary Mayer’s Temporary Monuments, 1977–1981

Mayer’s exhibition is contemplative and compact, a deep dive into a body of work not seen since it was first exhibited in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Loie Hollowell: Plumb Line

Body is vessel in the nine new paintings by Loie Hollowell that make up Plumb Line, the artist’s debut show with Pace. With a strong, centrally-placed vertical line as her organizing principle, Hollowell delivers human forms distilled into a succinct vocabulary of curved shapes: bisected disks, almonds, and ovals, plus stacked rows of half-circles crowned by a glowing orb.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2021

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