Our annual winter support keeps the Rail independent, relevant, and free
Sylvia Sleighs recent eponymous exhibition at I-20 Gallery featured 12 portraits dating from 1961-79, many of which were being shown for the first time in decades.
SHIT HAPPENS/“In Search of the Miraculous, Continued…,” the two-person exhibition of Garry Neill Kennedy and Joanna Malinowska, pairs two artists whose work resists the proverbial Easy Read. Both artists make art that responds intellectually and perceptually to the conditions of its site.
Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction 1964–1980, the current exhibition at the Studio Museum of Harlem, comes at an interesting time.
When a gallerist tells an artist that her work is in transition, it is usually a euphemistic way of saying Thanks, but no thanks. This exchange presumes that the solo exhibition is a periodic bracketing that requires a certain level of cohesion and legibility (a body of work) despite the fact that the artist is alive and changing and ditto her work.
One of the most surprising aspects of Jo Baer’s 1983 refutation of Minimalism, “I am no longer an abstract artist,” is her insistence on the intrinsic relationship between illusionism and art. Often regarded as one of the very few painters allowed into the church of Minimalism, Baer is most well known in this country for a body of elegant, hard-edge paintings produced in the 1960s.
Acrylic paint is a relative newcomer to the ever-expanding roster of materials created, loved, and abandoned by painters. Unlike the history of oil paint, which spans over 600 years of discoveries and refinements by countless individual artists and chemists until its eventual standardization and commercialization, the evolution of acrylic paint is short and fairly well-known.
Enthralled with the buzz of “visual culture,” much contemporary political painting seems to emanate from either the bully pulpit of mass media or the tedious podium of postmodernism.
Dona Nelson continues to prove herself as a skilled interrogator of painting. With impatience and glee, she addresses the fundamental questions that have dogged painters over the past century—why, what and how.
A very large preparatory study by Otto Dix for his 1928 triptych, “Metropolis,” hangs in the foyer leading into the exhibition Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Meticulously drawn in red chalk, gouache and pencil, the cartoon’s central panel shows the interior of a swanky, Art Deco nightclub, while its flanking sections depict lurid processions of derelict amputees and flashy streetwalkers.
Alteronce Gumby is a painter of (be)dazzling abstractions. Painstakingly constructed from glass tesserae, his shaped paintings evoke drifts of cosmic dust. Imagine a confab between Alma Thomas, Jack Whitten and Howardina Pindell deep in the Hall of Gems. I first met Alteronce when he was an undergrad painter at Hunter College. His devotion to the monochrome and a kind of pure abstraction was striking even then. Gumby has spent the past decade developing a body of work that mines both the sensation and symbolism of color.