Showing posts from January, 2009

Seth Price at Reena Spaulings Fine Art | Review by Jill Conner

The nuts and bolts of art history and criticism relies upon the proper use of titles with dates. Without correct attribution, a work of art could theoretically be miscontextualized or even misplaced within the span of time. Fashions and fads would be offset as they rely on this apparatus to be relevant. Although each gallery and museum has its own title-and-date specialist to catch and correct the mistakes of writers, Seth Price has portrayed this institutional practice as an obsession of satire laced with irony.

About a dozen poster-sized paintings hang along the gallery walls and depict a combination of 1980s-styled graphics, old advertisements and American paintings of the pre-Modern era with various calendar templates. Price's ironic representation of a painting from the early 20th-century not only occurs as an appropriation, but it is accompanied with full attribution, while starkly offset by the horizontal and vertical lines that piece together a month like October, for ins…

Brian Lund at Smith Stewart Gallery | Review by Jill Conner

In the late 1990s, when the art market began to recover from the crash of the 1980s, everything visual began falling into the canon of contemporary art. By the end of 2008, in fact, nearly everything was art. Magazines had increased their coverage of valid, creative media throughout the last decade to encompass works in music, fashion, sports and film, because everything at that time in society moved so smoothly and appeared so impressive that it had to be called, a work of art. Brian Lund's current exhibition, "A Very Real and Very Dark Time," contains about a dozen drawings that capture a personal translation of major motion pictures into an abstract idea.
Lund has long been a fan of Bob Fosse and his award-winning choreography seen in films such as "Cabaret," (1972) and "Kiss Me Kate." (1953) While watching these movies, the artist devised his own set of symbols and lines that piece together larger Rorschach-like interpretations. "Double S…

Cordy Ryman at DCKT Contemporary | Review by Jill Conner

"The first log he chooses lies at the top of a small knoll, in a patch of firecracker weed. He heads toward it; the little red flowers with sulphur-yellow tips seem to part to make way for him and the cable. He throws the bell around the end of the log that is lifted free of the earth where the knoll drops sharply toward the canyon, then secures it in its hook." - Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion, 1963

Cordy Ryman's selection of new work at DCKT Contemporary breaks down the painted plane and extends the notion of painting from its traditional, flat surface toward an array of tiny modules that are either stacked or collaged together, while bearing different textures. Similar to the complex structure of Kesey's narrative, Ryman revives the genre of abstraction as a way of life, accessible beyond the confines of the Ivory Tower suggesting an innocence and freedom within creativity…

Nick Cave at Jack Shainman Gallery | Review by Jill Conner

Nick Cave's new collection of "Recent Soundsuits," at the Jack Shainman Gallery was more disappointing than it was interesting for a number of reasons. For one, never judge a show by its title. "Recent Soundsuits," would lead those who are unfamiliar with the artist's work to think this show would be a series of unique sound installations, whereas this new collection of body-covering sculptures are intended to serve as physical barriers that shut out the world. In addition, the postcard that depicted a figure blanketed with hand-knit bags suggested that this show would add some enlightenment to the current socio-economic malaise that so many of us currently find ourselves in. However upon entering the gallery, Cave's work launched into the redundant story of the everyday found object.

A series of small carnival figures hoisting an array of objects, such as wooden boats and porcelain birds, extend toward the back of the gallery and gradually prepare o…

Janet Biggs at Claire Oliver Fine Art | Review by Jill Conner

Over the last several years it seemed as if the process of looking at art, combined with what people wanted to see in the object itself, was less about visuality and more about finding the perfect, creative concept that was able to capture the "next big thing." In other words, the process of searching was confused with looking while the art market hey-day lent the impression that contemporary art finally broke free from its Postmodernist past. Refreshingly, Janet Biggs' new 10-minute video titled, "Vanishing Point," at Claire Oliver Fine Art closes the door on the era of appropriation and focuses on the underpinnings of the observational process with a return to Albertian perspective.

Biggs' video begins with the start of a song by a member of the ARC Gospel Choir and quickly cuts to Leslie Porterfield on a motorcycle in the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah, as she contemplates another run at maintaining her world record. Once Porterfield takes off, the camer…