Sunday, 16 September 2012

It's been yonks since I've been on a gallery tour

Perhaps more than a year and I've been missing my art fix lately, so when I saw there that NY Gallery Tours had a Best Exhibits tour scheduled for this Saturday I decided I would join rather than randomly wander the galleries myself.  It's nice to have the collections of the 300+ galleries in Chelsea curated down to 7 good ones. I may not always love the 7 choices, but Rafael's picks are always interesting and give me food for thought.

Our first stop was the Derek Eller Gallery to see Jeff Shore and John Fisher's collaboration, Trailer, a network of wall mounted sculptures which comprise of tiny intricate hand built models - including a tiny beating drum, what looked to be a tuba and a mechanical flower - housed in wooden boxes.  The models have miniature cameras trained on then and as activity occurs in each box it's projected onto the walls of the gallery so that it all works together to create a live video.  The piece was 4 years in the making and can be yours for $200,000.

Jeff Shore & John Fisher at the Derek Eller Gallery Through Oct 6th, 2012

The above photo is taken from the gallery's website and shows the exhibit in situ.  It wasn't an exhibit I was able to get a good photo of since there were a good number of us on the tour and we were all scrunched into the gallery and the close ups I do have are grainy and just show the wooden boxes which were largely closed, although if you crouched down you could see through gaps in some of the boxes to the tiny models inside.  To be honest it was kind of frustrating not to be able to see inside the boxes, I think if I'd been able to see the inner workings better I'd have appreciated it much more because there was clearly a lot of skill involved in making the piece.

Our second stop was at the Betty Cunningham Gallery on W 25th street where Nancy Davidson's inflatable sculpture Dustup is exhibited.  

Dustup by Nancy Davidson at the Betty Cunningham Gallery Until Oct 6th, 2012
The artist was present at the exhibit and was able to speak to the group about the inspiration for her work.  Apparently Nancy is known for exploring iconic American themes and gender issues and this work was inspired by cowgirls.  She said that growing up in Chicago in the 50s, the cowgirls that she saw on TV in shows such as Annie get your gun, represented a different life to what was available to women at that time.

Matthew Cusick's map collages were on show at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery, which specializes in collage and assemblage work. I've seen some of my favorite work at this gallery and the current exhibit was one of my favorites from yesterday's tour.  The artist creates 'paintings' by cutting pieces from maps and assembling them in a single layer collage fitting the pieces together as you would a jigsaw puzzle.

Matthew Cusick at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery through Oct 6, 2012

This stunning piece is composed entirely from the ocean sections of maps. The artist doesn't add any additional color to pieces relying only on the existing color of the maps he has at his disposal.  Apparently the artist explores themes of beauty and danger.  As a novice surfer I know all too well about the allure and dangers of the ocean, in fact I was supposed to go out this morning, but decided that after one too many chardonnays at dinner last night it's probably wise to steer clear of today's large and chunky waves.  I am well aware of my limits and know that I probably have no business being out in 6-foot swells.

This next piece is of Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler's filmmaker, composed of map pieces from Europe.  Apparently Leni was a notable and innovative filmmaker, but her close association with Hitler destroyed her career after the defeat of Germany in World War II.

Matthew Cusick at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery through Oct 6, 2012

A close up of Leni's hand and lower arm

I wonder how long each one takes to put together. I never thought to ask, but I should have.  The pieces were priced at $10-$25k, which at the lower end didn't feel entirely out of reach, not that I don't have other things I wouldn't spend $10k on first, but if I had that money at my disposal I might consider it.  In 2006 I saw an exhibit at Pavel Zoubok called Alternating Currency which was a collaboration between artists Mark Wagner and C.K. Wilde who both use currency as a medium for their collages.  One of the smaller pieces I loved was priced at $3,000.  I kind of wish I'd snapped it up now.  If Matt Cusick ever creates a small version of his wave pieces around that price point I'd definitely consider making a purchase. 

Marcus Linnenbrink is a German artist based in Brooklyn.  His latest exhibit, showing at the Ameringer McEnery Yohe Gallery, includes 4 pieces that are created through an interesting process of applying thick layers of epoxy paint onto a wooden frame, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.  Once the layers are completely dried he drills through the surface creating the effect seen in the piece below.

I loved these pieces, as did everyone else on the tour.  The group was so enamored by this large black piece that I had to wait a good while to to get a photo of the whole piece.  

Markus Linnenbrink showing at Ameringer McEnery Yohe until Oct 6, 2012

A close up of the black piece above

Mr. Linnenbrinks works were priced between $9,500-$15K which again seemed surprisingly reasonable for Chelsea.  Maybe I misheard and these prices referred only to the smaller pieces.

Sarah Oppenheimer's D-33 is showing at PPOW, another of my favorite galleries.  Apparently Ms. Oppenheimer is gaining a reputation in the art world for her portals and the Baltimore Museum of Art has commissioned her to develop a site-specific installation, an "architectural intervention" in the contemporary wing.   You can see behind the scene photos of the installation's installation in the BMA's flickr stream here

Personally I think it's hard to fully appreciate this work in a smaller gallery space and I'd be interested to see the work in Baltimore, but I do like the way the work plays with your perception dependent on the angle you view it from.  Here's a photo of the installation from PPOW's website

Sarah Oppenheimer showing at PPOW until Oct 6, 2012

And here's a photo I took from a different angle of the piece on the left

It's worth mentioning that as we took the elevator up to PPOW on the 3rd floor Rafael instructed the group to "find the art."  Apparently a lot of people walk into the gallery, see the empty white walls and think the gallery is closed and that there's no work up.  The two pieces are going for $75,000, for the one on the left, and $60,000 for the piece on the right

Leonardo Drew's site-specific installation at Sikkema Jenkins was by far the largest work we saw on the tour.  The photo below of the primary piece shows only about a quarter of the work which winds it's way through the gallery's 3 rooms.

Leonardo Drew at Sikkema Jenkins until Oct 12, 2012

"It's not priced but its safe to say more than a million" said Rafael as he told us about the piece.  

A million!!!! 

If that's too rich for your blood there are also a few individual pieces going for $40-$150k.
Leonardo Drew at Sikkema Jenkins through Oct 12, 2012
The last stop on our tour was the Haunch of Venison Gallery where Kevin Francis Gray's beautiful porcelain, bronze and marble sculptures are exhibited.   

Apparently Mr Gray frequently uses the people he meets on the streets near his London studio as models/inspiration for his work.  These subjects are often homeless and drug addicted who he renders in a classical form more often used for portraying important historical figures in order to bring out their dignity in spite of their less than elevated place in society.

Kevin Francis Gray at Haunch of Venison through Sept 29, 2012

Kevin Francis Gray at Haunch of Venison through Sept 29, 2012
The woman used as a model for the bronze piece shown below is someone the artist has worked with so frequently they've become friends although the first time he approached her to ask her to sit for him she refused in no uncertain and colorful terms.

Kevin Francis Gray at Haunch of Venison through Sept 29, 2012
The two female standing sculptures were my favorite pieces.  The model for the Carrara Marble sculpture below was apparently a ballerina from the London Royal Academy.  I was very impressed with the artist's sculpting skills in creating this delicate veil over the ballerina's body until I learned that the artist just came up with the vision, but hired master craftsmen from Italy to actually realize the figure.

Kevin Francis Gray at Haunch of Venison through Sept 29, 2012


Kitty said...

oh I like the figurative pieces. Very nice!

did you turn the okcupid back off? After a few rounds of the internet dating, the whole thing loses its charm. But you never know...newbies sign up all the time.

and how is the new office? ok I hope?

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty,

Thanks for stopping by. I didn't turn off OKC just yet. More on that to come in my next post if I ever find the time to write it :-)

The new office is great, thanks for asking, it's been over 6-months now. Time flies!! Hope all is well with you.