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First Post of '09

After a very busy and eventful holiday season with much to share, but unfortunately out of sync with my posting routine, I'm back. Cheers to a new year of all things art!

I was lucky enough to be in NYC for several openings this past Thursday in Chelsea. It's amazing how many people swarm the streets and galleries, to see the new shows, network, and drink free wine and beer. It's great energy and simultaneously goes on uptown, in Soho and on the LES. So many choices to make, all the more challenging when you have friends with dueling openings.

Phil Koch, who has taught at the Maryland Institute for many years, has an exhibit of his landscape paintings up at George Billis. I've always been a fan of his simplified forms and intense colors, especially in his Maine imagery like Yellow Arcadia (pictured above). He also makes beautiful pastel drawings, but most importantly, the same person cuts our hair in Baltimore.

Eric Fertman makes over-sized carved wood constructions that are strongly reminiscent of Philip Guston's late, cartoonish work. I immediately thought of Mickey Mouse and Popeye's Olive Oyl when I first walked in the gallery: the press statement acknowledges the influence of the latter's over-sized footwear. Fertman's work is a breath of fresh air in such a wacky time.

After my dash through Chelsea I made my way over to the Painting Center in Soho to see Mark LaRiviere's latest work. Mark is a fellow graduate of the Swain School of Design graduate and the Parsons graduate program. He uses a juicy impasto to form luminous, brightly colored figurative compositions with a Renaissance feel -- think of that cool Venetian light. The last time I saw his work he was painting abstractly, similar to Philip Guston's early work. Lot's of Guston's influence this week.

One of my favorite fundraisers is the annual Postcards From the Edge, this year displayed at Metro Pictures. Over 1,500 postcard-sized artworks were created by artists and then attached to the gallery walls, unframed and unsigned. For a $75 donation you get to choose a work, first-come-first-served. You don't know the artist's name until you get a look at the back of the work. It's a lot of fun to see in action. All proceeds support the work of Visual AIDS, utilizing contemporary art for AIDS advocacy and historicizing the work of HIV-positive artists while offering career support.

Openings to watch this week in Chelsea include Michael Waugh at Schroeder Romero and a multi-artist show at Winkleman, curated by the multi-talented (master of the Great Firewall) Joy Garnett, titled Things Fall Apart. As always, there are more images on my Flickr site.


libby said...

Happy new year, Mark!!!

Mark Barry said...

And to you!!!!