Alison Hall: unannounced at TOTAH on Stanton Street through December 17

Alison Hall, Ancestral, 2017, oil, graphite, plaster on panel, 91 x 71 inches

Alison Hall makes paintings on panels coated with Venetian plaster, some painted black and some painted a deep ultramarine. These supple black or blue fields become the "arenas" for an intricate dance of graphite mark-making on a grid of tiny dots. The silvery graphite floats like a mirage on top of the dark matte fields, then disappears as the viewer's position changes. The marks follow a systematic program, but the system is often interrupted by glitches or directional changes. Particularly in the two large paintings here, the combined effect of the field and the marks assumes an intuitive organic quality, like dark flowing water, or constantly shifting winds. In many of the smaller works, the dot matrix forms a continuous grid against a blue or black field, evoking a schematic night sky, or Giotto's luscious Arena Chapel ceiling - embodiments of the infinite or the sacred. There is an immediate sense of necessity embedded in these works, and in the arduous nature of Hall's process - a deep connection to cultural history, to the emotional resonance of tradition, and to the inherent humanity in the ancient practice of making. 

Alison Hall, Ancestral, 2017, detail

Alison Hall, Maiden, 2017, oil, graphite, plaster on panel, 91 x 71 inches

Alison Hall, Shroud X, 2017, oil, graphite, plaster on panel, 9.5 x 7.5 inches

Alison Hall, Sacristy, 2017, oil, graphite, plaster on panel, 13 x 11 inches

Alison Hall, Soffito I, 2017, oil, graphite, plaster on panel, 13 x 11 inches

Alison Hall: unannounced, Totah Gallery, NYC 

Images courtesy of TOTAH


JOHN ZURIER at Peter Blum

John Zurier: Stars Without Distance at Peter Blum on Grand Street through November 11

Like a Zen master, Zurier makes paintings that seem at once effortless, and impossible. In their spare lyricism, these works breathe with light and space, and yet remain utterly physical, paint scumbled and scraped into the nubby linen substrate. The painting is regarded as a sensual object, every nuance considered. Minuscule elements such as isolated spots of color or faint straight lines take on monumental importance, moments of punctuation in compositions that float as close to nothingness as possible. Zurier's color evokes an atmosphere of longing, as though to transcend the constraints of material, while reveling in its brittle tactility.

John Zurier, Late Afternoon in Three Parts (Elsewhere), 2017, glue-size tempera on linen, 84 x 58 inches

John Zurier, Late Afternoon in Three Parts (Elsewhere), 2017, detail

John Zurier, Hvasst, 2017, glue-size tempera & oil on linen, 27 1/2 x 19 5/8 inches

John Zurier, Brim, 2017, oil on linen, 90 x 60 inches

John Zurier, Taktur, 2017, oil on linen, 35 x 46 inches

John Zurier, Taktur, 2017, detail

John Zurier, Hljoo 2017, glue-size tempera on linen, 90 x 52 inches

John Zurier, Dalalaeda (Seyoisfjorour), 2016, glue-size tempera & oil on linen, 30 x 20 inches

John Zurier: Stars Without Distance, Peter Blum Gallery, NYC (image from gallery website)



Ad Reinhardt Blue Paintings at David Zwirner, just closed on October 21

Ad Reinhardt, 1950, oil on canvas

This museum caliber exhibition presented a rare opportunity to see works from about a five-year period, focused on a deep exploration of the color blue. Here Reinhardt worked up to, and achieved the slow nuanced contrasts of the later black paintings, but with the retinal punch and metaphorical expansiveness of a vast array of blues. The show was breathtaking in its scope, and in its emotional presence. Reinhardt, very early on, hit notes of compressed monochromatic intensity that escaped even late Rothko. 

Ad Reinhardt, Number 88 (Blue), 1950, oil on canvas

Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting Blue, 1952, oil on canvas

Ad Reinhardt Blue Paintings, David Zwirner Gallery, NYC

Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting Blue, 1952, oil on canvas

Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting Blue, 1952, oil on canvas

Ad Reinhardt, Abstract Painting Blue, 1952, oil on canvas

Ad Reinhardt Blue Paintings, David Zwirner Gallery, NYC (image from gallery website)



Here are a few images from my show (just closed), Efforts of Affection - A Decade of Painting at Gremillion & Co Fine Art in Houston. It afforded a rare opportunity to show a group of paintings from the past ten years along with some very new works. Many thanks to Ron Gremillion and all my dear friends and colleagues in Houston. It was a pleasure as always.

In the Studio

Steven Alexander, Synchro 4, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24 inches


May and June in New York

Alain Biltereyst at Jack Hanley 

Back Room at Cheim & Read -- Joan Mitchell, Louise Bourgeois, Ron Gorchov

Hybrid Form at Margaret Thatcher -- Kevin Finklea (above), Frank Badur, 
Omar Chacon, Freddy Chandra, Ted Larsen, Joanne Mattera, Richard Roth  

Felix Gonzalez-Torres at David Zwirner 

 Ellsworth Kelly at Matthew Marks

Jill Moser at Lennon Weinberg

David Novros at Paula Cooper 

Mike Solomon at Berry Campbell

Don Voisine at McKenzie


In the Studio

Steven Alexander, Veil 1, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36 inches



 Lee Krasner, Gaea, 1966, oil on canvas, 69 x 125 in.

On the third floor at MoMA, just below the magnificent Rauschenberg exhibition, is Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction. The exhibition is ironically and aptly titled, and is intended to be a tribute to and an illumination of the women who elbowed their way into the art world of the '50s and '60s. And indeed, this exhibition features many rarely seen gems from the MoMA collection, including works by Etel Adnan, Annie Albers, Ruth Asawa, Lygia Pape, Lucie Rie, Anne Ryan, and many others. It also brings out of the racks a number of major works by well established women including Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Louise Nevelson, Grace Hartigan, Jo Baer, and Agnes Martin.

This all sounds wonderful -- and it is. But the problem with this exhibition is that it feels like a quaint sidebar, an obligatory nod, rather than a true illumination. Many of the artists in the show, including Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, Lynda Benglis, Elaine De Kooning, Jay DeFeo, Helen Frankenthaler, Yayoi Kusama, and Pat Passlof are represented by small, or otherwise less-than-major works. The third floor galleries are small, cramped, not well suited to the scale at which most of these artists worked. Then there is the inevitable issue of the artists who were left out.

There is no doubt that if MoMA had pulled out all the stops for this show -- featured the very best work in the collection, in a space that generously accommodated the work -- this could have been a tremendous and long overdue blockbuster show that seriously addressed the awesome achievements of postwar women artists. Instead, as beautiful as it is, this exhibition barely scratched the surface and missed a wonderful opportunity.

Joan Mitchell, Ladybug, 1957, oil on canvas, 78 x 108 in.

Alma Thomas, Untitled, 1968, acrylic and tape on paper, 19 x 51 in. 

Yayoi Kusama, No. F, 1959, oil on canvas, 41 x 52 in.

Lynda Benglis, Embryo II, 1967, beeswax, damar, gesso on masonite, 36 x 6 x 5 in.

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Yellow Abakan 1968, sisal, 124 x 120 x 60 in. 

Agnes Martin, The Tree, 1964, oil and pencil on canvas, 72 x 72 in.

Images from MoMA website


JOAN WALTEMATH at Anita Rogers

Joan Waltemath, what happens (West 1  1,2,3,5,8...). Oil, graphite, bronze, lead, phosphorescent and florescent pigment on honeycomb aluminum panel. 37 ” x 15 9/16” 

Joan Waltemath, what happens (West 1  1,2,3,5,8...), detail 

Joan Waltemath is presenting an exhibition of new works, titled Fecund Algorithms, at Anita Rogers Gallery in Soho, through June 1, 2017. The show is comprised of a group of complex mixed media works on aluminum panels, as well as a selection of small simple canvas and fabric constructions. The panel paintings, a continuation of Waltemath's Torso/Roots series, begin with the grid and compositional proportions based on mathematical formulas. But these calculations are ultimately transformed through intuitive shaping, layering, scraping and reconfiguring to arrive at points of humming equilibrium. Waltemath's rich surfaces are built with a dizzying variety of materials, and her process occupies an uncanny zone between precision and spontaneity, with the physicality of the material being always present. Like visualized choreographies, these works evolve through time, from the conceptual to the sensual, embodying the dynamism of human sensibility.

Joan Waltemath, interwoven (East 2   1,2,3,5,8…). 2013-16. Oil, zinc, bronze, stainless steel, phosphorescent and interference pigment on honeycomb aluminum panel. 39 ¼” x 18 ⅝” 

Joan Waltemath,  interwoven (East 2   1,2,3,5,8…), detail 

Joan Waltemath, men/many (East 2 1,2,3,5,8…). 2014-16. Oil, aluminum, bronze, interference, glimmer, phosphorescent and florescent pigment on honeycomb aluminum panel. 39 1/4" x 18 5/8" 

Joan Waltemath, canvas, fabric, thread 

Joan Waltemath, canvas, graphite, thread