Noah Becker has curated a sweet show of Canadian artists, Six Degrees of Separation, at Claire Oliver. It’s nice to see what’s happening in the Canadian metropolises of Vancouver and Toronto, and the bulk of the artists are from these two cities. The show covers a wide range of approaches, from the pop-optical abstractions of Ben Van Netten to Becker’s own highly detailed ink drawings. Becker’s drawings make a nice metaphor for the artists he selected for the show; he’s making connections and building relationships that go beyond superficial resemblances. Six Degrees will be up until November 13th.
Erik Parker was preparing for two solo shows, one in LA, and one in Fort Worth, when I visited his studio in Brooklyn. Parker is known for making large scale paintings that are as comfortable with their roots as they are disorienting with their forms and spaces. First you get a hug, and then a slap. He said he wanted his paintings to still look good 40 years from now. By reorienting Modernist and Pop sensibilities, and then almost using contrapposto to create a balanced but expressive distortion, Parker was remixing some old school classics — like flower still-lives– into something fresh. His LA show is at Honor Fraser and opens on October 30th, and the Fort Worth show is at the Fort Worth Modern and opens on December 5th, and is curated by Andrea Karnes.
Adam Helms is known for drawing radicals and constructing ominous wooden watch towers. His current project is a series of 48 charcoal portraits in response to Gerhard Richter’s “48 Portraits.” Richter’s work used encyclopedia photos to catalog the iconic males of Western culture. Helms is also cataloging icons, but shifts focus to the dangerous fringes where civil wars and insurrections take place. Ranging over the entire political spectrum, from anti-establishment and anti-government groups to official government troops, Helms’ portraits are intentionally politically ambiguous, stating “The politics are less interesting to me then this idea of a repeated identity.”
The space in Claudia Cortinez’s work is so convincing that it’s easy to imagine air whistling through the latticed forms. I can’t decide if these are space stations or awesome backyards, but either way I want to hang out there.
Brendan Cass has been busy turning out awesome new paintings since his studio visit in April. Nailing the beautiful, effulgent color he’s known for, Cass is pushing into some new terrain with night-scapes. It’s all headed to Paris for Brendan’s upcoming show, Infrared Scene, which opens September 4th at Galerie Zurcher.
Employing concrete barriers, make-shift housing and check points, Amze Emmons uses the architecture of refugees to paint urban disaster. His grim imagery is mismatched by a cheerful palette, creating the impression of Martha Stewart going wild with pastels in a war-torn camp. Emmons puts it dryly: “I’m interested in how strife, climate change, disasters and global migration effect the way folks live and the types of environments they build.”
Headed over to Wes Lang’s Brooklyn studio on Friday. Daylight filtered in from the street over walls resplendent with tattoo flash, hand-painted jackets, flags, and pics of beautiful women. Amazing paintings are everywhere you look. The first thing I said was “there’s a lot of nice tits on the wall.” Wes relaxed visibly and replied, “everybody likes tits, they’re calming.” That broke the ice. His new work emerged after losing several friends in the last year, and goes in a different direction from his well-known and controversial Americana work. It’s being shipped off this week to Galleri Brandstrup in Olso Norway.
Dearraindrop is an artist collective. I can’t figure out how many members it has, but I know one is Joe Grillo. They make clothing with tons of optically intense patches and knitting. Seeing one is basically like looking through a prism at an optical illusion of a lava lamp. They also do seriously colorful installations and paintings.