Agnes Martin at Los Angeles County Museum of Art

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Mid-Winter, c. 1954, Oil on Canvas

I had always drifted on the periphery of Agnes Martin fandom. But truth be told I had never seen more than one or two of her canvases at a time and they were mostly later paintings. So my understanding of Martin and her work was the art knowledge equivalent of cocktail chatter. Quick sound bites and surface sheen but very little substance. That all changed during my recent visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s steller showing of Martin’s work.

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From left: Mid-Winter, Untitled 1955 & Untitled 1954

I’m not a religious person by any means, but I’d be downplaying my experience at this exhibition if I’d didn’t at least in some way state that I felt like I’d been to church by the time I’d left. Not in a sacred “smells and bells” churchy type way, but in a more secular introspective reverent one. I arrived very early at LACMA and was the first into the galleries. I spent at least 20 minutes completely alone. Me and Agnes. And something happened. What occurs when one has the luxury of silence these days and the luxury too of being alone with a large collection of an artists oeuvre is transformative. Listening to the work becomes easier. One’s observational sense becomes keener. It felt as if Agnes and I were having a conversation; a really substantial one at that. And I found myself roaming from room to room, tears spilling down my cheeks.

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Untitled  c. 1955, Oil on canvas, 83.8 x 134.6

It’s cliché to say great work makes the viewer feel something. In a sense it does, but I believe great work does something much more significant. Truly transcendent work creates a form of communion, not just within the triangle of artist, artwork and viewer, but it charges the viewer with a type of abstract otherness. It connects us to the beyond. Opening a portal  of pure feeling. And for that I am thankful.

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Untitled c. 1955 , Oil on canvas, 118.1 x 168.3

This exhibition was organized by the Tate Modern in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. The exhibition continues from now until September, 11 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art before opening at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on October, 7. For more information about LACMA and this exhibition please check out the LACMA website. http://www.lacma.org/art/exhibition/agnes-martin

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From left: Beach, 1957 and Harbor No. 1, 1957

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Beach, 1957,Oil on canvas

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Beach (detail)

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Harbor No. 1, 1957, Oil on canvas, 126.3 x 101.6

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From left: Untitled 1958 and Untitled c. 1957

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Untitled 1958, Oil on canvas, 165.1 x 165.1

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Untitled c. 1957, Oil on canvas, 86.4 x 86.4

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From left: Heather 1958, The Heavenly Race (Running) c. 1959, Desert Rain 1957, Untitled 1959

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Heather 1958, Oil on canvas, 177.8 x 177.8

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The Heavenly Race (Running) c 1959, Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 90.2

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Desert Rain 1957, Oil on canvas

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Untitled 1959, Oil paint and Ink on canvas, 30.5 x 30.5

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Rain (Study) 1958, Oil on canvas, 63.5 x 63.5

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Untitled 1958, Oil on canvas, 60 x 60

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Burning Tree 1961, Wood and metal 33 x 53.3

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Buds c. 1959, Oil on canvas, 127 x 127

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From left: Untitled 1960, Untitled 1962, Little Sister 1962 and The Islands 1961

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The Islands 1961

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The Islands 1961 (Detail)

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Little Sister 1962, Oil paint, ink and brass nails on canvas and wood, 25.1 x 24.2

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Little Sister 1962 (Detail)

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Untitled 1962, Oil on canvas mounted on board with nails, 24.8 x 24.8

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Untitled 1960, Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 30.5

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Islands No. 4 c. 1961, Oil on canvas, 37.8 x 37.8

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Brown Composition 1961, Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 30.5

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From left: Horizon 1960, Untitled 1960 and Untitled 1960

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Horizon 1960, Oil on canvas, 38.1 x 38.1

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Untitled 1960, Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 30.5

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Untitled 1960, Oil on canvas, 30.5 x 30.5

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From left: Falling Blue 1963 and A Grey Stone 1963

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Falling Blue 1963, Oil on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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Falling Blue 1963 (Detail)

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A Grey Stone 1963, Oil on canvas, 190.5 x 190.5

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A Grey Stone 1963 (Detail)

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White Stone 1964, Oil and graphite on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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White Stone 1964 (Detail)

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Adventure 1967, Acrylic paint and graphite on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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Adventure 1967 (Detail)

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Small works on paper

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Aspiration 1960, Ink on paper, 28 x 24

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Aspiration 1960 (Detail)

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Balconies/Galleries 1962, Ink on paper, 22.9 x 22.9

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Balconies/Galleries 1962 (Detail)

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Weeds 1963, Ink and watercolor on paper, 22.9 x 22.9

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Weeds 1963 (Detail)

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On a Clear Day 1973, Thirty screen prints printed in gray on cream colored japanese paper, each 30.5 x 30.5

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On a Clear Day 1973 (Detail)

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From left: Untitled #12 1981 and Untitled IX 1982

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Untitled #12 1981, Acrylic and colored pencil on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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Untitled #12 1981 (Detail)

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Untitled IX 1982, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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Untitled IX 1982 (Detail)

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From left: Untitled #8 1974 and Untitled #4 1975

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Untitled #8 1974, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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Untitled #8 1974 (Detail)

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Untitled #4 1975, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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From left: Untitled #1 1989 and Untitled #8 1989

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Untitled #1 1989, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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Untitled #8 1989, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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From left: Untitled #15 1988 and Untitled #12 1984

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Untitled #12 1984, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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Untitled #12 1984 (Detail)

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Untitled #14 1977, Ink, graphite and gesso on canvas, 182.9 x 182.9

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Untitled #14 1977 (Detail)

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Untitled 1978, Watercolor and ink on paper, 22.9 x 22.9

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Untitled 1978, Watercolor and ink on paper, 22.9 x 22.9

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From left: Affection 2001 and Gratitude 2001

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Affection 2001, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4

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Gratitude 2001, Acrylic on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4

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Blessings 2001, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4

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Blessings 2001 (Detail)

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From left: Untitled #12 2002 and Untitled #4 2002

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Untitled #12 2002, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4

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 Untitled #4 2002, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4

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The Sea 2003, Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4

Harmony Hammond at Alexander Gray Associates

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Bandaged Grid #1, 2015, Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas 44.25″ x 76.5″ x 5″

I’ve never thought of canvas like skin but these works by Harmony Hammond in her recent solo at Alexander Gray Associates have a corporeal aspect. They are distinctly mortal. From the moment one enters the gallery and turns left to see Bandaged Grid #1. One feels the presence of body and all of the serene messiness that comes with being human. These works are peeled, torn, painted, pierced and layered. Yet nothing is obvious. One must lean in to really listen to them and see them as they are. These pieces felt like the doors between the living and the dead in Egyptian Mastabas. One foot distinctly in the physical world at once fleshy, mortal and concrete, and yet simultaneously of the mystical realm.

For more information about Harmony Hammond please check out the Alexander Gray Associates website at:

http://www.alexandergray.com/artists/harmony-hammond/

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Bandaged Grid #1 (Detail)

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Bandaged Grid #1 (Detail)

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Ledger Drawings, 2015, One of Suite of Five Ink on Paper, 11.75″ x 9.5″

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Ledger Drawings (Detail)

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From left: Naples Grid and Things Various

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Naples Grid, 2015, Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas, 80.25″ x 54.5″ x 5

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Things Various, 2015, Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas, 80.25″ x 54.25″ x 5

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White Rims #7, 2015, Monotype on Paper with Metal Grommets, 47″ x 33.5″

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White Rims #7 (Detail)

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White Rims #4, 2015, Monotype on Paper with Metal Grommets, 47″ x 33.5″

Richard Serra at Gagosian Gallery West 24th Street

This is the third major showing I have seen of Richard Serra’s sculptural work. I was lucky enough to see “The Matter of Time” at the Guggenheim in Bilbao and “Monumenta 2008” at the Grand Palais in Paris many years ago. Each time I experience Serra’s massive steel totems and flowing waves of steel I am moved by the works monumental structure and the way the planes of their shapes and the sheer power of their forms effect the viewer.  There is something gravitational about the scale and the heft of these objects. They have the weight of presence. Yet if they were purely an exercise in scale they might simply feel like empty monoliths, but these colossi have a weathered textural presence that speaks to history and the weight of influence that time takes with objects. These objects have soul. One at once feels the gravity of of one’s place in time and the inevitable passage of all things in their weathered surfaces.

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Every Which Way, 2015, Weatherproof Steel, Sixteen slabs, Total 11′ x 53′ 6″ x 21′

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Silence (for John Cage), 2015, Forged steel, One slab 16″ x 29′ 6″ x 9′ 2″

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Through, 2015, Forged steel, Three slabs each 9′ 2″ x 29′ 6″ x 16″

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Hilary Harnischfeger, last Fall at Rachel Uffner Gallery

Hilary Harnischfeger’s show at Rachel Uffner Gallery last fall was terrific. This was my first introduction to Hilary’s work and I have been thinking about these pieces ever since. This post somehow slipped through my fingers till now, but the work stayed with me.

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Bovina, 2015, ceramic, hydrostone, pigment, crushed glass, druzy quartz, steel, 22″ x 19″ x 16″

I’ve captioned the works below as best I could, but for more information about Hilary Harnischfeger, her work and Rachel Uffner Gallery please consult:

http://www.racheluffnergallery.com/artists/hilary-harnischfeger

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Bovina, Detail

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#27, 2015, ceramic, hydrostone, pigment, paper, crushed glass, druzy quartz, steel, 22″ x 19″ x 16″

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#27 Detail

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Chandigarh, 2015, ceramic, paper, hydrostone, pigment, oil stick, herkimer diamond, wood, 23″ x 18″ x 10″

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Harlequin, 2015, ceramic, paper, hydrostone, pigment, paper, apophyllite, wood, 16″ x 17″ x 4″

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Philip Guston: Painter 1957 – 1967 at Hauser & Wirth

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Philip Guston: Painter 1957 – 1967 at Hauser & Wirth, New York covers the pivotal decade in Guston’s career during which the artist broke from abstraction, which made him famous in the 1950’s, and began a return to figuration.. The exhibition, a collection of 36 paintings and 56 drawings, is an absorbing exploration of the journey of process and experimentation that transformed the artist’s oeuvre.

For more information about the exhibition and Philip Guston please check out the Hauser & Wirth website at:

http://www.hauserwirth.com/exhibitions/2722/philip-guston-painter-1957-y-1967/view/

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From left: Traveller III, 1959 – 1960 & Painter, 1959, both Oil on Canvas

Painter courtesy of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta

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From left: Turn, 1959, Oil on Panel & Turnabout, 1959, Oil on paper mounted on Panel

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Turn, 1959, Oil on Panel, 22 5/8″ x 28 1/2″ Private Collection

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Turnabout, 1959, Oil on Panel, 22 1/8″ x 30 1/8″ Private Collection

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Untitled, c. 1959. Oil on paper mounted on panel, 18 1/8″ x 24 1/8″, Private Collection

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Untitled, 1958, Oil on Canvas, 64 1/8 x 75 1/4″, Private Collection

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Accord I, 1962, Oil on Canvas, 68 1/8 x 78 1/8″, Private Collection

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From Left: Vessel, 1960 and Slope II, 1961, both works Oil on panel

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Vessel, 1960, Oil on panel, 30 1/8″ x 21 7/8″, Private Collection

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Slope II, 1961, Oil on paper mounted on canvas, 40 1/2″ x 30 3/4″, Private Collection

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From left: Portrait I, 1965, Stranger, 1964 and Reverse, 1965 . All works Oil on Canvas

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Looking, 1964, Oil on Canvas, 67 7/8″ x 80 1/8″, Private Collection

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Painter III, 1963, Oil on Canvas, 66″ x 79″, Private Collection, London

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Untitled, 1967 – 1969, 48 Drawings, Charcoal and Ink on Paper, Variable Dimensions, Private Collection

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From left: Inhabiter, 1965, May Sixty-Five, 1965 and Afternoon, 1964

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May Sixty-Five, 1965, Oil on Canvas, 70″ x 80″, Lewis Family Collection

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Afternoon, 1964, Oil on Canvas, 74″ x 80 1/4″, Private Collection

András Böröcz: Profound Objects at Pavel Zoubok Gallery

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Here is a quick overview of András Böröcz’s terrific show at Pavel Zoubok Gallery during it’s recent run in New York. This eccentric and beautifully crafted show was the highlight of  a day of gallery visits in the city.

For more information about András Böröcz and Pavel Zoubok Gallery please check out the Pavel Zoubok Gallery website:

http://pavelzoubok.com/artist/andras-borocz/

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Construction Site at McKenzie Fine Art

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From Left: Eric Brown, Tilt, 2016 and Samantha Bittman Untitled 2016 and Untitled 2016

I always check out the shows at McKenzie Fine Art when I am in New York. I neglected to photograph some of the other great works in this show because I got distracted buying a small Lori Ellison drawing, so this post unfortunately omits the terrific work by Cathryn Arcomano, Mel Bernstine, Eric Brown, Kellyann Burns, Paul Corio, Liv Mette Larsen, Noah Loesberg, Erin O’Keefe, Laura Watt and Will Yackulic. My apologies to those artists. You can see installation views of the show and works from the above artists on the McKenzie Fine Art website.

http://www.mckenziefineart.com/exhib/CST2016exhb.html

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Samantha Bittman

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Samantha Bittman, Untitled 2016, Acrylic on hand woven textile, 20″ x 16″

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Don Voisine, Revolver, 2016, Oil on wood panel, 44″ x 44″

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Alton Sultan, Blue Squares, 2016, Hand dyed wool on linen, 10″ x 23.5″

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Christian Maychak, Compound Flat #46, 2015, Epoxy clay, pigment and wood, 45.5″ x 26.25″ x 1.5″

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Jason Karolak, Untitled (P-1608), 2016, Oil on linen over panel, 16″ x 14″

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Some Don Voisine’s and a Paul Corio in the back room.

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