Maria Lassnig at MOMA PS1

Maria Lassnig’s recent retrospective at MOMA PS1 was one of the most beautifully honest and strangely grotesque showings of work I have seen in some time. I saw the exhibition in July during a trip to NY and I can still feel the work.


Maria Lassnig Kopf (Head) Oil on Fiberboard, 1956

Maria worked in relative obscurity and became known to a larger audience later in her life. She died just recently in May in Vienna at the age of 94. The work in the exhibition is marked by a distinct palette and a muscular, expressive, raw and often off putting energy. The exhibition and much of Maria’s studio practice was devoted to the self-portrait. The impulse behind her works came from what she described as “body awareness”, a surrealist take on painting guided by one’s mental perception of oneself . Laceratingly honest, and self-reflective in ways that would make one blanch, these works positively vibrate.

For more information regarding Maria and her work check out the MOMA PS1 website and the website of Hauser & Wirth. There’s also an overview of her career in her New York Times Obituary written by Randy Kennedy.


Maria Lassnig Selbstporträt/Abstrakter Kopf (Self-Portrait/Abstract Head) Oil on Canvas, 1956


Maria Lassnig Kopfheit (Headness) Oil on Fiberboard, 1956- 57


Maria Lassnig Zwei Formen übereinander/Schwarze Flächenteilung (Two Forms Superimposed/Black Surface Distribution)                  

Oil on Jute, 1952


Maria Lassnig Ungeteilte Form (Undivided Form) Oil on Jute, 1952 – 53


Maria Lassnig, Both works:  Ohne Titel (Untitled) Oil on Canvas, 1960


Ohne Titel (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Left: Woman Laokoon (Woman Laocoön) Oil on Canvas, 1976

Right: Dreifaches Selbstporträt (New Self) Oil, Charcoal on Canvas, 1970 – 72


Woman Laokoon (Detail)


Dreifaches Selbstporträt (New Self) Oil, Charcoal on Canvas, 1970 – 72


Dreifaches Selbstporträt (Detail)


Dreifaches Selbstporträt (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Selbstporträt unter Plastik (Self-Portrait Under Plastic) Oil on Canvas, 1972


Maria Lassnig Selbstporträt hit Maulkorb (Self-Portrait with Muzzle) Oil on Canvas, 1973


Maria Lassnig Left: Das Innere nacho auBen (Inside Out) Oil on Canvas, 1992

Right: Selbstporträt hit Nervenlinien (Self-Portrait with Nervous Lines) Oil on Canvas, 1996


Das Innere nacho auBen (Detail)


Das Innere nacho auBen (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Ohne Titel (Untitled) Oil on Canvas, 2002


Ohne Titel (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Ich trage die Verantwortung (I Bear Responsibility) Oil on Canvas, 1981


Ich trage die Verantwortung (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Dame hit Hirn (Lady with Brain) Oil on Canvas, Undated


Dame hit Hirn (Detail)


Maria Lassnig Eiserne Jungfrau und fleischige Jungfrau (Iron Virgin and Fleshy Virgin) Oil on Canvas, 2004


Eiserne Jungfrau und fleischige Jungfrau (Detail)

Joyce Robins: Paint & Clay at THEODORE:Art


There is something other worldly, yet strangely familiar about the works of Joyce Robins that were recently on view at THEODORE:Art in Brooklyn. In talking about the work, I’m referring to the pieces of ceramic and not the few, but equally terrific works on canvas that were also on view. It is the tangible, delicate muscularity of the the clay works that sets them apart from the paintings. These “paintings on ceramic” put me under Robins’ spell.


Facing: Joyce Robins, Big View, 1974, Oil on canvas, 50″ x 70″

I’m not often drawn to works of pottery, but these pieces have a pull. They draw you closer. Exquisitely crafted, modern, biomorphic, light yet, solid. Delicate, fleeting and fragile, but strong and immortal in the way one wishes everything of beauty could be. These are not fleeting objects. They are for the ages. The photos that I took of the works do not do them justice. Please take some time to check out more of Joyce Robins’ work on the THEODORE:Art website and Joyce’s website as well. There’s also a great interview with Joyce in the Brooklyn Rail. These photos just scratch the surface of Joyce’s marvelous work.


Joyce Robins, Gray Rectangle, 2014, Clay, Glaze, Paint, 11.5″ x 7.5″


Joyce Robins, Blue Rectangle, 2002, Clay, Glaze, Paint, 9.75″ x 12″


Joyce Robins various works from L to R


Joyce Robins, Maroon Circle, 2000, Clay, Glaze, Paint, 15.5″ diameter


Joyce Robins


Joyce Robins (detail)

Mike Henderson: Traces of Places at Haines Gallery, San Francisco

Photo Courtesy of Haines Gallery

Photo Courtesy of Haines Gallery


There’s something exhilarating about Mike Henderson’s new works at Haines Gallery in San Francisco. I love these paintings. They are totemic and tactile; sacred objects almost. They command reflection. It is something about the manipulation of paint and the element of surface and beneath surface that gives these objects a certain breathing magic, like that sense of discovery one has when one opens a box long closed. There is that rush of air from another time that expands and envelopes you and you look and greet history with fresh eyes. These paintings feel like that. They are distinctly modern, but it is hard to place them in an age. They feel nostalgic and foreign and yet strangely familiar. Like excavations of memory, or one’s own history peeled back revealing all the many layers that form the whole.

For more information about Mike Henderson and Haines Gallery please visit their website and check out their Facebook page.

There’s also some really terrific video on Mike on KQED.

Photo Courtesy of Haines Gallery

Photo Courtesy of Haines Gallery


Mike Henderson Dance Deets 2014, Oil on Canvas, 62″ x 51″


Photo Courtesy of Haines Gallery


Mike Henderson New Wilderness 2014, Oil on Canvas, 72″ x 60″


New Wilderness (Detail)


Mike Henderson Gothic Grace 2013, Oil on Canvas, 64″ x 32″


Mike Henderson Between the Cliffs 2013, Oil on Canvas, 24″ 18″



Mike Henderson The HIgh Road 2009, Oil on Canvas, 46″ x 36″

Photo Courtesy of Haines Gallery

Photo Courtesy of Haines Gallery


Mike Henderson The Act of Seeing 2014, Oil on Canvas, 38″ 16″


The Act of Seeing (Detail)


Gene Mann at Andrew Edlin Gallery

Every now and again a show comes along that just stays with you, and Gene Mann’s show at Andrew Edlin Gallery is one of them. I’ve been thinking about these works since I saw them over a month ago. IMG_2687

Gene Mann lives in Switzerland near Geneva but was born in France. The show at Andrew Edlin Gallery is her first New York solo exhibition. The works at Edlin are sensually textural; a blend of drawing and collage. The pieces are most definitely figurative collage works, but they have an expressive, painterly feel to them and a movement that is both chaotically childlike and simultaneously  haunting. There’s something about the way the materials are manipulated and how the elements bleed into and over one another; like thoughts and stolen moments. Dreams and memory. The collection of elements are torn and pieced and drawn upon and torn again before coming together to form their rich dreamlike narrative quality, and these stories linger.








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Evidence of Absence at Ziehersmith Inc.


Evidence of Absence at Ziehersmith Inc. was another great show I saw last month in New York. The works of Ryan Mrozowski and Adam Winner were particular standouts.


Ryan Mrozowski Dark blue, White, Yellow, White, 2014, Vinyl on Wood, 16 1/2″ x 13 3/4″


Ryan Mrozowski Dark blue, White, Yellow, White (Detail)


Ryan Mrozowski Polychrome #3, 2013, Vinyl and Acrylic on Wood, 15 1/8″ x 11 5/8″


Ryan Mrozowski White, Pink, Grey , 2014, Vinyl on Wood, 20 1/2″ x 15.5″


Ryan Mrozowski White, Pink, Grey (Detail)


Ryan Mrozowski Dark Blue, Red, Maroon, Green I, II, III, 2014, Vinyl on Wood


Ryan Mrozowski Dark Blue, Red, Maroon, Green III


Ryan Mrozowski Red, Blue, Pink, White, 2014, Vinyl on Wood, 18 3/4″ x 15″


Adam Winner Untitled , 2014, Oil on linen, 20 1/4″ x 16 1/8″


Adam Winner, Untitled, 2014, Oil on Linen, 20 1/4″ x 16″

Steven Baris at DM Contemporary

Another highlight on my recent gallery rounds in New York was the terrific exhibition from Steven Baris at DM Contemporary.


Steven Baris (from left) Geometries of Flow E6 Geometries of Flow E4

I became familiar with Steven’s work through Facebook, but photographs did not prepare me for the subtleties of the work. They are strong striking compositions, yes, but it was the trace marks that drew me in. The works with their vibrant color feel very alive, but the ghostly  marks in the paint speaks of other histories. The great blocks of color allude to a type of abstract landscape. They seem like vast lonely plains of color with deserted buildings, and yet the trace marks ground the paintings in the human somehow. The marks give the works a past even though they are most certainly grounded in a graphic present. I am particularly in love with the framed Oil on Mylar works. We are still taking about Geometries of Flow D13. I was unable to take a good picture of it because of the sunlight spilling from an adjacent window, but that particular work on Mylar stood out. You can see that piece and learn more about Steven’s work on the DM Contemporary website and on Steven’s site as well.


Steven Baris Geometries of Flow E4, 2014, Oil on Canvas, 50″ x 50″


Steven Baris Geometries of Flow E4 (Detail)


Steven Baris Geometries of Flow E6 ,2014, Oil on Canvas, 48″ x 48″


Steven Baris (From left) Geometries of Flow D10 & Geometries of Flow E5


Steven Baris Geometries of Flow D10, 2013, Oil on Mylar, 31″ x 31″ Framed


Steven Baris (From left) Geometries of Flow D12 & Geometries of Flow D11


Steven Baris Geometries of Flow E3, 2013, 79″ x 79″ 

Pius Fox at Pablo’s Birthday


I got a chance to see the exquisite works of Berlin based Pius Fox at Pablo’s Birthday on the lower east side recently. To say this show is a gem is an understatement. I was positively vibrating when I stepped back out onto the street after viewing this show. The works are, on the whole, quite small. Many are just around 9″ x 7″ and yet they pack quite a punch. They have a certain contained gravity as if tiny abstract worlds had been compressed into the picture plane. They draw you in like tiny windows daring the viewer to come closer, and then they capture you. These works reminded me of the concentrated power of the small cigar box lids of Richard Diebenkorn. They have that same focused energy. Light, but powerful. Like if you cut one open it would engulf the room.



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Natalie Edgar – Abstract Journey at Woodward Gallery

I had the recent good fortune of seeing Natalie Edgar’s show Abstract Journey at Woodward Gallery in New York. Woodward Gallery was my first stop on a 2-day round of gallery visits in the city. Natalie’s show set the bar very high. You could feel the shimmering color vibrating all the way out on the street. The works have a delicate muscularity. The paintings feel lighter than air, but the expressive brush work grounds them. They are at once buoyant and anchored. I could hardly stop myself from leaping into them.


Island of Hydra, 2010, Oil on Canvas 46″ x 56″


Letter From Uccello #1, 2012, Oil on Canvas, 42″ x 56″


Letter From Uccello #1  (Detail)


Bentley with Watermark in the background


Watermark, 2012, Oil on Canvas, 46″ x 56″


Excursions, 2011, Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 42″


South Ferry, 2013, OIl on Canvas, 42″ x 55″


South Ferry (Detail)


Letter From Uccello #2, 2012, Oil on Canvas, 42″ x 56″


Paula Roland: Navigating at Conrad Wilde Gallery


Paula Roland has a new exhibition, Navigating,  currently running alongside the 9th Encaustic Invitational at Conrad Wilde Gallery in Tucson.        Paula’s ethereal monotypes have their visual roots in her childhood on the Gulf of Mexico. There is something both loose, expansive and yet delicately structured in these prints. They seem to roll like the sea, and the way they are mounted off the walls heightens their sense of breath, in and out, like waves.

For more information about Paula and her work:


 View of the right wall. From left: Navigating Series: True North, Undertow and Uncharted


Paula Roland Navigating Series: Uncharted Encaustic Monotype 40″ x 20″


Paula Roland Navigating Series: True North Encaustic Monotype 40″ x 20″


Paula Roland From left: Navigating Series: You Are Here and True North 


Paula Roland Navigating Series: You Are Here Encaustic Monotype 40″ x 20″


From left: Paula Roland Navigating SeriesPortal, Ocean at my Feet and Passage, Encaustic Monotype Collage, dimensions variable

The 9th Annual Encaustic Invitational at Conrad Wilde Gallery

The Encaustic Invitational at Conrad Wilde Gallery in Tucson, Arizona is an annual event that celebrates artworks created with encaustic, and the exhibition is always exquisitely orchestrated by gallery owner and curator Miles Conrad. Encaustic,  a mixture of beeswax, resin and pigment, is one of the world’s oldest fine art mediums and can be traced back to the ancient Greeks in the 5th century BC. The process of using encaustic is unique because it must be heated in order to activate it and make it fluid. Contemporary artists have embraced this ancient medium and there has been a wave of interest in its use in the last several decades. This 9th Encaustic Invitational is devoted to the encaustic print and the exhibition highlights the many ways in which artists create prints using these materials. There is also an exhibition highlighting new encaustic printwork from the artist Paula Roland running concurrently. A post on that exhibition will follow shortly.

Here is a link to more information about the gallery, the artists and their work.


From left: Debra Blair, Deborah Martin, Donna Hamil Talman, Birgit Huttemann-Holz, Amelia Currier, Nanette Newbry and Larain Matheson


Debra Blair Outpost, 2011, Encaustic Monotype 19″ x 23″


Donna Hamil Talman Timeless the Flow, 2013, Encaustic, India Ink and Pastel on Kitakata, 37″ x 25″


Amelia Currier 35 Blooms 2, 2013, Encaustic Monotype 20″ x 26″


From left: Nanette Newbry, Larain Matheson, Karen Riley and Binnie Birstein


Binnie Birstein Untitled Black & White 10, 2014, Encaustic on Paper, 22″ x 16″


From left: Mari Marks, Pat Spainhour and Kay Hartung


Mari Marks Thoughts and Afterthoughts 4, 2011, Encaustic Monotype, 12″ x 18″


Pat Spainhour Ocular, 2013, Encaustic on Paper, 40″ x 26″


Kay Hartung Pathways 4, 2013, Encaustic Monotype, 9″ x 12″


From left: Pat Spainhour, Kay Hartung and Winston Lee Mascarenhas


Winston Lee Mascarenhas 105 Sonnets, 2014, Encaustic Monotypes on Thai Mulberry Papers, 24″ x 24″


Tracey Adams Imago 3, 2008, Encaustic Monotype and Encaustic on 5 panels, 11″ x 55″


From left: David A. Clark, Deborah Kapoor and Milisa Galazzi


David A. Clark Study for Relic #2, 2013, Encaustic Monoprint on Sakamoto Heavyweight 25.5″ x 38″


Deborah Kapoor Cloud Messenger 7, 2013, Deconstructed and transferred Monotypes with Encaustic on Wood, 12″ x 16″ x 1″


Milisa Galazzi Loose Ends 1, 2 & 3, 2013, Layered Encaustic Monotypes on Japanese Papers, 18″ x 15.5″


Milissa Galazzi Loose Ends 2 (Detail)


Elizabeth Harris If Such Things Are Possible, 2013, Encaustic on Kozo, 22″ x 17″

Circles 3, 18%22x72%22,©2014EPGoldenberg_72dpi

Eileen P. Goldenberg Circles 3, 2014, Rice Paper and Encaustic, 72″ x 18″

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