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The Butler
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INTRODUCTION. When you hear intervention, you think something’s wrong and needs to be fixed. For Robert Irwin, that something was art; it needed to be hacked. Beginning as an abstract artist, Irwin questioned painting and found it wanting. In one of those eureka moments by which something seems to come from nothing, but which makes sense in retrospect, he turned to the environment as both his medium and his Muse. Thus was his site-specific work... Continue reading
Posted 1 hour ago at What the Butler Saw
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INTRODUCTION. There’s a rhythm to the show, a vibe. It stays with you long after you leave the Museum. Makes sense, doesn’t it? The Caribbean – you think of West Side Story and reggae, merengue and bachata, mambo and calypso. Makes you want to dance through the galleries or at least lilt as you read aloud the wall panels and labels. This rhythm carries you through the tropical installation, through the thematic groupings - Conceptual... Continue reading
Posted Jan 29, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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A butterfly is an apt metaphor for Eden’s Edge: Fifteen LA Artists, curated by Gary Garrels for the Hammer Museum: fluttery and vulnerable, the work is skittish and fragile; lovely to behold, with a trajectory that could only be described by string theory, it rewards close-up looks and far-away ganders; clustered on walls like butterflies massed on a tree, it’s ephemeral, process-oriented, and poised for flight. Too bad it doesn’t sting like a bee. Garrels... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Until he met her, his destiny was his own. Petty and inconsequential but still his own. He was cocksure and free, young and unaccountable, with dark hair and aquiline features. His expression was always pensive, a little troubled, but not of a maniacal sort. He was more bored than anything else. With a heart capable of violence Until she met him, she was pretty but unappreciated. Her soul had registered no seismic activity. Dust Bowl... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Illustrations, sculptures, really, to a phantasmagorical story that happen to feature little old you. A virtual – “can this be possible?” - reality-goggled trove? No, it’s “Caught from Below,” Sarah Perry’s new work at Hunsaker/Schlesinger Fine Art. Seventeen pieces cobbled together from Spanish moss and English House Sparrow feathers, snake vertebrae and ribs, pigeon feet and millipedes, not to mention steel, brass, hair, acrylic, glass, and sealants. The pieces don’t so much startle you as,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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Becca Mann’s new work conflates the workings of memory with the cherries that may or may not line up in a slot machine’s window. You sense a configuration of images – randomly culled from memory - which she paints and then edits from photographs. Standing in the center of the gallery unbidden subjects suddenly spring in or out of focus, divested of spatial or temporal references, at one moment our most important consideration, prominent and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
An exhibition of paintings and drawings by Guy de Cointet at Overduin and Kite throbs with understated anxiety. This show features two galleries of paintings and drawings executed between 1971 and 1983, the year of his death. It resemble the words of a script, the compositional elements of a stage set, the dynamics of a performance, the playbill and show poster, exploded and splayed on our senses all at once. It’s the word, the process... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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...where, like a blind man, I retraced the jasmine of our exhausted human spring. Pablo Neruda, Macchu Picchu And so it is that art survives its own disappearance: somewhere the real scene has been lost, but everything continues just the same. Suzi Gablik, The Reenchantment of Art For existence has its own order and that no man’s mind can compass, that mind itself but a fact among others. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian Solemn and majestic,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
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What’s wrong with a little Disney fantasy if it lets a 6-year-old girl for a moment escape her ironically named slum motel, The Magic Castle? That’s the question answered in the last minute of Sean Baker’s magical The Florida Project, a film included in Art Dubai’s year-round film programming in partnership with Front Row Filmed Entertainment and screened at Roxy Cinemas at Dubai's City Walk. It’s the story of Moonee (Brooklynn Kimberly Prince), 6 years... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Recipient of a 2014-15 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Danielle Eubank paints bodies of water. She also paints water as if it were a body. The way light plays on its surface, the way it reveals its depths to show actual and emotional ripples, waves, and tides. All at once you see reflections of what’s above as well as things on and below the surface. She punctuates her surfaces with prismatic facets of color. Sometimes the surfaces... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Jessica Rimondi knows the ravages of time. How flesh will sag and then decompose; how unlived-in-interiors fade, get musty, and, then crumble. She shows this in portraits that melt before our eyes. The flesh is waxy if not blistered. It bleeds down the surface. It’s like being inside a coffin and watching time-lapse photographs show just how organic we really are. She shows this in her unpeopled interiors where rooms otherwise perfectly articulated slough into... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Expression-wise, there’s nothing out of the ordinary about the eyes in Japanese artistNaoto Hattori’s recent portraits of young women. Sometimes they’re as large, all seeing, and innocent as anything you’d find in Japanese anime. Sometimes they’re sinister, black pinprick holes that mask or otherwise portend malicious intent. What are extraordinary are the heads and faces. They combine elements of Odilon Redon, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, and Day of the Dead iconography. The single eye that covers a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Berlin-based artist Anke Eilergerhard makes sculptures from pigmented silicon that take the cake. She transforms Wayne Thiebaud’s Pop cakes into powerful generators of feminine identity (Scott Hove’s monstrous, fanged cakes also come to mind). Some pieces look like traditional wedding cakes. Others look like Meret Oppenheim and Leonora Carrington got together to design them. She examines the forms and, especially, the surfaces of these cakes and cake-like objects. The first impression of the work is... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Barry McGee. Untitled, c. 1990–2013. Paint on wood. 46 x 90 in. Courtesy the artist and Ratio 3, San Francisco. Talk about good timing. “Energy That Is All Around: Mission School,” curated by Natasha Boas for NYU’s Grey Art Gallery, features the work of artists that became known as the Mission School. The artists include three San Francisco Art Institute alumni, Alicia McCarthy, Barry McGee, and Ruby Neri, and their friends Chris Johanson and Margaret... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Opening on May 2, “Degeneration/Regeneration” features the paintings of Scott Greenwaltand the 3D-printed sculptures of the collaborative team of Smith|Allen (Stephanie Smith and Bryan Allen) at Oakland’s Loakal Art Gallery. It shows how artists mediate nature through art. It’s not a new concept, not by a long shot. But it’s a fertile and relevant one. On one level, the show serves as an environmental call to arms. Any recent image of industrial Chinese cities affirms... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
A graduate of the Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Art in Baku, Faig Ahmed steeps his work in tradition. A recent body of work includes his Carpet series. Azerbaijani carpets have been around forever. “Undestroyable icons,” he calls them. They’re known for their formal qualities. They’re known for the symbolic value. They’re artistic and spiritual. They also serve a practical purpose. He might say that they’re “undestroyable” but that doesn’t mean that he can’t make... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Ames Landscape Meredith James is like a latter day Alice in Wonderland documenting what she sees in her journey down and through a contemporary rabbit hole. Her videos, installations, and sculptures play with scale and trompe l’oeil to create optical illusions that are as disruptive as they are funny. In “Day Shift”, a short video, she plays a security guard who, having just left work, crawls into the backseat of her SUV and reemerges as... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
“Beneath the Skin,” an exhibition of Chris Trueman’s new paintings at Edward Cella Art + Architecture, is provocative, to put it mildly. Being larger than life-size, the work washes over you. Its peacock color scheme is as provocative as its surface rhythms are alluring. With great coyness, different parts of the surfaces seem to bulge out into the viewer’s space and then recede into each piece’s pictorial depth. This unveiling, combined with the glimpses of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
When Yeats wrote that “love comes in at the eye,” he could have been thinking of the work of Vienna-based Atelier Olschinsky. It doesn’t matter who the client is. It doesn’t matter what the medium is. You walk away from this creative studio’s work with a clear understanding of why we call the visual arts visual. You also realize how art has its own language. A language made up of nothing more than the arrangement... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Charles Dickens’s “A Tale of Two Cities” and the acrylic paintings of Filipino artist Rodel Tapaya share something in common. Both contend that it’s the best of times and the worst of times. Tapaya’s works’ formal qualities compress space and action. Pieces seem about to explode or else spin off the wall. There’s no clear narrative line, just a relentless series of actions and reactions. The works’ picture planes are flatter than flat. Their compositions... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Proving that bigger is better but in ways you wouldn’t expect, Monica Wyatt makes monumental bronze sculptures seem intimate. She exploits the medium’s heroic tradition. Monumental, heroic, and ceremonial. She avails herself of the material’s association with historic and metaphysical themes. Think, for instance, of Auguste Rodin’s iconic “Burghers of Calais” and “The Thinker.” Bronze is permanent, if not timeless. It’s got physical and emotional heft. It creates space and then displaces it. Like a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Frenchman Lou Ros is self-taught and he used to tag walls. You can see both in his work. He didn’t learn the academic tradition and then proceed to tear it down. He works from photographs; he wants to paint stills from films. Photographs and still shots capture moments in flux. That’s what Ros does. He paints until he finds the feeling he seeks or else discovers. Then he finishes. It doesn’t matter whether the work... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Chinese artist Li Wentao’s work is theatrical. It’s not just way the artist stages the lone character, a young, fragile woman, always barefoot, always in some state of undress. Clearly something’s on her mind. It’s the way we identify with her, just as we identify with, become invested in, a play’s protagonist. It’s easy to conflate the artist and subject. The woman looks out a window, off to the side, at the viewer. We can’t... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Born in Brazil, living in New York City, Marcelo Daldoce gives substance and heft to watercolor portraits. When you watch videos of him at work, he seems to use his brush as a conductor uses her baton. The initial pencil sketch serves as a printed musical score’s starting point. Forming ponds and rivulets, the hued water generously applied serves as yet uncoordinated harmonies. And the movement of the brush serves to create order out of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw
Taiwan-born artist Chen Dao Lee’s creates ambiguous narratives of unresolved tensions. His style is photorealistically perfect. The minute details of clothing, of furniture, of faces, they’re all there. His sense of staging is spectacular. His compositions are taut and vigorous. If the light in his work made a noise, it would be loud and blaring. It’s his choice of subject that makes the work provocative. Each piece features young, beautiful, semi-clad women with garish red... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2018 at What the Butler Saw