Curatorial

Trust Issues, September 15-November 13, 2016, Ronchini Gallery, London, UK

Trust Issues is a show about the inherent fallacy of today’s mass media. The artists in Trust Issues upend, confuse or question the integrity of different reproducible medias—from traditional books to website imagery—altering intended meanings through different modes of abstraction.

Artists: Arielle Falk, Samuel Levi Jones, Augustus Nazzaro, Rachel Rossin and Rose Salane

Flat Fix co-curated with Ryan Wallace, August 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark

The advent of photography marked the end of an epoch for paint as a recording device, and the medium soon became more valued for formal qualities such as hue and texture, rather than its ability to depict reality. This led artists toward abstraction, which evolved over the 20th century in tandem with technological developments in the field of paint products. Because of this, and despite the growing accessibility and democratic nature of photography, paint remained one of the more malleable and popular artistic mediums. Alongside the advances in industrial and household paints, other materials with unique tactile properties emerged on the market, including plastic, rubber, vinyl and industrial ink, to name but a few. With painting surfaces becoming a priority for abstract painters, it was natural for them to reach for these materials to finish, enhance or improve their paintings.

By combining newer, and sometimes older, mediums with paint, the artists in this show offer the viewer not only uncommon art styles, but also apt metaphors for our current milieu, in which past and present often feel simultaneous.

Artists: Patrick Brennan, Ernesto Burgos, Graham Collins, Raque Ford, Joe Fyfe, Ted Gahl, Tamara Gonzales, Hilary Harnischfeger, Joseph Hart, Arnold Kemp, Kristan Kennedy, Rosy Keyser, Gina Magid, Jon Pestoni, Matt Rich, Beverly Semmes, Ryan Steadman, Johannes Vanderbeek, Ryan Wallace, and Bobbi Woods

RE(a)D, May 10-July 4, 2015, Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York, NY

RE(a)D is a tribute to curator Bob Nickas who introduced his series of RED exhibitions in 1986 at the Massimo Audiello Gallery in New York City and later became well-known for appropriating a number of seminal exhibitions from the 60s. RE(a)D is a continuation of Nickas’ use of the umbrella terms “red”, but doubling it with the use of its homophone “read”. By overemphasizing the curating, it is Steadman’s hope that these banal connections can be neutered, letting the viewer revel in the individuality of each artist.

Artists: Andrew Brischler, James Lee Byars, Anthony Campuzano, Keren Cytter, Ray Johnson, Nils Karsten, Carl Ostendarp, Will Pergl, Richard Pettibone, Hayal Pozanti, Nathlie Provosty, Scott Reeder, Kay Rosen, Ed Ruscha, Despina Stokou, Lawrence Weiner, and Bobbi Woods

Performative Process, April 18-May 3, 2015, Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton, Long Island

The challenge for abstraction is to avoid becoming pure decoration. With so-called “provisional” abstraction dominating the market because of its decorative appeal and relatively fast production, artists have started looking for ways to create a more meaningful type of abstraction. One answer has been to craft an art object through what could be called a performative process, or in other words, the creation of a work of art that exposes the means or circumstances of it’s making upon it’s form.

While this intersection of process and performance has a history in 20th century art (from Yves Klein’s anthropometries to Richard Serra’s early hot lead works) contemporary artists who thrive in the realms of chance and physical artmaking have begun to turn toward these concepts in order to break new ground and avoid categorization.

“The mark of the immediate” (as Klein himself has coined it) that these artists seek is potent in disarming concepts like ‘abstraction’ and ‘figuration’ while reintroducing the basic fundament of play into art, creating territories where artistic acts and objects can be inseparable. It’s an important turn back to the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk where the artist and his/her life is as much the art as their byproduct (the artwork.)

Artists: Elise Adibi, Donna Huanca, Keltie Ferris, Kate Gilmore, Reuben Lorch-Miller, Adam Marnie, Ben Morgan-Cleveland, John Riepenhoff, and Brie Ruais

Mixed Doubles, March 7-April 15, 2015, New York, NY

Artists: Derek Fordjour, Ethan Greenbaum, Becky Kolsrud, Gina Magid, Adam Marnie, Andy Meerow, Davina Semo, Annette Wehrhahn, and Hannah Whitaker

Save It For Later, June 23-August 15, 2014, Sotheby’s S2 Gallery, New York, NY

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a phenomenon that is hard to conceptualize. It has been described as an “island” of varying thickness in the center of the vast North Pacific, estimated at twice the size of the continental United States and comprised primarily of man-made debris. The reality of our large carbon footprint has slowly seeped into our collective conscious, first through the recycling movement and then the call for renewable energies, yet Americans are more reliant on cheap disposable materials and fossil fuels than ever. The life of a new product has shortened to the point where product and garbage are quite similar; products often get discarded in bulk without ever being used, and materials are often produced so cheaply that they are seconds away from being classified as garbage. Because of this high turnover of production, older trash materials (such as reclaimed wood) are considered more valuable than newly produced ones. With the sheer amount and variety of waste products readily available, it is not a surprise that artists would naturally recycle or reuse this type of material as a part of their process. Being artists, the application of a handicraft alongside an objet trouvé is generally of equal importance, and can range from a more traditional form of painting to more mundane crafts like woodwork or embroidery.

Artists: Brian Belott, Graham Collins, Rachel Foullon, Jack Greer, Dave Hardy, Jo Nigoghossian, Demetrius Oliver, Borna Sammak, Hanna Sandin, and Jack Siegel

Ain’tings, March 20 – April 26, 2014, Robert Blumenthal Gallery, New York, NY

Pushing the boundaries of what painting could be by using very little paint, focusing instead on tweaking the unwritten language of this storied medium, is one of the achievements of the provisional painters of the last decade, which include artists like Richard Aldrich and Sergej Jensen. Their work has emboldened a new generation of artists to engage with painting, many of whom don’t use any paint whatsoever.

This trend exposes an odd evolution for painting in the 21st century. Can these paintings without paint still be called paintings?

The unprecedented diversity of commercial materials today has helped foster this trend of paintless works. These materials have become easier to get and are often cheaper than traditional art materials while having the ability to impersonate aspects of paint. Many of the artists in this show are generally seen as draftsmen, sculptors, or photographers, but they’ve managed to borrow more from the history of painting than many traditional painters. They retain what we love about painting: surface, color, composition, and in some cases illusion, while thriving with common materials like marble, Plexiglas, tape, plywood, cork, and fabric. For instance, Graham Collins invents new ways to make tones and colors by putting car window tinting on the glass surfaces that front his monochrome canvases, while Chris Duncan mimics the striations of horizontal brushstrokes by meticulously layering rows upon rows of strapping tape, a clear plastic tape that has a glossy translucency not unlike painting glazes.

Ultimately, the thread connecting these wall works is the strong desire on part of the artists to dodge labels like painting, photography, sculpture, abstract, or realist. Hopefully this will allow for viewers to experience these objects without their expectations being conditioned by these kinds of conventions. It will also be interesting to track how the next wave of traditional painters will respond to the increasing materiality of wall works such as these.

Artists: Aaron Aujla, Dylan Bailey, Graham Collins, Chris Duncan, Ryan Estep, Ayan Farah, Egan Frantz, Ethan Greenbaum, Ross Iannatti, George Henry Longly, Lauren Luloff, Adam Marnie, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Ryan Wallace, and Letha Wilson

So Different, So Appealing co-curated with Rachel Churner, 2011, 50 Gramercy Park North, New York, NY

Artists: Richard Artschwager, Joianne Bittle, Matthew Brandt, Carlos Jiménez Cahua, Anthony Campuzano, Graham Collins, Stacy Fisher, Ethan Greenbaum, Karen Heagle, Nick Hornby, Shaun Krupa, Jim Lee, Gina Magid, John J. O’Connor, Lisi Raskin, Ryan Steadman, Brent Steen, and Letha Wilson

What’s Bin Did And What’s Bin Hid, 2009, 106 Green Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Artists: Brian Belott, Carlos Jiménez Cahua, Carl James Ferrero, Stacy Fisher, Josephine Halvorson, Addie Juell, Brad Phillips, Noah Sheldon, Molly Smith, Brent Steen, Roger White, Michael Zahn, and Josephine Halvorson