Melissa Brown makes art which deliberately engages the precarious mental territory where reality and fantasy are indistinguishable, not in the sense of a narrative which may or may not be true, but in the sense of the inconsistency and vagaries of perception when vision gets a hard slap of imagination. A little over a year ago Beautiful/Decay did a studio visit with Melissa where we discussed her large scale prints (made with a steam roller) and scratch tickets collages of dizzying geometric complexity.
Funk upon a time, Brian Belott and Jesse Greenberg teamed up to create a two man show for Gallery Loyal in Sweden. I was wondering how to explain the work, but in the press release it says that “Not being able to pin down exactly what these objects are referring to is one of their powers,” so it’s better unexplained. I asked Brian about the power of not knowing and funkiness once, and he explained that working funky meant the difference between drawing inspiration from the sadness of the Blues, or the celebration of George Clinton and Parliment Funkadelic. The work in this show feels like a mash up between the ancient Egyptian religion, which at the time was thought to keep the sun rising, and today’s science fiction; a mythological range from prehistory to the future, it either expands time or contracts it depending on whether you like the Blues or P-Funk.
For people who have a soft spot for early animation Jeremy Tinder’s new work pricks the skin like Cupid’s arrow. The strangely solid little people remind me of rock crystals or the thread spools that R. Crumb would draw faces on, something small, secret and precious. If they weren’t painted I would want to put one in my pocket to talk too when I felt down and out. Ok, that was weird, but you see where I was going with that.
Amy Mahnick takes garbage, things like empty plastic containers and packing tape, and makes paintings. The paintings are very realistic, which isn’t something that I normally get excited about, but this case is special, because the realistic technique serves the purpose of making us say “Hey, that garbage is beautiful.” It makes us think about living better. Maybe our stuff could be put to good use, maybe we could be more graceful, maybe our garbage could serve a higher purpose like Amy’s.
Eddie Martinez invited Beautiful/Decay over to his sunny Brooklyn studio to check out his new body of work. The next day the show was headed to Berlin, so it was excellent to get to talk to Eddie before the work shipped. I was able to take pics for over an hour while Martinez came in and out of the studio space. Martinez had shelves built to hold the work at nice heights, making it easier to get up close and examine the paintings. The reason I like Martinez’s work is that it doesn’t try to mimic reality, but instead the work represents reality. It works sort of the way a great story functions: there is a language which uncovers something hidden or reveals something new about the world. As far as we know, human beings are the only creatures which live with a sense of time. Because we are bound to our own time, each generation needs people who show us back to ourselves, which in turn allows us to conceptualize ourselves and the world. I think this is what Martinez is doing, and without a doubt his work does that for me. The show, Seeker, opens November 11th at Peres Projects Mitte, Berlin.
Don Porcella has a show of his signature, brightly hued sculptures and encaustic paintings up for one more week at Spattered Columns in NYC. The show is entitled Everything and Nothing at All. In a recent conversation Don and I had, he brought up his love of imagery that could be read in multiple ways. He talked about painting secrets, and casting shadows in multiple directions, dislocating literal time and space into a psychological time and space. He is an artist worth paying attention too. His show has a closing party on October 26th, from 6 to 8pm. Porcella will also be playing music during the closing party. Porcella has performed his music in San Francisco, Nashville, and recently at Robert Miller Gallery in NYC. Should be a very good time.
There’s a pretty great pair of painting shows on the Lower East Side in NYC at Dodge Gallery. Ted Gahl is in the front room with his cryptic, interpretive and symbolic paintings. I was drawing with him once, and he drew something that looked like a mysterious jelly bean, using a marker on construction paper. I was curious so I asked Ted what it was, and told me it was a car mirror reflecting the driver. Go Figure is group show curated by Eddie Martinez, and it has a bunch of artists that have appeared on Beautiful/Decay’s website and in the book series. There is some very choice work too, it’s interesting to see the work together as well. After the jump you can see work by Allison Schulnik, Erik Parker, Jamison Brosseau, and Jose Lerma. Both shows are up until November 13th.
Ashley Zelinskie is making art for computers. I admit when she told me about it, I was a little freaked out. Basically, she constructs three-dimensional sculpture on the computer, then has it printed in three-dimensions. It consists of a form humans understand, like a chair, and a code computers can understand too. Zelinskie also makes “paintings” which consist of a series of numbers, after the jump you can see Van Gogh’s Starry Night recoded for artificial intelligence.