Headed over to Wes Lang’s Brooklyn studio on Friday. Daylight filtered in from the street over walls resplendent with tattoo flash, hand-painted jackets, flags, and pics of beautiful women. Amazing paintings are everywhere you look. The first thing I said was “there’s a lot of nice tits on the wall.” Wes relaxed visibly and replied, “everybody likes tits, they’re calming.” That broke the ice. His new work emerged after losing several friends in the last year, and goes in a different direction from his well-known and controversial Americana work. It’s being shipped off this week to Galleri Brandstrup in Olso Norway.
Dearraindrop is an artist collective. I can’t figure out how many members it has, but I know one is Joe Grillo. They make clothing with tons of optically intense patches and knitting. Seeing one is basically like looking through a prism at an optical illusion of a lava lamp. They also do seriously colorful installations and paintings.
Is Genevieve Lawrence a Theosophic occultist? Using secret, mystical insight to call home the star-walkers who built the multidimensional Pyramids? Is she conjuring devious spells with strange hieroglyphs? Based in abnormal, impious, and non-Euclidean geometry, the pictures come together around glowing cubes and patterned triangles. This feels like the same dark magic on the one dollar bill or the Egyptian Book of the Dead.
The woodlands, backyards and mountain fields David Hornung paints can feel like elegies for lost friends. Conversely, much of the work is contagiously, imaginatively playful. These paintings can be read in contradictory ways; simultaneously flat and deep, both graphic and luminous. Hornung does this purposefully, because “picture making can be as paradoxical as life itself.” The invented settings evoke “memory, the flow of time, and, for lack of a better phrase, the sheer enigma of existence.” The light breaking on the horizon in “To S.P.” (above) is both beautiful and heartrendingly sad. What does it say about us when a sunset begs to be personified? You can see David’s work at Flowers Gallery in Chelsea from June 30 to July 31.
When I met Dan Attoe we were both starting the MFA program at the University of Iowa. I’ve known him for eight years now, and even though Dan lives in Washington State and I live in New York we have maintained our friendship through collaborations, especially with the art group Paintallica.
While at school we became friends – I’ve noticed Dan sort of collects weirdos like me. Before coming to grad school Dan had created a studio practice that involved making a painting a day, and was already working on paintings that have a relationship to his current work. While in school Dan wasn’t stuck on some notion of an ideal practice, he just worked while everyone else was talking about how to work, he wasn’t terribly concerned with theories; he has a background in psychology and knew to trust his own creative faculties.
While everyone else was screwing around with their identities, Dan had already settled into a kind of self-knowledge. I don’t know if his gnosis came from growing up in the deep woods with a forest ranger for a father, or from one of the experiences he had growing up that caused him to study psychology and art.
Being alive you meet a lot of bull shitters and have to play a lot of stupid games, but rarely do you meet someone as genuine and considerate as Dan.
Alexi Worth’s playful paintings have an on-again-off-again relationship with photography, illustration, and art history. The above painting is titled “The Formalists,” and it’s a very formal painting. On one hand the composition is geometric, and on the other the people are wearing black-tie, on the third hand they’re about to get intimate. Is it me or are those panties like a black hole?
Combine the variety of Hieronymus Bosch and the weirdness of David Lynch; add a pinch of skateboarding and two d-cups of death metal and you’ve got a good recipe for taking in Dan Attoe’s newest painting, “Accretion 40.” Placing multiple small scenes over an end-of-days landscape, he touches on everything from a drawing monkey (self-portrait?), to strippers, Christmas, and going to Hell. Dan put the finishing touches on this yesterday, and he’s about to move and have a kid, so this is going to be the last big painting for a little while.