Adam Helms is known for drawing radicals and constructing ominous wooden watch towers. His current project is a series of 48 charcoal portraits in response to Gerhard Richter’s “48 Portraits.” Richter’s work used encyclopedia photos to catalog the iconic males of Western culture. Helms is also cataloging icons, but shifts focus to the dangerous fringes where civil wars and insurrections take place. Ranging over the entire political spectrum, from anti-establishment and anti-government groups to official government troops, Helms’ portraits are intentionally politically ambiguous, stating “The politics are less interesting to me then this idea of a repeated identity.”
The space in Claudia Cortinez’s work is so convincing that it’s easy to imagine air whistling through the latticed forms. I can’t decide if these are space stations or awesome backyards, but either way I want to hang out there.
Brendan Cass has been busy turning out awesome new paintings since his studio visit in April. Nailing the beautiful, effulgent color he’s known for, Cass is pushing into some new terrain with night-scapes. It’s all headed to Paris for Brendan’s upcoming show, Infrared Scene, which opens September 4th at Galerie Zurcher.
Employing concrete barriers, make-shift housing and check points, Amze Emmons uses the architecture of refugees to paint urban disaster. His grim imagery is mismatched by a cheerful palette, creating the impression of Martha Stewart going wild with pastels in a war-torn camp. Emmons puts it dryly: “I’m interested in how strife, climate change, disasters and global migration effect the way folks live and the types of environments they build.”
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.