Alex Ebstein: Honestly Interesting

Until recently I was unfamiliar with the artist Alex Ebstein, but I am glad to have rectified my lack of awareness.  There is an honesty to Ebstein’s work that I find readily engaging.  The use of yarn or string in an artist’s practice can often shift the aesthetic towards a decidedly crafty end result, but Ebstein manages to use the material with such purpose that it might as well be a drawn line in an architectural blue print.  The effectiveness of the work hinges on her ability to merge direct compositional tactics with a more playful approach to the selected materials.  Ebstein’s use of string also elevates the intentionality of her mark marking, and then quickly reasserts itself as a method of creating illusory depth in what would otherwise be relatively flat pieces.  Taught angular moments combined with purposefully relaxed textures start a visual conversation that I am more than happy to participate in.

I could have just included the ‘eye chart’ pieces because I found them extremely aesthetically pleasing, but the back-story provides a bit of insight that I think most would enjoy.  Think of it as a ‘Director’s Commentary’ for the work.  Courtesy of Miss Ebstein, “…then for the eye chart pieces. They are more of a weird reflection on (and obsession with) eyesight and my existing eye problems that force me to visit the doctor every month. I’ve had four eye surgeries in three years… I am always nervously checking my vision against things, one eye at a time, so these drawings were kind of my own dark humored joke about being an artist and constantly worrying about my vision.”  I am of the belief that ‘going blind’ is one of (if not) the most terrifying things any artist could imagine, and I appreciate the candor with which she addresses what could be an immobilizing reality to those with a more pessimistic outlook on life.  Ebstein will be starting grad school this fall, and I am eager to see how this focused environment will affect her work.  I also encourage anyone interested in contemporary art to check out the consistently interesting programming at Nudashank – a gallery she co-runs with Seth Adelsberger in the Baltimore area.

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Ted Gahl’s Paired Down

Ted Gahl is making some beautifully paired down paintings.  They are amazingly suggestive for the minuscule amount of information they present.  The painting above feels, to me, like portraits in profile, but is it really?  I’ve never seen a face like these pink hieroglyphs.  It’s interesting what a painting can make you think you see, and with just a few clues.  Gahl is in a bunch of upcoming shows: The Power Of Selection 3, curated by Ryan Travis Christian at Western Exhibitions, in Chicago; 2020 at the Above Second Gallery, in Hong Kong; and Color Me Bad(d): Joshua Abelow, Ted Gahl, and Hugh Scott Douglas at Nudashank in Baltimore.

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Instructions For Surviving Art School!

Hot off the presses I present Mr.Julian Duron’s nutty video called “Instructions For Surviving Art School.” This video will premier next week at Nudashank Gallery in Baltimore, MD.

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