ELBOW ROOM CHAT

Jennifer Moses’ Elbow Room: An Interview in Images with Linda Leslie Brown

Jennifer Moses’ quizzical, layered paintings are packed with physical and conceptual content. They also manage to pay homage, in ways both straightforward and sly, to a panoply of artists -some of whose work you may recognize below. Elbow Room, her show on view this month at Kingston, is a visual feast you won’t want to miss.

I met Jennifer for coffee recently to talk about her work, in an extension of an ongoing discussion we’ve carried on over the years. So, we sat around over at Nero the other morning talking about our art heroes and influences, of whom we have several in common.

Here’s one of Jennifer Moses’ works:

-1.jpgJennifer Moses  Bird on Wire 33×30 oil on panel

And one of my wall pieces

nutt-house
Linda Leslie Brown Nutthouse 2016 mixed media

We decided to conduct our discourse in images…

“First, she said, there’s…

440px-gorky-the-liver

…And don’t forget

matteo-di-giovanni

Do you know this one?Sassetta_-_The_blessed_Ranieri_frees_the_poors_from_a_jail_Florence_-_Louvre.jpg

We have to mention  picasso_nudeinanarmchair1929  of course.”

And it seems both of us have a permanent Resident in our studios:

guston-studiophilipgustonweb1975lg

Well, that started a flow of images…murray2450

th   the-weeping-woman

richard_tuttle_the_triumph_of_night_320x240

larger-copy

…as well as images of flow…

101000-coping

until I came out with

4

which started us both laughing. We could go on and on with this!

So I’ll leave it to you, Readers, to search out further references like these in Jennifer Moses’ paintings and collages at Kingston Gallery this November.

See you at Elbow Room!

-LLB

Slow Down

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Mary Lang’s recent photographs alert us to the world, or more precisely the world as perceived by the artist and mediated through the lens of her camera. She is bound to this world, these landscapes. We see as she does, places of great beauty, from a distance. They situate the viewer both in and out of the frame. They hold us and diminish us. That they are all digital prints (she notes her first such exhibition) is evident, but not essential to the way they are composed and presented. The images are idealized; a sense of yearning and a predominance of green are twinned throughout. In this moment in our culture of over-saturation of images, especially digital ones, Lang’s photographs invoke places out of time. The spaces are for the most part emptied out, even when there are figures or some evidence of a human presence. They alert us to stop and consider what we are seeing. They quietly say: Look. Look here. Look inward. See what’s there.

There will be a gallery talk on Saturday, November 29 at 4 pm. The exhibit runs through November 30. Don’t miss the show!

Image: Mary Lang, Clouds and mountains, Machu Picchu, Archival pigment print, 20×30 inches, 2013.

 

 

What are we talking about when we talk about art?

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Last Saturday we had a wonderful (first ever) event in the new Second Saturday series organized by the Boston Art Dealers Association in conjunction with the current exhibit Ground Cover: Contemporary Abstraction between Figure and Ground, curated by William Kaizen, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Studies, Northeastern University. The panel Abstraction and Contemporary Art included Kaizen in conversation with Peter Kalb, Associate Professor of Contemporary Art, Cynthia L. and Theodore S. Berenson Chair, Brandeis University and Martha Buskirk, Professor of Art History and Criticism, Montserrat College of Art. They had a terrific conversation and great feedback from the audience as well. This is my response to and understanding of both the talk and the exhibit itself.

Sometimes I see things differently. It can happen after I read something, hear a lecture or visit an exhibit, and I will be profoundly affected and pleased by this new understanding of the world around me. This is the case with Ground Cover, seeing the works in the exhibit with the particular lens of the relationship of ground to figure and the ways the artists express their relationship to the theme. They all make their work by hand, perhaps expressing our collective anxiety to an ever-increasing technological world; perhaps balking at the trend of many contemporary artists whose practice involves technology for the production of the work.

The artists chosen by Kaizen exemplify the exhibit’s theme of ground cover and they each articulate in a variety of ways this relationship of figure to ground. In his curatorial statement he says: “Dancing between thing and nothing, event and non-event, appearance and disappearance, the works in Ground Cover transmute ground into figure and figure into ground.” Each of the works asserts itself in relationship to figure/ground or ground/figure and also articulates the space of the gallery and in so doing reaffirms itself as an object. For each, the question of what is figure and what is ground is one that is answered or resolved by the process itself and the resulting object. This assumes that the paintings are objects and not just surfaces for material. In fact all the works hover in the liminal space between object and surface in varying degrees.

The artists in the exhibit are not ambivalent about making objects and raise several important questions. How does their work function in our ever-increasing technological world? Why is abstraction still relevant? Artists always have responded to their particular culture. Art is made in response to society and thereby becomes its window. The work in Ground Cover gives us many different ways to see.

Don’t miss this exhibit! Ground Cover: Contemporary Abstraction between Figure and Ground runs through September 28.

Photo credits:  Will Holcroft, Installation view of Ground Cover exhibit, Mary Bucci McCoy, Attendees September 13 event

Ground Cover

Multistory

We are looking forward to the panel discussion Abstraction and Contemporary Art: Curator William Kaizen with Peter Kalb (author of “Art Since 1980: Charting the Contemporary”) and Martha Buskirk (author of “Creative Enterprise: Contemporary Art between Museum and Marketplace”) on Saturday, September 13, 4–5 pm.  This is the first event in the Second Saturday series organized by the Boston Art Dealers Association and is in conjunction with the current exhibit Ground Cover. Hope to see you there!

Image: Julie Graham, Multistory, Plaster, wood, paintings on panel, 69 x 10 x 9 inches, 2012.

 

 

Artist Reception this Friday, please join us!!

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Please join us for a special artist’s reception, Friday January 24, celebrating Luanne E Witkowski’s exhibit IV from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. The weather will be fine and it will be a great chance to see the exhibit and join in the festivities. Also showing are Mary Mead (Heads) and Susan Alport (Give/Take). We look forward to seeing you there!!

The exhibits run through February 2.

Rescheduled First Friday Reception

Please join us on Friday, January 10, 5:30–7:30 pm for the rescheduled reception for our three January exhibitions:

• in the Main Gallery, Luanne E Witkowski: IV, an exhibition of mixed media pieces on paper exploring the landscape.

Luanne E Witkowski

Luanne E Witkowski — Swept, mixed media on paper, 15 x 11″, 2013

• in the Center Gallery, guest artist Mary Mead, new work of varying scale from an ongoing series in Heads: New Prints.

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Mary Mead — From the “Head” Series, woodcut intaglio monoprint, 30 x 22″, 2013

 

• and in the Members’ Gallery Susan Alport: Give/Take, exploring the idea of artists as givers and takers in their art practice.

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Susan Alport — Shadow Shots, 35 mm film prints in vintage album sleeves, each 10.25 x 11.5″, 2013

The exhibitions are up through February, 2, and there will be an Artists’ Reception on Friday, January 24, 5:30–7:30 pm.

 

 

Contradicting Beauty

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Last Wednesday a group of thirty attendees had the pleasure of hearing Mira Cantor talk about her current show at Kingston Gallery, Meltwater. She began by stating that there are two things which are certain: death and the weather. She then discussed the ideas she ponders in regards to her practice, many of which are contradictory, but all equally embodied in the paintings.  Although she feels she is addressing a crisis in nature, a clear affinity for the materials at hand was apparent.

She has a love of landscape and a terror of that landscape. The work is about the water rising, but they are also beautiful images, making them unsettling, ambiguous. They are visual descriptions of mountains, but instead of offering the viewer a sense of looking outward, they are claustrophobic and disorienting. They are about the majesty and the demise of the mountains simultaneously. They alert us to issues of climate change, but with no solution or morality. Instead of being a clear representation, Cantor tries instead to express the essence of her experience. There is an economy of color and form as well as an importance of the surfaces; she uses a range of viscosities – allowing the forms to undo themselves.

Cantor derives her imagery from a specific locale, but she strives for something more universal; the paintings are an abstraction of that place.  Clearly, the influence of some of the artists she grew up with, Willem DeKooning and Marsden Hartley, makes itself apparent in this body of work, and like them, in the end, the work is all about the paint.

Image: Mira Cantor, Spector, oil on canvas, 40 x 32″, 2013