COMPANY Picks For Week of May 18

COMPANY Picks For Week of May 18

by Rhoni Blankenhorn

(May 17, 2011) It's hard to keep up with all the great exhibits and events happening in New York right now.  Hopefully some of you had a chance to check out the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which is always inspiring when it comes to contemporary design.  My weekend hunt for cutting-edge emerging art was a little more of a mixed-bag as I ran from an intimate apartment exhibit in the Upper West Side to the warehouses of Dumbo.

I started out at Christina Ray Gallery for the opening of Ricochet, Roberto Mollá’s solo show which will be on view until June 12.  The exhibit consists of works on graph paper, as well as some works on canvas.  I was definitely more drawn to the works on paper, and I love the delicate geometry of his work.  The sharp, clean lines and strategically placed colors are expertly contrasted and balanced.  The disarming simplicity of the images is refreshing, and the more time you spend looking at these works, the more you see.  I have to say I loved every one of these pieces.
I stopped by the New York Photo Festival in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and on the way I caught one of Olek’s crocheted bicycles under the Manhattan bridge.  NYPH took place in a few different spaces including St. Ann’s Warehouse and The powerHouse Arena amongst others, so it was pretty huge, and I only got a taste of what was going on.  After being pulled into an impromptu photo shoot by WIN-Initiative, I stumbled upon a pop-up exhibit of photographs selected from the Leica Scavenger Hunt.  Though I wasn’t blown away by the photos, I love the project idea and how it encouraged people to trek through Dumbo and interact with the city in a new way.  Very psychogeography.
From the NYPH I headed to Mighty Tanaka, also in Dumbo, for the opening of A Smiled Distress, featuring Hellbent and John Breiner.  I first saw Hellbent at Fountain NY 2011, where I was fortunate enough to see the entire process of the piece.  He started with bright dripping spray paint, layered on some lace, then wheat-pasted a huge jawbone on top.  Hellbent’s work is very graphic, and sometimes reminiscent of woodblock prints.  At Mighty Tanaka, some of his pieces are actually on panel, and he carved toothy dogs and angry rhinos into the actual wood.
John Breiner’s works were more delicate, but also had an illustrated quality.  Breiner often paints on the pages of old books, layering the pages to build a larger canvas.  I felt a very strong Japanese influence in his work, maybe because of the material or the layout of the images.  There was a striking huge scenic landscape sprinkled with boldly colored umbrellas that reminded me of a Japanese screen, and several smaller scenes as well bursting with laboriously inked foliage.  The show is open through June 3.
Up Close and Personal presented by Vandalog and MANY was my last stop, and probably the highlight of my weekend.  Vandalog is a street art blog run by RJ Rushmore, a 20 something powerhouse urban art fanatic working on a really cool global street art project with TED.  The exhibit consisted of small scale works taking over someone’s apartment on West 106th St - definitely was an unusual spot that lent itself well to the atmosphere.  Amongst the artists featured were Chris Stain, Clown Soldier, Edible Genius, Elbowtoe, Retna, Tristan Eaton, Know Hope, and Gaia.  I had seen works by many of these artists before (both Chris Stain and Clown Soldier were featured in a recent Silent Auction for Fountain Art Fair), but the intimacy of this exhibit made it more personal.  Plus, Edible Genius gave me a little tour around – Thanks Edible Genius!


 

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