Painting is a great actor. It has to be more than what it is, or else it’s just colored goop on canvas. When painting achieves this end, it’s sometimes difficult to talk about; it’s always changing, even when you’re standing still. Hello, Darling, a group painting show at Southfirst—Williamsburg’s hidden gem of an art gallery—features six artists (Patrick Berran, Jamison Brosseau, Amy Feldman, Tamara Gonzales, Brooke Moyse, and John Szlasa) whose works seem unassuming, but tinged with a bit of strangeness.
The type of painting in the show ranges the gamut from Patrick Berran’s “Gerhard Richter abstraction” to Brooke Moyse’s “kitchen abstraction”. It’s mostly abstraction, and mostly good. Jamison Brosseau and Tamara Gonzales’s paintings were the exceptions; they were the flattest and most derivative out of the bunch.) But those were just a few exceptions in what was an overall solid show, especially for what you’ll find around the Bedford L.
I didn’t want to like Patrick Berran’s heavenly, clouded landscape—it was what I imagine a Helen Frankenthaler would look like painted over with white. Then I spied the strange yellow stain in the lower left-hand corner and the painting was transformed. It was like a spot of urine found in heaven. So. Weird.
Then there was this silly painting by Brooke Moyse. At first maybe too silly: it’s a small painting made with large, shabby brushstrokes. I thought the painting looked like string beans on a kitchen table. There’s no good reason, other than association, for me to think these green strokes look anything like the bright green pods in the produce aisle. But that’s a wonderful, actorly trick Moyse pulled out. Bravo.
Making new shapes out of our “old” ones might not sound all too deep, but that’s what painting does well. It’s hard to make that sound too interesting, but thankfully, there’s a few works in this show that, while hard to pin down at first, become something else entirely.