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01/28/15 6:45pm
01/28/2015 6:45 PM |

One of the photographs in Alexa Hoyer's show at Fresh Window Gallery. Image courtesy the artist and Fresh Window Gallery.

ALEXA HOYER: TARGETS
Fresh Window, 56 Bogart St., lower level, through February 6th
Visually bound to one another by consistently placed horizon lines, centerpieced subjects, and commonly littered, almost audibly crusty earth-scapes stretching from full-focused foregrounds to hintermost hinterlands, Alexa Hoyer’s large, pristinely presented photographs allow one to behold with absolute proximity a range of devastated objects that anonymous others had previously beheld at considerable distances—perhaps through scopes, one eye shut tight, all stillness and composure, and all the while breathing long and steady before exhaling into the rocketing blast of a fired bullet. These objects, in other words, are discarded gun targets, and their setting is the blissfully bleak desert lands circumscribing Las Vegas. Intimate, becalming, cinematic and slightly amusing, these images are also ever-so-slightly unsettling as one imagines the inherent perils, however vanished, of their circumstances. To be sure, this body of work takes a very hard look at variable notions of looking hard. And to be sure, Hoyer’s eye and aim, with Targets, are right on point.

A glimpse of Rivero's show at Shin Gallery.

KENNY RIVERO: I CAN LOVE YOU BETTER
Shin Gallery, 322 Grand St., through February 28th
Kenny Rivero’s captivating solo exhibit is full of surprises that are not exactly stunning, terrors that aren’t really scary, notes of humor that aren’t necessarily funny, fantastical figments that are actually just real, and barely nightmarish murmurs that hum, also, in tones of just-awoken awareness, such that the dream is at once active and over. I Can Love You Better, that is, amounts to a wonderful walk through the fanciful normalities and quotidian strangenesses of dreams—or of the blurred focus and liminal discomforts of what it looks and feels like to be dreaming. Encompassing paintings and drawings in various material formats and states of completeness, as well as sculptures and detail-enhancing, habitat-crafting installations, Rivero’s excellent show is billed as evocations of and meditations on childhood experiences, but it doesn’t feel at all quite so insularly personal. And that’s a good thing. Go with eyes wide open and let the works lure you in while lulling you deeply into some cognitive elsewhere. But watch your step. Those very real shards of glass will wake you all the way up.

Big turnout for the opening of another big show at BRIC.

OPEN (C)ALL: THE ARTIST’S STUDIO
Gallery at BRIC House, 647 Fulton St., through February 8th
It might not exactly be BRIC’s official mandate to consistently and dramatically outperform the Brooklyn Museum when it comes to embracing, promoting, celebrating and showing Brooklyn art, but it seems they have a certain tendency to do so. Their new BRIC Biennial series, for instance, is more or less conceived thusly; launched last year, its democratic aims and claims of eventual borough-wide inclusiveness are both apparently sincere and patently promising. Another great example of BRIC’s unstated modus operandi is their first show of 2015, OPEN (C)ALL: The Artist’s Studio, in which all of the artists in the BRIC registry were invited to submit work. From the look of things, they might well have included it all, as the range of mediums, means and, in qualitative terms, levels of expertise run a very broad gamut. But such massive range, broadly interpreted, is essentially what they’re going for here, and there’s much to be lauded about that—and there are many strong works filling up their space thanks to precisely the same approach. Ignore the clunkiness of the title, enjoy the chunkiness of the show.

A work by John Singer Sargent on view at The Frick. Image courtesy Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh © Trustees of the National Galleries of Scotland.

MASTERPIECES FROM THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St., through February 1st
Comprising works by Botticelli, El Greco, Velázquez, Watteau, Gainsborough and Constable, among others, this touring exhibition—one intended to morph slightly as it travels along to San Francisco and Fort Worth early next year—is housed very well, for now, at The Frick, where the ten pieces on loan, whose dates of production span nearly half a millennium, are displayed with a sympathetic coterie of works by the same and other artists selected from the Frick’s permanent collection. A certain John Singer Sargent work alone might entice you to see the show, for instance, as it’s long been close to your heart thanks to the cover of a Henry James paperback you’ve had since middle school. Or perhaps the Botticelli—the first piece by the Florentine artist to ever be shown in these rooms—will lure you to the museum with its lore. Per the press release, his Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child has never been seen “on public view” in the US. One wonders, then, where and when it might have been seen in private. A fine bit of intrigue, that. This special show has been up for a few months at this point, but you still have a few days to see it—or rather, to be sure not to miss it.

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio

12/06/14 7:53pm
12/06/2014 7:53 PM |

A glimpse of some of the good stuff on which you might chew at Valentine.

4 WHO PAINT
Valentine Gallery, 464 Seneca Ave., through December 21st
Over the four or so years he’s been running his gallery, Fred Valentine has assembled shows of such extensive material range that reflecting thereupon conjures something akin to a wackily immense cornucopia brimming with smaller cornucopias overflowing with stuff made of stuff, surrounded by other stuff, things and stuff, hefty things, hella stuff—hella broad-ranging exhibitions and artworks, that is, and often fetching, and never too stuffy to not get also a bit messy. But if there’s one kind of work that seems to enthuse him the most, it’s materially rich, thick, heavily handled, readily chewy paintings, and his current show—a couple dozen or so works by Peter Acheson, Yevgeniya Baras, Andrew Baron and Gaby Collins-Fernandez—features a plentiful plenty of all that. A somewhat large, rather low-hung composition, for instance, will paint your thoughts pleasantly brown with its unrelenting palette. More toothsome pieces here and there, then, will put Starburst candies in your eyes’ mouth—while even stickier others will cram it full of Now and Laters. If you feel up to filling your maw even more while chewing, head straight to the gift shop to chow down on, among other things, some small-scale, hugely toothy works by the master of chew, Matthew Blackwell. You might even find a couple gummy treats in there by Mr. V. himself. Per his norm, for certain, he’s filled his place with great stuff.

MASTERPIECES FROM THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL GALLERY
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St., through February 1st
Comprising works by Botticelli, El Greco, Velázquez, Watteau, Gainsborough and Constable, among others, this touring exhibition—one intended to morph slightly as it travels along to San Francisco and Fort Worth early next year—is housed very well, for now, at The Frick, where the ten pieces on loan, whose dates of production span nearly half a millennium, are displayed with a sympathetic coterie of works by the same and other artists selected from the Frick’s permanent collection. A certain John Singer Sargent alone might entice you to see the show, for instance, as it’s long been close to your heart thanks to the cover of a Henry James paperback. Or perhaps the Botticelli, the first piece of his to ever be shown in these rooms, might lure you to the museum with its lore. Per the press release, his Virgin Adoring the Sleeping Christ Child has never been seen “on public view” in the US. One wonders, then, where and when it might have been seen in private. A fine bit of intrigue, that. What’s more, this particular work by the Florentine so well known for dancing ladies and flowing locks is a particularly relevant one to pay pilgrimage to in December.

One of Bollinger's more 19th-century-novel type paintings at Zürcher.

MATT BOLLINGER: READING ROOMS
Galerie Zürcher, 33 Bleeker St., through January 26th
Bibliophiles are not invariably avid readers, nor are the latter invariably also the former, yet all such parties will find themselves variably at home—as well as indirectly reflected, and perhaps also ever-so-slightly mortified—while viewing Reading Rooms, Matt Bollinger’s solo exhibition of mixed-media paintings ranging from 19th-century-novel-large to flash-fiction-in-lit-mag-small. In works made in Flashe and acrylic with plentiful collaged additions for both textural and contextual grit, Bollinger presents a couple grandiose centerpieces to set the stage—two wall-consuming, unstretched and thus tapestry-like canvases depicting bookstores or quaint libraries in mixed states of disorder, devastation, desuetude—alongside dozens of smaller works that might be viewed as instants, actions and details extracted from so many elsewhere-encountered bound volumes. So many plots to be imagined or summarized. So many protagonists to be placed therewithin. So many curious moments suggestive of denouements. Pay Bollinger’s show a visit and choose your own adventure.

TAMARA GONZALES: WINTER IS COMING
Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, 54 Ludlow St., through December 8th
We recommended this show about a month ago already, but its nice long run still gives you several days to pay it a visit—and perhaps under more titularly fitting skies as well. One of the artists in this magazine’s 2014 group of five Brooklyn-based ones to keep an eye on, Tamara Gonzales has put together a new solo show that’s a winner in ways we expected and ways we didn’t. Here, not only has she leavened her palette a bit to make the works at once formally lighter yet graver in mood, she has also extended her dimensions in certain ways by incorporating instances of somewhat more materially involved, or at least more materially manifest—for the materials involved in her processes of meta-stenciling and layering are several more than a few—compositional relief, taking her takes on stratification to different depths. The title of her show and chilled palette might evidence a degree of inspiration hailing from Game of Thrones, but if the governing sentiment in that world is “all men must die,” then the edict in this one should direct all persons to simply go see Gonzales’ show.

You can follow Paul D’Agostino on Twitter @postuccio