By PAUL LASTER, September 2022
When invited to curate a summer exhibition at Marquee Projects in Bellport, on the East End of New York’s Long Island, I decided to reach out to artists whom I had previously championed—by either interviewing them, reviewing their work in a show or having written an essay about their work for a gallery exhibition.
Without any particular theme in mind, I was resolved to respond to what I saw in the work by these artists, whom I admire for an assortment of reasons, and then construct the show from it. Once I started to see shared and complementary aesthetic points of view, I chose specific pieces by the artists and then found a title to put a frame around the assortment of artworks that I had compiled.
Exploring color, form and perception, the ensuing exhibition “Seeing Red, Looking Blue, Feeling Green” mixes abstraction and figuration in a variety of media. Featuring painting, sculpture, photography, textile, collage and assemblage, the show highlights work by Reed Anderson, Jeannette Montgomery Barron, Erik den Breejen, Adam Handler, Valerie Hegarty, Greg Lamarche, Ted Lawson, Matt Magee, Donna Moylan, Jeff Muhs, Sylvia Naimark, Jennifer Deppe Parker, Erwin Redl, Stefan Sagmeister, Rhonda Wall, Taylor Anton White and Nola Zirin.
Toying with abstraction, Reed Anderson sews together sections of colored nylon to splendidly simulate geometric paintings that hang on the wall or fly like flags, while Matt Magee cuts up plastic consumer product bottles to make whimsical hanging wall pieces with multi-colored shapes and Taylor Anton White recycles nearly everything at hand to construct lively, three-dimensional mashups of materials, colors and forms.
Additionally employing abstraction, Erwin Redl uses computer-controlled lighting to build dynamic artworks that dazzle the eye with changing colors; Erik den Breejen composes vibrant, hard-edge paintings that mix music lyrics with geometric forms; Greg Lamarche combines lyrical, spray-painted gestures with torn paper collage in his animated works on paper; Nola Zirin fuses spray paints and stencils with geometric forms on joined wood panels; and Sylvia Naimark applies more muted tones in her poetic paintings, which capture memories through fading imagery.
Working figuratively, Rhonda Wall makes photocopies of culled print media imagery that she collages into narrative paintings addressing current political and social concerns, whereas Valerie Hegarty creates hybrid paintings and sculptures that comment on the deteriorating state of American society. Donna Moylan, meanwhile, paints imaginary landscapes and still-lives that tap into art history and her vivid imagination, and Adam Handler revisits the past by exploring childhood, intuition and the primal nature of self-taught artists.
Ted Lawson, on the other hand, makes paintings and sculptures that are monochromatic and cerebral and Jeff Muhs follows the monochromatic path in his sculptures because of the material—concrete—that he forces into bound plastic garbage bags to create highly experimental, referential pieces.
Blurring the line between abstraction and figuration, Jeannette Montgomery Barron photographs a traditional tabletop mirror in a variety of settings to create black-and-white and monochromatic color prints, which are both poetic and austere. Jennifer Deppe Parker and Stefan Sagmeister also take representational objects for the point of departure, with Parker cutting up art, fashion and design magazines, which she intricately transforms into prismatic images of eyes from animals and people, while Sagmeister embeds painted geometric forms into 19th-century paintings to graphically indicate social changes that have unfolded over long periods of time.
Finally, it’s the visitor who completes the exhibition, which is installed in a playful way, so that the relationship between the contrasting colors and forms allow the viewer to experience the gallery’s intimate white-box space anew. WM
Seeing Red, Looking Blue, Feeling Green remains on view at Marquee Projects in Bellport, NY through September 18, 2022.
Paul Laster is a writer, editor, curator, artist and lecturer. He’s a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and writer for Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, Sculpture, Art & Object, Cultured, Architectural Digest, Garage, Surface, Ocula, Observer, ArtPulse, Conceptual Fine Arts and Glasstire. He was the founding editor of Artkrush, started The Daily Beast’s art section, and was art editor of Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine, as well as a curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.
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