A Redifined Existence at J. Cacciola Gallery

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The post about this show, which closed July 26, has been sitting in my drafts folder, but for lack of time rather than lack of things to say. The works of China Marks, Rick Newton, and Sally Curcio, interesting in their own right, were placed in thoughtful, playful dialogue with each other in the show A Redefined Existence at the J. Cacciola Gallery in Chelsea.

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Rick Newton’s clean-lined paintings register as normal at first, only to be belied with a touch of the surreal. The realistic rendering and precision of his painting style lends a cold edge to the combination of rationality represented by technological advanced vehicles and weapons and the irrationality of the blank background and details like the reaching claw in the painting above.

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Sally Curcio creates miniature worlds in the series on view. Her clean edges come from the re-purposing of plastic products to create cheerful, sweet worlds encased in glass bubbles. No less fantastical, and perhaps more accessible and inviting to the touch, are the sewn panels by China Marks. Marks creates scenes with characters and words that just stop just short of narrative.

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Overlaid with embroidery and different fabrics, the fabric panels recall the set up of cartoon panels but also the history of the craft of sewing and embroidery samplers. I read many of them as having a dark, slightly uneasy quality, like in the dialogue below. But open-ended as they are, it up to the viewer whether such statements are unsettling or funny.

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A Folk Art Paradise in Georgia: Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens

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Over on Burnaway Magazine, there’s a new article up that I wrote about visiting folk artist Howard Finster’s former home and garden in Summerville, Georgia. The artist created an area full of folk art, religious text, and junk intermingled at every turn, and visiting is a fun daytrip from Atlanta or elsewhere in North Georgia. Seeing the artist’s work here, as opposed to a museum, clarifies where the artist was coming from in both a literal and figurative sense, and strengthened my appreciation of his work. I’ve included more pictures here, and just follow the link to read the article “Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden Continues to Thrive” on Burnaway.

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I visited Paradise Gardens in June. Now that I’ve gotten back from a long vacation (without a computer–possibly not the best decision I’ve ever made), I hope to catch up and posts of some of the things I’ve seen soon.

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Review: Bernd Oppl at the Georgia Museum of Art

file uploads exhibitions Sick Building 1024x576 Review: Bernd Oppl at the Georgia Museum of Art

Bernd Oppl, Sick Building, 2012; video (still).

A new review of mine about the quietly horror-inspired videos of Austrian artist Bernd Oppl is up on Burnaway Magazine. If you have the chance to visit the Georgia Museum of Art before September 16th, the three videos form a really interesting, only slightly unsettling, exhibition.

“Inhabited” is usually a reassuring word. The works in “Bernd Oppl: Inhabited Interiors” at the Georgia Museum of Art, however, beg the unsettling question: who, or what, is inhabiting these interiors? Three short works—FlockHotel RoomSick Building—by the Vienna-based artist are being screened in silent rotation, none of which depict a human presence. According to curator Laura Valeri, the artist considers the spaces themselves as the protagonists. Continue…