Whether you’re an indoctrinated member of the edgy contemporary art scene or an art newbie looking for something fresh and local, we profile five outstanding, off-the-beaten-path gallery shows that were certainly worth a visit in the winter of 2015.
'Earl Works' Installation View | Image Courtesy of Adam Reich and Monitor Studio
Mountains Collection at Untitled Gallery
January 16 – February 22
Half of a two-part exhibition, Untitled Gallery showcased Brendan Lynch’s Bob Ross-themed installation titled Mountains Collection. Creating an atmosphere inspired by well-known television painting instructor Bob Ross, this show was part interactive exhibition space, part social commentary on the politics of spatial hierarchy presented in a homey, living room atmosphere. The landscape paintings were curated by artists in the Red Hook-based Stillhouse Group, hung next to a thrift store painting, a painting by Bob Ross himself, and a painting from Lynch’s parents’ house. The contrasts intentionally sabotaged the art world hierarchy, set against a sound backdrop of Ross citing instructions and a gorgeously displayed blue sky mural. The second part of the exhibition ran from January 24th through March 1st at 3 Howard Street.
Exhibited at Monitor Studio on the Lower East Side, Early Works featured a body of work by artist Duane Zaloudek, on view for the first time since the 1960s. The paintings were shown in several exhibitions in the 1960s – most notably in the Whitney Annual of 1969 – and were curated for this gallery with the help of The Drawing Center’s Brett Littman; another art world figure from a NYC institution. Referencing both Tibetan sainthood and sexual overtones in boldly contrasting chromatic schemes true to 1960s fashion, the artist sought to instigate ‘an intense encounter with heavily reduced stimuli’ for the viewer. This Italian-based space’s Chrystie Street showing was a gem of a visual and tactile experience for New Yorkers, young and old.
Fred Valentine, 'Towards Grandfather Mountain' | Image Courtesy Of Studio10
Essex Street @ Essex Street at Essex Street Gallery
January 25 – March 8
This charmingly minimalist Lower East Side gallery space played host to a group show in the winter of 2015, featuring a very impressive stock of artists. Upon entry, the space exuded an alien, white noise feel (particularly apparent to art scene newcomers), lacking a conventional artistic or ideological theme. The range of pieces, however, from Cameron Rowlands’ sociologically astute squeegee in a bucket to Park McArthur’s giant polyurethane foam construction, presented an introduction to deceptively provocative artists of various generations in one unassuming space.
Tao Kulczycki, Resonance, 2015, aluminum (original dideridoo), engine stand, strap, 60.5 x 53 x 14 in (Right); Ian Swanson, paintings from the "Aging" series, 2014- 2015, airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon, 62 x 46 in (Left)
| Image Courtesy Of The Artist and BOSI Contemporary
Fred Valentine: Toward Grandfather Mountain at Studio 10
February 6 – March 8
No list of outstanding but lesser-known exhibition spaces would be complete without mention of at least one Brooklyn-based gallery. Studio 10 is located in the emerging art hotbed of Bushwick, sited in a former factory building shared with artists’ studios and other galleries. Fred Valentine was named one of Brooklyn Magazine’s ‘most influential people in Brooklyn culture’ for his Valentine Gallery, and in this show his work took center stage with a series of new, richly-colored oil paintings. The artist painted an arrangement of geometric forms that suggested a landscape, simultaneously displaying deliberately rendered yet not-quite-completely tromp l’oeil painted frames.
Tao Kulczycki, Resonance, 2015, aluminum (original dideridoo), engine stand, strap, 60.5 x 53 x 14 in (Right); Ian Swanson, paintings from the “Aging” series, 2014- 2015, airbrushed acrylic, graphite on rayon, 62 x 46 in (Left) | Image Courtesy Of The Artist and BOSI Contemporary
Vital Shifts in Central Observer at BOSI Contemporary
February 18 – March 21
Exhibiting a two-person show,BOSI Contemporary featured a series of triptych paintings by Ian Swanson alongside sculptural works from Tao Kulczycki. The overarching themes of Vital Shifts In Central Observer showed targeted notions of spatial relationships, specifically the relationship between two-dimensional painting and three-dimensional sculpture. Also juxtaposing found objects and materials to create metaphors for human existence, the concepts presented created a dense yet palatable introduction to contemporary art for visitors who might not have an arts background.