Tuesday, May 19, 2009

3 Shows in NYC

Three shows opened recently in NYC that prominently feature 4 artists I've written about before in previous blogs. I'm such a fan of the artists, I can't resist giving them a little further plug for their current shows.

Michael Mazzeo Gallery
just opened a group show called Transmutations - Abstraction in Nature. Chris McCaw is included with his spectacular paper negative prints that have been seared, scorched, and punctured by the light of the sun. They remain favorites of mine and well worth seeing again. In his first NYC gallery show (long overdue), Christian Erroi presents his signature photo-sculptures: Lucite encased film transparencies. He successfully bridges a view of nature that allows for metaphor as well as science. I love them. Open through June 20.

Koichiro Kurita has a solo show at Sepia Gallery. When writing about Mr. Kurita, it is easy to fall into cliché. One speaks about "Zen" imagery, or simplicity, or "Japanese sensibility". One can also be seduced by the sumptuousness of his materials and working methods. As I have noted before, Mr. Kurita uses the antiquarian techniques of platinum-palladium, salt prints and collodion printing. His paper is always the unbelievably exquisite hand-made Gampi paper manufactured according to centuries' old traditions.

While all of this information is true, it does not approach the core of Mr. Kurita's art. There are many photographers who do something approximating this work, but no one has the pure grace and focus that Kurita has. Somehow, all of these materials seem just right in his hands; they coalesce to form a seamless language. What would be cliché or artifice done by someone less rigorous, seems here to be the essence of a landscape. Check out "Old Field Beech" "Weeping Beech". The interplay between the leaves and the reflections of the leaves is balanced in a way that makes one question if it is an abstraction yet also communicates some essential "tree-ness". Likewise, in "Kasumi", one may first have the impression of seeing a Callahan wannabe in the abstracted waving grasses. But this is something else. The Gampi paper, the platinum salts, the patient exposure marry to form an impression of nature that is Kurita's own. There's nothing really new here, but that's like saying "seen one ocean seen 'em all". Not to be missed. Through June 27th.

Marco Breuer continues to explore and expand his list of ways to abuse a piece of photo paper. The inaugural show at Von Lintel Gallery's new space has five different series on view from this always engaging artist. I especially loved the the "shot" pieces in which photo paper had received and recorded a shotgun blast. Different colors registered where various pellets hit at varying temperatures and velocities. While not all of the show was as inventive as I've come to expect from Mr. Breuer, it is certainly as intellectually rigorous and sensually satisfying as ever. Great work. Up through June 13th.

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