Perambulating the Bounds

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Current LeQuire Gallery show

A couple of artists worth checking out at LeQuire, in their summer show that’ll be up the rest of this week and maybe next.

The show was organized by John Reed, who also contributes a series of pieces that repeat a single image of a cartoonish jackass, big teeth and mouth hanging open. He repeats it at different sizes, on strips of paper, within a large panel of woven paper, on blocky wood panels. Many of the pieces break up the image, which is not stenciled or reproduced uniformly but seems drawn freehand, sometimes verging on a scrawl. The scratchiness of the iterations of the image and all the varied ways it is fragmented give it a goofy ghostly feel.

The most appealing work in the show is a series of plein air urban landscapes by Todd Gordon. He goes to scruffy parts of Brooklyn – empty lots, industrial zones, canals – and paints what he sees in a horizontal format. Many of the pieces are framed out to capture fundamental symmetries of form. I was reminded of several photographers, like Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao who had photos of some similar settings along the IRT 7 line in Queens, or people like Hiroshi Sugimoto or Dodo Jin Ming who make water a major character in their photos. The last association came to mind particularly with Gordon’s painting of New York Harbor, where the image is almost all water (it’s the main image on the LeQuire Gallery homepage right now). I find it interesting that photographers come to mind. Some of it is that Gordon includes a curvature to his perspective lines like lens fisheying, but I think it also has to do with a sense of the work being involved in framing and capturing the pieces of reality caught in the frame.

There’s also some irony in Gordon’s application of a plein air approach to these gritty settings as opposed to the idyllic countryside you associate with those fine French words. And I always find extremely urban landscape paintings refreshing, like some I can think of by Rackstraw Downes at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. And of course there’s the lineage to the NY Ashcan School.

There are four other artists in the show: Julia Martin, Kelly Williams, Art Poledno, and David Guidera. Of these, the one that interested me most was Kelly Williams, with appealing botanical groupings and landscape details.

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