Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Latest NY Art Trip: Chelsea Galleries

This feels so long ago that I can barely remember - but it was only a bit over a week ago. In between have been long sessions of oil painting, work, writing and lots of heat - you know,  the usual. My intention for this post was to finish up Friday since I only posted the morning session the other day. However, I have just finished looking through, adjusting and resizing the photos I took - and now I have carpel tunnel in my right hand because there were so many just from the galleries. So I'm going to include what I can in this post and save some for next time. Here goes...

Mark Wagner at Pavel Zouboc Gallery

Pavel Zouboc on W. 23rd Street was the first stop on the tour after lunch. This gallery specializes in collage and is currently showing "Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death" by Mark Wagner (through August 12th). This show was nothing short of totally AMAZING (even though I hate that overused word). Mark Wagner must have no life because it is all spent making this work. I took a lot of closeups, but the work has so many tiny details that I don't know if you can see them. (Be sure to click on these images because they will enlarge.)

Greg beside the huge, 14-panel  "Liberty" with a part of the
viewing platform in the right foreground

Wagner calls this work "currency collage" because it is all made from actual one dollar bills. The biggest piece in the show, "Liberty," is 16 feet x 4 feet and is composed of 14 panels that I figure must about 38" x 16". Within each panel, the detail is incredible and the overall composition is ingenious - very humorous and inventive. He cuts the tiniest little slivers of the bills - really incredible.

Liberty torch - note George Washington and the cartoon character at the apex

The press release from an earlier exhibition at Pavel Zouboc Gallery states that Mark Wagner, "creates collages that speak to the cultural, social, political and symbolic roles that money plays in our society....[He] transforms this icon of American capitalism into representational images whose symbolic force asks us to question our understanding of money, its cultural significance and relationship to art." See the gallery's website for many more photos of the work.

Worker Bees, 2011, currency collage, 16 x 37 inches

Closeup of Worker Bees

Trafficking, 2011, 37 x 16 inches

Closeup of the green light in Trafficking

In case you forgot, here's a dollar bill with the green seal to the right of George.
How many of these were used in the green light above?

I really loved these pieces - so clever, so obsessive - all made with currency

Closeup of Pretty Please, 12x16 inches

*&?@#!, 12 x 16 inches

This trunk contained a stop-time video of Wagner and an assistant
at work making the collages plus snippets of currency and
assorted objects. It was fascinating to watch the video. 

Of course I also liked this unique piece (image from the gallery's website) called
Plumbing the Depths, with collage by Mark Wagner and paint by Joey Parlett, 2011,
24 x 24 inches. Great surface.

Cheim & Read on W. 25th Street was the next stop. They are showing "The Women In Our Life: A Fifteen Year Anniversary Exhibition," up through September 17th. This was a more pared-down show with single examples from ten women artists who have worked with the gallery. The exhibition announcement notes about the artists, "their selection, impressive in its scope, evolved in response to the artists' individual work." I take that to mean that they weren't chosen just because they were women. (Remember to click to see bigger images of the works.)

Joan Mitchell, Minnesota, 1980, oil on canvas in four parts,
102 1/2 x 243 inches

Closeup of Minnesota

Lynda Benglis, untitled, 1972, "beeswax, damar resin and pigment" on wood,
36 x 5 7/8 x 3 1/4 inches

Greg showing the scale of the Benglish piece

Louise Bourgeois, Nature Study No. 5, 1995, pink marble and steel,
20 x 36 1/2 x 23 inches

Also included in the show was work by Ghada Amer, Diane Arbus, Louise Fishman, Jenny Holzer, Chantal Joffe, Alice Neel and Pat Steir - all first rank artists. Check out the gallery website for a checklist of the works in the show.

Next was Stephen Haller Gallery on W. 26th Street. There was a group show of gallery artists, including my favorite Lloyd Martin, and an exhibition of "Collage Paintings from the 1960s" by Larry Zox. These pieces were quite interesting because they were just assembled roughly with staples and looked very contemporary.

Banner, 1962, collage, oil, staples on board, 72 x 72 inches

Another piece by Zox, this one much smaller and mounted in a sort of shadow box

Another Zox piece, about the same size as the one above. This one was my favorite.

The group show and the Zox show are up until August 5th.

Well, I think three shows are about it for this post. Still to come: Ruth Hiller's show at Winston Wachter, Li SongSong at Pace and Tamar Zinn at The Painting Center - plus the fabulous High Line.

P.S. Many thanks to Greg Wright for serving as the human scale for some of this work.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for a marvelous gallery tour! I especially enjoyed seeing Mark Wagner's work atPavel Zoubok. I am obsessed with collage and am always excited to see what other folks are doing.

As for the show at Cheim and Read. Mitchell, Bengalis, and Bourgeois are personal favorites. Thank you for letting me see some work that I wasn't acquainted with.

Larry Zox's collage work was also wonderful. I enjoyed the colors but, for me the best was the use of staples. Such a simple straight forward solution!

Nancy Natale said...

Thanks for your comment, Mary. I'm glad you enjoyed my post.

Tamar said...

Thanks for all the close up shots of Mark Wagner's collages--he must have a crew of worker bees to have produced this volume of work. I'm planning to see the show later this week. And the Larry Zox collages are some of the most satisfying pieces I've seen in a long time. Both the large and small works were equally powerful. You get the sense that he moved with speed and confidence in creating them. Thanks for the post!