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There’s no indication that Front Room Gallery’s Constructing Abstraction exhibition was meant to be an optical vortex of sorts, but it certainly makes for a jostling viewing experience that feels like a temperature check for the power of pattern and color in contemporary abstraction.
Curated by Williamsburg veteran Melissa McCaig-Welles and Front Room gallerist Kathleen Vance, the group show combines familiar faces from various local art scenes (Williamsburg, street art … ) along with others who approach recent art history with a sense of reverence.
Local legend R. Nickolas Kuszyk has broken free of his trademark robot imagery to give us a lattice of striped shapes in “Untitled Grid” (nd), which is influenced by Stuart Davis but thoroughly contemporary in palette and energy. Meanwhile, Chris Uphues, who’s best known for his street hearts, gives us clusters — he calls them spheres — of his kawaii imagery that could pass as the monochrome lovechildren of Mike Kelley and Takashi Murakami.
Most of the works on display share an interest in accumulation, and even works with recognizable imagery, like paintings by Jesse Lambert and Uphues, play with distortion through layering and line. Lambert overlays dream-like imagery on a petri dish of color, suggesting his affection for the Pattern and Decoration movement and its visual trickery.
Peter Fox, a longtime Williamsburg artist, provides the shows biggest visual jolt with his “Pyramid Scheme,” and, placed next to Andrea von Bujdoss’s Maya Hayuk–like symmetrical canvases, the work almost appears classical and controlled in tone and palette.
Most of the artists seem to tip their hats to artists before them and in the process build on solid foundations. But the show’s inclusion of artists that seem to share many (maybe too many) similarities doesn’t do the work any favors.
Poussin and the Dance is a valiant attempt to break into Poussin’s staunchly academic oeuvre and provide a relatable point of entry, highlighting the exciting elements of revelry and movement despite impenetrable and unemotional rendering.
Anarchist illustrator N.O. Bonzo produces decentralized media in a highly bureaucratic cultural landscape. Their illustrations, murals, and literature emerge in unexpected places, from the streets of Portland, Oregon, to the far ends of Reddit and Twitter, addressing relations of labor and identity in the workplace and on the streets. Growth and care are central themes…
This exhibition explores how images of the human body were used to provoke profound physical and emotional responses in viewers from the 15th through 18th centuries.
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The collaborative handmade paper- and printmaking center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts publishes new works by Liz Collins and Sarah McEneaney.
There is a debate whether the memory of Little Syria should be seized upon to tell truthful and positive stories about Arabs in the US, or whether any conflation between its history and contemporary politics is inappropriate.
The profile includes works by Egon Schiele, Amedeo Modigliani, Peter Paul Rubens, and a prehistoric Venus of Willendorf figurine.
These horrifying dolls definitely won’t murder you in your sleep.