Editor’s Note: We asked critic Howard Hurst to provide us with 10 Brooklyn artists he considers underrated. Here is his selection. We will be asking many of our critics and writers for their own lists in the coming weeks.
Ok, so it’s the middle of August. The art world has, as per usual, largely checked out for the month. What this means is that there are tons of smaller projects that get to claim part of the spotlight. While Chelsea may be asleep, I’ve always find that the end of the summer presents itself as a golden nugget of opportunity for lesser known artists and curators to take over unoccupied gallery spaces, and to garner publicity usually hogged by larger commercial galleries.
In this spirit, and to help pass the hot summer hours, here is a list of my top 10 under rated Brooklyn artists presented in no particular order.
I’ve been a huge fan of Paul’s work for a couple of years now. Though he lives in Brooklyn, you might not guess that from his work which, though full of tension, has a sort of West Coast twang. His paintings champion the often uncelebrated details of life, combining bizaro landscape and whimsical abstraction. Like a stream of consciousness litany of the everyday, his paintings weave together desperate moments and locals into a patchwork of nostalgic feeling. A psychic vacation, his canvasses pull in and out of reality with dizzying speed. Though he shows with Morgan Lehman Gallery in Chelsea, we don’t see all that much from this guy.
Hayuk is a pretty amazing artist and relatively ubiquitous in the Williamsburg artist community. Her studio (soon to be torn down) is in the brightly colored Monster Island studio building on Kent Avenue on Brooklyn’s waterfront. Her dizzying, weird, and often psychedelic paintings are all about good vibes. The first time I saw her work at Cinders Gallery it felt like I was getting shot in the face with a laser full of happiness. She is just finishing up a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and is certain to continue to churn out awesome new work.
Schoultz seems like a pretty low key guy, bearded and flannel adorned llike many of his contemporaries. You wouldn’t know it to look at his paintings. His paintings are like overwhelming moshpits of sacred regalia, mined from the official visual language of American politics. The symbols of mysticism treasured by our founding fathers are wielded by the artist like weapons, creating raucous scenes of chaos that are both critical and humorous.
Ok, so Tod Seelie isn’t realy underrated, in fact there’s a fare amount of hype surrounding his photography. He’s become somewhat of a media darling, and he has been written about more than once by New York Magazine, though he isn’t really well known in art world circles. A traveling photographer known for his coverage of underground parties, music and art events, he is a regular contributer to Fecal Face, and documents his exploits on his blog Suckapants. Never the less, I’m throwing him on this list because, whatever you say about him, his photographs are awesome. I’d love to see his work displayed on more gallery walls, something that I don’t think happens nearly enough.
Martinez is awesome, he’s a local painter, kind of typical of what you would expect, but in a good way. His works are messy, youthfull, full of a graffiti sensibility, but also expressionism. It’s weird that the first time I saw his work was at Art Basel Miami Beach, in an Art Positions booth, where galleries are selected to present one work of art. His triptych “The Feast” was pretty incredible. I would love to see more from this artist, especially in Brooklyn.
Amy Feldman was recently included in Sharon Butler’s June, 2011 article in the Brooklyn Rail, “The New Casualists.” In her article Butler identifies a new breed of loosely affiliated artists that champion the informal, experimental and insouciant. Though this kind of story is easy to criticize for its generality, I think Butler has put her finger squarely on the pulse. Of the abstract painters discussed I think Feldman is easily the strongest. What I love about her canvasses is the level of abandon, the acceptance that less than perfect is sometimes just right.
Martha Clippinger is an art professor at Drew University in New Jersey and a resident of Ditmas Park, where she lives and works. She also runs an alternative art space, The Dirty Dirty, from her basement. Her art rides the line between painting and sculpture. Her use of found materials and sense of humor is underlined by a playful abstraction that is underlined by a relaxed southern attitude. It should come as no surprise that the artist originally hails from Georgia and is an acquaintance of Alabama artist and folk hero Butch Anthony.
It’s hard to think of a more under rated yet accomplished young video artist. Knight recently completed a residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Program. She also recently attended the Whitney Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her installations tackle the dynamics of political and social control. Her subjects have included professional dancers, military instructors, prison inmates and the artist’s own parents. She encourages her characters to improvise, creating a tension between the personal and the scripted. The artist’s videos examine the ways in which both governmental and domestic forces control our emotional, political and social reality.
Using a technique known as micography, the artist uses the written word as a substitute for the drawn line. His drawings pull from a range of sources from political manifestos to burocratic legal documents. Waugh’s delicate script winds around each page forming a host of iconic images. The subjects of his compositions mirror those of the text he appropriates. The dogs, eagles, tropes from romanticism and colonial era Americana that he illustrates all carry the hidden watermark of official approval. He shows at Schroeder Romero & Shredder and is an artist who deserves more attention than he gets.
Hisham Bharoocha was first widely known as a musician. He was a founding member of cult favorite groups lightening Bolt and Black Dice. He makes music under the moniker SoftCircle. His psychedelic collage and installation work reflect the way images and thoughts have a habit of melting together in the mind’s eye. Rather than feeling fragmented, Bharoocha’s collages reflect the fluid relationship between personal experience and the reality of living in a media-statured world. The result is both organic and artificial.