This year’s edition of Bushwick Open Studios was a decidedly more low-key affair than past iterations, and that’s mostly a good thing. Though some of the main buildings were as crowded over the weekend as in years past, on the whole the pace was less hectic, giving visitors more time to engage with works and artists. The official map was also noticeably less lopsided, with a host of new spaces at the east end of Bushwick balancing out the main corridor from 56 Bogart Street to 1717 Troutman Street. As we crisscrossed the neighborhood, we came across plenty of artists who we expect to see a lot more of in the coming year.
Tunji Adeniyi-Jones (site)
The combination of colors, forms, and scale in Tunji Adeniyi-Jones’s paintings is really working. “Everyone who’s come into my studio has commented on their size, but they’re not big, they’re me-sized,” he told me as he stretched to demonstrate that his canvases do in fact perfectly match his height and arm span. Their stylized bodies and bold palettes made me think of Henri Matisse; the way his figures twist, crouch, and stretch so as to almost perfectly fill their canvases reminded me of Giovanni Garcia-Fenech. His use of color, texture, and subtle details to create relationships between his paintings gave the whole array in his studio a potent tension. He also concurred with my observation that well-rendered feet are a hot trend in painting right now — and his are on point. —Benjamin Sutton
Terri Chiao and Adam Frezza (site)
Have you ever watched cartoons and wished you could own one of those plants? Say no more, because I know the answer is ‘yes.’ Well, here you are. Frezza and Chiao make their infectious “Cartoon Plant Sculptures” forms to emulate that which we normally can’t have (which is a pretty good metaphor for art, incidentally). They’re playful, they’re colorful, and I wish I could walk in a forest of them, but a stroll through their studio space is the next best thing. Let’s just say that if I get stuck on a deserted island, I hope it looks like this. (BTW, the duo adorably goes by CHIAOZZA.) —Hrag Vartanian
Lara Carmen Hidalgo (site)
Photography is definitely an underdog at Bushwick Open Studios, but Hidalgo’s photos, which she publishes in exquisite books or in little booklets that can be unfolded and refolded to create poetic juxtapositions, instantly captivated me. The small booklets, all of which feature images from her street photography project along the Bushwick–Ridgewood, To Seneca, have all the vivid details of a diary, offering little snippets of nature, trash, architecture, and the occasional dramatic urban vista. The photos are beautiful and the way she has combined them heightens their impact. —BS
Levan Mindiashvili (site)
The visual language of Mindiashvili’s is deceptively simple, but that brevity (if you can call it that) offers a key to the viewer to unlock more expansive themes and poetics that appear dominated by a sense of memory — not to mention a love of materials and strong propensity for rectilinear forms. And boy do I wish I could’ve seen his show this past summer at the State Silk Museum in Tbilisi, Georgia. Wow. —HV
Jackie Mock (site)
Over the weekend, Jackie Mock installed her “American Museum” in the storefront space at 853 Onderdonk Avenue. This museum was filled with fragments and artifacts that Mock has collected during her travels and through obsessive research. Some projects are more personal, like collecting every spoon she’s used since 2009, while others tell curious and unknown stories, like how a man named Benjamin Waldron was buried beside his amputated leg, which had its own tombstone. In one of Mock’s most visually beautiful pieces, colorful paint chips taken from New York City subway stations float behind a pane of glass. While Mock’s work can at times feel a bit too close to a certain trope of preciously elevating mundane objects, her stories and subjects feel particular enough to her. —Elisa Wouk Almino
daàPò Reo (site)
Most objects in daàPò Reo’s studio are artworks, from the couch to the mint green motorcycle in the corner. On the day I visited, the walls were covered with African vintage fabrics, which Reo collects and preserves. He experiments across media and I most enjoy his work when he mixes up word and image, as in a humorous chair that he has upholstered, spelling out the words “Sit down, Liz.” Here, he paired his abstract textile work with stories, from a rant about not being the cool kid invited to a party to a Dr. Seuss piece of wisdom about how “turtles are free” as “all creatures should be.” Sometimes, his writing is prolix and I think the textile works would be more interesting if they veered away from reproducing flags (most notably of the US’s) and geography (like the continent of Africa). But I look forward to seeing more of Reo’s playful image and text works. —EWA
Janel Schultz (site)
I was immediately intrigued by Janel Schultz’s bizarre hybrid forms that strangely resemble roadkill she may have scooped up and turned into taxidermy for the purpose of art — alas, they weren’t. These marionette-like sculptures dangle from the wall and convey a sense of unease, even if they have a child-like magnetism that makes me want to hug them. There’s something about their disjointed fragility that attracted me to them, but it was their interesting construction and familiarity that made me look at them again and again. There’s a trace of the body in all Schultz’s work, but here it is directly foregrounded in a way that makes it particularly fascinating. —HV
Guimi You (site)
There’s something very disarming about You’s paintings owing to both her choice of palette (lots of pale hues and soft primary tones) and her subject matter (a mix of activities related to child-rearing and domestic chores). But her work is quietly epic. Her seven and a half-foot-tall painting “Destroyer” (2016), for instance, commanded one entire wall of her studio this weekend, its spatially disorienting drama only gradually resolving into a coherent image — that of a god-like toddler imposing his wrath on a toy train set. Likewise, it takes a moment for the cascading waves of “Drain Drain Drain” (2017) to register as what must be art history’s most epic painting of broccoli washing. —BS
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