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Convalescing from an illness, the Egyptian poet Constantine Cavafy once boasted “I have seen the absolute Black; it was unspeakably beautiful.” He can keep the purity. What’s more electrifying is how black behaves in relation, coming alive optically. Black shapes can vibrate when placed in stark contrast to neutral hues. Few artists unlock black’s buzzing potential better than Joan Witek.
For example, “The Road at Night (PS-28)” (1984), on view in her exhibition at Minus Space, was inspired by an evening walk along a dirt road on Shelter Island. Witek wrote “As I stayed longer in the darkness, I began to see into the night…With time, my senses were becoming more aware of the night’s subtleties.”
Just as nightvision takes time to switch on, Witek’s works reward patient looking. As the eyes become more attuned to their dark subtleties, they amp up. That humming on the edges gets louder, though never as stridently as Bridget Riley’s compositions — Witek’s are more enchantingly subdued.
Tantalizingly, this buzz resists digital reproduction. The center column in this image of “That He Be Known and Loved and Imitated (PS-22)” (1984) gets close. The jolt hits hardest in person.
Joan Witek: Paintings from the 1980s continues through October 24 at Minus Space (16 Main Street, Suite A, Brooklyn). The exhibition was curated by Jason Andrew.
One hundred years after Mary Hiester Reid’s death, Flower Diary recovers the elusive, overlooked artist’s life and work
An exhibition of cabinet cards at LACMA showcases marketing and personal panache.
Over 50 years of the artist’s video and media work on how images, sound, and cultural iconography inform representation is on view through December 30.
Most eye miniatures were exchanged between lovers, though they were also given to close friends and family members.
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, exhibitions on irises in art history, LGBTQ Pride, and more have been translated.
Over the course of three months, the resident artists in Going to the Meadow will collaborate and create with a curated set of continually changing materials.
“The impossibility of reforming Tony [Soprano] bears some resemblance to the crisis plaguing museums and toxic philanthropy today, where a culture of bullying and exploitation belies programming of socially- and politically-engaged art.”