My experience of the ocean is that it’s always in flux, never quite at rest or ease. But Byron Kim has, with the acrylic paintings in his Drawn to Water exhibition has fastened to panels draped on the walls of James Cohan gallery versions of the sea that are placidly dormant. Take “B.Q.O 13 (Tobey Pond)” (all works 2021) in which the hazy atmospherics of the bottom two panels of the painting call to mind the littoral zone of a body of water. The bottom view is supposed to be from underwater, and it feels so, with its stratified layers of deep indigo, which morphs into green and then into tawny sand as my gaze rises up. The middle panel which is supposed to depict a view of the water’s surface and its reflections, has sprays of ultramarine mostly enveloped a mucky brown with gray highlights and dutifully reproduces part of the cloud seen in the top panel. There the blue which is typically associated with a bright, afternoon sky surrounds a small gauzy cloud. All the paintings in the show replicate this theme of three distinct perspectives associated with the ocean, and this vertically tripartite compositional structure. And with perhaps the exception of “B.Q.O 25 (Solaris)” and “B.Q.O 25 (Honu),” which do something more vivid and active with the paint, the works here feel like a portrayal of inertia.
But inertia isn’t the right word. The story that the gallery tells of this series is that Kim found a kind of healing power in swimming in the open ocean. Perhaps these paintings then are precisely what it feels like for the artist to be in a state: to not be harried, or anxious or in deep existentialist dread, but to have equilibrium. The exhibition has been described to me by another artist as boring. But perhaps Kim making his way through these last two years of political upheaval and widespread death, and wrenching loneliness to find this composed serenity feels like an achievement.
Drawn to Water continues at James Cohan gallery (48 Walker Street, Soho Manhattan) through February 19. It was curated by gallery staff.
MTV’s The Exhibit Is Back With an Inflatable Dolphin
Episode four, in which artists tackled themes of justice and injustice, was the most lifeless of the reality TV show so far.
Florida Principal Ousted Over “Pornographic” Michelangelo Sculpture
Parents complained that the famous sculpture was shown to their sixth graders.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Tickets to Sold-Out Vermeer Show Are Going for Hundreds
The online resale market for the Rijksmuseum’s smash exhibition is booming, with tickets selling on eBay for over $2K.
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Miniature Worlds: Joseph Cornell, Ray Johnson, Yayoi Kusama
Through small-scale works, this exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art in New York examines Cornell’s prominent role in the lives and careers of Johnson and Kusama.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Who Will Decide on the Future of a Miami Native Burial Ground?
Native activists say sacred remains and objects dug up from a Brickell construction site should remain there, but mega-developer Jorge Pérez is pushing back.
How Can a Curator Approach South Asian Futurisms?
How do I acknowledge my shortcomings while reckoning with obscured histories and the exclusion of subaltern narratives in the fine art landscape? A working checklist for curators.
MCA Chicago Presents On Stage: Frictions
Will Rawls, Shamel Pitts | TRIBE, and Barak adé Soleil explore Blackness, queerness, movement, and dance in performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The Complicated Legacy of Camilo Egas
The Ecuadorian painter, a leading figure of Latin America’s Indigenismo art movement, has been both praised and scorned for his representation of Indigenous peoples.
Tom Jones Zeroes in on Ho-Chunk Visibility
“I think about the young kids, the teenagers, and I think being able to see yourself represented in art is so powerful,” says the artist.