For those who braved the cold, it was a pleasure to see the offerings on view in Greenpoint on Friday night. From the monochromatic graphic paintings of Andrew Guenther at Gallery 106 Green to the sculptural CMYK-color collages at Fowler Project Space, the night evinced a diverse and robust scene.
On the evening of May 10th, Greenpoint’s art spaces were abuzz. It was the first Friday night when everyone agreed to stay open late, a coming of age moment for the district.
What is the kernel of art? Does it lie in the form or subject, or in the shifting territory between the two? When do you manipulate the medium, and when do you follow its lead? Where are the parameters, if any, delimiting what art can contain? A painter like Ben La Rocco doesn’t ask these questions; he lives them.
When the lights went out at the opening of Craig Olson’s show at the Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, a painting called “Baba Yaga’s Question” dissolved from a red-and-green cloverleaf-shaped panel into a field of unearthly luminescence. Everyone clapped.
Janet Kurnatowski has run her gallery out of the ground floor of 205 Norman Ave. for the last seven years. There is something both welcoming and powerful about her modest space. The finished plywood and low ceiling are a welcome environment; a spacious hobbit hole for art. The owner’s earthy dedication to her craft seems to radiate throughout the space. The current exhibition Idiot’s Delight was curated by Craig Olson, one of the gallery’s artists. The exhibition is a love poem of sorts, an ode to those who spend their days in the studio. Old skool Brooklyn artists like Jim Clark and Chris Martin hang their work proudly next to young up-and-comers like Elisa Soliven. The resulting installation is less about a unified aesthetic than a kind of rugged independence.
This year’s Northside Open Studios (formerly Greenpoint Open Studios) benefited from the publicity associated with the major north Brooklyn art, film and music festival, but what it didn’t have was the art world buzz that the Bushwick Open Studios enjoys after years of promotion. I personally think north Brooklyn is big enough for two major open studio events and, in my opinion, any opportunity to discover new talent or see artists in their natural habitat is more than welcome.
It was Friday, April 2, and my mission was five gallery openings in one night: Postmasters in Chelsea, Flux Factory in Long Island City, Janet Kurnatowski in Greenpoint, and two Bushwick venues, Storefront Gallery and Grace Exhibition Space. It was an ambitious list to accomplish but my goal was set.