Verne Dawson at Gavin Brown's Enterprise

Published by Delicious Line
Written by Suzanne Unrein

Bucolic landscapes give way to mysterious narratives, myths, and rituals in these latest grand and intimate paintings by Verne Dawson. A bound Prometheus, an alluring mermaid, and a crucified Jesus are instantly recognizable. Other subjects arouse only a fleeting memory.

In the show-stopping The Theft of Fire (2019), a couple steals fire from a prehistoric era while others go about their ceremonial solemnities, holding unidentifiable objects among modern architecture in the same expansive setting. Time and space are a continuum as the pleased skeleton in the foreground holds court over the contemplative characters. Dawson paints the rhythm of the natural world swiftly and fluidly, laying thick marks over thin gestures in a no-fuss manner. Rough-hewn lines and smudges create the narrative, magically conveying the turn of a foot or the terror of a duck with seemingly little effort.

A concurrent exhibition of Dawson's work is at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, with an emphasis on numerology and astronomy, and an elegy to a most likely extinct bird.

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Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Jack Shainman Gallery

Published by Delicious Line
Written by Suzanne Unrein

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye's contemplative works, fictitious black figures painted life-size and larger in minimal spaces, make up this two-gallery exhibition at Jack Shainman.

Thin bright whites, yellows, lime greens, and peaches are sparingly covered up by a dance of deep umbers, blue-blacks, and grays. The underpaint highlights the whites of eyes, the contours of facial features, and the outline of clothing. The figures appear silent even with outward smiles. An insistent inward gaze complements their elegant postures. Their essence is depicted with such timelessness of clothing and spaces that it produces a hologram-like remoteness.

In The Ever Exacting (2018), a man looks skeptically at an owl that looks equally suspicious of the viewer. His white-socked foot reaches out as if to move while mimicking the owl's threat to fly. Both sock and owl are painted in rich white-grays. Yiadom-Boakye is at her best here - hinting at forms with virtuoso brushstrokes, playing vibrant hues off ochres and browns - while conjuring the mysteries of paint and her imaginary subjects.

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Angela Dufresne & Louis Fratino at Monya Rowe Gallery

Written by Suzanne Unrein
Published by Delicious Line

"Glazed" combines salacious pleasures with robust sensuality in this exhibit of fresh, modestly sized paintings by Angela Dufresne and Louis Fratino.

Dufresne tantalizes and summons with comic, crazed faces that look out from brilliant, abstract backgrounds with erotic familiarity. Enticing body parts and facial features are accentuated with swaths of surprising hues while restless fingers play at sexual diddling. The rousing compositions are unified in a masterful partnering of frenetic movement and rhythmic color.

Fratino's portraits are stylized, languorous, and romantic with solid, sculptural forms that are reduced and simplified. A slow dance of flat planes and undulating forms surround geometric, contented faces rendered in deep lilacs, rusts, and grays. When not delighting in his decorative patterning of blankets, tilted picture frames and personal objects, his doodles and scratches offer a visual playground for more abstract delectations.

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Angelina Gualdoni at Asya Geisberg Gallery

Written by Suzanne Unrein
Published in Delicious Line

Angelina Gualdoni's "House of the New Witch" revels in the power of the female mystique, the roles of sorceress and creator, while constructing compositional disorders through spatial mashups. Interiors and still lifes mingle with shapes from the works of female artists of the past that are painted on the back of unprimed canvases and seep through as an inherited visual language. Bewitching worlds turn seemingly ordinary household objects into tools for secret ceremonies, and ancient Peruvian ceramics into magical anthropomorphic creatures.

In Cabinet Painting (2018) the stains ooze out of the walls and floor, creating an eerie and dominating lineage. A cabinet of curiosities is dimly lit in a box of emerald, blue, and violet while its doors have a warped perspective that lends form and confuses. A flattened female Moche figurine is freed from the architectural concerns and the secret world of the human-like objects, appearing as a feminist rebellion to the ancestral spirits.

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Mary DeVincentis: Dwellers on the Threshold at David & Schweitzer Gallery

Art review by Suzanne Unrein
Published in Delicious Line

Mary DeVincentis's paintings percolate at their own speed. Her cosmos gives a virtuoso performance while its enchantment sweeps up diminutive creatures. Its static effervescence rouses and intoxicates, drawing the viewer into various scenes. In one, an artist wields a paintbrush under electric currents. In another a zebra contemplates existence at the edge of a cliff. Elsewhere a tiger tries to touch the sky.

The slick Yupo surface and fluid acrylic brushstrokes of Day Dreamer (2017) create an otherworldly luminosity. The dreamer hovers between conscious and subconscious states, in a bed of lilac flowers or aqueous reflections, the heavens overhead summoning the earth. Blankets of supernatural yellows and greens seduce with their acidic tranquility while suggesting clouds and sea. Pink ears hear the calling of a distant flowering tree, while arms and legs signal death and resurrection.

In DeVincentis's worlds, dreams and personal myths spark a universal recognition.

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"Andy Woll: Western Wear" at Denny Gallery, February 15-March 25, Lower East Side, NYC

Art review by Suzanne Unrein
Published in Delicious Line

Andy Woll's "Western Wear" at Denny Gallery is an orgy of muscular, slippery paint. The eight works on canvas and paper, inspired by Mount Wilson and the Santa Ana winds in Los Angeles, are motifs for Woll's robust dance of color, movement, and form.

In Mt. Wilson (Santa Ana II) (2017) a thin, rusted red pigment slides over a light bluish gray ground, suggesting a hint of smog. The peak is choreographed with thick, drizzly pinks, magentas, and yellows amid a fluid structure of browns and blacks.

The large abstraction, Santa Ana (2017), is a effusive, confident work, the paint let loose from a binding structure. Wind is made visual. Brushed on and scraped off, pigments slink, slide, crash, and mingle. Juicy reds and oranges counterpoint rich, brilliant blues. Bursts of yellow peek out of green mush. The undulating grays hold the piece together with a rhythmic freedom. The exhibit is a refreshing, dynamic rhapsody of intuition.
 

Andy Woll Santa Ana, 2017  oil on canvas 78 x 54 inches at Denny Gallery

Andy Woll
Santa Ana, 2017
oil on canvas
78 x 54 inches
at Denny Gallery

"Leon Golub: Raw Nerve" at the Met Breuer, February 6- May 27

Review by Suzanne Unrein
Published in Delicious Line

"Leon Golub: Raw Nerve" at the Met Breuer is a selected survey of his work from 1940 to 2004. Inspired by political and pornographic photos, classical art, and mythology, Golub sources a wide variety of images to create his aggressive and timely works. Interrogators sneer. Mercenaries torture. Good ol' boys posture with cruel authority. Pummeled on and scraped off, the paint mimics the crudeness it depicts with a visceral impact.

While known for his enormous paintings of political violence, Golub created later works that offer a despairing, sublime beauty. Small oilstick drawings of sex workers beckon the viewer as they fade in palimpsestic marks of bright red and blue. Bite Your Tongue (2001), an apocalyptic landscape, is deftly painted with large brushstrokes. Golub portrays the dog and decapitated head using subdued hues. A colorful banner to the left offsets the somber mood, announcing "Loyalty Discipline Renewal," a warning sign about our collective mortality.

Leon Golub "Bite Your Tongue", 2001 at the Met Breuer

Leon Golub
"Bite Your Tongue", 2001
at the Met Breuer