The new year gets a ‘Push'
A group show at the Dolphin brings bright colors and a fresh outlook to winter.
By DANA SELF
It's all tangerine trees and marmalade skies at the Dolphin's gallery's"Push" group show.
Several artists, whose work is typically uttered in sober shades of grey, black and muslin, have embraced the fantastical side of the spectrum, and the gallery feels trippy and new.
Anne Lindberg, who just was awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant, here shifts away from grey graphite. In her two works,"thread drawing 06" and"07," Lindberg trades pencil for wildly cheerful Popsicle-colored thread.
Interestingly, these thread drawings don't carry the same sense of corporeal movement as her graphite pieces. While the graphite line drawings suggest the body's breathing and being, these thread pieces have a more mechanical sensibility, oddly, less organic, yet no less affecting.
Elevating thread to main character, rather than as just supporting stitching, in"Bosul Bi (Drizzle)" Ke-Sook Lee hand-dyed more than four dozen skeins of heavy thread in turquoise, aqua, blue, and yellow.
A single thread from each skein undulates from the floor to the ceiling. Lee writes in an email,"All those female bulbs are awakened and growing like they should, free and beautifully." This simple, yet elegant, installation suggests growth, movement, and a sublime feeling of infinity.
Del Harrow, who last exhibited at the Dolphin in May 2010, presented an installation of dark grey and black ceramic pieces, then. Here, he's abandoned the dark and emerged with"Copper Fade," an incandescent blue ceramic wall installation.
The geometric ceramic panels, tinted with copper oxide, begin with saturated blue at the bottom and fade to very light blue at the top. The juxtaposition of the hard-edged ceramic forms with the soft, undulating color evokes an ethereal transcendence similar to Ke-Sook Lee's work.
Lawrence-based Michael Krueger, known for his detailed, colored pencil drawings, continues his interest in images of the American West. In"Big Falls," a rainbow appears from the misty falls, suggesting something totemic and magical. He writes,"I was (and still am) looking at depictions of the American West by 19th century artists such as Thomas Moran and Alfred Bierstadt. These new drawings create warm but cautious vignettes of escapism and beckon a review of how we as a nation reconcile nature. I am also using color as a way to bring a heightened sense of spectacle to the work and the depiction of nature."
Krueger is straightforward in his devotion to the intimacy and immediacy of drawing and his iconoclastic work radiates confidence.
Andrzej Zielinski, like Michael Krueger, draws from the physical world."Blue Industrial Paper Shredder" materializes from his ongoing series of paper shredders, ATMs, phones, and laptops. Zielinski explores an abstracted and distorted object in spatial relationship to canvas, space, and the viewer. Building the paint to sculptural volume, Zielinski's shredder nips between comic relief and serious abstract inquiry, reminiscent of the late Philip Guston's work.
Using vintage silks, Debra Smith's geometric, pieced textiles cleave to her usual palette of reds and muslin, while Archie Scott Gobber's"Image" vibrates and agitates.
Working in enamel on canvas, and creating a three-dimensional image, Gobber's play on words celebrates the push and pull between surface, illusion and metaphor, scrutinizing what is real and what is not.
Sharing Gobber's energy, Anthony Baab's white-on-black print"Untitled," suggests grids, imaginary structures, a computerized skin surface or multiple geodesic domes, flattened atop one another, into infinity.
David Ford's"Persephone," a slapped-together massive concrete block wall, is undercooked and overly empowered. It's a sharp contrast to his lyrical work on paper,"I'm Coming," in which we look through a proscenium arch to a bucolic landscape. The graceless"Persephone" unfairly overwhelms Nate Fors and Aaron Wrinkle's paintings in the same gallery.
Pressing comfort zones into difference, some of the"Push" artists have recalibrated expectations and achieved unexpected newness. How fresh and satisfying. And isn't that what a new year should bring?