Monday, April 25, 2011

Full of Gumption: Vigorous Paintings & Works on Paper at ZieherSmith

[“Don Juan & Don Quixote Riding My Horse” (1998), oil on signboard by Kirk Hayes. “Stairs (for Kelson” (2006), oil on panel (trompe-l’oeil) by Kirk Hayes. “You’re Late” (2007), mixed media on canvas by Trenton Doyle Hancock. “Panel Starers Triptych” (2010) oil on dyed fabric by Melissa Brown.]

ZieherSmith presents a group exhibition featuring vigorous paintings and works on paper by Melissa Brown, Tomoo Gokita, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Kirk Hayes, Keegan McHargue and Gary Panter through May 7, 2011.

Print maker Melissa Brown’s cuts across all disciplines: Among her recent projects are oversized woodcuts, stencil paintings, lecture performances, and collages made from discarded scratch-off tickets. Preoccupied with what is ubiquitous, Brown’s images put an array of vernacular styles and symbols into imaginary settings. Her work has enlarged the familiar while also accentuating an object’s embedded geometry. Meanwhile, Brown’s performances have ranged from the mystical to statistical. Brown studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA) and Yale University (MFA). She has shown her work in such venues as Bellwether Gallery, Kenny Schachter/Rove Projects, Artist Space, and the Socrates Sculpture Park.

With Kirk Hayes’ work ones eye can play tricks on you. At once it appears to slap torn paper, tape, wood, and metal together. Yet Hayes skillfully applies oil paint to look like something it is not—assaulting your senses with bold, dark humor. Eschewing the mechanical, his present body of work offers the illusion of assemblage—suggesting torn cardboard, rusted metal, wood scraps, and masking tape as painted effects. Hayes’ fluency with trompe l’oeil makes us believe we are looking at tattered and discarded objects put together on gritty, torn surfaces, complete with coffee cup rings and doodles. Yet this is not the case. Beyond his finesse with paint is how he employs collage to defy convention while exploring chance and randomness. Hayes shares the mischievous intent of Dada artists in his faux-assemblages in oil and enamel on signboard. With this technique in hand, we are invited into the grotesque, sarcastic, and even cathartic precincts of his subjects. Hayes has shown at Horton Gallery (Berlin), as well as the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art (Overland Park), the Blanton Museum (Austin), Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and Artspace (San Antonio).

Influenced by Abstract Expressionism as well as other forms, Trenton Doyle Hancock transforms traditionally formal decisions—such as the use of color, language, and pattern—into opportunities to create new characters and convey symbolic meaning. His prints, drawings, and collaged felt paintings work as an ensemble to tell the story of the Mounds—a group of mythical creatures reflecting the artist’s unfolding narrative. Each new work by Hancock contributes to the Mounds’ saga—portraying the birth, life, death, afterlife, and even dream states of these half-animal, half-plant creatures. Space offered within Hancock’s works allows for a psychological dimension that balancing moral dilemmas with wit, language, and color. Included in two Whitney Biennials, Trenton Doyle Hancock’s work has been exhibited in such venues as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland), and James Cohan Gallery (New York).

Japanese artist Tomoo Gokita has shown at Bill Brady/ATM Gallery (New York), Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Rome), and Deitch Projects (New York). Keegan McHargue’s work has shown at Jack Hanley Gallery (San Francisco), Hiromi Yoshii Gallery (Tokyo), Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin (Paris), and Metro Pictures (New York). Painter and graphic artist Gary Panter has exhibited at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), the Phoenix Museum of Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Jewish Museum (New York).

“Gumption”: featuring Melissa Brown, Tomoo Gokita, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Kirk Hayes, Keegan McHargue & Gary Panter
Through May 7, 2011
516 West 20th Street NYC 100011

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