Thursday, January 29, 2009

More New York - On the Heel Toe Express

After I arrived in NY I took a cab to the Chelsea Market then walked back & forth between 9th & 10th going to all the galleries from 19th street to 29th street.

There about 200 galleries in these few blocks. I realize they are in a whole different world than New Bern, NC - all the spaces were great but I wondered how many of them paid the rent.

Some had 5 pieces, not very big, in the entire gallery and there were lots of photographs, which we have a hard time selling.

However there were a few pieces I thought were really great like Jane Dicksons work at marlborough Gallery, 545 West 25 Street.


These pieces are oil paintings on astroturf.

"Having previously worked on sandpaper, carpet, and more conventional surfaces, Dickson selects her materials both for the surprising pleasure of their tactile qualities and for their relevance to the subject.
Stephen Westfall, in his essay for the exhibition catalogue, comments on Dickson’s use of materials: “For several years now Dickson has been painting on astroturf, the artificial grass that comes in a variety of colors ranging from lawn green, to gravel and swimming pool blue. The paint goes on in a particalized scumble, with each blade of plastic grass holding its individual daub like a pointillist touch from the brush.

The packed blades of the cropped pile of the astroturf carpets backlight the color with their shadowed depth, creating an enhanced luminosity.
In lesser hands the effect might openly invoke kitsch, like a Seurat painting on velvet. But the shadows and specificity of the astroturf’s various colored grounds seem absolutely right for the hour and scenes Dickson is painting – that early twilight when shadows seem to rise like a mist from under things and lights go on. Details are erased; buildings, cars and bridges are reduced to their geometric essences, and even these soften at their edges."
But the piece that really moved me and I loved was Susanna Hellers piece at the Magnan Projects Gallery at 317 Tenth Avenue. This piece is a 23 feet wide panorama painting called 'the heel-toe express'; all about walking from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

It just happened that she came in about the same time I did and was talking to a fellow walker about her painting and the best places to walk in the city.

I LOVE this painting!

I listened in on her telling about the painting, lets see if I get it right. Her studio is in Brooklyn and she regularly walks to the Magnan Projects Gallery, it takes her about a hour and 15 minutes to get there.

So this is a painting reflecting her walks, not just walking along and looking straight, but looking up and down, to the left and right and putting her impression on canvas. Part of it is her impression of a row of really beautiful brick warehouses that they were trying to get historical designation. When no one was looking the mayor swooped in the tore them down, then there was a fire. The community was devistated at the loss.

The painting reflects all this, very moving.

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