Category:works on paper

Joining: Agathe de Bailliencourt


The month of May belongs to Agathe de Bailliencourt, who will have two solo shows, Eintritt in Toronto and Sheer in New York, plus a site-specific projection onto The New Museum, concurrently on view. Eintritt means “joining” in German (de Bailliencourt is French but currently based in Berlin) and this post joins together images from both of her painting exhibitions as well as selected past projections and site-specific installations. The images are strikingly distinct, yet demonstrate de Bailliencourt’s continuing interest in the expressive mark of the hand (particularly her graffiti-inflected splashes and scrawls), as well as her ongoing engagement with architectural form, space, and especially movement/directionality delineated through the use of decisive gestures, layered textures, and vibrantly contrasting colours.

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Pattern, Precision, and Unpredictability: Kristiina Lahde

Beyond Measure, exhibition view, MKG127

For her recent solo show at MKG127, Kristiina Lahde tests the limitations and possibilities of measurement, pattern, and chance in her work. In cutting and reconfiguring measuring tapes and rulers, she playfully repurposes these practical tools toward more conceptual ends. Her similarly well-crafted paper pieces reveal the surprisingly ordered outcomes that result from random initial conditions. Whether working in collage, sculpture or drawing, Lahde imbues her work with the visual wit and perceptual pleasure of an oscillating Escher, but without the encumbering kitsch. Tightly controlled in its execution, her work ranges freely between spatial qualities of flatness and depth, positive and negative, and straightness and curvature, even as it explores tensions between form and function, order and randomness, and visual/conceptual languages.

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WTF is a Wayzgoose? (and WNYBAC, for that matter?)

This weekend, get thee to Grimbsy for their 34th annual Wayzgoose, a festive fair and celebration of all things book arts-related. While the origin of the word wayzgoose is still up for speculation, there is no doubt that this tradition of annual printers’ parties dates back to at least the late 1600s, when Joseph Moxon, author of Mechanick Exercises (1683-1684), wrote: “It is customary for the Journey-men every year to make new paper windows…because that day they make them the Master Printer gives them a Way-goose, that is, he makes them a good Feast, and not only entertains them at his own house, but besides, gives them Money to spend at the Ale-house or Tavern at Night.” Nice.

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The joyful woodcuts and collages of Naoko Matsubara

We’ve been looking at the work of Naoko Matsubara, an artist whose practice spans three continents and nearly 50 years. Focused on a variety of subjects including trees, landscape, the arctic, Kyoto, and Tibet, much of her work is unified by a highly ordered yet playful simplicity in composition, against which gestural markmaking and brightly saturated planes and patterns of colour push and pull the eye.

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44 from the virtual floor of VIP Paper

John Baldessari, 2623 Third Street, Santa Monica, 2000, suite of four color lithographs with screenprint, overall dimensions 54 x 54 inches, edition of 61, Brooke Alexander Gallery

As the world’s first online only art fair, VIP has experienced major growing pains since it’s launch in 2011, with many collectors frustrated by tech glitches and dealers reporting low traffic and sales as a result. While the site’s capacity and interface issues are well known and improving, the question of whether the term “online art fair” is an oxymoron continues to be raised. To our minds, this is largely a semantic issue; regardless of what one wants to call it, VIP simply represents yet another web-based opportunity for those who have the art to show it to those who don’t (see our previous post on other online art-buying venues such as Paddle8 and Phillips de Pury, linked below), and the success or failure of any online platform will most likely depend on practical concerns such as whether the art is shown to best effect (sharp, high-resolution, colour-correct images, intuitive and glitch-free scalability, easy and consistent bookmarking for collecting, comparing, and return visits), whether the artwork information is complete, correct, and actually informative, and whether dealers are ready and willing to operate in a more transparent, service-oriented manner (responding to inquiries in a timely fashion, making pricing and availability information accessible, and instituting reasonable return policies where possible, since art sometimes has a way of not actually looking like it does onscreen) which is appropriate to dealing with the wider, more diverse audience that an online platform presumably draws. Improvements in any of these areas would be a welcome development.

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Michael Dumontier: the middle of the air (plus Ken Nicol's 1000 Fuck Ups)

On the advice of artist Ken Nicol, we stopped in to MKG127 to see Michael Dumontier’s current show, the middle of the air. Featuring a series of well-crafted works in various media including acrylic on MDF, foil stamp and coloured pencil on matboard, foil stamp on fabric, and string, nails and a fishing weight, the exhibition is both playful and spare, quiet yet engaging. With an incredibly light hand and wry sense of humour, Dumontier utilizes tromp l’oeil effects to fool the eye and surprise the mind. Like zen koans, the best of the works call into question not only the material processes used in their making, but the nature of reality itself.

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Ambiguous Figures: Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning


It’s the beginning of April, and in honour of Max Ernst’s birthday (April 2) and National Poetry Month, we thought we’d do a little feature on Ernst, key figure in the history of Dada and Surrealism, and Dorothea Tanning, prolific artist and late-blooming poet who also happens to have been Ernst’s fourth wife.

A dashing and charismatic pair, they met in New York in 1942, when Ernst was still married to Peggy Guggenheim. Four years later, upon his divorce from Guggenheim, Ernst married Tanning in a double Beverly Hills wedding with Juliet Browner and Man Ray. Settling first in Sedona, and then the south of France, Ernst and Tanning continued their innovative and ever-evolving artistic practices, encompassing painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, filmmaking, costume and set design, book illustration, and writing.

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A little love for Baltimore: Nudashank turns 3

Nudashank, an independent, artist-run gallery space in Baltimore, Maryland, is celebrating their third anniversary this week. Founded by Seth Adelsberger and Alex Ebstein in 2009, the gallery is dedicated to showcasing young and emerging artists in group, two-person and solo exhibitions. Over the past three years, Nudashank has shown the work of over 150 artists from Baltimore and beyond, fulfilling a mission to bring new blood into the Baltimore scene, benefitting regional artists and providing a new venue for local, national, and international artwork. The gallery is located on the third floor of the H&H building in downtown Baltimore, which also houses numerous other artist-run galleries and performance spaces.

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If I had a million dollars: A selection of artworks available online from The Armory Show and others

In recent years there has been an unprecedented rush into online contemporary art sales, a formerly taboo practice among gallerists accustomed to a fair amount of opacity in their dealings. My, how things have changed, with well-known commercial galleries such as David Zwirner and White Cube, not-for-profit spaces including Artists Space and SculptureCenter, and even museums such as the Whitney and the New Museum unashamedly making works available through Artspace and other online venues. Last week, The Armory Show announced an exclusive partnership with Paddle8 to present artworks for collectors to preview, reserve, and purchase in advance of this Thursday’s opening. Following in the footsteps of the online-only VIP Art Fair, The Armory Show is hedging its bets that having an online presence will extend its reach into new markets far beyond the tri-state area.

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