Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sam Trioli: Brumaire Opens at HYG

Sam Trioli, Untitled (Heat), 2012
Oil on canvas, 48 x 36"
Installation image courtesy of the artist

Howard Yezerski Gallery is proud to present Brumaire, an exhibition of new paintings by Sam Trioli. The paintings in Brumaire are an investigation of abstraction through the eyes of a photorealist painter. Absorbing the grainy details of an old photograph, the paintings seek an emotive response, pushing a historical moment to the tingle of Rothko and Richter.

Howard Yezerski Gallery - Sam Trioli: Brumaire
On View October 26 - December 22, 2012
Image courtesy of Sam Trioli
Trioli's paintings recreate moments of material force. In these explosions, burning fields, and nuclear clouds, constant force becomes the composition as hyperrealist images fall into abstraction. Trioli is particularly interested in the abstract qualities of early photography; the grain and blown out light are abstract recordings of a moment. He continues the conversation of the ever more distant historical moments through their physical and material contexts.
Sam Trioli, Untitled (Melt), 2012
Oil on canvas, 12 x 9"
Untitled (Melt), images the explosion of the Hindenburg in 1937. An iconic image cropped just enough to evade recognition, it steps away from its original context. No longer standing in for a tragic failure of technology, the image becomes about heat and contrast. The frame crumples into itself, white flames spreading into the black sky above, a dance between the detail of photorealism and the ambiguity of abstraction.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rhona Bitner in the Boston Globe

Rhona Bitner, Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MI, 2008
40" x 40" Color Coupler print
For her ongoing series “Listen,” Rhona Bitner has been taking large ­scale color photographs of sites associated with American popular music: recording studios, concert halls, clubs, and the like. So far she’s photographed more than 200. Seven of her images are on display at the Howard Yezerski Gallery through Oct. 23.

They look great. Unmatted, mounted on aluminum, and at 40 inches by 40 inches, they seem more like windows than images. Some of the places are famous, even legendary, like Electric Lady Studios, in New York, or the Whisky a Go Go, in Los Angeles. What an air of crisp mystery Bitner manages to impart to the Whisky stage, through a combination of harsh light and darkness.

There’s a powerful temptation to say that these pictures sound great, too. There’s a gleam to Bitner’s images that the ear picks up on no less than the eye does. You can almost hear the music that has filled these spaces - this despite the fact, or perhaps because of it, that some are now in such tough shape. Detroit’s Grande Ballroom closed in 1972, and the magnificence of decrepitude is something to see.

Bitner knows the importance of details - the less expected the better. Why shouldn’t there be a Turkish carpet on the parquet floor at Electric Lady? And is that a shopping cart over in the corner of the Birmingham, Ala., club Tuxedo Junction? Yes it is. There are no people in any of these photographs, but mysteries and memories in abundance.

Mark Feeney
Globe Staff
Friday, September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jennifer Amadeo-Holl: The Possibles

Jennifer Amadeo-Holl, The Possibles September 2011, oil on linen, 8 x 8

Howard Yezerski Gallery is proud to present a show in our back gallery of Jennifer Amadeo-Holl's latest paintings, The Possibles. In the series Amadeo-Holl explores the potential for simple shapes to trigger memories and emotions, and the familiarity and strangeness inherent in abstraction

Jennifer Amadeo-Holl, The Possibles 8/16/2012, oil on linen, 9 x 12
Their first impression is of simplicity, as when one recognizes a friend from far away by the distinctness of their shape alone. Then comes the trickle of reflections, leading to thoughts no longer simple. So that to look again at the shape on the horizon, or to look again at the painting on the wall, would be to feel that while we may have only glimpsed a bit of matter, a shadow of something, we have also visited a place where image and energy alternately fuse and divide. 
Jennifer Amadeo-Holl, The Possibles 10/13/2011, oil on linen, 8 x 8

The result is a group of tender but formidable, paradoxically harmonic paintings that are inexplicable and yet speak. 

Rhona Bitner: Images from the Series LISTEN

Rhona Bitner, Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY
November 9, 2007, Color Coupler print mounted on aluminum, 40" x 40"

In her latest series of photographs, LISTEN, Rhona Bitner images the iconic spaces of American music. Continuing her photographic investigations into the experience of performance, spectacle and theater, Bitner began a journey to create a visual recording of the studios, arenas, clubs and theaters that rocked American popular culture through the twentieth century and remain part of our collective memory today. The artist weaves between famed and forgotten sites, from the lofty ceilings of Electric Lady Studios in New York and Ocean Way Recording in Los Angeles to the modest, whitewashed corners of Tuxedo Junction in Birmingham or the sweaty mosh-pit of Harpo’s in Detroit. The voices of Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith and countless others have graced the halls presented in her images -- their echoes reflecting off the vibrant surfaces of her prints. Thus far in the project she has photographed over 200 venues, and she’s not done. Individually, the images are a tribute to American music. Together, the series becomes a photographic symphony of an integral part of American life and culture.
Rhona Bitner, Grande Ballroom, Detroit, MI
October 29, 2008, Color Coupler print mounted on aluminum, 40" x 40"
Much of her time is spent researching, editing, choosing. Eventually, she hits the road - treks to these places and listens carefully before she makes her image. Bitner's aesthetic enters the picture only to clarify the sound. These journeys create an anthology of larger, entwining ideas of space and history and become a union of sight and sound.
Harpo's Concert Theater, Detroit, MI
October 28, 2009, Color Coupler print mounted on aluminum, 40" x 40"
The large-scale chromogenic prints are rich with color and detail. Scars lurk through the veneer of a stage once painted, a wall once broken. Nothing stands between the viewer and the sticky depth of the print. History, both intimate and grand, unravels before us on these shining, shifting and shimmying surfaces. The music whispers out from their edges.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Boston Globe Review of Material Abstraction

Carter Potter, Negative 6 (Landscape), 2002, 70mm polyester film on stretcher, 28" x 28"
They Define, or Refine, 'Paint'

There’s no paint involved in Carter Potter’s clever “Negative 6 (Landscape),’’ the first piece inside the front door of Howard Yezerski Gallery, and the keynote of the gallery’s summer group show, “Material Abstraction.’’ Potter has mounted strips of 70mm film across a wooden frame — the kind you would stretch a canvas over. Even though this isn’t a painting, it’s about painting much more than it’s about photography.

Many of the works in “Material Abstraction’’ are made with no paint at all, but the show prods at the edges of the definition of painting. That’s become a theme this summer: Check out “The Space in Between’’ at Steven Zevitas Gallery and “Steve Locke: you don’t deserve me’’ just across Thayer Street.

Potter’s 10 strips of shiny, translucent negatives feature shots of water meeting land, with frothy trees along the shore. The horizon line is a diagonal, and becomes more vertical with each frame. The repeating image is almost incidental; it serves the needs of a larger abstraction. Stand back, and see a pattern in which those horizon lines twist downward over the bands of the strips like so many satin ribbons.

The most traditional painter in the exhibit is Ulrich Wellmann, who delights in the materiality of paint. He pushes it around in swirls that have delicate vitality and resemble the breath and beating heart of a chick rustling the down of its breast. For “Painting (Yellow-green/Whitegreen)’’ Wellmann applies that stroke to plexiglass, in a lather of tart pale green that doesn’t reach the edges of the picture plane. The plexiglass surface then becomes a kind of container for the effervescent energy of Wellmann’s paintings — except that the paint roils over the surface.

Bob Oppenheim sews onto his mostly blue-painted canvases, and adds pinhead-size dots with which he anchors meandering threads to this canvas. And Brian Zink makes geometrical patterns with colored plexiglass in high-gloss works that bounce light toward you even as they shift into the illusion of deep space. All these artists revel in the texture and sheen of the materials they work with. That’s what releases them into the possibilities of abstraction.

- Cate McQuaid
Globe Correspondent
August 1, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Announcing Material Abstraction: Bob Oppenheim, Carter Potter, Ulrich Wellmann, and Brian Zink

Colored thread, plexiglass, polyester film spacers - material reigns. Abstraction is an aspiration for the essential. At the height of Modernism, artists obsessed over how to make a painting that escalated paint to its most essential and most elemental state. Today, we bring together four artists: Bob Oppenheim, Carter Potter, Ulrich Wellmann and Brian Zink all seek new materials as the vehicle and the subject. The materials are simple, ranging from the indexical to the pristine. Each responds to its environment, reflecting or absorbing light, revealing or concealing process. The works surrender to these qualities, and the result is an aesthetic of  honest abstraction - in which a relentless physicality grounds the aspirations of traditional abstraction, marrying the physical and the ephemeral.

The artists enter into a dialogue with the material. Bob Oppenheim engages the physicality of canvas through the indexical gesture of sewing. Along his canvases, trails of thread weave - notes of a singular melody. The result is romantic and raw, as the visitor comes face to face with the tender relationship between the artist and his materials.

Carter Potter stretches filmstrips over wood frames, replacing the traditional canvas with a remnant of another medium. The images within each frame are the most representational work in the show, yet the abstraction in their repetition is as deeply geometric as Brian Zink's plexiglass patterns. The wall behind the piece is a material in itself, glowing gently through the filmstrips to illuminate the structure of the stretcher.

Ulrich Wellmann introduces paint as a material. Up against the soft white of the plexiglass, the oil hovers. Turns of the wrist highlight brushstrokes that float together like a cloud. The edges of the paint are important - a defined arbitrary border beyond which the plexiglass reigns. Along that border a shadow forms. A quiet chameleon, the soft white plexiglass frames and cradles the wild strokes.

Brian Zink's paintings are made of plexiglass. Patterns in a palette restricted by commercial production are fitted together with mechanical precision for a fetish finish that seems to hold secrets. Viewers are tempted to lean in, glimpse the work from a new perspective. One's own sharp reflection changes with the color of the panel, staring back at you. The reflections, inherent to the material, allow the tight compositions to breathe. A space opens up within them and one walks right into the world of pure color and pattern. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Morgan Bulkeley Review in the Boston Globe

Morgan Bulkeley has a new show of frenetic, cartoonish, apocalyptic paintings at Howard Yezerski Gallery. Bulkeley populates chaotic landscapes with lumpy naked figures, keen-eyed birds, and other animals.

Morgan Bulkeley, Chasing Big Bucks, 2012
oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
In many works, he activates the entire field with a frenzy of characters and paint flecks. There’s satiric social commentary in paintings such as “Chasing Big Bucks,” in which many such characters wrestle and fight over fives and twenties. These invite laughter and a knowing nod, but several other canvases featuring a more focused composition with a central image inevitably go deeper.

Morgan Bulkeley, Where Late the Sweet Birds, 2011
oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
“Unfinished Hogan,’’ for instance, depicts a couple embracing under a dome made from branches that stick through sketches. One shows a man cutting through a branch with a chainsaw; another has a clown jabbing a Native American in the eye with his thumb. The wry, alarming commentary is still there, but here Bulkeley also grapples with himself, as he builds a shelter from products of his imagination.

Morgan Bulkeley, After Sleeping Gypsy, 2011
oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
In these works, the artist does not merely create a Three Stooges-like scenario that rails against how the human race has undermined the environment. Bulkeley more palpably evokes humanity’s vulnerability, and the thin scrims of protection we wrap ourselves in.

Morgan Bulkeley, Blimp/ Hogan/ Airplane/ Tepee/ Crash, 2012
oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
Blimp/Hogan/Airplane/Tepee Crash” has an aptly descriptive title - it’s a middle-of-the-night disaster. Inside the hogan (again, apparently constructed of sketches), a woman sleeps and a man, painted in black-and-white stripes, sits beside her. Is he watching over her, or is he a predator? Is she a stand-in for Gaia, or is she us? There’s mystery here that is less evident in works such as “Chasing Big Bucks,” and the satisfying sense that Bulkeley is more and more serving his imagination, rather than harnessing it to his own ends.

- Cate McQuaid
Globe Correspondent
June 27, 2012