Primitive and evocative, Christopher Rico's paintings feel like an invitation to a more in-depth conversation about what it means to be human. The deep blacks painted in great swoops and arc with a Chinese calligraphy brush float in luminescent washes, lending an easthetic that feels both new yet rooted. The brushes themselves are tools used in one of the most important art forms in ancient Chinese art. To become proficient at calligraphy, you must exhibit skilled brush control with grace, fluidity and an attention to detail. Masters of this ancient art form consider it a meditative process. For Rico, this is where work and ritual combine.
"What are artists creating in their studios? With exhibitions cancelled or just moved online, and no artist receptions planned any time soon, artists continue to work. This exhibition is not about the COVID virus or social distancing, but it's a product of the changes brought on by these new circumstances. I reached out to 50 artists whom I admire to see what they were doing during this unique time of isolation and social unrest. Many are located in the New York region, others hail from throughout the U.S. as well as far afield as India, Australia, Brazil, Cyprus, Germany and England. These are their works." - James Austin Murray.
Suffice it to say this artist's work is nothing short of delicious: “First of all, I love donuts,” laughs Jae Yong Kim. “Being an artist was my dream—so instead of just eating them, I decided to explore using donuts as a canvas.”
As a painter, Fahamu Pecou uses his image to provoke narratives that speak to the multiplicity of black life. He, himself, is a multifarious character with linkages to the hip-hop community, fine artworld, and academia. With his self-portraiture, Pecou depicts himself in various poses, using clothing and ephemera to convey messages not only about himself but about black cultural systems. He looks at hip-hop, African traditional religions, and blackness as systems in which he intervenes his interpretation to provoke his viewer to think differently about black culture. His reach through the many exhibitions of his work allows for his unapologetically black aesthetic to confront viewers from all backgrounds and ground their understanding of blackness in new terms – terms they might not have known existed.
Valeri Larko’s paintings in "Sign of the Times," her solo exhibition at Lyons Wier Gallery depict urban environments at the fringes, where motels past their time, colossal billboards with bombastic one liners, neglected industrial buildings, and dead trees pepper the landscape. The imagery is familiar yet uncanny. Valeri Larko shares with Art Spiel on the body of work in this show, what draws her to this landscape painting, and how she approaches her painting on-site.
Review of Tara Lewis' exhibition, "Hell Yes!" on view through February 22, 2020
Artspeak interview with Kira Nam Greene about her artistic process and inspiration for her new show, "Women in Possession of Good Fortune."
Artspeak spoke with Michelle Doll about her upcoming solo exhibition, “As Above, So Below,” which opens at Lyons Wier Gallery on September 5th.
Lyons Wier Gallery is pleased to present "Summer Session No.26," our annual group summer exhibition featuring new work by nine diverse artists.
Review of James Rieck's exhibition, "Emotional Support," on view through June 1st.
James Rieck plays with the tradition of using pets as qualities of ourselves in his current show at Lyons Wier Gallery, one of New York’s premier venues for Conceptual Realism. Rieck is known for referencing the visual iconography of the heyday of American advertising and he places the designer pet within this context.
“In The Between” examines that awkward, and sometimes disorienting, space between reality and fiction. Each artist brings a distinctly contemporary narrative to the age old question of belonging by examining their immediate world in a way that is very conscious of the “fake news” era we inhabit and exploits the multifaceted lens of popular culture. “In The Between” has a palpable shared spirit of disenfranchisement that serves as a compass rose to understanding these youthful voices commenting, and thusly bettering, their environment.
Pecou's exhibition "DO or DIE" at Emory’s Michael C. Carlos Museum uses a variety of media — painting, drawing, photographs, installation and video — to channel a healing, transformative African identity. An outgrowth of the Atlanta-based artist’s 2018 Ph.D. dissertation at Emory, “DO or DIE” makes history in its own way, as the only solo exhibition at the Carlos featuring a living Atlanta artist.
Driven by the desire for adventure and discovery, Cobi Moules embraces the beauty of nature all the while shifting its weight through the exaltation of his own existence within, and as part, of it. This is best exemplified by the way he incorporates multiple self-portraits throughout his compositions. The multiplicity of self takes both precedence over, as well as integration into, the landscape creating a world with a sense of excitement, self-worth and play.
Artist Cayce Zavaglia is a master of illusion. From afar, her portraits look like hyperrealistic paintings. Get up close, however, and you’ll discover they’re actually constructed from yarn—thousands of tiny knotted, layered strands of it.
Zavaglia never expected to take up embroidery. In fact, she shied away from it during art school, where “fiber was kind of like the art world’s ‘f-word,’” she told Artsy. While working on both her BFA and MFA, she focused on figurative painting, looking to the great portraitists who came before her, like Lucian Freud and Elizabeth Peyton.
"I can't do portraits of people that I'm not connected to. I think there's something about doing people that I know intimately, that puts something in the portrait that I can't put into words ... or I don't want to put into words, because I want to keep it private. But making the portrait, says everything that I can't say with words."
Artist Dylan Martinez combines several glassblowing and sculpting techniques to form hyperrealistic plastic bags from molten glass. Through these works, Martinez creates scenarios that obscure the viewer’s interpretation of reality and illusion. His curiosity in this subject matter is sparked by the fact that he was born red-green colorblind. This has presented Martinez an alternative way of seeing, and encourages his fascination with obscuring common perception in his glass-blown works.
Over the past two decades, Fahamu Pecou has used his work explore, examine, and embrace the power and presence of black masculinity in a country that alternately marginalises, fetishises, and vilifies countless lives.
Whether creating large-scale figurative paintings that embrace the performative aspects of gender and race, or placing his work on the cover of major magazines, Pecou firmly asserts the importance of defining one’s self-worth while simultaneously questioning the assumptions present in the packaging of existing archetypes. The result is a multi-layered body of work that re-members the black experience across time and space.
Pecou speaks about what it takes to challenge the status quo, claim your space, and transform the narrative to empower, inspire, and elevate.
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Editors’ Picks: 19 Things to See in New York This Week
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“Valeri Larko: End Game” at Lyons Wier Gallery
Larko’s upcoming solo show features landscapes she painted on location at an abandoned golf center in the North Bronx. When she painted her first work there in fall 2013, she pushed her painting gear under the fence and squeezed through a break in the locked gate. She was only able to complete one small work before a detective caught her in the act of trespassing and “strongly suggested that she not return.” However, she did return repeatedly and has captured in detail the once vibrant family entertainment center that now contains crumbling old structures and which nature is gradually reclaiming.
Location: Lyons Wier Gallery, 542 West 24th Street
Interview of James Rieck by Yasemin Vargi for exhibition "Rapture."
Los Angeles based artist James Rieck's newest body of paintings mines that euphoric moment of awareness when emotions are born. Rieck combines imagery of highly sexualized historical masterpieces that are on public display along with models extrapolated from 1950’s and 60’s commercial magazines. Charged with ambiguity and boldness, the paintings capture a private moment of awareness and desire.