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Questioning belief and other items

My review of Rob Matthews‘ and Annabel Daou‘s exhibits at Gallery Joe is in today’s Weekly. Read. And for more images go to Gallery Joe’s website. As usual, Gallery Joe’s pairing of artists makes for a doubly-reverberant outing. Libby wrote about the shows here.
What I love about both bodies of work is the sense of caring — about subject matter; about mark-making; about communicating with an audience. These are artists whose message is urgent — and completely pertinent. Look behind the story and decide for yourself what truth is. Don’t accept dogma and the received wisdom.

Both artists are mining personal territory but making works that are open and can be read in a variety of ways. And for Matthews, to come forward with this deeply personal questioning about religious dogma takes a lot of courage. This is not work that was tossed off as a joke. The work’s a labor that reflects inner turmoil about faith. At a time when people are either blindly clasping religion to their bosoms or striding the secular path, it’s gutsy to put it out there that you can believe — and disbelieve — but that the struggle with faith is a worthy one.

These are works whose intimate atmosphere and delicacy of touch are best viewed up close. The computer and photographs are not kind to them. Stop in and give your eyes a treat. (top image is Matthews‘ “Conquering Demons, After Blake”)

Inhabit and Tanah Air

Also today in PW — in the editors’ choice section of the listings — are my short reviews of curator Sean Stoops‘s apartment show,”Inhabit,” and of Tattfoo Tan‘s show “Tanah Air” at Peng Gallery. Read both here.

Libby wrote about “Inhabit” here. The exhibit is great and as you would imagine, it gives an idea of how to live with art. The pieces I would most like to incorporate into my home are James Johnson‘s “Package,” the peephole onto paradise in the cardboard box; Nadia Hironaka‘s “Lightswitch Dream,” which emits light and motion and is neither a light nor a switch but is more beautiful — and funny — than both, and Clint Takeda‘s “Milky Wink,” a 16 minute-audio track with an outer-space-y vibe that comes with a drawing of an alien inside the plastic cd case. (image is installation shot of Candy Depew‘s “Wisteria” window treatment and Courtney Hager‘s quilt “Cold Feet” in the bedroom. I believe Stoops took this lovely picture.)

Tan’s paintings (you can see many of them at Peng’s website) are bursts of color and energy. The artist, Malasian-born and living in New York for four years now, is a bundle of energy himself –he has an impressive exhibition history in the US and he’s a gallery owner in Staten Island. I wrote about the artist when he was in Peng’s group show of works on paper. Read here.

Tan’s solo show’s a good one. (Left is “Spring Fever”)


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