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Jolie Laide and jolie pictures by Susan Fenton at Schmidt Dean

Libby and Roberta ran around First Friday, stopping at Schmidt-Dean, Bridgette Mayer and Jolie Laide. The evening was lovely, the openings packed and we even saw some red dots on a price list--always a good sign of the city's art health.


At Schmidt/Dean Gallery, Susan Fenton’s new body of works, made in residence at Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ireland, are in keeping with the affect of her previous hand-painted photographs.

Susan Fenton, hand-painted photo from the Ballinglen series, at Schmidt-Dean gallery
Susan Fenton, hand-painted photo from the Ballinglen series, at Schmidt-Dean gallery

The work is gorgeous, the aesthetic one of aching beauty and calm.    But these works are also a departure for the artist. This time Fenton has posed still life objects as her subjects instead of human figures.  The objects are familiar yet foreign and the choice of colors is exquisite and the overall atmospheres, magical.  A must-see.

Our correspondent Chip Schwartz will tell you about the show at Bridgette Mayer. Meanwhile, we want to thumbs up Paul Demuro‘s paintings and installation as well as Sarah Peters’ drawings at Jolie Laide. We can’t say we enjoyed a lot of what else is in the show, but Demuro’s doors-of-perception pieces (which remind us of Andrew Jeffrey Wright’s psychedelia only with more of an ab-ex vibe) have the colors, textures and wildness we love to see in abstract painting. Demuro is a Central High School grad (Tyler BFA and Rutgers MFA) now living and working in Brooklyn. Peters’ drawings of a storm-tossed heroine’s journey whet the appetite for more. Others in the show are Brian Belott, Rachel Foullon, Liz Markus, Lamar Peterson and Bill Saylor.

Paul Demuro, Untitled, 2010, oil on fabric, maybe about 30 inches square

In the project garage across the alley, Simon Slater’s sketchbook drawings, installed on three panels on the floor and underneath three panels hanging from the ceiling, seemed much fun. The affect in these cartoon sketches is raunchy and direct and often funny, with some nice experimenting with 3D add-ons here and there.

One of the many drawings of Simon Slater.
A view of Slater’s installation of drawings.
View of Simon Slater’s installation from the outside looking in

After Fenton and also Charles Burwell at Bridgette Mayer, we were ready to declare aesthetics had returned in force, but Jolie Laide cured us of that notion!