Recent Paintings, Tibor de Nagy Gallery
Mini glaciers of frozen snow still dotted the side streets of Midtown, remnants of the record-breaking snowstorm of ‘06. As the elevator door opened on David Kapp’s selection of recent cityscapes, I was convinced that if the radiant heat generated by these works could be harnessed, it would’ve melted the last remains of winter.
Beginning with the influence of Carot and continuing through the works of Manet, Monet and Pissarro a range of pearly and silvery greys used by these Impressionists has come to typify a quality of the Parisian atmosphere. Likewise, Diebenkorn’s “Ocean Park” series with its subtle aquas, greens and golds has come to stand in for the light and space of the Southern Californian landscape. Kapp has with these works distilled an ambient quality that resounds uniquely to New York, especially summertime New York. “Summer in the City” isn’t just the name of a song, it paradoxically combines aspects that Kapp uses to create his strong abstract statements in the guise of landscape. First, the high vantage point views from high-rise windows or tall overpasses, whose downward gaze removes the horizon-line and flattens the scene to an almost map-like topigraphicality. Secondly, brilliant sunshine on a clear afternoon casts shadows so strong that they can upstage the light and carve unexpectedly intriguing shapes as they hug forms and tail away on pavements.
As a colorist, Kapp has honed in on a spectrum of greys that range from a warm dove to a dark blue-black granite. Although the indiscriminant use of grey can be problematic, deadening hues and neutralizing differences, Kapp instead, seems to energize it and creates upbeat harmonies through the use of orange under painting and bold tonal contrasts. Compared to earlier shows, these pictures are more thinly painted, more tonally nuanced, less scumbled, with some passages as dry as a sun baked slab of slate on Broadway.
The ubiquitous scenes of urban highways, clogged with masses of chrome and enameled automotive color and traffic stripes, are symbolic images that express our current car culture like few others. Kapp has employed this motif consistently, yet his development of various perspectives, compositional structures, and surfaces show the vast potential of the subject.
In “Fifth Avenue South II” (2005), a tapering swath of street is visible between tall banks of skyscrapers. The cool light grey of the illuminated asphalt is dappled with yellow stroked cabs and the blue and white blocks of trucks. Shadows cast from encroaching buildings stream from left to right, cutting and pinching the central shape. Space is palpable and one almost expects to hear the muffled sounds of tires hitting construction plates and distant horns honking.
“Ticket Lines at Shea Stadium” (2005), is perhaps the most abstract painting in the show. Viewed standing close it is a confetti flutter of whites, dark blue, cobalt and powder grey over a Naples-yellow and peach ground. Stepping back, the planes congeal figures solidify and a teaming crowd in a parking lot appears, weaving their way between traffic barricades on their way to the game. The velocity of Kapp’s brushstroke and the skidding scrapes from knives seem to blur the figures and impel the forward-like distortions of slow speed photography. Add the smell of mustard and hot asphalt and it doesn’t get more New York.
JAMES KALM has written extensively on the Brooklyn art scene. In 2006 he began posting video reviews of local art exhibitions at his two YouTube channels that have generated over six million views.
Snow DayBy David Whelan
FEB 2022 | ArtSeen
Snow days are coveted by those who tire of winter gray, bringing the excitement of flurries and the stillness of bright snow banks to an otherwise bleak landscape. The ten artists exhibited in Snow Day, the Drawing Rooms latest exhibition, tap into this attraction. Snow as a subject goes to the heart of something in all works of art: the attempt to capture something fleeting.
Cora Cohen: Works from the 1980sBy Alfred Mac Adam
OCT 2022 | ArtSeen
Cora Cohen: Works from the 1980s is a time capsule, and like all time capsules it is an enigma. Time capsules are supposed to provide people of the future a sample of things typical of the moment when they are buried. Which raises the critical issue of perspective: are we to understand these eight glorious pieces according to what we think they meant thirty-five years ago, or should we understand them according to what they say to us today? Even if we lived through them, the 1980s are as irrecoverable as the 1880s: an abyss separates us from that decade even if human timememorymay trick us into thinking we actually know that remote moment perfectly.
Leiko Ikemura: Anima Alma - Works 19812022By Jonathan Goodman
DEC 22–JAN 23 | ArtSeen
Born in Japan, Leiko Ikemura left for Spain to study language and art before moving to Switzerland and eventually to Germany, where she currently works. An artist of subtle feminist assertion, Ikemura has chosen in most paintings to represent women and in some instances children. Ikemura is well known in Europe and has shown extensively there, but this is her first exhibition in America. Her painting style tends to be diffuse and sensuous, in a manner not so distant from the art of someone like Marlene Dumas. Her training directed her toward a compelling mixture of figuration bordering on abstraction, even when she is rendering people.
A Selection of Drain PoemsBy Ken L. Walker
MAY 2022 | Poetry
Ken L. Walker has published two chapbooksAntworten (translations of Georg Herwegh from Greying Ghost) and Twenty Glasses of Water from Diez. He has poems and translations in Boston Review, Tammy, Seattle Review, Atlas Review, and ANMLY. His prose and reviews can be found in The Poetry Project Newsletter, Hyperallergic, and Diagram. He holds an MFA from Brooklyn College, works in advertising, and spends the rest of his time documenting drains.