Five Shows: New York

“Windsor,” 2016, Mark Sheinkman, oil, alkyd and graphite on linen, 72″ x 55″ Courtesy: Lennon, Weinberg, Inc

Mark Sheinkman, “New Paintings”
at Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.
Through March 4, 2017
Sheinkman’s first solo show at Lennon Weinberg tracks a subtle shift in his long-standing painterly love affair with the photographic gray scale. A former professional photographer, his keen sense of value takes on a new freedom arrived at through greater license in the handling of the paint. As a result, his most successful compositions oscillate across a greater dynamic range of darks and lights, which, aided by the unconcealed movement of the hand, produce an unanticipated drama: the unveiling of a sublimity that despite the coolness of his earlier work had always been lurking below the surface.

“In the Light & Shadow of Morandi,” 2017, Uta Barth
Face mounted, raised, shaped, Archival Pigment print in artist frame, 48 3/4″ x 52 3/4″
Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

Uta Barth, “In the Light and Shadow of Morandi”
at Tonya Bonakdar Gallery
Through March 12, 2017
Can light be a material? Certainly in MacArthur Fellow Barth’s hands, it appears to become one. Ironically, Barth pulls off the reverse of Morandi’s still lives where the separate elements, bottles, bowls, what have you, stubbornly insist on their individuality, always dissolving the viewer’s gestalt into new configurations. In Barth’s luscious meditations, the objects, and evidently the artist’s hand, are there as foils to register the endlessly subtle variations of light’s effects—the whole playing off against the parts as opposed to the parts playing off against the whole in Morandi’s works. As with the master’s, her results are astonishing.

“Motes,” 2015, Sascha Braunig, oil on linen over panel, 19 1⁄2 × 13 1⁄2 in. (49.53 × 34.29 cm) Photo: Luc Demers, courtesy Foxy Production, New York

Sascha Braunig, “Shivers”
at MoMA PS1
Through March 12, 2017
This five–year survey of Braunig’s paintings shows a remarkable trompe l’oeil technique dedicated to studio portraits. The “subjects” turn out to be a wealth of surrealist conceits: figures as straps, figures blending into their background patterns, and so forth. Braunig saturates her works with a palette that can only be described as computer-graphics harsh: acidic lime greens, toxic reds, bruised fuschias. Somehow these disparate elements come together in such a way that the paintings seen as group take on an elegiac quality, which lingers on as an aftertaste of the experience.

“Adjoining Angles,” 2016, Altoon Sultan
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched over wood panel, 6 3/4″ x 9″
Courtesy: the artist and McKenzie Fine Art, New York

Altoon Sultan, “New Paintings”
at McKenzie Fine Art Inc.
Through March 26, 2017
In this sleeper exhibition, Sultan’s small paintings pack a real punch. Although painted on calfskin with egg tempera, they are neither delicate nor do they seem backward looking. Certainly they make complex connections to a variety of art historical sources, but their geometric compositions and ever so slightly off color combinations fall squarely in the realm of contemporary figurative painting. Perhaps most surprising, their dimensions are small but the scale in each work feels monumental. The shows also features Sultan’s experiments with abstract bas-relief ceramics and hand-dyed textile pieces that follow up on her obsessions with art history, color, and form.

“No Title (This was our…),” ca. 1960s/2000s, Raymond Pettibon, Crayon and pencil on paper, 8 1/2″ x 11″
Courtesy: David Zwirner, New York

Raymond Pettibon, “A Pen of All Work”
at the New Museum
Through April 9, 2017
In the present political landscape sluiced with hypocrisy, lies, and denial, the timing of this retrospective of Pettibon’s sardonic works on paper could not come at a better time. Energized with a ferociously unsentimental take on the world that still speaks to his LA Punk roots, his image and text combinations—riffs on hot-button issues like religion, sex, politics, environmental degradation, America’s historical amnesia, and more—look better prepared than ever to cut through the fog of a media-saturated culture that seems to have completely lost its bearings. Let these works wash over you and feel the tonic of his intelligence and rage.