elizabeth harris gallery
529 w20 st ny 10011
212 463 9666
the beauty at hand
January 4 to February 15, 2020
Reception: Saturday, January 11 from 3-6 pm
The Elizabeth Harris Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Brett Baker titled the beauty at hand. This will be the artist's fourth exhibition with the gallery. The show will be up from January 4 to February 15, 2020. An opening reception for the artist will be held Saturday, January 11, from 3-6 pm.
Over the past decade, Baker has developed a body of work characterized by visceral physicality achieved through an intense fusion of color and drawing. Over this time, his process has remained consistent. The artist layers vertical and diagonal marks in grids of pure color slowly, yet decisively, modulating their interplay over time. Writing about Baker’s work in 2019, fellow painter Matt Klos remarked: “Baker’s untidy grids and networks of bejeweled tones are made by multiple painterly applications over weeks and months… Baker’s process nods towards the artist’s own discoveries as each painting unfolds, merging both discovery and mastery into one tiny world.”
Baker’s “untidy grids” function as primary structures to register and order impressions of his subjects, but they are also challenged by these subjects. The artist’s recent subject matter — specific views from his kitchen and bedroom windows — threatens to overtake the grid, resulting in subtle but significant departures from earlier works. Densely packed marks of saturated color still dominate, but adjacent marks often accrete into distinct shapes of open color. Deep shadow and full sun conspire, yet ultimately fail, to poke holes in the picture plane. In several works, curves echo the dense palm fronds that dominate the artist’s kitchen view. Yet the grid’s organizing energy persists. It asserts and re-asserts itself as a check on emerging nameable forms. The tension yields a deeper impression of the subject matter while remaining free of its signs.
The show’s title, the beauty at hand, refers both to the artist’s response to his immediate surroundings and to the intimate, personal experience of looking at paintings. It also reflects his belief that painting (both making and viewing) is an act of presence, an experiential inquiry into the beauty at hand.
Brett Baker lives and works in Raleigh, North Carolina. He earned an MFA in Painting from Boston University and his awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship. His work has been featured and reviewed in The New York Review of Books, The New Criterion, Two Coats of Paint and many other blogs and publications. In addition to being an artist, he is the editor of Painters’ Table (painterstable.com), an online painting magazine; he also writes about art.
The gallery is located at 529 West 20th St., 6th Floor and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11-6pm.
elizabeth harris gallery
susan leopold 529 w20 st ny 10011
212 463 9666
january 4 - february 15, 2020
reception: saturday, january 11, 3-6 pm
The Elizabeth Harris Gallery is pleased to present domestic anxiety, an exhibition of recent works by Susan Leopold. Leopold is known for intricate and luminous diorama-like sculptures that explore the urban environment as well as urban living. One of her public sculptures, Alleyways, Tribeca, a miniature cityscape installed within New York’s Franklin Street subway station, has enthralled commuters and art audiences alike since it was commissioned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority in 2005.
In contrast with her earlier works that deal with public spaces, Leopold’s latest efforts, featured in Domestic Anxiety, explore primarily domestic environments of house and home. These meticulously crafted constructions allow intimate views of what appear to be ordinary living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms in miniature. Although figures are absent, the evidence of human activity in each of these rooms is clear and intense. Dishes left in sinks, papers strewn on tables, open books on a kitchen table imply that the occupants have very recently vacated the premises. A certain tension, and indeed, sometimes a feeling of anxiety arises in these works as one considers the vivid scenarios that may have unfolded in these places, and wonders if the residents will ever return.
The five sculptures and related works on paper in the exhibition were, in fact, inspired by narratives from novels intended for adolescents and young adults. Leopold, reading the works with her teenage daughter, visually reimagined certain domestic interiors from key scenes in books such as Coraline by Neil Gaiman; Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech; and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.
“It is hardly necessary to have read the novels in order to appreciate the sculptures on many other levels,” David Ebony writes in the catalog accompanying the exhibition, “Leopold examines universal themes, including the psychological ramifications of miniaturization and its ability to foster reverie and imagination.”
Each sculpture is convincing in its exacting verisimilitude and thoroughly engaging in its suggestion of a fanciful and remarkable narrative. The notion of “home” is a predominant theme throughout the exhibition. Although the works on view are precise, virtuoso renderings of domiciles, they examine the elusive and often unpredictable drama of everyday living.
Susan Leopold was born in Chicago, Illinois. She lives and works in New York City. She holds a Masters Degree from the Interactive Telecommunication Program in the Tisch School of Arts, New York University, and a BFA from The School of Visual Arts, New York City. Leopold is a recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship, New York Foundation for the Arts, and commissioned by The Metropolitan Transit Authority-Arts for Transit NYC.
The Elizabeth Harris Gallery is located at 529 West 20th Street, 6th floor and is open Tuesday – Saturday 11-6 pm. There will be a reception on Saturday, January 11th from 3-6 pm.
for further information contact miles manning at 212 463-9666.