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Andrew Paul Woolbright

Andrew Paul Woolbright is an artist, writer, curator, and educator living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Woolbright is an MFA graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design in painting and is currently a resident at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program Residency in DUMBO.

In Conversation

Spencer Sweeney with Andrew Woolbright

In early May, Spencer Sweeney’s exhibition Perfect opened at the Brant Foundation. The drawings and paintings that spanned across the two floors of the foundation represented fifteen years of work and achieved the depth and dimension of both a retrospective and a concert . When the energy finally settled from the opening, we talked in his studio, where I found myself surrounded by the same palpable excitement and energy captured at the Brant. Next to his drums and guitars, and flanked by a ring of booming paintings still in progress, we discussed the shared spaces of music and painting, how painting can be used to anticipate and store the energy of an announcement, and how self-portraits can hold the tension of contradictions to emanate and reflect the soul.

Dr. Charles Smith

There’s an enchantment one feels with Dr. Charles Smith’s work. Whether it is the sheer expanse of his world building or the peculiar levity he has developed as an aesthetic, it can prove challenging to interpret his practice beyond the initial impact of its immersive charm.

Angel Otero: Swimming Where Time Was

There may be no better example of a product of Chicago’s transgression, specifically the ethos of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), than Angel Otero.

Judith Linhares: Banshee Sunrise

Banshee Sunrise, Linhare’s second solo exhibition with P.P.O.W., solidifies her painterly presence and influence, specifically the important connection she has been able to draw between the figure and Abstract Expressionism through a phenomenological turn within representational work since the late seventies and eighties.

Mala Iqbal: Shape Shifting in the Outer Boroughs and Its Effects on the Traveler’s Perception of the Midnight Sky

Iqbal concretizes the momentary but vivid perceptions of strangers we capture in crowds—the tangible effects of faces, of fading voices, of the colors and silhouettes of clothing—while recording the translucent uncertainty of sightings that our memory is unable to make more permanent.

Nicky Nodjoumi: We the Witnesses

What is exhaustible versus what is inexhaustible comes to mind in Nicky Nodjoumi’s We the Witnesses at Helena Anrather. Newsprint is exhaustible. The images that circulate within newspapers, the ones that swarm around events, elicit quick shocks of something limbic but rarely have permanence past the next day’s issue.

Ouattara Watts: Paintings

Tathata is a Buddhist sentiment that translates roughly to “the suchness of things.” In practice, it’s trying to understand the essence of something before words can circumscribe it. For forty years, Ouattara Watts has similarly resisted being assimilated or codified. His exhibition Paintings, currently on view at Karma, reveals a dedicated and thoughtful practice of painting that can only be achieved through the experiences of a world traveler.

Jan Baracz: Mutiny’s Darling

Jan Baracz’s exhibition Mutiny’s Darling at Peninsula Art Space provides a map of the overlooked. The artist utilizes materials marked by subtlety, favoring an inconspicuous tonality that exists somewhere between the woodshed and the boathouse, to address the impinged and imperceptible experience of traversing the ordinary.

Ron Gorchov: Watercolors 1968–1980

The exhibition provides the unique experience to see where Gorchov expands the saddle into more of a field, plays at the boundaries, attempts to relate it more directly to the edge of the paper through trial and error, before finally settling on his aesthetic.

Ted Gahl: Le Goon

Ted Gahl’s Le Goon at Harkawik picks the plangent chords and stirs the submerged chromas of terra melancholia. Melancholia, as opposed to anhedonia, conjures a sensual pleasure within the somber. While his paintings don’t seem to exist in the present, they also don’t seem to be nostalgic for another time, instead dealing with some time outside of time.

Jarrett Key: from the ground, up

Jarrett Key is interested in the slow, germinating speed of folklore and the gradual repetition needed for world-building.

Mark Laver: Within

Mark Laver’s Within at Ricco/Maresca approaches the landscape through a radical subjectivity that blurs the boundary separating nature itself from our perception of it.

Randy Wray: Travelogue

Wray’s ability to avoid semblance and reduction prioritizes specific but undisclosed sources, creating distinct shapes that defer recognition. Hovering in the protean spaces that can simultaneously suggest the interiors of bodies, bones, plants, and tools, Wray’s practice stays in the apeiron, presiding over the final moment where forms resist determination and luxuriating in the mutable recognition of shadows.

Danica Lundy: Three Hole Punch

Danica Lundy’s exhibit Three Hole Punch potentially offers an alternative response to a post-humanist painting practice through an intentional multivalent painting.

Raymond Saunders

Raymond Saunders’s current solo exhibition at Andrew Kreps presents a series of gripping assemblages, hung on the walls like excavated fragments. The individual configurations might be referred to as slabs, panels, boards, or slates. However, thinking of the works instead as decks of culture or rafts of visuality may lend us a better lens for interpreting the work.

Mike Shultis: Animal Crackers

You feel the parallels between the aesthetic endgame of painting and American decline itself when you walk into Mike Shultis’s Animal Crackers at ASHES/ASHES.

Philip Taaffe

In Philip Taaffe’s exhibition currently on view at Luhring Augustine, the artist explores the transcendent possibilities of symmetry and visual density. Through a series of prismatic mandalas, Taaffe’s mixed media works on panel set up painting as a form of New Materialist meditation, a relational way of seeing the world that challenges anthropocentrism and probes the ethics of our engagement with non-human kin.

The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program

The material conditions of being an artist in New York have a direct impact on the aesthetics and considerations taken in the studio and within an artist’s practice. While the return of the influence of Arte Povera and the prominence of post-studio practices can both can be attributed to ideological and conceptual decisions or to new “structures of feeling” in Raymond Williams’s terms, they can also be translated and defined through the prices of lumber, rising studio costs, and the commuting culture created through the gig economy.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2023

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