Category Archives: Reviews

Wednesday 10/11 2017
The Porcelain Menagerie: On Cassie Marie Edwards’ “Figurines”

“Porcelain menageries carry in them the uncanny idealized nature, the oddity of imposing the characteristics we most desire on a totemic form to keep resting beside us, or locked safely away behind class. Consider the bull, or the horse, unicorn, or bear, common tchotchke subjects whose cuteness seems to have an inverse relationship to their ferocity (that a house cat will tear an ecosystem asunder and is, in this way, much more of a terrorist than a bear, speaks to the inherent human perspective from which these caricatures are drawn), or the aforementioned stock-still prey items, for whom sitting is death. Skittish horses, coquettish cats, majestic, cuirass-chested working dogs who cannot maintain their sense of regality while huffing through crushed faces and flapping jowls, all are made into exactly what we wish for them to be: perfect, one note—our favorite note—and within our possession. Figurines are our literal molding of nature, their fragility the proper trade for our wonts.”

Read the rest of my review of Edwards’ show in New American Paintings

Tuesday 10/10 2017
Golden Faults: Karen Reimer at Monique Meloche

“Both our literal and social climates are exhibiting fault lines. It is easy to imagine the window, the nation, the world falling apart along these stress fractures. Reimer’s choice of gold, however, adds an element of hope to the show, a suggestion of Kintsukuroi, the Japanese art form of beautifying repair, wherein gold leaf is used to bond broken pottery, the damage enshrined and drawn upon, becoming part of the object’s beauty; and while it requires vision—and faith, and a willingness to give breath to the seemingly dead—one can see, embodied in Reimer’s aurelian wounds, the potential for the pressure and, yes, even the pain, to allow us to emerge stronger.” 

Read the rest of my review of Reimer’s installation, Droughtscape, in Newcity

Friday 09/15 2017
On Cocaine and Quarter Horses: Melissa del Bosque’s “Bloodlines”

“By virtue of keeping her reporting clean and concise, del Bosque easily steers readers through Treviño’s international financial crimes spiked with brutality—the kind that would make Michael Lewis’ usual suspects blush. In tracing the case from the first whispered tip to an FBI agent to the final verdict, she brings a slice of the abstracted drug war into heart-rending focus, turning the bloody diamond before her loupe so that each facet becomes clear.”

Read the rest of my review of Bloodlines in Paste Magazine

Wednesday 07/12 2017
Positive Mass: Chris Uphues at Linda Warren Projects

” … radiant and giving off a palpable … vibe, a kind of psychic heat, Heavy Sunshine, buzzing from the apian engine which drives it with the cosmic exigency which only derives from density, an immensely dense little star of positivity, happy imagery—flowers, mountains, clouds, houses, bees, bunnies, books, baseballs, brick facades, bananas, watermelon slices, apples and pineapples and mushrooms, computer monitors, keys, clocks, lampshades, pyramids, the majority made animate, all gaping eyes and content smiles stretching across their faces like cats in a sunbeam—condensing into a heavy star, loosed now and setting in to a dark sea obliterating, by virtue of its weight, all that lays before it, so long as any wavelength still finds its mark among the rods and cones … “

Read the rest of my review at New American Paintings

Thursday 07/6 2017
The Polarized: Ashley Shelby’s “South Pole Station”

“Antarctica is a place of extremes: coldest place on earth; home of the world’s largest desert; land of constant sun and constant night. So it stands to reason that Antarctica draws only the most intrepid and unique individuals.

While the continent has no permanent population, numerous scientists and support staff are scattered across its surface. It is here, by design, that Antarctica is meant to avoid at least one polarizing factor: politics. Operated under the Antarctic Treaty System, the South Pole is meant to be a brumal Eden of science, where research centers are freed from the political binds that exist in the world above.”

Read the rest of my review of Shelby’s novel South Pole Station in Paste

Thursday 07/6 2017
Deftly and Defiantly Decolonial: Huong Ngo at DePaul Art Museum

“In the thin hallway gallery adjacent to the bulk of the show, prints made with the obsolete hectographic method—the kind used by the anti-colonial activists—use agar-agar, a common Asian dessert ingredient, to display English, Vietnamese and French iterations of the pro-immigration rallying cry “We are here because you were there.” The artist’s royal purple agitprop hangs over the observer’s heads like Damocles’ sword, a powerful reminder that history is written in blood and spoken through the gnashing of teeth. One leaves the show with eyes open, but blurred by now-knowing tears.”

Read the rest of my review of Huong Ngô’s To Name It Is To See It in Newcity

Tuesday 06/27 2017
Effortless Indomitability: Christopher Bollen’s “The Destroyers”

“Availing himself to as romantic a backdrop as one could ever hope—not only the island itself, rich with ruin and religion and, well, riches, but also the twin eddies of the Greek economic crash and the Mediterranean refugee crisis—Bollen’s writing echoes both Patmos and the famous words brought up from its core. Sun-blasted prose is pocked with marvelous turns of phrase, and his pawns twist, flay and leak acid like lemons. Every painful and sexy and mysterious moment proves alluringly repulsive, like the heat—from behind designer sunglasses—of the vacation sun…or the end of the world.”

Read the rest of my review of The Destroyers in Paste

Thursday 05/25 2017
Fold; Don’t Spindle and Mutilate

” … what Green Stripes Event (so perfectly named!) does not look like, at first blush, is a painting; it’s obviously painted, of course—those stripes aren’t woven, didn’t come from nowhere—and has those various things a painting would have, where it to be broken down anatomically—and it is the protrusion, like a compound fracture, of the painting’s support, broken at the top, dangling at the bottom, which gives it both its injurious and closet-ready qualities, although the former is far more important, and keeping with the spirit of the show, than the latter—but it does not sit like a painting, compose itself as a painting should, back straight, belly tight, against the wall, a tidy lie, telling us that it exists in two dimensions … “

Read the rest of my review of Jean Alexander Frater’s solo show, Softer, in New American Paintings

Tuesday 05/23 2017
Painting the Unchecked Pleasures and Unformed Horrors of Childhood

“The figures populating Bruce’s past are abstractions; ciphers for himself, the viewer, whomever. They exist as jaundiced faces—like summer camp soap carvings left in the sun—and flat, creamy planes or, most often, as simple, vibrant lines, exsanguinated silhouettes, emanating in jejune tones from the forest or the side of the frame, squiggling like tube worms from between shoulder blades, practically detached as a soft gray tracing, visage-cum-skyline.”

Read the rest of my review of Kristian Bruce’s solo show at Stuart & Co. in Newcity

Tuesday 05/16 2017
The New Battle Front Is Personal: The ISIS Hostage and the New War Journalism

“Puk Damsgård’s unadorned chronicle of Danish photojournalist Daniel Rye’s capture, confinement and eventual release delivers a lesson as astringent as medicine: in the modern era of irregular warfare, battlefields are no longer demarcated by flags or trenches but by ideology and memory. Beyond bombs and drones and Kalashnikovs, wars are now fought via emotion and media, perception and pressure. The modern front is personal.”

Read the rest of my review in Paste Magazine