Will Heinrich

On View

‘Mel Leipzig: Everything Is Paintable’ at Gallery Henoch

'Joshua and His Children' (2011) by Leipzig. (Courtesy the artist and Gallery Henoch)

Mel Leipzig has his eye on the ball. He paints with four acrylic colors (not counting black), no drawing, the edge-to-edge punctiliousness of a Nikomat and the fluent pragmatism of a courtroom illustrator, but he never loses his grip on the central distinguishing fact of a person or scene. In the 6-by-4-foot College Basketball Coaches, a tall man in black T-shirt and shorts stands holding the worldly orb of an orange basketball in the outstretched fingers of both hands. Read More

On View

‘Matthew Porter: High Difference’ at Invisible-Exports

'Field' (2013) by Porter. (Courtesy the artist and Invisible-Exports)

The most fully transparent of all the multiply exposed, deceptively transparent photographs in Matthew Porter’s show “High Difference”—a WWI-era style of camouflage that aimed to dissemble and disorient rather than conceal, “High Difference” would also be a good name for the kind of easy-spirited conceptual double cross that seems to be the fairest flower of our world-weary age—is Field, a color print nearly 5 feet high. Read More

On View

Klara Kristalova at Galerie Perrotin and Lehmann Maupin

Installation view at Perrotin. (Courtesy Galerie Perrotin)

At the center of Klara Kristalova’s exhibition “Underworld,” at Galerie Perrotin, sits a lumpy, brown, trained bear. All the other figures in the Czech-born, Swedish ceramicist ’s psychic circus have a dewy wet glaze that makes them look, despite their waist-high size and evident weight, as provisional as soap bubbles. But the only thing shining on the bear, as she lolls on the edge of a low, gray pedestal next to a bearded but womanly ringmaster, demurely tilting her mousy head, are the 20 white claws that she makes a point of extending. It’s clearly the bear that tolerates the trainer, not otherwise. Together they comprise a single insightful piece called Le Mariage. Read More

On View

‘Eugene von Bruenchenhein: Bits from First World’ at Maccarone

'Untitled, November 18, 1978' (1978) by  von Bruenchenhein. (Courtesy  the Estate of Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Fleisher/Ollman and Maccarone)

Eugene von Bruenchenhein sparkles like the light of natural reason. This gorgeously punctuated and interwoven show includes the late Milwaukee obsessive’s psychedelically messianic oil paintings of glass towers and aquatic jungle flora; his black-and-white photos of his wife, Marie, as muse, maid, pinup, friend and model, and St. Sebastian; and the devastating vases, built up in extraordinary, barbarous precision from handpinched leafy petals of clay he dug up himself that he fired in his stove at home. Five slender red steeples, in Steel-Imperial City, June 1978, flick up into a cloudy blue sky like Chinese yo-yos or astral Empire States out of a mound of snaky lower structures in yellow, green and blue. The windowless peaks, which the artist shaped and marked directly with his fingers, shimmer with scaly surfaces that are alternately transparent and opaque. Sitting on dark fabric against a white wall in Untitled (Marie seated on floor, ruffled stockings, pearls, wonderful shadow), with straight bangs, wavy hair framing her face and the pearls draped across her shoulders like a pagan breastplate, von Bruenchenhein’s muse looks up and to the right, innocent, strange and hopeful. In Untitled (Marie with lace top and black bow tie, one arm awkward on lap, hair up), boxed in tightly but with her candidly perfect composition hard to make out against a bold floral-print background, she looks directly into the camera. But in the former, because she averts her eyes, we can feel as if we’re participating in the playful exchange; in the latter, her loving gaze pushes the viewer out of the marital intimacy even as it reveals it. The vases, gourd-shaped, with pinched necks and flaring mouths, occasionally closed but more often a kind of patched open work (they could only hold dried flowers), and usually left a natural brown but sometimes painted coppery green or a flaky, fragile gold, create a tantalizing sense of fuzzy exactitude, like a delicate grid being implied, not shown. Read More

On View

‘Moyra Davey: Ornament and Reproach’ at Murray Guy

'Outtakes' (2012-13) by Davey. (Courtesy the artist and Murray Guy)

Moyra Davey’s Outtakes, a series of 10 unique C-prints hung at eye level in two rows of five, begins with a profile of Abraham Lincoln, stamped into copper and surrounded by green and rose static and a few bulging letters. Ms. Davey folded the photo into sixths, taped it shut, wrote her New York address in the corner and mailed it to gallerist John Goodwin in Toronto. Unfolded again, the photo is left with eight squares of orange tape framing its canton and three postage stamps—one showing an eagle atop a clock and two a detail of Rockefeller Center—hanging from the president’s ear like a tribal earring. The other nine photos are also close-ups of pennies, but each is slightly different. In one, the column of stamps hangs from his mouth like a Fu Manchu mustache, with a square of tape under his nose like a concurrent Charlie Chaplin; in another, a stamp of a Man Ray photo displaces the “American Clock.” The Great Emancipator is occluded by rusty scratches, smoothed with age, and besieged by salty encrustations before rising again, red and angry, from out of a sea of poxy green. Symbol succeeds token, collapse becomes recurrence, image replaces letter, and ideas are passed from hand to mouth until, in the anonymous immortality of coinage, the discreet supremacy of the transient is revealed. Read More

On View

‘Thomas Kovachevich: 2013′ at Callicoon Fine Arts and Show Room

'Solid Geometry' (2013) by Kovachevich. (Courtesy the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts)

Some magicians intimidate their volunteers, commanding them to step onstage and dance. But Thomas Kovachevich uses a panoply of materials, many of which could be found in a hardware store or co-op basement, to create quiet spaces in which the line between performer and audience becomes irrelevant as he, the viewer, and the environment all play together. A show taking place in three galleries—Callicoon’s handsome new space on Delancey Street, its soon-to-be-former space on Forsyth and Show Room in Brooklyn—feels hardly big enough for Mr. Kovachevich’s wide-ranging embrace of mediums and tones. Read More

On View

‘Idiom II’ at Pierogi

'People of the Book (Diaspora) V.2' (2012) by Ward Shelley. (Courtesy the artist and Pierogi)

The relationship between content and form has a funny symmetry. When the maps and charts in this second installment of a powerful group show—the first installment concerned the suspension of disbelief—turn that relationship inside out, you get the feeling that it’s somehow different, but of course, it still works the same. Read More

On View

‘Natasha Bowdoin: Glyph’ at Monya Rowe Gallery

Bowdoin_Submarine Forest

Like an arthropod ouroboros or giant blue jellyroll, the confection of painted and cut paper that Natasha Bowdoin has mounted against a 42-inch square of pristine white museum board and titled Atom A is coiled with a comfortable tension, ready to unfurl but in no particular hurry. Royal-blue lines undulate across the creature’s midsection like the ocean before God parted the waters, and from the crest of every wave protrudes an almond shape, like a hasty, wine-stained tongue, to form a quick black pupil. Argos was trying to keep his focus when Hermes relentlessly bored him to death, but Ms. Bowdoin’s eyes work like windows in reverse—it’s through their carefully cut away whites that we peer down to the next layer of paper, where reddish-orange swooshes leave some of the waves looking bloodshot. Beneath the swooshes, visible only in glimpses, is what looks like a topographical map. A squiggling white border divides the interior from the hedgehog-like bristle of tangent eyes around the outer edge, and the opaque white half-moon that transforms the whole transparent sea into a single Borgesian aleph was placed on last like a codpiece. Read More