Our selection of New York’s finest exhibited delights is an inadvertent celebration of painting. But really, considering that the photo-realistic, faintly end time scenarios in Josh Keyes’ work are as different to the grey-wash panelling of cartoonist Seth, which are in turn as different to Roy Litchenstein’s post-pop diagrams as it’s possible to get under a single umbrella term, it’s all good. I think paint and being very, very nice is all they have in common. Not tenuous at all!
Josh Keyes: Migration Jonathan LeVine Gallery
Josh Keyes paints skewed realities that depict the man-made world in careful juxtaposition to the animal kingdom with almost photographic attention. The title, Migration presents a number of visual queues which the artist plays with brilliantly. There are the familiar visuals of certain species in motion – deer leap, birds flock, whales break the surface – through a hyper-real cross-section of suburban street or in an impossible diorama that recalls a natural history museum in its off-kilter reinterpretation of reality. Technically Keyes’ work is spectacular, conceptually they are altogether more interesting – static images that tell an incredibly dynamic story. Opening this week, the show show runs until November 19.
Seth: The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists Adam Baumgold
Seth is the Canadian cartoon stalwart whose long-running strips and series – like Palookaville and George Sprott – have been a permanent touch-stone for the alternative comic scene since the 1990s. His drawings are a signature black line and grey ink wash – a wonderfully lit, frame-based style – and more than 100 of them are now on show in New York’s Adam Baumgold Gallery. These originals, plus related model ephemera, present the crux of his latest book, The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists. Full of fictive and biographical detail about this estimable club, Seth performs brilliantly with the full comics arsenal, “newspaper strips, nickel-backs, gags, comic books, political satire, accordion books, and graphic novels.” It runs until November 23.
Roy Litchenstein: Entablatures Paula Cooper Gallery
Entabulatures are intensely observed and reduced paintings of the architectural detailing that sits in the moulds and cornices of some Greco-Roman rival buildings in America. Depicted as if seen under the sharp relief of a midday sun, a lot of these works appeal directly to the pop aesthetic using the visual vernacular that popularised Litchenstein’s work in the 1960s – and as art historian Barbara Rose commented, the Entablatures works are: “like the comic strip in that they are reductive, symbolic and diagrammatic images closer to the world of abstract signs than to that of representational imagery.” See them for yourself until November 12.
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