capsule review

FRANCESCA CAPONE'S NIGHT FOG // CAPSULE REVIEW BY LUIZA LUKOVA

Francesca Capone  Night Fog (As the object grows, it curves around the forms of its surrounding shapes)  2018, Lostine long wool, poly netting line, and cotton on oak board, 24 x 22 inches

Francesca Capone
Night Fog (As the object grows, it curves around the forms of its surrounding shapes)
2018, Lostine long wool, poly netting line, and cotton on oak board, 24 x 22 inches

Nestled in the backroom between an Amy Bernstein painting and an Emily Counts sculpture is Francesca Capone’s Night Fog, part of her solo exhibition at Nationale entitled Think of Seashells.

As a weaver and a poet, Capone approaches her work from a visual as well as a literary mindset. The prose attributed to this particular work by the artist reads as follows: As the object grows, it curves around the forms of its surrounding shapes, and it feels as if this is precisely how Night Fog operates in the context of the show as a whole. Although it may be the final work a visitor may see tucked away as it is, its bold resonance does indeed curve to the viewing experience and serve to form a lasting impression. As a gallery-goer moves through the space, they are gathering growing memories of the body of work in total. Culminating with Night Fog, this particular piece stands somewhat solitary, both due to its location but also to its composition. Mounted on oak board, this is only one of two weavings that is presented in this manner. Yet, this doesn’t detract from its overall relation to the remaining pieces -- the oak nicely completes oceanic visions of seashells and driftwood that Capone brings into the space. The poly netting line similarly compliments other found materials such as the flotsam rope, plastic bags, and beach refuse that are embedded into the fiber of the hangings.

The dark colors of this particular weaving are slightly more drastic than the inviting pastels of the other works, yet they correspond nicely with its placement. If Night Fog were the last work to be seen, it would leave viewers with a cool imagery of things closing, things coming to a rest. Invoking a kind of serenity that can only be found with the setting of the sun on a calm evening, Night Fog creates a comfortable sensory shroud for viewers to come in contact with. The day has come and gone and grown into night, which silently and cooly forms to this nightly ritual. Take a deep breath, let the fog ebb over you, and think of seashells.

ARRINGTON DE DIONYSO: CAPSULE REVIEW!

Arrington de Dionyso,  Untitled II , 2017, acrylic on panel, 31.75 x 48”

Arrington de Dionyso, Untitled II, 2017, acrylic on panel, 31.75 x 48”

With their bright and attention grabbing colors, Arrington de Dionyso’s paintings command the room and demand full attention. His largest, and most populated painting, Untitled II, depicts a Hieronymus Bosch like gathering of fantastical looking humans and animals.
Each of the elements in this painting have an extra-ordinary quality to it; a woman with wings sits casually on the shoulders of a tiger, snakes slither through the limbs of several sleeping humans and dragon-like winged reptiles fly through the jet black background. Though the clash of human and animal is often one depicted as one ending in violence, de Dionyso reverses this narrative to create something that is much more calm and serene. The figures in his scene are coexisting together; they have learned to create a community where, despite their obvious differences, man and creature can cohabitate within the same space.
This is emphasized further by the dark and barren background which forces the viewer to focus solely on the figures in the foreground, and thus brings out the vibrant secondary colors prominent throughout his paintings. De Dionyso’s works have no obvious center. Each figure is treated with a carefulness and an equality of detail such that no character becomes more prominent over the others. The equality of imagery ultimately presents itself to create a sense of an egalitarian utopia within the small world that de Dionyso creates. —Sarah Isenberg

ANIMAL LAUGHTER: WILLIAM MATHESON'S PAINTINGS & CAPSULE REVIEW

Installation view of  Animal Laughter,  paintings by William Matheson & sculptures by Nick Norman

Installation view of Animal Laughter, paintings by William Matheson & sculptures by Nick Norman

Young Demon , 2017, oil on canvas, 26 x 44"

Young Demon, 2017, oil on canvas, 26 x 44"

Tamer , 2017, oil on canvas, 46 x 48"

Tamer, 2017, oil on canvas, 46 x 48"

Toe , 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Toe, 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Secret Joke , 2016, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Secret Joke, 2016, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Night Lemon , 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Night Lemon, 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

John , 2017, oil on panel, 24 x 12"

John, 2017, oil on panel, 24 x 12"

Golden Crab , 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

Golden Crab, 2017, oil on panel, 10 x 8"

After the Orgy , 2017, oil on canvas, 58 x 28"

After the Orgy, 2017, oil on canvas, 58 x 28"

What goes on after an orgy is not something many of us have, or will ever experience. This mysterious scenario is the setting for William Matheson’s painting, After the Orgy. The long, vertical painting focuses the action at the top third of the canvas with two figures crouch together, hands meeting, perhaps in an act of exchange. Lying nearby are two animals, only halfway visible, a coyote or dog, and a ram, only identifiable by one curved horn. A leg also juts out into the frame with a flaccid penis resting on its thigh. An object, a painting palette rendered in various grey hues hovers directly below this scene. The bottom two thirds of the painting is occupied by a field of yellow, like a bleak and hot desert landscape. Towards the bottom of the frame another leg, this time from the calf down emerges. Both legs serve to remind us that more people, although not completely visible, are involved in this story.

After the Orgy is a work interested in framing, in revealing just enough information for a narrative to begin to unfold without telling the full account. The grey painting palette is an outlier in this narrative. Without it the work tells the story of another place and time, perhaps an ancient one in which animals and humans co-exist in a special way. The fantasy of a post-bacchanalia scene is complicated by the palette, which refers back to the very act of painting and the painter himself.
                                                                                                                                                                                        –Gabi Lewton-Leopold

ANIMAL LAUGHTER: NICK NORMAN'S SCULPTURES & CAPSULE REVIEW

Face Vase (Fem.) , 2017, glaze on clay, 18 x 19 x 9"

Face Vase (Fem.), 2017, glaze on clay, 18 x 19 x 9"

Face Vase   (Masc.) , 2017, glaze on clay, 14.5 x 10.5 x 8"

Face Vase (Masc.), 2017, glaze on clay, 14.5 x 10.5 x 8"

Intimacy Vase , 2017, glaze on clay, 11 x 3.5 x 3.5"

Intimacy Vase, 2017, glaze on clay, 11 x 3.5 x 3.5"

Penetration Vase (Mask) , 2017, glaze on clay, 4.5 x 4.5 x 5"

Penetration Vase (Mask), 2017, glaze on clay, 4.5 x 4.5 x 5"

Rock Head Vase , 2017, glaze on clay, 6.5 x 6 x 6"

Rock Head Vase, 2017, glaze on clay, 6.5 x 6 x 6"

Two Face Vase , 2017, glaze on clay, 7.5 x 6.5 x 5"

Two Face Vase, 2017, glaze on clay, 7.5 x 6.5 x 5"

Humanoid Table , 2017, glaze on clay and acrylic on wood, 31.5 x 11.5 x 47"

Humanoid Table, 2017, glaze on clay and acrylic on wood, 31.5 x 11.5 x 47"

From the gallery desk, Nick Norman’s carved wood sculpture Humanoid Table appears to be just a thin, bright pink neck and bulbous head floating in space. The sculpture’s face emerges from the nothingness—red snakelike tongue slithering out, green ceramic eyes, and ears like chunks of molded shiny pink bubble gum. Each month this seat forces a frame around the work on view, obscuring the majority and focusing on only a fragment. Humanoid Table, like many pieces that have occupied this view in the past, has become that prized visitor who keeps the gallery sitters company. It offers a place for our eyes to wander and find respite from the computer screen, but it also only lets us in on part of the story. 

The sculpture takes on new life and meaning when seen in its entirety. No longer just a detached neck and head, Humanoid Table, is exactly that, a table. In fact the only human quality to the piece is the head and neck—the legs have no feet, and the table top is a flat slab. These attributes also make it a very functional object; for this exhibition it’s used to display two small ceramic sculptures also by Norman. Although Humanoid Table is far from human, it does illicit issues surrounding labor and oppression. This is in contrast to Norman's other humanoid sculptures which function as vessels—vases don't imply the same exertion of energy in the way tables do. What would it mean to use this table in your life, to bring it home and eat off of it, or place heavy objects on its back while the eyes stare out blankly? The human quality of Humanoid Table is perhaps most present when we see it as a piece of furniture working hard for its human owners.
                                                                                                                                                                                        –Gabi Lewton-Leopold

Installation view of  Humanoid Table  in  Animal Laughter.  Paintings by William Matheson.

Installation view of Humanoid Table in Animal Laughter. Paintings by William Matheson.

GABI'S THOUGHTS ON EMILY COUNTS' "REMASTERED"

Emily Counts,  Remastered , 2017, stoneware, 25 (h) x 19 x 18”

Emily Counts, Remastered, 2017, stoneware, 25 (h) x 19 x 18”

There are many spaces to enter into Emily Counts’ current series Form Factor on view at Nationale. An abundance and diversity of patterning, vibrant color choices, textures, and unusual forms, make this work an ever-unfolding visual playground.

Remastered, composed of multiple stacked ceramic forms, reveals Counts’ ability to manipulate her materials in such a way that elements made from the same stuff appear completely different from one another in weight, shape, and texture. At the very top of the work sits a rectangular cube that, because it is only attached to the form below on one side, appears to be flying off of the sculpture. Its placement, as well as the soft pale green hue and uneven lined texture, gives it a nearly weightless quality. It appears as light and delicious as a marshmallow.

Remastered, as with many of Counts’ sculptures, feels like a life force. With each element making up the entirety of the organism, it holds the presence of a living thing. At its base are an array of small ceramic objects, each one different in shape, texture, and color. They peek out from beneath the large blue and red perforated rounded form, which sits under a shiny brown thick pancake shaped piece. Nearly at the top of the sculpture rests a rock shaped object painted to resemble the patterning of Counts’ childhood living room rug.

Initially, the work appears to be precarious, as if the bottom pieces which seem so small and fragile are being crushed by the weighted stack above them, but it is actually these small works that together have the strength to hold up the heavier parts. Similar to the piece at the top of Remastered, the bottom elements, which are surrounded by negative space, give the work an unexpected levity. It is this confluence of solidity and lightness that circles back to the idea of a living form. As with the human body, gravity equals presence, and lightness implies the ability to move freely. We can imagine Remastered continuing to grow and evolve, and with Counts behind the curtain making the magic happen, who knows what is possible.