Sunday, March 24, 2013

cool tectonics on chrystie street

Tectonic Drift
Brian Morris Gallery

Amanda Church, Engagement, 2012, oil on canvas, 30 x 24"

Tectonic Drift at Brian Morris Gallery offered up a slice of perfection this winter, commingling painterly ferociousness with optic precision in varied works by Amanda Church, Brian Cypher, Stacy Fisher, Gary Petersen and Russell Tyler.

Odds n' Ends (5), 2012

Stacy Fisher's sculpture, Odds n' Ends (5), appears in the window like a mushroom cloud, setting the stage for this bright amalgam of works that become visible as you descend into the gallery, situated just below street level on Chrystie Street. 
Fisher's studio practice is of the take-no-prisoners variety and it yields a melange of incongruent form, spatial/architectural hiccups and things that make you feel as if they carry memory inside them. Her imagery -- rectangles, wood anatomies and hulking, globular shapes -- possesses a lingering anima that feels partly human.    

Stacy Fisher, Orange Striped Wall Sculpture, 2010
Fisher has commented about generating her work from key phrases like "irregular squares" or "bunches." Like concrete poetry, her use of salvaged house paint (and otherwise ordinary materials) allows her to employ a "found" palette and this, alongside the samplings of wordplay that are framed in the service of creating her work is provocative, and it lends a mystique to pieces that play in the margins between flatness and depth, painting and sculpture, and the anthropomorphic and its opposite, whatever that might be.

Brian Cypher, Deep Divide, 2013, oil on canvas

In a similar way, Brian Cypher flirts with the recognizable in paintings that transform thought and process into imagery. The resulting canvases appear to be in a constant state of reinvention -- as if they will continue to morph in concept and form while they're on view. Cypher's paintings are a topology of furrows and fissures, filled with visual references and abstract form that defy categorization. 


The imagery in Deep Divide conjures inflated lungs or yin/yang, and of burrowing in like a feral cat might -- as if meaning was buried deep inside the canvas. The process of discovery is palpable in these refreshing works.

Amanda Church, L: Blondie, 2012; R: Resistance, 2012, both oil on canvas

Eros and artifice meet in works by Amanda Church, whose blithely sexual paintings celebrate the flesh amid dreamy landscapes, sinuous, meandering lines, and fictive pink and lemon yellow figures. 

Church employs frank sexuality as if she's descended from Francis Bacon -- sans his brutality, darkness and downright scariness -- placing the figure in and out of dimensional expanses where it hovers between flatness and deep space. Her elastic forms and use of torqued perspective glide the viewer into a netherworld of candy colored sensuousness. 

In Engagement (at the top), cranberry contours swirl around plushy orbs like so many silk scarves. Church's brushwork is tactile and it lends a toothiness to the sexual metaphor with soft striations of paint and the velvety, pigment-rich surfaces she creates. 

Gary Petersen, Point the Way, 2012, acrylic and ink on masonite

Gary Petersen, Ray Waves, 2013, acrylic and oil on masonite

Gary Petersen's use of line is intuitive, ricocheting from corner to corner to corner like the trajectory of a billiard ball. As his linear motif accumulates across the surface, it crisscrosses at various junctures and -- almost accidentally -- frames out spacial forms (mostly trapezoids and wedges) that anchor the imagery within the perimeters defined by kinetic pathways.

Gary Petersen, Somewhere in Between, 2013, acrylic and oil on wood

Petersen animates the picture field with lines that vary from dense color bars to labyrinthian architectures that fracture, push and weave through the composition. His palette is plastic and prismatic, invoking contradiction, playfulness, and a space-bending joie d'vivre that is full of life.

Russell Tyler, TV, 2012, oil on canvas
Russell Tyler scavenges technological debris such as television test patterns and early computer graphics, commuting it into subject matter. In his paintings, structure and process lay cheek by jowl, slathered on to canvas with a smart and precise sense of total abandon.

Russell Tyler, Computing II, 2013, oil on canvas

For Tyler, whose imagery ranges from lateral bars of thick gradient color to frenzied game boards and reconfigured Nintendo backgrounds, the painting process is something of a throwdown between himself and the canvas. The results are exhilarating, carrying within an overwhelming sense of immediacy, freshness and a not so subtle commentary on the sort of dystopian universe that defines much of modern living.

For the writer, poet, martial artist and occasional healer Brian Morris, the gallery business is clearly one that reflects a broad range of contemporary and contemplative thought. This is definitely a gallery to keep your eyes on.

Stacy Fisher

Brian Morris Gallery
163 Chrystie Street
New York City, 10002

1 comment:

Ravenna Taylor said...

Thank you - I had wanted to see this show but missed it, so appreciate your post.