Sunday, August 18, 2013

inside outliers

Jim Lambie, ZOBOP, 2000-13, metallic vinyl on floor, ed 1/5

LAT. 41° 7' N., LONG. 72° 19' W
Martos Gallery
organized by Bob Nickas

Aaron Suggs, Untitled (Transparent Dingy), 2013, clear acrylic, 144 x 54 x 120"

First of all, Orient Point is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Situated between the Long Island Sound and Gardiner's Bay, it feels like the actual tip of the world. Its glorious marshes, flatlands and incredible bird population make it one of the all-time best places. To find art there -- well -- to me, it's just that much better. 

Martos Gallery (ordinarily on West 29th Street in Chelsea), has dispatched to East Marion, NY where gallery owner Jose Martos and his wife, the artist Servane Mary have taken up residence in the bucolic surrounds of eastern Long Island. Last year they jettisoned their former location in Bridgehampton on the snootier south fork in favor of a 19th century Victorian just a stone's throw from Orient Harbor. 

The distinctive house sits on seven acres that overlook the Dam Pond Maritime Preserve, a tidal pond filled with salt marshes, birders and long sand dunes. The title of the show, LAT. 41° 7' N., LONG. 72° 19' W, references the geographic coordinates of the Martos property.

Peter Coffin, Untitled (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet), 2013, tinted resin, tree

This summer, the independent curator Bob Nickas organized a guerrilla-type art extravaganza in and around the house, its outbuildings and the sweeping countryside it occupies. 66 artists later, the exhibition consists of 132 works installed variously in the house, on the deck, among the brush and in the water. Art is everywhere. It hangs from trees, is squeezed between limbs, and is nestled inside brush, birches, scrub oaks and grassy fields. It's fabulous.

Above, Peter Coffin's pointed hands reinvigorate a towering snag. Throughout the property, multiple works range from eye-popping installations to meditations on nature, allegory and history. 

Jason Metcalf, Orient Focus People, 2013, acrylic enamel on wood

The region's original population, the Native American Orient Focus People (c. 1000 B.C.), is memorialized in Jason Metcalf's sculptural signage, offering the first indication that you have come to the right place. Perched at the end of a long driveway, this is your gateway to contemporary art on the far edge.

Sam Moyer, Birch Tide, 2010, printed vinyl on aluminum, 27 pieces

Located near the entrance to the property, Sam Moyer's oceanscape panels seem to open a doorway to a parallel universe where all of nature exists in everything, at every moment. Diverting and sublime, the panels lean against narrow trees in an area of woodlands that is dappled with sunlight. Idyllic, to be sure, but here Moyer is sort of splitting atoms, offering a stunning schism in the ocean/woodlands continuum.

John Miller, Untitled, insulation foam board, skim coated with concrete, glitter, ink, concrete hardener, acrylic paint

Inside the house, a glorious melange of painting, sculpture and installation takes root in every room. Above, John Miller's Untitled, mirrors the rock formations scattered across the shallow waters of Dam Pond. The scatalogical heap rises up through the dining annex as if the house was built around it.

B. Wurtz, L to R: Red Glass and Red Bowl; Orange Bowl; Yellow Bowl;  Green Bowl and Green Glass; Green Bowl; 1987-88

In a feat of curatorial aplomb, no room is safe from Nickas's intervention. The kitchen contains works by B. Wrutz (above), Jim Drain and Josh Tonsfeldt; the living room has works by Meredyth Sparks (below), Olivier Mosset, Jacqueline Humphries, David Flaugher, Trisha Donnelly, Eddie Martinez, Rachel Harrison, Jason Fox and Nick Relph. Even the seat cushions in the breakfast nook have been reimagined (by Jim Drain).

Meredyth Sparks, Untitled, (Eno), 2013, digital print on paper, aluminum foil, glitter

Atop Jim Lambie's magical stairway that leads to the second floor, Barry X Ball's installation of 24 heads is breathtaking. Ambient lighting illuminates two wall units filled with heads, like a modern day wunderkammern. Tied off at the top or bottom where the plaster begins or ends, the assembled parties feel like a sleepy Greek chorus that soars above the maddening crowd.

Barry X Ball, Collection of Twenty-Four Plaster Heads, 1997-2007

Mary Heilmann and other painters stand their ground across the hall as visitors wander room after room. The works bounce between idioms and energies, playfully lacing through floral wallpaper, window treatments and hallways.

Mary Heilmann, Rose Wave, 2013, oil on canvas

Chris Martin, Dead Mother Returns #19, 2013, acrylic, flash, gel medium, collage on vinyl

There's an indisputable conviviality here that extends into a larger community and dabbles in how we live with contemporary art. Let's face it, it can't be easy having your home open to the public for 8 weeks. Nonetheless, the spirit here is buoyant, genial, smart and invigorating. 

It's living with art in the extreme -- as it should be.

For Martos, who is something of a cultural outlier in the best sense of the concept, the idea of intervention seems to go with the territory. In East Marion, it is a rich experience indeed.   

                                                                             Dave Muller, W.W.S.R.D. (x7), 2013, acrylic on wall

Dave Muller honors the late, great Afro-futurist musician, Sun Ra, in W.W.S.R.D., (what would Sun Ra do), in a pastiche of banner ads splayed across a bedroom wall. Urban, electric and very current, Sun Ra, who died in 1993, seems in some ways more germane now than during his lifetime.

David Flaugher, Untitled, 2013, Christmas lights, wax, detritus, Carhartt jacket

Isa Genzken, Untitled, 2006, two walker frames, steel helmet, plastic helmet, doll, tin, lacquer

Back downstairs, the garage is transformed into a theater with Wolfgang Tillman's Peas, a video of green peas boiling in a pot. Hypnotic.

Wolfgang Tillmans, Peas, 2003, video with ambient sound, 2 minutes 48 seconds (loop)

Jim Drain, Hi-5, 2013, mixed media
Bill Komoski, 2/7/12, 2012, acrylic, water based enamel, polyurethane and cardboard on canvas

The new abstractionists, the casualists, meta-painting -- whatever you want to call it, the paintings here are mostly energetic and fresh. They don't so much hold court as they comment on it, stroke by stroke.

Erik Lindman, L: not yet titled, 2012, enamel, wood stain, mixed media; R: not yet titled, 2012-13, found surface, enamel, mixed media

In the basement, a sprawling subterranean environment has been created by Servane Mary. Catacomb-like and nearly pitch dark, the walls glow in a ghostly phthalo green and black, silhouetting various component parts of the average basement -- screwdrivers, sheers, saws. 

Servane Mary, Untitled (The Green Room) detail, 2013, site-specific installation with aqua glow-in-the-dark powder, egg, pink fluorescent ink

Unbeknownst to me, the couple's three year old son followed us down the stairs into this darkness, his tiny shadow moving among the soft light of the installation. "Bon jour," I said over and over, assuming he was lost and scared. He wasn't. He was right at home.

Don't miss this dazzling show, on view through September 2nd. 

Chris Martin, Dead Mother Returns #17, acrylic, flash, gel medium and collage on vinyl

Andy Cross, Social Climber, 2013, stainless steel, steel base, signage

Adriana Lara, Unidentified (arrow), 2007-2013, arrow, rubber

Christopher Astley, Dam Pond Nuffink, 2013, inkjet prints on canvas, sign paint, concrete

Christopher Astley, Tree Nufflink, 2013, polyester resin, spray paint

Vito Acconci, Hole in the Ground, 1986, stones, pipe, grass, dirt, steel, plants, wood, concrete

Walead Beshty, not yet titled, 2013, selected found posters

Martos Gallery

summer location:
12395 Main Road, East Marion, NY

Saturday, August 10, 2013

portrait of the artist, Jack Ceglic

J a c k   C e g l i c
recent drawings
at Ille Arts

Portraiture is an ancient art form, going back as far as history takes us. The human gaze, the disposition of the body, its form and the very apprehension of its presence can, through the eyes of an artist, reveal truths. For Jack Ceglic, whose work is on view at Ille Arts, pathos is perhaps the first line of defense in a body of work that is striking in its veracity and its keen, incisive immediacy. 

Ceglic is one part matador and one part dove, with a hand that moves briskly between fury and tenderness. As skirmishes of line advance into form the drawings become dazzlingly present, as if the sitter is coalescing in body and mind before your eyes. In the studio, the presence of souls is almost palpable. They rest against easels, line the walls or lay, in progress, on one or another horizontal surfaces. A prodigious worker, of the ten or twelve portraits in the studio most had been completed in the last two weeks. 

At Ille Arts, some eight full size portraits fill both galleries. The drawings are done on huge swathes of paper and at a towering 6 feet in height each one resonates with an electric energy that steps off the page into the shared space between the visceral and that ineffable thing, the human psyche. 

L: Bonnie, R: Beau; R/Foreground: Amanda Mai; all works oil stick and pastel, 72 1/4 x 49 1/4 in
Below are a few thoughts we exchanged at the artist's studio last week:

Janet Goleas: This portrait of the artist Robert Harms takes my breath away. 

Jack Ceglic: Most people who see this portrait who know Robert feel this this is him. It seems to capture something that all of us see about him.

JG: It reveals something about the way he paints, too. It's atomized 
in a way -- like his paintings.

Robert, 2012, oil stick and pastel; photo by Gary Mamay

JC: Drawing people -- it isn't really what people think. The average person thinks an artist wants to draw them the way they look, but maybe not. It's a collaboration between the artist and the sitter, and sometimes I don't know who's what. What I'm seeing is being translated between the eye and the hand. 

JG: Yes, yes -- when you capture the truth that exists between you and your sitter, it's exhilarating. Like a keystone.

JC: Exactly. What makes it happen is what makes you happen. It's not just a nose and a mouth.

Ceglic's subjects range from close friends to found people whom others coax into sitting for the artist in his secluded East Hampton studio. The walls and easels are filled with mostly life-size drawings that writhe with kinetic energy, as if a heart pumps inside the thickets of color and line.

JG: How does it happen -- your sitters -- how do they sit?

JC: With Robert it was a moment -- the first time he sat for me. I go to his shows; I like his work. But I didn't know him. He came to pose and we got right at it. It's not always easy -- sometimes they need to find themselves.

JG: So you don't always know the back story of your subject. 

JC: No, not at all. When I draw a portrait I talk to the person. And I want them to talk to me.  

JG: Interesting -- you don't have that classic right brain/left brain thing where you can't talk and draw at the same time? 

JC: Well, I always tell the sitter -- I might not always be speaking but I'll always be listening. I'll come and go. You'll be a part of what I do and you'll be a part of what I think you are.

Renowned for his work in interior and architectural design, Ceglic's studio is also a work of art, with gigantic overhead doors on either side.  "When both doors are open," he said, "sometimes the birds fly right through."
Soft spoken and concise in his language, Ceglic is an unlikely warrior, wrangling his oil sticks and pastels like a prizefighter.

JG: What is it that you like about working on paper. 

JC: I like the surface -- the hardness -- the attack. I like to make a mark and not change it. 

JG: A more academic approach would be to map out the figure. 

JC: I don't map out the figure, I approach it. I look, I feel, I attack. I find the part of the body that interests me and from there everything moves into focus. They have those lines and those shapes, those forms, those smiles. It's no different from abstract art. 


His influences run the gamut from Franz Hals to Andy Warhol, and his painterly approach recalls the edginess of Egon Schiele, the spacial clarity of Alice Neel and the sort of muscular candor that has become his artistic identity. Ceglic's visual lexicon is one of acute empathy, with results that have the feel of meditations on the exhilaration of being human.

He starts a drawing where his eyes first go -- a wrinkle in fabric, the turn of a wrist or a forearm, a fold at the knee. In this way Ceglic navigates the form, intuiting it as he moves through the drawing. Dark shadows leap forward into luminous oranges, lavenders and greens. Flesh glows. Sometimes anguished, other times beatific, here self-identity is fluid, electric. Ceglic seizes his subject's identity -- almost as if he's holding it in his palm -- as he channels the sitter through eye, mind and hand.

JC: Putting down the marks in a straightforward way, I feel like I've captured something -- like I've taken something from my sitter. It's a sort of possession.

 JG: I know just what you mean. It's a form of communion between you, 
the sitter, and that column of vision that exists in between.

JC: It's about what you're really seeing and not what you've been taught. It's managing nature, in a way. You know -- gardeners do it, too.

The exhibition, on view through August 19th, coincides with the publication of Jack, Drawings and Paintings by Jack Ceglic, 2009 - 2012, published by Pointed Leaf Press. 

The book, with texts by the poet and 2008 Pultizer Prize recipient, Philip Schultz, and the actor/director, Joe Mantello, is a melange of figures and faces that emanate from the artist's hand. Deeply intimate, the figures are radiant. But even more so, the book offers a portrait of this compelling artist.

Jack Ceglic in his studio

Don't miss this wonderful show, on view through August 19th.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

my piece on 
at Eric Firestone Gallery

thanks whitehot