martin esteves

Check Out My Body Of Work – “Throwback Thursday” at Calico

Artwork by Thomas Buildmore

Written by Martin Esteves

What pictures would you pick of yourself for a “now and then” slideshow? Would the choices accurately depict progression or would they represent a cultivated presentation of how you’d like to be thought of?

Calico Brooklyn’s “Throwback Thursday” is an art show that compares old and new works from a kind of high school yearbook haircut stance (the title comes from the urban dictionary definition to this effect). Pairings by ten artists are hung with a newer piece on the right and an older piece to the left. Continue reading

Category: Art/Music, Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 0 Comments

Bad On Its Own (Video)

If you haven’t checked out Martin Esteves’ and Amanda Browders’ art show Bad On Its Own at Calico Brooklyn (67 West St #206), you better take a look because it’s a great show! Aside from regular gallery hours, the gallery will be open this Wednesday (11/28) from 7-9pm.

Watch this video interview we made in the place where all bad things happen: the bathroom! 

Category: Art/Music | Tags: , , , , , | 0 Comments

Harvest of Reason: Paul Duncan

Greenpoint Artist Paul Duncan

With two shows currently up at Greenpoint’s own Alan Nederpelt Gallery and Elizabeth Moore Fine Art in Manhattan, English born and Greenpoint artist Paul Duncan may not be so much a “madman” (as the Nederpelt show titles) as a canny guide through madness. To call Duncan’s paintings and drawings surrealist, wouldn’t be far off, but it would be a lazy stray from what makes his own personal landscapes so particular. Having the actual tour guide walk us through his world – as The Greenpointer was able to at the Nederpelt space – was to enjoy the full experience of being chaperoned through the “hyper-magical,” as the artist puts it.

With a mixture of recognizable cultural objects and invented characters, the work in the show manages a consistent hodgepodge of initially familiar wanderings that quickly dive into murkier depths.

“The image needs to step away from the object to another level,” Paul says. With a roguish demeanor and swashbuckler looks, the charismatic artist is well suited to speak in front of his hallucinations. To call the art ‘psychedelic’ would be misuse of another clichéd and inappropriate term (a term all too often stamped on to fantastic imagery). “This territory is not about drug exploration. It’s to do with the mythological element we all carry around with us. With my hand and some paint, I can filter these worlds.”

In fact the worlds depicted here aren’t really too far from the one we live in. “My trip to India and that region was very profound for me. To walk through the Himalayas and see Nepalese art that I had only seen in books and actually experience these things was extraordinary.” Like his artwork, Duncan’s storytelling can suddenly shift from dreamscape to visceral reality with surprising fluidity. “Well, I also got very ill on this trip after swimming in the Ganges! I lost half my body weight while my stomach swelled. After treatment from a western Doctor I had a chance to go to Goa where the illness returned and I was next found collapsed in the middle of a field. For days I lay on what I thought was surely my deathbed. It was here that I had the experience of being bathed in golden light. Now I’m not as religious man, but I remember that light as an angel. Whatever it was, I felt much better after that!”

Continue reading

Category: Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Michael Schall at Pierogi

© Michael Schall

Art Review written by Martin Esteves

The fall season in the front room of Pierogi’s main space opens with flashes of light and smoke – or at least drawings of them. With the gallery’s boiler room annex usually reserved for installation and spectacle, the ninth street location seldom strays from the flat files of the entrance. This is rarely a bad thing and with his solo show, Cloud Wall, Michael Schall needs only illustrate the autumnal burst from drawer to wall.

The series of graphite on paper can be divided into two groups – mysterious and unmanned light sources, and caged cloudbursts. The theme of the Light series seems to be that of luminosity unbound from source, be it artificial or supernatural. The supernatural radiance rises from a Pool of Light (2009) at the foot of a mountain face. With no human presence in the drawing, the glow can rise (unnaturally?) from the pond without witness. Lava Tube, likewise, might just depict a reasonably explained source of glare – in this case, the entrance of a cave seen from within – but with the gallery viewer as the lone attestant, the effect becomes ominous.

© Michael Schall

Hoover Dam and Eidophusikan both reveal their light source to be synthetic, but again, with no drawn inhabitants, the light can shoot artificially downward or light an empty stage without the need or want of an audience.

It’s important now to remember that these are drawings (don’t forget to save the actual pyrotechnics for the Boiler Room) and that drawing gradations of light across form is fun – and Schall exploits this fun masterfully – but by depicting the illuminated scenarios (how else to show light?) Schall reveals not just loss of control of nature, but a kind of jealousy of nature’s freedom, even when it is manmade.

Michael Schall at Pierogi (191 N. 9th) thru October 9th, 2011

Category: Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 0 Comments

Stay Close To Me, It Will Be Dark Soon

Stay Close To Me, It Will Be Dark Soon
John Stoney
The Boiler, Pierogi (191 N. 14th St)

Art Review by Martin Esteves

2011 © John Stoney

Closed for most of the summer, Pierogi Gallery’s Boiler Space reopened with a show that has the space reflecting outward to space as if in anticipation of the longer, contemplative nights ahead.

For his second solo show there John Stoney has grouped video, sculpture, and pyrographs (burnt wood drawings) for a kind of curio box housing mementos and evidence of our solar system and how earthly materials echo these larger passing orbits.

Videos depicting the “Speed of the Earth” localize views of the moon and night sky from varying northern American vantage points. The gaze skyward here is made specific because the moon passes at different speeds depending on where the viewer is. The biggest screen shows the moon rolling by from the 41st Parallel. In sort of a pre-Galilean standpoint, Stoney has the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn, only in existence from and for the view of the observer.

The three sculptures in the show then become even more subjective and ‘grounding’. Placed at two corners and the center of the large dark room, they make personal objects of even the sky. Corner Piece #2 is a pile of stones collected from upstate New York but here becomes souvenir moonrock.

My Father’s Sky is a wonderfully made diorama of the night sky over water made with fiber optic tubing as a stand in for the stars. The scene is said to be the view from Galveston Texas on October 16, 1965. Is the time and place important for us to know? Not so much as the need to depict and build something for one’s own personal affirmation.

2011 © John Stoney

The centerpiece of the show, and perhaps the oddest addition, is Nocturne. A Corinthian column stands twelve feet tall in the center of the room with a woodpecker holding on just below the top uneven portion of the pillar. Made of polymerized gypsum and covered in silver leaf, Nocturne takes the show into surreal narrative. The one “invented” image in the show reinforces the need for tangible and landed reference while going in a different direction. When looking inward and not upward, the artist still has to unify subject with scenario. Could an extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker claw on to a marble column (never mind peck it’s top part loose)? It could if they were both made from the same stuff.

Category: Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 0 Comments