Eric Lee Bowman

Colin Ruel, Eric Lee Bowman, and Jon Legere‘s work showing at West Street’s Calico Brooklyn through tomorrow (6/13) can only loosely be thought of as working in the abstract. All works are generally two dimensional, non-representational, and refer to a history of this sort of thing.

Any parting from history might be due to art’s continuing blur into the real world, as well as a change from working with material to using abstract art for varying adaptations. There is a dizzyingly unending array of work out there, slipping between the transcendental and the formally grounded, so it’s a pleasure to drop by a space offering such open and easy suggestions.

Eric Lee Bowman‘s cyanotypes in the entrance and his end all filter Untitled in the back act as bookends for the possibilities this show is arguing for. The paper prints make for ghostlike windows not just because they’re spooky but because they directly show the footprint our world leaves on art. At the back wall of the main gallery a large tar paint job is actually a  black canvas stretching from floor to ceiling. This doubles as a nod to past “ultimates” in painting as well as a mockup of a real filthy wall. It happens to be the 100th birthday of Kazimir Malevich’s painting of a black square but you don’t have to think of that to get a kick out of this work here. Anyone who might have turned away from Kara Walker’s giant sugar sphinx to stare at Domino’s black, malty walls might appreciate this.

Colin Ruel

The spiritualist in the space is Colin Ruel. His panels refer to shamanic beats in their abstraction, but the true sharing nature comes in modulation. Three of the works come divided in quadrants that can be rearranged to varying combos. Here is another game played between the inside/art fiction and the outside/world reality – the works are not offered as interactive within the gallery. You’d have to buy the art to mess with the full kaleidoscope.

Maybe abstraction is a way of cleaning up the mess that the world gives us. Jon Legere’s jagged collages look like what most people might think of modern art. Swept up leaves only barely contained within a frame.

Jon Legere

Is this a summer group show? It was put on a touch too early to be called that. Is this an abstraction show? it’s not too early to start asking if that term is even needed anymore.

Calico Brooklyn is located at 67 West Street, #203 and the show will be up through tomorrow until 5PM (Saturday, 6/13).

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  1. Several years ago MoMA did a retrospective on Richard Serra’s tar paintings which consisted of canvases stapled to a wall then painted in a black tar paint. The effect was arresting. No offense to the artist or writer, but if there is to be a real discourse on any artist’s work, one with a some knowledge of art history should instantly recognize Bowman’s black tar painting as a straight copy of Richard Serra, down to the consistency of paint. Bowman choose a good starting point but where he chooses to go from here will really show the world the mark he intents to leave behind.

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