Monday, February 17, 2020

Sensuality of Living: The Painting of Julian Bender

queens command, 2018, 7.5 x 5 in, oil on pine

Julian Bender is a painter living and working in New England.
Bender's paintings display a structural hierarchy of form and color. They eschew an all over composition in favor of an amalgamation of forms. When the imagery veers more toward the figurative a subject / ground relationship can start to become evident but the distinction can very quickly disolve, charging the surface with a satisfying ambiguity.

bdyfrgn, 2018, 8.5 x 5 in, oil on pine

atcq, 2018, 5 x 6 in, oil on cedar

From the Artists Statement:

My materials are pencil, crayon and oil stick on wood. I consider myself a student of the Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan. I
have been absolutely enthralled with his work for almost a decade and it has altered me deeply.
Recently I am most touched by the work of Ezra Pound. My favorite painter, at the moment is, Francisco Mendes Moreira.
In school I studied musical composition and am a music school drop out.
Things I relish include ritual, the sensuality of living and the immersions of awe in nature.
I am a timber framer by trade. And work in the tradition of mortise and tenon joinery.
As a result of that study Russian avant-garde piano compositions from the early twentieth century hold a special place in my heart
as do the spectraland aleatoric composers of the mid century.
Most of my painting supports are scraps from my framing work.
Painting is a relationship, a ratio betweenwhat is known and what goes unkown.
After becoming a father of two my painting practice shifted radically from working on large paintings for long stretches of time to painting on a small scale,
often finishing a painting in one or two nights. I bring everything to the easel, my whole boiling being. What I leave behind are gestalts of the moment,
or day or week; my own personal Rorschach.

- Julian Bender

Friday, February 14, 2020

Jeffrey Morabito at SFA Projects

Jeffrey Morabito: Birds and Flowers, Vases and Windows
On view through March 1 at SFA Projects

A detail from the precious image.
From the Press Release:
Dating back to 10th -century China, bird-and-flower painting is a genre of painting that consists not only of birds and flowers, but plants, fish, insects, dogs and cats.
Because of his multiracial heritage, residing in many different countries through his career, Morabito’s artistic identity is deeply grounded in both the Chinese and Italian traditions. As both cultural insider and observational voyeur, Morabito is compelled to reexamine said traditions to find new modes of deconstruction, examination, and interpretation. Why is a flower important when placed side by side with an animal? Is it a symbol of personal or universal beauty? Can quotidian modern objects like tennis balls be recast as a stand in for the flower in contemporary life?
Morabito recreates the bird-and-flower genre by seeing objects as pictorial containers, as vases and windows. His compositional parameters highlight the juxtaposition of what is inside, outside, far, close, clear, obstructed, real or fake. He provokes viewers to question the view represented on the canvas; is it a window looking outside or something deeper looking inward? His impasto surfaces push our visual perspectives to the limit by examining how we determine what is artifice in imagery today.
Acclaimed art historian Karen Wilkin describes the amalgamation of Morabito’s multicultural experience, saying “his extended experience of diverse places and cultures, with their often radically varied qualities of light, geography, rhythms, routines, customs, and odors – among many other things, including different languages and alphabets – all resonate within his paintings, but not in ways that we might expect.”
Considering a future of growing multiplicity and terrifying reduction, Birds and Flowers, Vases and Windows explores the significance of the past while carefully eyeing our uncertain future. 

Born in Bronxville, half Hong Kong-ese and half Italian, Jeffrey Morabito spent his early years traveling between New York and Hong Kong. He returned to Asia in 2006, to apprentice with a calligraphy master in Seoul, South. Korea. This allowed Morabito’s painting to be reevaluated into its most basic elements of individual brush strokes. He then spent six years in Beijing, beginning with a Red Gate Gallery Residency, in 2009, while teaching art at Capital Normal University. Morabito returned to New York in 2016 to pursue an MFA at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture, while also founding JMN Artists, a curatorial collective, which has produced three shows in New York.
Morabito has exhibited in “Art Beijing;” International Art Fair and Matthius Kupper Gallery, Beijing, China; N-Space and Jay Gallery Seoul, South Korea; Rosenfeld Gallery Philadelphia; Projektraum Knut Osper, Cologne, Germany; and in Eric Firestone Loft, SFA Projects and M.David & Co., New York. In 2019, he had a retrospective of his work entitled “Glossolalia” curated by Karen Wilkin at 1 GAP gallery.
A recipient of the Art Cake Studio Program, he currently works in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Seen on the LES Last Week

A detail from a painting by Jake Berthot from JAKE!
On view at Betty Cunningham Gallery thru Feb. 23

A work from Pat Passlof: The Brush is the Finger of the Brain
On view at the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation thru April 11.

Painter Dave Pollack takes in Passlof's Untitled, 1995-96.

A detail from Passlof's Untitled, 1995

Gandy Brodie from the exhibit Post previously on view at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects.