Ana Finel Honigman

  • View of Philip Jones, “Sundial,” 2008.
    picks November 02, 2008

    Philip Jones

    Like classic cartoon artists before him, Philip Jones employs a masterful approach to representational painting to produce canvases that function as portals to impossible worlds. In “Sundial,” his second solo exhibition at London’s FRED gallery, Jones expands his sci-fi vision to include sculpture that tests the limitations of reality and complements his paintings and their literary source material. The show’s inspiration, Theodor Fontane’s 1895 realist novel Effi Briest, is a sharp departure from Jones’s earlier surreal world and the pantheon of Marvel Comics–style villains, temptresses, heroes,

  • Martha Parsey, Solid Gold, 2008, oil on canvas, 55 x 47".
    picks October 13, 2008

    Martha Parsey

    Martha Parsey’s exhibition, titled “Solid Gold,” exposes chilling cracks in wealth's cool gilded surfaces. The young Cologne-based British artist’s striking series of eight new paintings presents polished and pampered blond beauties floating through unfinished and abstracted interiors. As a follow-up to Parsey’s series “The Maids,” in which she painted petulant, coltish beauties isolated in sexless maids’ uniforms or grooming their passive mistresses, “Solid Gold” is more than mere illustration of “the other half.” Its beautiful and blessed young trophies have the immaculate icy allure, languid

  • Olivier Pietsch, The Shape of Things, 2008, still from a color video, 17 minutes 30 seconds.
    picks October 02, 2008

    Olivier Pietsch

    Olivier Pietsch pushes Alfred Hitchcock’s dictum that “drama is life with the dull bits cut out” to ecstatic extremes. The Berlin-based German artist plucks out the Barthesian punctum from scenes in classic, mainstream, independent, and art films to construct cinematic collages. In the past, Pietsch elegantly wove together a potent portrait of pop culture’s romance with intoxicants by cherry-picking scenes of drug ingestion for his forty-five-minute film The Conquest of Happiness, 2005, and then created a brief ode to suicides as shown on the big screen with Domin, Libra Nos, 2006–2007. Now,

  • Four Doors I, 1989/90, oil on canvas in four parts, 7' 10 1/8“ x 19' 5 7/8”.
    picks July 08, 2008

    Gary Hume

    Gary Hume began his series known as the “Door Paintings” in the late 1980s, inspired by a wretched image from an ad for Bupa (a UK-based private health-insurance company) depicting a hospital waiting room. Despite their depressingly claustrophobic origins, and Hume’s later admission that he found the concept of the “Door Paintings” limiting, the series’ fifty-odd works, created with household gloss paint, led to critical and commercial acclaim for the artist. More recently, his consistently slick, shiny, pastel-hued art was welcomed as candy, a sweet reprieve from the diet of otherwise bitter

  • Orange Lily, 2008, oil on board, 10' 3/16“ x 5' 1/4”.
    picks July 03, 2008

    Chantal Joffe

    Ballet dancers possess exceptional physical qualities, but Edgar Degas painted them prepping backstage at the Royal Ballet as pretty teenagers with morals as flexible as their limbs. Today’s models also embody phenomenal physical attributes, and most are similarly immature and vulnerable to exploitation. Chantal Joffe explores this contrast between models’ worldly appearance and skittish reality in a series of small-scale paintings. Inspired by Degas’s dancers, Joffe took snapshots of models changing, exiting the catwalk, and gearing up for the runway while observing them backstage at three

  • View of “The Disenchantment of the Bourgeoisie.”
    picks June 22, 2008

    Anton Unai

    Unlike many of the artists who show at Circleculture’s Urban Fine Arts gallery, Anton Unai doesn’t present or replicate in the gallery work that he made on the street. Instead, the London-born, Berlin-based artist exhibits work created from paper ephemera that he salvaged from the street. He combines these scraps and paints his own expressionistic marks on them, building up installations, canvases, and multiple layers of wallpaper.

    In “The Disenchantment of the Bourgeoisie,” Unai’s fourth Berlin exhibition, framed collages are hung on, and blend seamlessly with, a wall painted with a mural, the

  • Untitled 26, Bogotá (Girl with doll), 2002, color photograph, 20 x 20".
    picks May 24, 2008

    Alec Soth

    When Alec Soth and his wife adopted their daughter, Carmen, from Bogotá, Colombia, the infant’s birth mother entrusted them with a book of photographs of Carmen’s birthplace, inscribed with the message I HOPE THAT THE HARDEST OF THE WORLD WILL NOT HURT YOUR SENSITIVITIES. According to the wall text accompanying “Dog Days, Bogotá,” Soth’s third solo exhibition at this gallery, the photographer was inspired by this gesture to create his own book of photographs for Carmen. Taken during the two months he spent in Bogotá while waiting for the adoption to be approved, the twenty-one images on view

  • Nur mit scharfen Klingen, 2008, oil on canvas, 59 1/16 x 118 1/8".
    picks May 12, 2008

    Erik Schmidt

    From a distance, the canvases in “Working the Landscape,” Erik Schmidt’s fourth solo exhibition at carlier | gebauer and one of the inaugural shows in its new eighty-six-hundred-square-foot space, resonate as weakly as most photographic reproductions of paintings. The series, which Schmidt painted in Berlin during the course of several visits to the Ella Valley winery, has the sunny quality of California Impressionism: His fragrant use of greens, purples, and pinks can look like a light gloss on the sun-soaked glory of his subject. This impression, of lightweight decoration, may persist even

  • Office in the Afternoon, 2008, oil on canvas on panel, 24 x 36".
    picks May 08, 2008

    Dan Attoe

    Even without the viciously funny yet sometimes poignant captions and descriptive phrases that Dan Attoe pencils inside, alongside, and on the reverse of his oil paintings, his art has the emotional subtlety and narrative complexity of a haunting short story. On the canvases’ slick surfaces, which the artist coats with fifteen applications of gesso before sanding them to impeccable smoothness, his images appear to romanticize obnoxious nihilism, cheap misogyny, and sloppy misanthropy. The seven paintings and six neon sculptures in “Complicated Animals,” his second solo exhibition in Berlin,