Anne Prentnieks

  • Judy Chicago, 7AM / Chowtime, 2000, watercolor on arches, 22 x 30".
    picks October 03, 2017

    Judy Chicago

    In this “grab her by the pussy” presidential era, symbolism seems insufficient as protest—and yet it drove the reclamation of a historically derogatory term for female anatomy, giving rise to thousands of pink hats with kitten ears. Likewise, in the works that make up “Judy Chicago’s Pussies,” Chicago explores the iconography of the pussy as both feminine core and feline house pet, channeling wit, fury, and the inherent bodily and metaphysical power of womanhood.

    Traditional equivalences between cats and women—both seen as mercurial, manipulative, and cruelly seductive (think “sex kittens”)—are

  • Andrea Joyce Heimer, I Am Jealous Of Everyone You Have Ever Been With And There Have Been Many, And Then I Find Out Some Of Them Were Squirters And I Am Undone By This Knowledge. It Weighs On Me Like A Stone., 2016, acrylic and pencil on panel, 30 x 40".
    picks February 24, 2017

    Andrea Joyce Heimer

    Of all the deadly human sins, envy is perhaps the most unavoidable. It makes us mourn the things we never had in the first place while reminding us of what we have to lose. In “A Jealous Person,” Andrea Joyce Heimer’s new exhibition, the artist has made narrative, quilt-like paintings that yearn for some sense of firm identity. Her complex renderings of flattened domestic interiors and natural landscapes are psychological minidramas. And their titles, though verbose, are deeply personal.

    I Am Jealous Of Those Who Can See Their Own Facial Features Echoing Down Their Family Lines Like A Voice

  • James Siena, Escaped Non-Map Fragment, 2016, ink on paper and museum board, 14 x 11". From the series “Wanderers,” 2015–16.
    picks January 27, 2017

    James Siena

    Like the labyrinthine, filigreed patterns of an illuminated manuscript, James Siena’s new drawings, divided into three series—“Wanderers,” “Nihilisms,” and “Manifolds,” all 2015–16—transmogrify their subjects into florid, and occasionally textual, tableaux. Nihilism XI, 2016, has the phrase “JUST ANOTHER EON OF CHAOS AND CONFUSION WELCOME ABOARD,” drawn in intricate curls of script. Interwoven forms, like Celtic knots, levitate throughout the artist’s “Manifolds.” They are as finely wrought and as visually meditative as mandalas and are made from interlocking, braided-together, jewel-toned ribs.

  • Inka Essenhigh, Green Goddess II, 2009, oil on canvas, 72 x 60''.
    picks September 13, 2016

    Inka Essenhigh

    Filled with fantastical paintings that becloud the currents between humankind and the natural world, this survey of Inka Essenhigh’s work unveils the artist’s gentle progression from flat, graphic works—evocative of Japanese woodcuts and various anime traditions—to more softly articulated compositions that call to mind early Disney and, of course, Bosch and Bruegel: the animator’s narrative forebears. With hot, acidy colors, Essenhigh contrasts the inner beasts of our nature against environmental forces both inevitable and engineered. Green Goddess II, 2009, offers up a ghostly green earth

  • View of “Billy Al Bengston: Warm California,” 2016.
    picks June 10, 2016

    Billy Al Bengston

    Two concurrent exhibitions focus on the work of Billy Al Bengston in the decades following the 1966 close of Los Angeles’s epochal Ferus Gallery. Bengston’s idiosyncratic practice, influenced by the West Coast’s surf and high-gloss car cultures, cemented his reputation as a deeply original progenitor of LA cool. “Warm California,” on view at Andrew Kreps, serves up Bengston from 1972–76 via his “Draculas” series of works: screens, which feel like stained glass, painted on canvas and either stretched on frames or mounted between dowel rods, with muted depictions of irises (maybe the Dracula’s

  • Shara Hughes, Split Ends, 2016, oil, flashe, and acrylic on canvas, 68 x 60''.
    picks February 26, 2016

    Shara Hughes

    Shara Hughes’s imagination yields rich, weird stuff. In earlier works, sundry abstract and natural forms are pushed through open-ended narratives within vibrant domestic spaces. In these dozen or so newer paintings, her psyche decides to peer out the living room window so that we can be made privy to an assortment of breezy and prismatic landscapes that plumb the depths of her idiosyncratic interior and exterior world views.

    Hughes deftly combines the richly saturated palettes of the early Impressionists with the darker psychological tones of more recent picture-makers such as Forrest Bess, Philip

  • Rudolf Stingel, Untitled (Franz West), 2010, ink, oil, enamel, paper, 30 x 22”.
    picks December 11, 2015

    Rudolf Stingel

    Like a messianic magician unveiling his tricks, Rudolf Stingel unmasks shadowy illusions with pragmatic showmanship in works that appear to be one thing (spatial, metallic, liquid, carpet) but in fact are quite another (flat, matte, solid, paint). He even once produced a pamphlet of instructions for how to create his paintings: Here’s how it’s done, kids!

    This latest show is made up of three large paintings and a smaller work on paper. The paintings, all from 2012, could have come straight from his how-to manual. Their monochromatic russet surfaces seem to glimmer in the light, the weave patterns

  • View of “Joseph Kosuth,” 2015.
    picks November 27, 2015

    Joseph Kosuth

    Prone to immersive installations over the course of his influential career as a pioneer of Conceptualism, Joseph Kosuth presents more than forty of his text- and light-based works from the past fifty years in the jam-packed exhibition “Agnosia, an Illuminated Ontology.” Words, phrases, diagrams, and pictures creep and crawl along the walls and ceiling beams, with their guts—electric cords and darkened stems of neon—on full view. It is a retinal overload that simultaneously blurs and distills the cacophony of meanings within each work.

    Some examples of the chaos, organized neither by chronology

  • Deana Lawson, Nikki's Kitchen, Detroit, Michigan, 2015, ink-jet print, 45 × 35".
    picks November 09, 2015

    Deana Lawson

    Deana Lawson's candid portraits are, like one's identity, at times crafted or found, but regardless are a composite of history and politics (of, in no particular order, geography, gender, and race). Her current show at the Art Institute of Chicago gathers together fourteen of her recent and semi-recent photographs showing meticulously posed moments, documentary-style shots, and reprints of found visual relics. The pictures point to the gendered experience and aesthetics of blackness in certain geographies, among them Brooklyn, Haiti, Jamaica, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Detroit. Some

  • Dana Schutz, Fight in an Elevator 2, 2015, oil on canvas, 96 x 90".
    picks September 18, 2015

    Dana Schutz

    A broadly accepted metonym for claustrophobia and unwanted social confrontation, the elevator receives top billing in Dana Schutz’s new series, “Fight in an Elevator,” 2015 (a title to which one could aptly add “and Variations on a Theme”). In energetic, large-scale paintings and smaller black-and-white (though no less vibrant) drawings, the artist trains her acerbic eye on the phenomenon of tight spaces and how people—specifically, Schutz’s misshapen, often deranged characters—deal with them. Where Schutz’s past works have long explored various surreal state-of-being narratives, these new

  • Jack Pierson, He Swears, 2015, oil, paint, sand, wax on canvas, 10 x 8".
    picks August 14, 2015

    Jack Pierson

    The island is a premier existential metaphor, and the works in “onthisisland,” Jack Pierson’s exhibition of some sixty-plus ephemeral oil and watercolor paintings, graphite drawings, and driftwood assemblages, offer new and fluid insight into the artist psyche. Pierson created the series during a four-month stay on the Floridian island of North Captiva, and the works, mostly small in scale, expose the poetics of process. Pierson practices his own variation on automatic drawing—he’s dubbed the results “Anagogic Paintings”—based on the Surrealist method. At once lushly abstract and confidently

  • Peter Doig, Grande Riviere, 2001-2002, oil on canvas, 90 x 141".
    picks July 22, 2015

    Peter Doig

    Deceptively immaterial yet richly layered, thirty of Peter Doig’s wall-size paintings, along with dozens of prints and studies, open like portals into other dimensions—temporal, physical, metaphysical. Arranged neither thematically nor chronologically, the paintings often appear to shimmer in and out of focus, like panes of stained glass stacked atop varying light sources. In Milky Way, 1989–90, a black panel of pointillist stars is reflected in water, bordered by moonlit lime-green foliage. Cinematic yet still, the painting shows Doig’s early interest in capturing darkness and light, shadows