Brian T. Leahy

  • Tania Pérez Córdova, Portrait of an Unknown Woman Passing By, 2019, glazed ceramic, occasionally a woman wearing a dress, 35 3⁄8 × 19 3⁄4 × 19 3⁄4".

    Tania Pérez Córdova

    “Woman’s head wearing jewellry, preserved as excavated . . .” So begins the description of item No. 122294—a grouping of skull fragments and precious objects, including a comb made of silver and a coronet with gold leaves, taken from the Royal Cemetery at Ur in southern Iraq and dated 2600 BCE—which sits in the permanent collection of London’s British Museum. Tania Pérez Córdova, who referenced that object in a 2017 interview, makes sculpture that could be described with a similar rhetorical touch. In exhibitions she has had in Mexico City, Chicago, and Vienna, among other places, the artist

  • View of “Candida Alvarez,” 2020. Foreground: Jellow, from Air Paintings (2017–2019), 2018.

    Candida Alvarez

    When Candida Alvarez unveiled her monumental public work Howlings—Soft Paintings in August 2017 as a part of Chicago’s Year of Public Art, the tropical storm that would become Hurricane Maria had not yet coalesced over the Atlantic Ocean. Alvarez, who was born in Brooklyn to Puerto Rican parents in 1955 and moved to the Windy City in 1998, had recently celebrated a major exhibition, “Here,” at the Chicago Cultural Center, and the display of her latex-on-PVC mural on the banks of the Chicago River represented a high point in her long-running efforts to make abstract painting relevant for a wide

  • Deana Lawson, Assemblage (detail), 2019, digital prints, pins, dimensions variable. From “New Images of Man.”

    “New Images of Man”

    Alison M. Gingeras’s sprawling “New Images of Man” reimagined both Peter Selz’s eponymous 1959 show and Edward Steichen’s notorious 1955 extravaganza “The Family of Man,” both held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. With forty-three artists, Gingeras demonstrated that in the midcentury as much as now, many artists’ experiences far exceeded those of the “man” the earlier curators imagined. Writing in 1959, Selz explained his exhibition’s context: “The revelations and complexities of mid-twentieth-century life have called forth a profound feeling of solitude and anxiety . . . of life in

  • Martha Tuttle, Milestone, 2019, wool, linen, pigment, overall 78 × 86".

    Martha Tuttle

    In her first solo show at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Martha Tuttle went back to the roots of materialist philosophy. For “The Dance of Atoms,” the artist framed her ambitions with the words of Lucretius, the Roman student of Epicurean philosophy who converted its tenets of atomistic materialism into poetry in the first century BCE. In her work, Tuttle replaces each of the traditionally essential elements of easel painting—stretcher, canvas, and pigment—with a thoughtfully selected doppelgänger. Here, seven rectangular pieces, each thirty-two inches tall by twenty-five inches wide, occupied two long

  • Robert Lostutter,  Kyōsei 1 Deep Night Garden, 2018, graphite on paper, 18 × 17 1⁄4".

    Robert Lostutter

    Robert Lostutter’s exhilaration with drawing—“Nothing excites me more than a sharpened pencil and a clean white sheet of paper,” he has said—was abundantly evident in “Kyōsei,” his third exhibition at Corbett vs. Dempsey. Twenty-six meticulously crafted graphite-on-paper images lined the gallery’s walls. In each of the smaller, ten-inch-square works that hung on one wall, a single masculine head occupied the center of a delicately hatched ground. Facing them, two larger drawings—Kyōsei 1 Deep Night Garden and Kyōsei 2 Deep Night Garden, both 2018—depicted figures from the chest up. This intimate

  • Bethany Collins, The Odyssey: 2000/1980/2001 (detail), 2018, triptych, graphite and toner on paper, each sheet 44 × 90". Photo: Aron Gent.

    Bethany Collins

    “I’ve been told that my mother’s name was Millie.” So wrote Lula Montgomery in an 1898 newspaper ad filled with half-remembered names, which Montgomery paid for in hopes that a reader might reconnect her with the family she lost when she was sold, as a baby, into the hands of a different slave owner in Richmond, Virginia. Adopting the heading of this ad for the work Do You Know Them? (1898), 2018, Bethany Collins embossed Montgomery’s words twice over on a fragile sheet of crimson newsprint, resurrecting their haunting refrain; the other nine sheets that comprise this work echo the words written

  • Luanne Martineau, Knocking Hangers, 2018, hand-needled felt, factory felt, handmade paper, linen, gesso, wood, Velcro, 6' 11“ × 12' 7”.

    Elana Herzog and Luanne Martineau

    Elana Herzog and Luanne Martineau echo familiar parries to modernism’s vainglorious legacies. Their works substitute common materials, including textiles, for oil paint; involve craft techniques such as papermaking and needle felting; and focus on the domestic, the gendered, and the everyday in place of the grandiose and the utopic. Yet, though they are invested in these critiques, both artists happily provide more than admonitions, as their recent pairing for “COMPRESSION” emphasized.

    Herzog’s medium-size works in the show—they were not quite collages, since the textile fragments were