Britany Salsbury

  • picks May 28, 2015

    Allison Bianco

    The prints in this exhibition explore the instability of memory, formally and contextually effacing personal imagery until it becomes abstracted and foreign. Allison Bianco’s work attempts to reconcile her own childhood recollections of Rhode Island with the lived experience of returning as an adult. Landscapes that informed her youth are represented in bold, fluorescent tones that would seem lighthearted if not for the expressive formal processes involved—such as in the intaglio and silk-screen prints of Yosemite, 2009, in which a picturesque mountain scene is printed over with thick smears of

  • picks May 11, 2015

    Sebastian Black

    For his first exhibition in Paris, Sebastian Black produced a small group of works that at first seem randomly connected. In opposing corners stand two of the artist’s embankment sculptures, which pay homage to bureaucratic design, and between them is a so-called period piece, featuring printed punctuation and letters. Considered together, however, the group conveys Black’s ability to transform, as he describes it, “meaningless stuff and stuffless meaning” into something jarring and impossible to ignore.

    The exhibition’s title references Black’s view of these works as “shapes,” suggesting an

  • picks October 10, 2014

    Marcel Storr

    Over the course of several decades and some of the most tumultuous events of the twentieth century in Paris—including both world wars and the revolts of 1968—the street-sweeper and artist Marcel Storr prolifically and privately produced a trove of drawings that imaginatively re-imagined the architecture of his native city. In Storr’s utopian view of the French capital, stylistic references to its past serve as a means to dramatically redefine its future. The present exhibition centers on works from the 1960s and ’70s, when Storr’s drawings grew larger in scale, abstract in style, and psychologically

  • picks January 22, 2014

    “Actualize”

    “Actualize,” a group exhibition of seven artists, explores boundaries between thought and action, mining the various means by which meditation can be translated from an abstract method of self-reflection to a means of artistic practice. The act of prolonged contemplation is evoked through a range of media and extends to the gallery space itself, which invites various degrees of interaction with the works on display, from bound texts that require concentrated perusal to a sound installation that is understood through durational experience. Taken as a group, the works reinforce the significance

  • picks November 27, 2013

    Tracey Moffatt

    “Spirit Landscapes,” Tracey Moffatt’s latest exhibition, could be considered a collective artwork in itself, one that probes the inexorable qualities of nostalgia. Inspired by Moffatt’s return to her native Australia after years of living abroad, she presents six distinct installations of photographs, all of which she has digitally manipulated to take on spectral proportions. The works plumb boundaries between the artist’s personal narrative and her Aboriginal heritage, getting at the ways in which individual and collective experiences can entwine to invest specific places with symbolism. In “

  • picks June 20, 2013

    Matthew Barney

    Known for his experimental multimedia performances, often executed on a large scale and documented as films, Matthew Barney might seem an unlikely subject for a retrospective of works on paper. And yet the artist is an avid draftsman, having produced sketches for over two decades both in preparation for his performances and, more privately, as continued meditations on the themes explored in those works. “Subliming Vessel: The Drawings of Matthew Barney” highlights this lesser known aspect of his production in the form of a chronological survey that encompasses both drawings and ephemera. A number

  • picks May 07, 2013

    Chuck Close

    Whether in laboriously executed paintings or technically complex fine art prints, Chuck Close has famously reprised the same subject throughout his long career: the visages of his friends, his colleagues, and himself. The degree of removal that characterizes the transition of these works from documentary image to abstracted interpretation suggests that portraiture serves Close as a vehicle for technical experimentation, rather than an end in itself. Yet this exhibition of twenty-seven unique photo maquettes (mostly large-format Polaroids) taken by the artist as source material to be scaled up

  • picks July 30, 2012

    Richard Misrach

    For almost two decades the High Museum has sponsored “Picturing the South,” an initiative through which established contemporary photographers compose and present purely subjective portraits of the region. Given Richard Misrach’s reputation for starkly sublime western landscapes that invoke a mythos of place, the present exhibition might be expected to cull from the South of Faulkner and O’Connor, suggesting the same sort of postmodern Romanticism that characterized his earlier images of untamed nature. Instead, the artist turned to Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” a portion of the Mississippi River

  • picks June 18, 2012

    Elise Adibi

    Using a process determined equally by seriality and human presence, Elise Adibi draws on the sparse parameters of Minimalist facture to, paradoxically, call attention to the unique, individual character of artistic production. Five six-foot-square and four thirty-inch-square canvases in this exhibition showcase repetitive mark-making: Some works feature accumulated brushstrokes, while others offer gridded patterns with forms that are complemented by the weave of the canvases upon which they are executed. Adibi works with a limited range of traditional artistic media—carbon, charcoal, and oil

  • picks May 28, 2012

    Martin Kippenberger

    In its display of sublime suffering and desperation, Théodore Géricault’s 1819 painting The Raft of the Medusa seems an unlikely inspiration for Martin Kippenberger, an artist often remembered for his dark humor. As well, the earlier work’s radical attempt to revitalize the languishing genre of history painting indicates a deep-rooted faith in the very medium that Kippenberger questioned for much of his career. As unlikely a pairing as the artists may initially seem, however, the lithographic portfolio on which this exhibition focuses serves as a genuine homage. Based on photographs taken by

  • picks April 20, 2012

    Mira Schor

    Since the late 1970s, Mira Schor has integrated text into works that interrogate the formal and theoretical concerns of artistic production. Her current show could be a summation of this long-term project, as the paintings and drawings on view metaphorically depict transitions from thought to action, and from process to product. In many of the works, figures are seen reclining in space as if caught in reverie. Often the figure holds a book, which underscores the scholarly, meditative nature of the moment captured. Rendered in loosely drawn layers of lines, these barely-there surrogates for the

  • picks September 26, 2011

    Martha Wilson

    For the past four decades, Martha Wilson has mined herself and others to reveal the masquerades required and produced by everyday life. In particular, her project has involved highlighting, undermining, and subverting the construction of femininity in works that draw on and develop the political tenor of Conceptualist and performative practice in the 1970s. As part of a series of events commemorating Wilson’s forty-year career—including a recent traveling retrospective and forthcoming archival publication—this exhibition presents both early and recent works, illuminating the ways the questions

  • picks August 18, 2011

    Allan deSouza

    Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration” series, 1940–41, has long stood as the most comprehensive and telling visual account of the dramatic relocation of African Americans from the rural South to cities such as New York and Chicago during the early twentieth century. Allan deSouza’s current exhibition at the Phillips Collection, produced through an initiative to encourage interaction between contemporary artists and the institution’s holdings, displays photographs conceived as a reaction to Lawrence’s canonical series. Although the concepts of “response” and “influence” may be historically fraught, deSouza

  • picks August 14, 2011

    Miroslav Tichý

    With their soft focus and voyeuristic viewpoint, the untitled photographs by the late Miroslav Tichý seen in this exhibition immediately recall the long art-historical legacy of the female bather. Adapted by artists as venerable as Ingres, Degas, and Cézanne, this motif has long served as a vehicle for objectification. Tichý’s images push such eroticism beyond the confines of artistic practice and its reliance on professional models; his work depicts actual women seen by the artist at a Czechoslovakian pool from the 1950s to the ’80s. For much of Tichý’s career, he was viewed primarily as an

  • picks July 26, 2011

    B. Wurtz

    For over four decades, B. Wurtz has produced sculptures made from the neglected artifacts of daily life, presenting objects similar to each other primarily in their improbability as works of art, typically within minimalist exhibition contexts that seem equally unlikely to contribute aesthetic value. In addition, the affinities in form between some early and late work in this retrospective—Handbag, 1970, for instance, includes a transparent plastic bag suspended from an arched wire, while Untitled, 1997, differs only in the color of the bag and the addition of a piece of plywood—suggests the

  • picks June 10, 2011

    Keith Haring

    Keith Haring rapidly ascended in the fever-pitched art world of 1980s New York to become a fixture of both the downtown scene and popular culture. His status as a founder of the street art movement was secured with drawings characterized by their execution in public spaces and their use of a simple, concise language of recognizable symbols. This exhibition both highlights and builds on Haring’s iconic reputation. One mural-size drawing titled Red, 1982, for example, features the artist’s trademark figures, including dancing men and animals, reduced until they border on the abstract as forms

  • picks April 04, 2011

    Devin Leonardi

    Devin Leonardi’s new paintings evoke a relatively unusual influence: the precise aesthetic of nineteenth-century American realists such as Thomas Eakins. In Leonardi’s latest exhibition, this exacting style produces a sense of stasis when combined with straightforward, simple subject matter including landscapes dominated by sky or lone figures within interiors. In an untitled work from 2010, for instance, a nude child stands atop a piece of furniture in order to look through a large window. The figure’s precarious position communicates a desire frustrated by the blue, monochromatic view of the

  • picks February 09, 2011

    Sam Samore

    Sam Samore’s most recent photographs immediately invoke a long legacy of appropriative practices, namely those established by artists such as Cindy Sherman and Victor Burgin. Samore’s previous work is characterized by open-ended and evocative narrative compositions that are reminiscent of film stills. The present exhibition offers a subtle yet marked shift beyond this precedent. While these photographs still show female figures in vague surroundings, the artist uses formal manipulation—including color adjustment, exaggerated contrast, and unexpected focal points—to enhance and further develop

  • picks January 05, 2011

    Jeff Wall

    Jeff Wall’s photographic production of recent years is encapsulated here, reflecting the culmination of an interest in contemporaneity as evolved by the artist over several decades. The exhibition—which includes two installations, one featuring a series of expansive landscapes taken in 2007 and another of genrelike depictions of banal yet idiosyncratic details of contemporary life dating from the past two years—suggests a nuanced and continuous engagement with historical conventions of representation. Perhaps for this reason, Wall’s newer pieces may initially seem simply to revisit his earlier

  • picks October 20, 2010

    Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin

    A collaboration between the late Louise Bourgeois and Tracey Emin seems fitting: Although the careers of the two artists overlapped for only roughly a decade, both developed reputations for provocative explorations of gender, sexuality, and the emotions intertwining them. In doing so, however, they employed vastly different means—Bourgeois is known primarily for her subtly suggestive anthropomorphic sculpture, while Emin’s later autobiographical installations were sensationalized for their jarringly personal content—and so the current project’s union of the two remains surprising. The product