Camila McHugh

  • Maren Karlson, Sigil I, 2022, oil on canvas, 23 1/2 × 35 1/2".
    picks August 11, 2022

    Maren Karlson

    Maren Karlson uses Simone Weil’s concept of the void as a guiding principle for her exhibition “Cyphers” at Soft Opening, particularly the late French philosopher’s suggestion that “Grace fills empty spaces but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.” Tracing rounded orifices in shades of blue, green, and bone-gray oil on canvas, Karlson probes the potency of emptiness. Her visual language initially evokes something extraterrestrial, as constellations of oblong shapes reveal a strange affinity between automobile parts—such as a car

  • View of “Stabler Horizon.”
    picks July 11, 2022

    Whitney Claflin, Rochelle Feinstein

    There was a strange solace in visiting Whitney Claflin and Rochelle Feinstein’s duo show on the Fourth of July. As the United States’ tragic devolution has ramped up in recent weeks, it felt apt to spend the country’s Independence Day amidst these New York-based artists enduring engagement—personal and political, abstract and hyper-specific—with living in America. Feinstein stitched worming lines of hand-dyed, rainbow yarn into a group of drop cloth paintings that include American Sampler / 2020 (all works 2022), in which she uses the threads to trace the contours of a puzzle of light-washed

  • Lygia Pape, Divisor (Divider), 1968/1990. Performance view, Museo de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, 1990.
    picks July 05, 2022

    Lygia Pape

    Lygia Pape’s retrospective “The Skin of ALL” spans the late Brazilian artist’s five-decade career, homing in on her varied methods of abstraction and the evolving sociopolitical context from which they emerged. Pape employed angular shapes or intersecting lines not as geometric vehicles for transcendence or purity, but as modes of responding to the patterns that structured her surroundings. Attention to wood’s natural grain, for instance, instigated her woodcuts of the 1950s and ’60s, while the negative space between bodies was made tangible in Divisor (Divider), 1968. The exhibition’s title

  • Frank Bowling, Up a Tree (detail), 2021, acrylic, acrylic gel, and plastic insect additions on canvas with marouflage, 112 1/4 x 73 x 2 3/8".
    interviews June 28, 2022

    Frank Bowling

    For six decades, Frank Bowling has experimented with how personal and political memory can be sustained within the constraints of late-modernist abstraction. A solo exhibition, “Penumbral Light,” is on view at Hauser & Wirth in Zurich through August 20, and a major survey, “Frank Bowling’s Americas,” will open at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in October. Below, the Guyana-born, London-based artist discusses his abstraction as an encounter with something simultaneously familiar and unexpected, compelled by an enduring fascination with what a painted surface can be.

    I’M WORKING THROUGH WATERY

  • View of “Feliza Bursztyn,” 2021–22. Photo: Annik Wetter.

    Feliza Bursztyn

    A frenzied jangling echoes intermittently throughout the Feliza Bursztyn retrospective in the converted twelfth-century monastery and brewery that houses the Muzeum Susch. The sounds made by the Colombian artist’s kinetic sculptures, which are activated on a timer for conservation purposes, seems to beckon one through the large-scale exhibition that spans Bursztyn’s oeuvre from 1964 through to her abrupt death in 1982 at the age of forty-eight. Propelled by electric motors attached to constructions in metal and fabric, this rattling encapsulates the drive to provoke that undergirded Bursztyn’s

  • Teresa Gierzyńska, Tęsknota (Longing), 1986, gelatin silver print, aniline, 11 3⁄4 × 15". From the series “O niej” (About Her), 1979–.

    Teresa Gierzyńska

    “Women Live for Love,” announced the title to Teresa Gierzyńska’s exhibition, broadcasting an essentialist declaration in order to complicate it. Curator Joanna Kordjak offered a decidedly feminist take on Gierzyńska’s oeuvre, bringing together works from three series dating to the 1970s and ’80s consisting of photographs, photomontages, and press prints portraying women. At that time, the Warsaw-based artist was particularly interested in material experimentation, messing with mechanical reproducibility by tinting her black-and-white photographs with synthetic dyes or pressing images cut from

  • Fausto Melotti, Teatrino (Little Theater), ca. 1950, glazed ceramic, painted clay, 18 1⁄8 × 11 3⁄4 × 3 1⁄2". From the series “Teatrini,” 1930–85.

    Fausto Melotti

    “Fausto Melotti: Theatre” traces the prolific Italian artist’s marked affinity for the stage in works ranging from pencil-and-ink drawings of Orpheus dating to the 1920s and ’30s to delicate, quasi-scenographic sculptures in brass, wood, and fabric made beginning in the ’70s through 1986, the year of his death at the age of eighty-five. Though hints of allegory and allusions to storytelling are part of the dramaturgical dimension of Melotti’s work, the show suggests that he approached theater as a material rather than a narrative form. In Da Shakespeare (After Shakespeare), 1977, for instance,

  • Joanne Robertson, Last Sun, 2022, oil on canvas, 70 3/4 x 59 x 1"
    picks March 18, 2022

    Joanne Robertson

    Joanne Robertson’s three large-format oil paintings hold the room at Sandy Brown, where the effusive quality of their bright, loping tangles seems to open up the Berlin gallery’s tiny storefront. Swathes of blue in subtly varied hues form a thread between Dawn, Howl, and Last Sun (all 2022), each of which conveys a state of tentatively resolved chaos. These are pretty paintings. There is something earnest about their attention to the emotive potential of complementary colors, as in the light orange and fainter purple that seem to rise to the surface against kinetic blue and yellow marks in Dawn

  • Caroline Bachmann, Nuages reflet (Cloud Reflection), 2021, oil on canvas, 15 3⁄4 × 11 3⁄4".

    Caroline Bachmann

    Caroline Bachmann started painting Lake Geneva and the surrounding mountains from the vantage point of her studio almost a decade ago, setting the landscape in frame-like openings within the composition. She lifted the device from the American painter “discovered” by Marcel Duchamp in 1917, Louis Michel Eilshemius, who often painted frames around his naturalistic scenes. Bachmann’s outlines are wonkier than Eilshemius’s, and those that contoured the depictions of ridge, lake, and sky in her exhibition “Nine Landscapes, Two Portraits, and One Candy Bar” resembled the windows of planes or trains,

  • Noah Davis, Mary Jane, 2008, oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 × 52 1⁄4".

    Noah Davis

    A girl clad in a wide-collared smock, knee-high socks, and black buckled shoes stands before a leafy green-and-black pattern, worked over in a thick impasto. Her dark skin and composed expression, by contrast, appear smooth, having been rendered in the artist’s characteristically dry paint application, which lends these figures their softness. Perhaps she’s posing on the first day of school. Just as the figure’s glinting gaze anchors the composition of this large-format work in oil and acrylic, the painting, titled Mary Jane, 2008, itself grounded the first London exhibition devoted to Noah

  • Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw, an interval between events, 2021, MDF, OSB, wood, glass, concrete, plaster, light fixture, acrylic paint, enamel paint, wood stain, wax, hardware, found materials, 6 x 2 x 3 3/4'.
    picks January 25, 2022

    Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw

    So banal is the immediate impression of Adam Shiu-Yang Shaw’s “What Time Has Left” that you could almost fail to notice the exhibition’s three freestanding sculptures and series of wall reliefs, even as you stand before them. But it soon becomes evident that this kind of overlookable presence is the very sensibility the Berlin-based Canadian artist is after in his abstracted composites of urban architectural details like door buzzers, sewer grates, and window frames. These structures in MDF, plaster, and other materials eventually command attention as the precise lines of their rectangular forms

  • Sharona Franklin, Drosophila Clock X, 2021, silver, brass, aluminum, mixed metal, expired pharmaceuticals, wood, foraged bone, antler, photographs, enamel, 19 3⁄4 × 19 3⁄4".

    Sharona Franklin

    IT AIN’T CARE IF IT AIN’T CAREFUL, read the black uppercase letters against lime-green shag in Sharona Franklin’s wool-carpet work If it ain’t careful, 2021. Stretching the length of the wood-paneled wall that faces the gallery entrance, alongside two other green-carpet text works, the piece functioned as a greeting—and an instruction of sorts—for visitors to Franklin’s exhibition “Axioms of Care.” (The show was curated by Laura Stellacci for the Pristina, Kosovo–based gallery LambdaLambdaLambda, which shares the Brussels space La Maison de Rendez-Vous with two other international galleries.)