Camila McHugh

  • Kara Walker, The Welcoming Committee, 2018, gouache on paper, 22 x 30''.
    picks May 31, 2021

    Kara Walker

    Kara Walker reveals her archive for the first time in an exhibition at Kunstmuseum Basel, presenting a trove of works on paper that wrestle with representation in drawing and the written word. This accumulation of manifold narrative strategies—from storyboards to word webs, dream diaries to cartoons—lays bare the material process, and psychological processing, behind Walker’s silhouettes and monuments, excavating the inner workings of Walker’s mind and the annals of an abject American history. In The Welcoming Committee, 2018, a work alluding to the snatching, routine in the eighteenth and

  • View of “Dorothy Iannone and Juliette Blightman: The Köln Concert,” 2020–21. Photo: Mareike Tocha.

    Dorothy Iannone and Juliette Blightman

    “The Köln Concert,” an exhibition of works by Dorothy Iannone and Juliette Blightman, curated by Nikola Dietrich, arose from an emotional connection between the artists across the nearly five decades that separate them, resonant with the vital role that love plays in both their practices. Their exchange was sparked by Blightman’s encounter with Iannone’s 1970 publication The Story of Bern (or) Showing Colors (exhibited here as a slideshow), which narrativized the censorship of her work from the 1969 group exhibition “Freunde” (Friends) at the Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland. For that show, curator

  • Mariola Przyjemska, Little Cannons (One-Niners), 2005, gouache on cardboard, 27 1⁄2 × 19 5⁄8". From the series “Cosmetics,” 1997–2005.

    Mariola Przyjemska

    In the gouache-on-cardboard Little Cannons (One-Niners), 2005, Mariola Przyjemska painted tubes of lipstick that look like bullets, their pink points sharpened such that they recall both makeup and ammunition. The work is part of the artist’s 1997–2005 “Cosmetics” series, which was the focus of her recent exhibition “Avenue of the Winners.” The painting’s tilted tubes also form a bridge with her “Pistols” series, 2014–16, two works from which—Bolo and Čezetka, both 2014—punctuated the show. The first of these paintings depicts an early-twentieth-century Mauser, the second a Modern Czech gun,

  • Jill Mulleady, Sade en Prison, 2020, oil on linen, 61 × 70 7/8".

    Jill Mulleady

    There was something feral about the figures in Jill Mulleady’s “Decline & Glory”: A woman pawed at her own face; a wolfish canine panted by a river; a ruddy-cheeked Marquis de Sade stared crazedly at the wall of his prison cell. Mulleady builds tension through the contrast between highly controlled composition and hints of disorder and decay; the image seems a thin and fragile surface over life’s unruliness. An elusive temporality moved across the works here, as a woman reappeared aged and flowers wilted, breaching painting’s attempt to hold a reality in suspension. An allegory for this failed

  • Michael Armitage, The Promise of Change, 2018, oil on Lubugo bark cloth, 86 1/2 x 94 1/2".
    picks February 01, 2021

    Michael Armitage

    Michael Armitage’s paintings brim with vibrant fragments. Resembling allover paintings reinvigorated by a return to the figure, their power derives from unexpected resolution. This exhibition of the last six years of his work, with its curatorial groupings of animal, landscape, and figure-focused paintings, shares Armitage’s equalizing impulse; his motifs are less compelling when considered individually than when seen simultaneously, as conversant elements in of his painterly language.

    A considered layering is essential to Armitage’s project, as his material process offers a postcolonial intervention

  • Jasmine Gregory, Sugar High, 2019, oil on linen, 66 7/8 x 78 3/4".
    picks January 05, 2021

    Jasmine Gregory

    Fluorescent green eyebrows arch across the ominously contented expressions of a Clifford-like big red dog and a woman with matching green nails in Jasmine Gregory’s “Trouble at Casa Amor.” It’s like they’re in on the same joke, perhaps the human condition—the clunkiness of being and performing a self—that is the show’s primary subject. The artist understands the stakes of figurative painting as essentially those of reality itself, homing in on its construction and deflating its pretensions by drawing on reality TV, including the show Love Island, from which Gregory’s exhibition title is lifted.

  • Cezary Poniatowski, Burrow, 2020, pleather, upholstery foam, staples, twigs, blockboard, wood, 49 5/8 x 50 x 11 3/8''.
    picks October 23, 2020

    Cezary Poniatowski

    Hung low around an assortment of dollhouse sculptures and other objects, Cezary Poniatowski’s black and brown pleather reliefs command the room in his exhibition “Welcome to Itchy Truths.” Poniatowski stands in a lineage of artists who work against painting’s norms, dismantling the integrity of its flat surface to enhance its fetishistic status. The effect recalls Steven Parrino’s jet-black misshaped canvases (the artists also share a palpable penchant for the noise-music scene and its gothic sensibilities), but here Poniatowski leaves canvas and paint behind, constructing his monochrome works