Cat Kron

  • picks May 06, 2016

    Lui Shtini

    Like George Condo portraits stripped of specificity and affect, the Albanian-born, New York–based painter Lui Shtini’s whimsical, bulbous abstractions are centrally positioned against monochromatic backgrounds. While meticulously labored, Shtini’s works are refreshingly spare. They are also explicitly spiritual—an attempt to make manifest the aura of the supernatural jinni beings who, according to Arabic mythos, influence the fates of those in our own realm.

    Shtini’s works are best when they explicitly evoke the corporeal “skins” of these supernatural creatures. His careful etchings and concise

  • Amy Yao

    The viewer’s initial impression of Amy Yao’s “Bay of Smokes,” primarily installed in Various Small Fires’s sun-drenched main gallery (carpeted in a cream hue for the occasion), was one of blinding white light. This was not to last. Once one’s eyes adjusted, one noticed ready-made and crafted objects of various hues, each vaguely befouled or compromised, positioned on the tufted carpet and installed on the gallery walls. Brightly colored plastic flowers, crammed into a drywall recess, were trapped behind Plexiglas; a vacuum fixture encrusted with resin and activated charcoal (the sort used in

  • Jane Corrigan

    Jane Corrigan’s latest works in oil had some of the louche narrative implications prevalent within recent figurative painting, but retained the delicacy that marked the artist’s previous work. A cast of ten coltish figures, their proportions and mien familiar to those who saw Corrigan’s 2014 solo exhibition at Kerry Schuss in New York, were presented in similarly central compositions. The figures’ long limbs extend across the canvases in gently off-kilter verticals that activate domestic and pastoral settings composed of ocher and cream, Naples yellow, and Prussian blue. Corrigan’s Toulouse-Lautrecian

  • Justin Bieber

    BIEBER FEVER, largely dormant these past few years, has resurfaced in recent months, but the virus has mutated into a more vital strain. With his album Purpose, released this past fall, Justin Bieber has cast off the bad-boy affect of his teens, which tended to manifest via such adolescent shenanigans as egging neighbors’ houses, reckless driving, and public urination. He’s now promoting a redemption narrative that conflates performer as repentant sinner (a conceit familiar to fans of new country) with performer as Christ figure (a staple of almost every contemporary music genre besides new

  • Christopher Knowles

    With works dictated by clear binary divisions and rules followed to the letter, “Christopher Knowles: In a Word” demonstrated the steady, straightforward logic of an assured practitioner. Although Knowles is an exemplary artist’s artist—having developed something of a cult following within the art world—ICA’s expansive midcareer show was his first of this scale. The survey, which predominantly featured text-based drawings and paintings (with the notable exceptions of a few representational paintings and a handful of sculptures), fleshed out a lexicon constructed around a singular

  • picks December 14, 2015

    Andrzej Zieliński

    Andrzej Zieliński’s totemic paintings and sculptures mostly elide the pitfalls of a slew of recent work glorifying the kitsch vestiges of tech’s recent past, and instead imbue their subjects with a psychic (and literal) weight. In “Open Sourced,” two galleries—one with paintings depicting Mars rovers and the other filled with (earlier) canvases of technological devices just past their moment of ubiquity and soon to be scrapped, such as paper shredders, scanners, early aughts laptops—accompany a standout array of sculptures. Loosely modeled after desktops, Razr phones, and boxy keyboards, the

  • OPENINGS: SAMARA GOLDEN

    MANY ARTISTS have used mirrors to reinforce the presence of viewers and spaces alike, creating a specular affirmation of site and bodily self. Fewer have grappled with the mirror’s converse aspect, in which reflection, à la Lacan, jarringly severs the self’s imago from its outward reality. And fewer still have engaged both facets as effectively as Samara Golden, whose work titillates and unnerves in equal, unflinching measure. Golden’s reflections place the physicality of both installation and spectator in limbo, in spaces that are at once surreal and personal, dense with uncanny imagery conveyed

  • picks May 08, 2015

    Leidy Churchman

    Leidy Churchman’s “The Meal of the Lion” opens not with an apex predator but with a modest character presented in a painting that takes its name: Insecure Rat, 2013. Gazing quizzically at its own reflection in a brackish puddle, the creature sets the tone for an anxious show rife with reference points that are individually rich but collectively inscrutable.

    Past the gallery entranceway is the exhibition’s namesake and largest work: Churchman’s 2015 rendition of naïf painter Henri Rousseau’s iconic jungle tableau, which depicts a lion with what appears to be a leopard dangling from its bloody maw.