Chris Bors

  • Tim Brawner, Semiochem, 2023, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 48".
    picks May 22, 2023

    Tim Brawner

    In the aftermath of World War II—and the cataclysmal effects of the atomic bomb—pop culture became inundated by exaggerated tales of violence and anomie, as seen in a slew of best-selling crime and horror comics whose over-the-top yarns led to the birth of the censorious Comics Code Authority. The legacy of grotesquerie in the comic medium and its relation to contemporary art is a complex and circuitous one, but painter Tim Brawner admits that he is influenced by EC Comics publications from the 1950s—such as Tales from the Crypt and Mad magazine—as well as illustrator Basil Wolverton (1909–1978),

  • Oli Epp, Surrogate, 2022, oil and acrylic on canvas, 75 × 89".
    picks July 07, 2022

    Oli Epp

    Striking high-contrast images of art seem to be in vogue, especially on social media, where they frequently gain more “likes” than works that are quieter, murkier, oblique. Enter Oli Epp, whose paintings undoubtedly shine on Instagram because of their slick, detailed facture. Indeed, Epp’s canvases are a shining example of this phenomenon—yet their physical presence and technical virtuosity stand out and deserve careful examination.

    In Surrogate (all works cited, 2022), an agglomeration of nine white kittens forms a ghostly unified whole under a black Siamese cat with five large distended teats.

  • Pablo Picasso, Portrait de femme endormie, III (Portrait of a Sleeping Woman, III), 1946, crayon on paper, 19 1/4 x 25 3/4".
    picks November 03, 2021

    Pablo Picasso

    More than eighty works appear in “Picasso: Seven Decades of Drawing,” an exhibition deftly curated by art historian Olivier Berggruen. This presentation shows how drawing was Pablo Picasso’s id and ego, a crucial extension of self—or perhaps more accurately, obsession—that served a purpose far beyond the merely preparatory.

    Picasso’s behavior was often monstrous and caused many of his wives and mistresses a great deal of suffering. Yet his Portrait de femme endormie, III (Portrait of Sleeping Woman, III), 1946—an intimate crayon drawing in red, blue, and green of his much younger lover the artist

  • Gary Panter, Elvis Zombie, 1979, ink on paper, 11 x 8 1/2".
    picks December 17, 2019

    Gary Panter

    Gary Panter’s prescient “ROZZ-TOX Manifesto” of 1980 states: “Capitalism good or ill is the river in which we sink or swim. Inspiration has always been born of recombination.” In this drawing survey, spanning the years from 1973 to 2019, curators Dan Nadel and Nicole Rudick make the case for Panter’s relevance in an art world that, for some time, was if not suspect then mostly dismissive of comic books, illustration, and the graphic arts—all fields the artist has excelled in—along with his career as a painter.

    Most of the works here are made with black ink on paper or board, with the occasional

  • Steven Parrino, SKELETAL IMPLOSION #2, 2001, enamel on canvas, 84 x 84".
    picks June 24, 2019

    Steven Parrino

    The rigorous yet raw paintings and collages of the late artist and musician Steven Parrino (1958–2005) adorn this posh townhouse space. His cool brand of nihilism was a hard sell for many galleries until after his death. Spanning the years 1986 to 2003, his well-known monochromes—crudely twisted, restretched, or sometimes removed entirely from their supports—are the main focus here.

    The permutations of Parrino’s “damaged” canvases show us that he was always searching for new solutions to what a painting could be by manipulating it to the extreme. Death in America #2, 2003, for example, features

  • Will Eisner, Il Duce’s Locket, 1947, ink on paper, 16 x 23". Title page for The Spirit, May 25, 1947.
    picks May 12, 2017

    Will Eisner

    Will Eisner was one of the most influential and trailblazing comic-book artists in his field, and this retrospective underlines the power of his legacy. Stories about his costumed crime fighter, the Spirit, were published from 1940 to 1952 as a stand-alone comic-book supplement in American Sunday papers. The Spirit—a sophisticated narrative written for an adult audience—was acclaimed for its cinematic compositions (think Orson Welles, Fritz Lang) and innovative use of the splash panel, in which a single image takes up the entirety of the page. Eisner redrew the title logo frequently to fit the

  • Aaron Johnson, Gone Truckin’, 2017, acrylic on polyester knit mesh, 56 x 60".
    picks May 05, 2017

    Aaron Johnson

    Aaron Johnson’s grotesquely distorted figures revel in working-class American pastimes—indeed, comparing them to Trump’s “deplorables” is inevitable. Johnson’s paintings are created with several different techniques: One uses a sheet of stretched plastic where images are painted backward with layers of acrylic polymer then peeled off and adhered to polyester knit mesh; another utilizes donated socks and acrylic paint to build up a three-dimensional surface. In Gone Fishin’, 2017, a man and woman ride a ramshackle canoe, dining on hamburgers, pizza, and red wine as hungry birds overhead grab both

  • Carl Ostendarp, ECH!, 2016, acrylic on canvas, 52 1/2 x 51".
    picks February 03, 2017

    Carl Ostendarp

    Well known for his minimalist approach to cartoony graphics and text, Carl Ostendarp’s hand-painted work harkens back to the early days of Pop. For his first show at this gallery’s new location, he employs a tool associated with blue-collar labor to make the washed-out, earth-tone-gray backgrounds of his paintings: a mop. The result is an abstract surface that resembles a cosmic soup, or an eruption of lava, possibly signifying a return to the primordial—or the end of the world.

    Two types of acrylic-on-canvas work are present: long horizontal landscapes and word paintings. Unifying the first

  • Zaha Hadid, Metropolis, 1988/2014, acrylic on canvas, 216 x 94".
    picks January 17, 2017

    Zaha Hadid

    Titled “Early Paintings and Drawings,” this sizable collection of almost fifty two-dimensional works by the recently deceased starchitect Zaha Hadid is a celebration of her noteworthy contributions at the crossover of fine art and design. Housed in a building that Hadid expanded and remodeled with Patrik Schumacher in 2013, the exhibition highlights drawings, paintings, and notebook sketches initially created prior to the construction of her first building in 1993. Citing Kazimir Malevich as her main influence, Hadid’s output does take its cues from Suprematism. Constructivism, however, with

  • Federico Solmi, The Invader, 2015, acrylic, gold leaf, mixed media with LCD screen and video, 24 x 16".
    picks October 02, 2015

    Federico Solmi

    In his latest output, Federico Solmi scans hand-painted imagery and applies it to digital three-dimensional models of world leaders. He then imports each into a video-game platform and records their movements as if they were on a movie set. Titled “The Brotherhood” 2015, this series includes “video-paintings” of mostly infamous leaders with works that indict the viewer and society as much as the leaders themselves, as they flamboyantly posture like shallow celebrities. For example, The Invader (Christopher Columbus – Italy) (all works 2015), in which the titular figure struts, laughs, and

  • Folkert de Jong, The Holy Land, 2014, patinated bronze, 86 9/16 x 70 13/16 x 35 3/8".
    picks April 03, 2015

    Folkert de Jong

    Perhaps due to the popularity of Game of Thrones, Folkert de Jong’s “The Holy Land” seems topical, despite that three of the sculptures are made from three-dimensional scans of Henry VIII’s armor. Dispensing with his previous contemporary materials of Styrofoam and polyurethane, de Jong depicts three stages of Henry’s life and hints at current global conflicts, including the outright medieval beheadings perpetrated by the Islamic State, in these patinated bronze relics. The green, red, and blue patinas of the bronze remains consistent throughout the triad, but each sculpture retains a distinct

  • Frank Magnotta, Silent Editor, 2014, graphite and sepia ink on paper, 40 x 24".
    picks January 30, 2015

    Frank Magnotta

    Frank Magnotta’s previous corporate logo conglomerations, surreal architectural mash-ups of text and ornamental design, are impressive on technical merits alone, but have also raised issues with the global hegemony these companies wield. His figurative graphite drawings on view here hint at the controversial legal concept of corporate personhood, a theory that riled hecklers in 2011 at one of former United States presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign stops when he said, “Corporations are people, my friend.” For these works, Magnotta uses an underlying collage of logos from the mid-1960s