Darren Jones

  • Marco Brambilla, Heaven’s Gate (detail), 2021, 8K video, color, sound, 8 minutes 45 seconds.
    picks May 20, 2022

    Marco Brambilla

    The superlatives “genius” and “masterpiece” are often applied overzealously—so we won’t use them here. Yet these qualities suffuse film director and artist Marco Brambilla’s video installation, Heaven’s Gate, 2021, a dazzling achievement that redefines visual splendor. Presented on a vertical, rectangular screen in a dark room, the imagery comprises a mind-blowing quantity of movie scenes, sets, and characters that have been digitally cropped and recontextualized into contiguous animated dreamscapes. Multilayered moments from some of cinema’s most iconic productions—Metropolis (1927), Rocky (

  • Pepe Mar, Grey Matter, 2021, acrylic on printed fabric, 90 × 60".

    Pepe Mar

    There’s a lot going on, materially and conceptually, in Pepe Mar’s large-scale constructions, which brim with a dazzling array of objects and imagery. The kaleidoscopic impact of the works in “You Never Should Have Crossed the Rio Grande,” his exhibition here, could have caused a momentary loss of bearings—but that may have been the intended effect. Mar was born in 1977 in Mexico’s Reynosa, which borders Texas, and moved to the United States during the 1990s; he currently resides in Miami. His journey, explored through assimilation, foreignness, and selfhood, undergirded the show. Mar also mused

  • Sarah Williams, Southard Street, 2020, oil on panel, 18 x 24".
    picks April 26, 2021

    Sarah Williams

    Sarah Williams typically paints the pastoral landscapes and small communities of her rural Midwestern upbringing, devoid of people yet brimming with the promise (or threat) of human presence. Her exemplary nocturnal scenes of ranch-style homes on empty streets are executed in a realist mode—à la Norman Rockwell or Andrew Wyeth—but her use of color and light could have been influenced by Walt Disney or Thomas Kinkade. In her current show, “Southeast of Home,” she adds tropical heat to the mix: The works were inspired by her 2020 residency at the Studios of Key West in Florida. Twelve of the

  • Dietmar Busse, For my father (you crazy motherfucker!), and Geronimo, and Jesus, 2020, mixed media on gelatin silver photographic paper, 58 × 42".

    Dietmar Busse

    At Fierman, the photo-based paintings in Dietmar Busse’s solo exhibition “Today I wanted to die again” evoked the dolorous colors and darksome moods of Romantic-era imagery by artists such as William Blake or Eugène Delacroix. Busse portrays the rural, melancholy environs of his West German upbringing as settings rife with murderous, sinister events. Of the five large pieces in the show (all works 2020) presented in this tiny space, two depicted gory battles between wild, cartoonish combatants, while the other three featured portraits of more mythical-looking entities.

    Busse creates his work by

  • Federico Solmi, The Bathhouse (detail), 2020, acrylic paint, wood, gold and silver leaf on Plexiglas, 5 LED screens, video, 6' x 20' x 5".
    picks December 11, 2020

    Federico Solmi

    Federico Solmi’s timely solo exhibition here, “The Bacchanalian Ones,” interrogates the greed and corruption of world leaders both past and present. The artist’s paintings and multimedia installations caricature his famous (and often infamous) subjects—from the realms of politics, religion, the military, and the aristocracy—by combining digital technology with the most traditional of media. Solmi’s acidic portraits reveal these renowned figures for what they really are: soulless prevaricators crazed by power.

    The centerpiece is The Bathhouse, 2020, which comprises five LED screens set in a frame

  • Richard Bosman, Night Studio, 1979, acrylic on paper, 30 × 22".

    Richard Bosman

    Richard Bosman is renowned for his noirish paintings, which often feel like settings for the artist himself to play out his hard-boiled fantasies full of bloody knives, mutilated bodies, and dimly lit mise-en-scènes. Yet the artist’s crude brushwork and comic-book aesthetics—along with a generous dollop of black humor—frequently lighten the load. But Bosman’s exhibition at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, which featured nine modestly sized acrylic-on-paper paintings made between 1979 and 1980, struck a decidedly different tone and seemed more indebted to the stylings of ’50s science fiction and mystical

  • Antonio Lopez, Body Study (Lacrosse), Louis Falco Dance Company, 1985, graphite on paper, 17 × 14".

    Antonio Lopez

    Antonio Lopez (1943–1987) was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico, and relocated with his family to New York’s Spanish Harlem in 1950, where he honed his artistic inclinations by assisting his mother and father in their respective occupations: dressmaker and mannequin producer. In the early 1960s, while studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, Lopez met Juan Ramos (1942–1995). For a time, they were lovers, but it was their lifelong creative partnership—Lopez as illustrator, Ramos as art director—that established their preeminence in the fashion industry for more than twenty years,

  • Hernan Bas, The Sip In, 2019, acrylic on linen, 84 × 108".

    Hernan Bas

    In Hernan Bas’s exhibition at Lehmann Maupin, the artist punctured the notion that any given situation has a single truth or reality by highlighting the combination of fact and fiction that contributes to our perception of historical record, politics, news, or cultural rites. With the exception of the show’s single freestanding screen, each of the seven large-scale acrylic-on-linen paintings featured a young man, or groups of men, as the locus of a formally elaborate tableau which together took on a panoply of topics—the supernatural, homosexuality, mass media, fantasy, alienation, memory, and

  • Mark Ryan Chariker, 13 AM, 2020, oil on canvas, 54 x 48".
    picks February 10, 2020

    Mark Ryan Chariker

    Many artists claim connection to the painterly canon, but Mark Ryan Chariker applies rare authenticity—and invention—to this assertion in “Limbo,” his current exhibition here, which includes seven oils on canvas and fifteen small drawings on paper. The latter works, made with ink, oil, and watercolor, depict a variety of scenes, such as rustic peasant gatherings, grave robbers toiling at their macabre industry, and journeymen performing acts of heroism. These monochromatic images, done in an array of cornflower blues, delicate sepias, and misty grays, range in tone from whimsical to melancholic,

  • Sophia Narrett, Wishes (detail), 2019, embroidery thread, fabric, 73 × 39". From “Do You Love Me?”

    “Do You Love Me?”

    Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., Kyle Dunn, Martine Gutierrez, Gerald Lovell, Reba Maybury, and Sophia Narrett were the six artists featured in “Do You Love Me?,” a group show that took on a number of subjects, such as intimacy, sexual politics, and the body as a site of wonder and horror—ideas that, thankfully, moved beyond the exhibition’s cheeky title.

    Gutierrez explored the transmutability of gender and reality as it pertains to self-presentation. Two groups of seven small-scale, black-and-white photographs, Girl Friends (Rosella & Palama), 2014, and Girl Friends (Anita & Marie), 2014, portrayed

  • Rasmus Myrup, His Sperm, Angiosperm (Maple), 2019, soft pastel and conté crayon on paper, custom frame, 41 × 29”. From the series “His Sperm, Angiosperm,” 2018–19.

    Rasmus Myrup

    In Rasmus Myrup’s exhibition “Re-member me,” denuded saplings were installed at the center of the gallery, while others were arranged and fastened to the walls by short lengths of metal. Each tree was adorned with brittle, pressed leaves from a different perennial—beech, maple, rowan—attached to its limbs with adhesive, or dangling from copper wire, as if they were decorations for a mildly festive holiday. One hybrid featured both green and brown leaves, confounding seasonal logic; another bore square-cut bracts. The skeletal copse and its sparse foliage were not dense enough to transform the

  • Erin Stafford, Lovesick, 2018–19, glass pearl beads on panel, 32 1/2 x 39 1/4".
    picks May 06, 2019

    Erin Stafford

    By sifting through the wreckage of a vexing breakup, Erin Stafford has created elegiac curios, vignettes, and sculptures that serve as heirlooms and evoke the dread of erasure. With their perishable items, personal mementos, and baroque motifs, the fourteen works in “Lovesick” make up a Havisham-esque mausoleum and attest to the emancipation that mellowed acceptance can bring.

    In A Lover’s Picnic Followed by Post-Coital Tristesse, 2019, a richly patterned crimson rug holds silver platters glutted with figs, pomegranates, honey, and pears; an absent couple is evoked through two velvet cushions,