Darren Jones

  • 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

    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

  • 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,

  • “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

    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

  • 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,

  • “Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth”

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892–1973) was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, to British parents, and from the age of three was raised in Middle England, moving between the industrial city of Birmingham and the surrounding environs of rural Warwickshire. His lifelong interest in Germanic lore and languages—Finnish, Gothic, Old English, Old Norse—was the genesis of his mythological cosmos, Middle-earth, and the staggeringly complex millennia of histories, races (of gods, elves, dwarves, and men), dialects, and crusades that he created. From an encyclopedic “legendarium” of Elvish civilization

  • Rachel Ostrow

    Rachel Ostrow’s oil-on-panel paintings—which feature kaleidoscopic abstract forms nearly engulfed by pitch-black grounds—evoke two of the most mysterious, enthralling regions of human fascination: outer space and the oceanic abyss. Imagination compensates for what we don’t know about these places, and Ostrow utilizes this magical territory to initiate dynamic relationships between gelatinous marine shapes, cosmic nebulae, concertinaed ridges, and the yawning expanses they inhabit. Wonder and terror, magnetism and apprehension: These forces were key to the mesmerizing visual impact of the nineteen

  • Matthew Leifheit

    Fire Island is a sliver of sand, forest, and dunes four miles off the southern shore of Long Island. The hamlets of Cherry Grove and Fire Island Pines have been—since the 1930s and ’50s, respectively—havens of gay emancipation and barometers of American queer experience. The locale has become a near-mythic ark, encompassing wild bacchanal and funereal poignancy for the generations that sought sanctuary within its pelagic atmospherics. It’s this hallowed ground that Matthew Leifheit took as his subject in the forty-three photographic works exhibited here.

    Most of his nocturnal tableaux

  • Gertrude Abercrombie

    Gertrude Abercrombie (1909–1977) painted gloomy nightscapes and forlorn domestic scenes that revealed her internal state more than the outside world. She also made portraits, landscapes, and still lifes often influenced by the Midwestern environments of Aledo, Illinois, where she spent much of her childhood. The seventy works in this show, made between 1930 and 1971—dolorous vignettes in hushed blues, greens, and shadowy grays—utterly beguiled.

    Abercrombie moved to Chicago with her parents in 1916 and lived there until the end of her life. She was primarily self-taught, although she

  • picks March 09, 2018

    Amy Talluto

    Opting to paint complex landscapes almost exclusively in one color could make for undistinguished results, but in the ten oils here, Amy Talluto has produced symphonic arrangements of green, ranging from deepest phthalo to honeyed laurel. Dashes of pink, crimson, and yellow also crop up, to shimmering effect. The technical proficiency of her sumptuous compositions, based on forests around the artist’s Catskills home, parlays them into sites of ethereality.

    In Measured and Divided, 2017, several dark trunks dissect the foreground, framing a nearby clearing. A haze of impenetrable celadon foliage

  • picks February 16, 2018

    Peter Plagens

    Each one of Peter Plagens’s eleven abstract paintings and collages here can be regarded as trinities, made up of three visual elements that frame or obscure. Spaghettilike marks along the works’ perimeters jut and race about. They surround and jaggedly collide with flat inner plains of purple, gray, pink, or turquoise. At the heart of these works lie geometric units of blazing color, akin to tangram puzzles.

    Plagens, also an art critic, has said that he manages to keep his writerly tendencies out of his paintings. He is, however, not entirely successful. His images feel a lot like discussions—heated,

  • picks February 04, 2018

    Bror Anders Wikstrom

    Bror Anders Wikstrom arrived in New Orleans from his native Sweden in the early 1880s. Although he worked as a portraitist, printmaker, and cartoonist, he is particularly noted as a designer of Mardi Gras floats and costumes—this exhibition's focus—for the krewes of Rex and Proteus, the oldest in carnival history and still active today.

    “Bror Anders Wikstrom: Bringing Fantasy to Carnival” includes almost sixty watercolors in bound and individual formats that make up a Saturnalian cavalcade of imaginative whimsy and illustrative splendor. In “Twenty Float Designs for Krewe of Proteus ‘The Alphabet’

  • picks February 02, 2018

    Dirk Stewen

    In the upstairs gallery here, Dirk Stewen presents thirty-two individually framed pages of color reproductions of works by twentieth-century icons—such as Matisse, Picasso, and Klee—likely taken from old art catalogues. They have been torn, redacted, and reengineered with newly added elements. Indecipherable slivers of the original prints, with text in the form of artwork captions (primarily in German and French) and page numbers, read as fragmented calderas now overlaid with amorphous blots in gouache and watercolor. Muted browns, blues, and reds commingle with brilliantly hued moments

  • picks September 15, 2017

    Deborah Brown

    Riotous storms of thrashing color formed into woodland scenes are the hallmark of Brooklyn-based artist Deborah Brown’s paintings here. Among forested tableaux under tempestuous skies are recurring motifs: birds, a dog, and a lone female figure. While there are notes of modern civilization—a railing, a pathway—the bent of this exhibition is toward natural, rather than human, architecture.

    In Birch Trees (all works cited, 2017), the woman, arms hanging limply by her side, looks forlornly at a bird perched on a nearby branch. As close as she is to her avian friend—a signifier of beauty, freedom,

  • picks August 04, 2017

    Dana Powell

    Refreshingly, Dana Powell’s twelve oil-on-linen paintings here are titled to succinctly convey their subjects: for example, Pale pool or Smoke screen (all works 2017). The approach is confident, allowing the viewer to engage visually without superficial complication. Subjects include seemingly benign situations, such as the white cloud in Puff or earth’s celestial companion in Daymoon, both delicately rendered and modest in scale. Test site and Hotbox, however—a picture of an explosion and closed elevator doors leaking smoke—complicate matters with their deadpan representations and grim humor.

  • picks June 16, 2017

    Maira Kalman

    The county of Dorset in southwest England is characterized by rolling hills, rugged coastline, and wooded valleys. It’s this idyllic landscape that serves as the subject for Maira Kalman’s current show of ten gouache-on-paper paintings in the gallery’s project room, which focus on the gardens and domestic curiosities of the region’s stately, ancestral houses. (In the main space is a separate exhibition of paintings from Kalman’s 2005 edition of Strunk and White’s classic guide to writing, The Elements of Style.)

    With illustrative flair and fondant-fancy colors, Cream Teas, Sherborne Castle (all

  • picks May 19, 2017

    Peter Howson

    Scottish artist Peter Howson is known for dramatic paintings of brutal melees in urban settings and muscular working-class men in noble combat or heroic poses. Elements of his own tumultuous experiences are often writ large, including his upbringing in a God-fearing environment and his struggles with depression, Asperger’s syndrome, alcohol, and drugs. In 1993, he was Britain’s official artist for the Bosnian conflict. In this role he created a work so horrifying that London’s Imperial War Museum, which had commissioned him, did not accept it into the permanent collection. During a 2000 treatment

  • picks May 15, 2017

    Mark Todd

    For his solo exhibition “Don’t Go to Hell Without Saying Goodbye,” Mark Todd has tweaked the aching sentimentality of crooner ballads, as well as blues and American standards in the vein of Dean Martin, Bobby Rush, and Johnny Mercer to make humorous illustrated album covers. The results of Todd’s topsy-turvy wordplay with songs and band names seem nearly authentic but land just beyond the believable, wittily employing amalgams of lyrics to form titles you almost think you know.

    The acrylic-on-wood LP covers are rendered in a scrappy, cartoonish style somewhere between King of the Hill and Raymond

  • picks April 14, 2017

    Stephen Irwin

    Pornography isn’t often concerned with subtlety and wistful reflection, but Stephen Irwin treated it, in works on view in this posthumous exhibition, as a vehicle for elusive delicacy that repels our expectations. Pages from vintage magazines, gay and straight, have been removed, treated with solution, bleached, and carefully scrubbed of most imagery, transforming them into sculptural sheets of sepulchral timelessness. The remaining visual elements open the work to a reading as something like classical statuary, after the inevitable compulsion to discern the original compositions has been