Francine Koslow Miller

  • Radcliffe Bailey

    Radcliffe Bailey’s multilayered narrative art explores issues of culture, memory, and history related to his heritage and experience as an African American. Titled “Memory as Medicine,” this near-two-decade survey (organized by Carol Thompson and Michael Rooks of the originating High Museum of Art in Atlanta) featured thirty-one works riffing on key chapters from the grand narrative of black history, with frequent allusions to tribal West Africa, aptly demonstrating the artist’s inspired ability to present his modern world as a continuum with his genetic past.

    This spring, the Davis Museum featured

  • Annette Lemieux

    A major midcareer survey, “The Strange Life of Objects: The Art of Annette Lemieux” showcases twenty-four works made between 1983 and the present. The Boston-based Lemieux got her start in New York in the early ’80s, during which time, as an assistant to David Salle, she aligned herself with the young generation of painters and Conceptual artists associated with Mary Boone Gallery and Metro Pictures. Photographically scavenged images and clean-cut geometric forms are common to Lemieux’s nostalgic and often ironic aesthetic. Her chosen materials—ranging from latex on canvas to roofing tiles,

  • Craig Drennen

    Atlanta-based artist Craig Drennen has chosen William Shakespeare’s most obscure play, The Life of Timon of Athens, as the theme for his new body of work. Known first as a language-based neo-Conceptualist, and then for his drawings and paintings based on the failed 1984 movie Supergirl, Drennen has a predilection for creating new art inspired by underappreciated corners of culture that led him, most recently, to the Bard’s condemned tragedy telling the story of a wealthy Greek citizen who becomes a penniless misanthropic outcast. Since 2008, Drennen has been studying the play’s dramatis personae,

  • Cliffton Peacock

    While the influence of Philip Guston is evident in Cliffton Peacock’s lushly painted portraits of phantasmal beings, the Charleston, South Carolina–based artist’s former teacher is not his only role model. Peacock also aligns his work with, as he puts it, “the modestly scaled images of a single head made by Old Masters and hidden in the corners of museums.” Like such portraits, the fourteen new pieces at Alpha Gallery are at times psychologically compelling, at times inscrutably ambiguous.

    Featuring foreboding, distorted faces positioned against lavishly brushed, nearly monochromatic backgrounds,

  • Rona Pondick

    Rona Pondick first garnered attention in the late 1980s with her primal and disquieting assemblages of disembodied part-objects and prostheses, such as shoes, baby bottles, or mouths. Since 1998, however, the New York–based artist has taken a different tack, fashioning her own body parts in stainless steel and bronze and mating the results with a variety of flora and fauna, from muskrats to monkeys; for Pyracantha, 2005–2006, for example, she cast an exotic evergreen bush in stainless steel, replacing its pomes with minuscule self-portrait busts. Such hybrids formed the core of “Rona Pondick:

  • Stephen Prina

    Stephen Prina suspended five lushly painted, fifteen-foot-long window blinds from the ceiling in his recent show, so that no matter where one stood, at least some of the work was hidden from view. Even the gallery staff were obscured, partly blocked by a burnt orange, sponge-painted blind adjusted so that it hung about an inch above the reception desk. These barriers—whose repeated diagonal strokes transformed them into postpainterly abstractions in their own right—were key to the show, which suggested that concealment can, paradoxically, be revealing.

    Prina is known to work in series, which he

  • David Hilliard

    With the two- to five-part photographic panoramas on display here, Boston photographer David Hilliard has once again presented open-ended narratives about desire, time, and mortality. These color works are often autobiographical, depicting fathers and sons or dreamy adolescent boys; others show shirtless models—posed on a bed or amid lush paradisiacal greenery—and betray the intense voyeuristic pleasure of the man behind the lens. The majority are shot in rural outdoor settings—ranging from a lake in western Maine to marshy shorelines an hour from Anchorage, Alaska—and all are staged with such

  • Andrew Witkin

    Andrew Witkin won the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston’s 2008 Foster Prize for a methodically arranged installation of personal effects and simple furniture made from Baltic birch plywood and square, stainless-steel screws. LaMontagne Gallery recently featured that work’s companion project, “Others Among Others,” in which those elements once again come to life as poetic statements on collecting that convey the artist’s melancholic passions. Witkin, who is director of Boston’s venerable Barbara Krakow Gallery, demonstrates a knack for organizing space and displaying objects as precious

  • Lalla Essaydi

    Moroccan-born, New York–based photographer Lalla Essaydi lures the viewer into her third solo show at Howard Yezerski Gallery (the inaugural exhibition in its new space) with a pair of stunning large-scale pictures hung in the front window. Each depicts an Arab woman covered in calligraphy and posed to imitate a famous nineteenth-century Orientalist painting. Fumée d’Ambre Gris (The Smoke of Amber-gris), 2008, which features a young woman lifting her white veil to draw in the titular aphrodisiac, is based on Sargent’s 1880 painting of the same name. The Grande Odalisque, 2008, in parodying

  • picks November 25, 2008

    Tara Donovan

    The first museum survey of Tara Donovan’s sublime sculptures and installations, which are unexpected and ingenious assemblages of banal, everyday products––plastic and Styrofoam cups, wooden toothpicks, plastic drinking straws, paper plates, and Scotch tape—features sixteen works from 1996 to the present. Nicholas Baume and Jen Mergel, who together curated this traveling exhibition, succeed in revealing the New York–based artist’s process of creating lyric, often figurative minimalist works, which are made through countless repetitions of a single action applied to one material. The exhibition

  • picks November 18, 2008

    Shimon Okshteyn

    Ukrainian-born, New York–based artist Shimon Okshteyn focuses on addiction, gluttony, carnal pleasures, and personal reckoning in “Dangerous Pleasures,” his second solo show at this gallery. The exhibition opens with Self Portrait, 2008, which positions a white life-size cast of the nude, pot-bellied, and masturbating artist in front of a large black-and-white painting, which appropriates a detail of the somber expression and craggy face of Rembrandt in his 1659 Self-Portrait. Five variously sized round vanity mirrors are arranged within the oversize depiction of Rembrandt, so as not only to

  • picks November 10, 2008

    Nick Lawrence

    In this freewheeling midcareer retrospective of over 150 paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and mixed-media collages, Nick Lawrence unleashes twenty-five years of the tragicomic meanderings of his fertile imagination. The artist and dealer, who owns DNA Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Freight+Volume in New York, creates works that examine the underbelly of his earthy male ego and uncover the deep, spiritual belief systems of a primitive unconsciousness. Arranged thematically, variously scaled works from his undergraduate days at Dartmouth to the present share a desire to bring

  • Dave Cole

    Providence, Rhode Island–based artist Dave Cole blurs the lines between homespun and manufactured, innocent and subversive, nostalgic and postindustrial in his knitted, quilted, and hand-sewn sculptures that range from three-inch-tall Kevlar booties to a 450-square-foot American flag quilt stitched together from the red, white, and blue areas of the “192 Flags of the World”—the official United Nations set. Cole first became known around 2003 for his series of variously sized lead, Kevlar, and fiberglass teddy bears, but his career surged with Knitting Machine, 2005, a work that utilized John

  • Carroll Dunham

    Celebrated since the 1980s for his cartoonishly surreal paintings on wood veneer, Carroll Dunham is also a prolific and ingenious printmaker. Since he began making prints in 1984, in collaboration with Universal Limited Arts Editions, the artist has created many lithographs, relief prints, intaglios, screenprints, and monotypes. In “Carroll Dunham Prints: A Survey,” curator Allison Kemmerer presented, in approximately chronological order, some 120 such works—a selection that demonstrated the artist’s fascination with various techniques as well as his evolution from creating automatic drawings

  • Alexis Rockman

    Famous since the mid-1980s for painstakingly painted phantasmagorical botanical and zoological scenes, Alexis Rockman presented expressionistic landscapes in “The Weight of Air,” his first solo museum show in a decade. Made between 2005 and 2007, the thirty-nine oils on paper, which the artist refers to as his “weather drawings,” take as their subjects hurricanes, toxic emissions, landslides, tornadoes, diminishing glaciers, and evaporating seas. The quasi-abstract, often heroic images result from an improvisational and muscular handling of materials: Rockman pours onto gessoed paper a mixture

  • Stephen Barker

    Beginning with “Night Swimming,” 1999, a series of grainy photographs documenting the murky corners of Manhattan’s gay sex clubs, Stephen Barker has focused his camera on the eroticism of anonymous desire. His latest project, “The Archivist’s Wig,” 2007–2008, a layered combination of found and fabricated photographs, wallpaper, and sculpture, takes as its subject the life and times of the notorious gay cold war double agent Guy Burgess (1911–1963), a British diplomat turned Soviet spy and defector. An array of ink-jet prints made from scanned negatives of Barker’s own new still lifes and beefcake

  • Holly Coulis

    In her sixth solo exhibition, “Some People,” Holly Coulis showed ten idiosyncratic portraits of invented characters. This group of oils on linen locates a group of oddball individuals—including a handwriting analyst, an animal trainer, a trout fisherman, a Puerto Rican pinup girl, and a male fan dancer—in situations of dreamlike ambiguity. A love of pattern, a bold palette, and a feeling for intricate design inform these works; the artist also employs a layered color and distorted scale and perspective. Once criticized for its haphazard, fragile technique, Coulis’s work is now distinguished by

  • Cliff Evans

    For this show, his recent solo museum debut, Brooklyn- and Boston-based artist Cliff Evans projected a five-channel video onto a twenty-foot-long, seven-foot-high arrangement of five segmented panels to make Empyrean, 2007 (the title evoking the pure light of heaven). Evans was in residence at the institution in 2006; afterward he crafted the work by combining more than ten thousand images drawn from governmental, corporate, military, commercial, and pop-cultural websites to illustrate a set of loose imaginative narratives. The artist, who considers the Web to be his collaborator, downloads,

  • Dawoud Bey

    African-American photographer Dawoud Bey, who first garnered widespread recognition in the early ’90s for black-and-white portraits taken on the streets of Harlem, has spent the past fifteen years focusing on diverse populations of teenagers. “Class Pictures,” Bey’s recent exhibition at the Addison Gallery of American Art, was centered on his depictions of contemporary American adolescence. The work on display—a video titled Four Stories, 2003, and forty large color shots taken between 2003 and 2006—was the result of visits to more than a dozen high schools around the country and was

  • Rune Olsen

    For his first solo show, Brooklyn-based Norwegian artist Rune Olsen conjured a startling scene composed of intricate sculptures portraying various animals fighting and mating, frozen in postures of dominance and compliance. In a disquieting fusion of natural and unnatural history, a rabbit mounts a rooster, two bull elephants tangle trunks, a stag licks his partner’s bloodied antler, and a black bear lewdly flaunts his engorged tongue and sharp teeth.

    Constructed from wire and welded steel armatures filled with wads of newspaper and covered with layers of white archival tape, the sculptures are