Rowan Ricardo Phillips

  • picks September 23, 2014

    Fred Wilson

    Urgent and metaphysical, Fred Wilson’s latest exhibition is an elegantly rendered meditation on the African diaspora. His sculpture The Mete of the Muse, 2006, occupies the center of the main room. An ancient Egyptian figure made of bronze with black patina stands beside the figure of a woman, also made of bronze but painted white, sculpted and posed in the Greco-Roman style. Across the room and facing that centerpiece is Ota Benga, 2008, a bronze cast of a young man stolen from Congo and exhibited at the 1904 World’s Fair and Bronx Zoo; a delicately tied white scarf suggestively drapes the base

  • picks April 19, 2014

    Clayton Colvin

    The nine paintings that comprise Birmingham, Alabama–based Clayton Colvin’s “Put Down Your Stars” operate within that inchoate space between stoic, Apollonian formalism and exuberant figural expression. Shapes—particularly squares, rhombi, strokes, and arabesques—vibrate and twist on the canvas in response to Colvin’s manipulations of color, depth, and repetition. At times, painting seems to give way to drawing, and at other times, drawing seems to give way to painting. Erasures and additions reveal and conceal other layers, complicating ideas of before and after, original and addition, right-side

  • picks October 10, 2013

    “Sensitive Geometries. Brazil 1950s–1980s”

    The contact high experienced between artists in Brazil and the visual grammars of Concrete art exemplified a vivid esprit de corps that, based on the quality of the work, should have had a greater global impact than it did. Alexander Calder certainly took note, but he serves as more the exception than the rule. The legacy of Brazil’s Concrete art movement within the country is profound and can be seen even in the urban design of the national capital, Brasília, which was founded in 1960. Modern Brazil and Concrete art to some extent go hand in hand. Yet while certain forms of postwar Brazilian

  • picks September 24, 2013

    Charles Gaines

    Charles Gaines rejects the idea that transcendence exists in his art. Nevertheless, the four bodies of work on display in his latest exhibition, “Notes on Social Justice,” are vibrant juxtapositions that vacillate between Gaines’s preferred rule-based methods and the sublime. This is seen clearly in Skybox 1, 2011, in which a seven-by-twelve-foot light box displays images of revolutionary texts by Gerrard Winstanley, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Frantz Fanon, and Ho Chi Minh. Every seven minutes the lights illuminating these texts fade, gradually revealing a bright star field that soon comes to dominate