Sarah Messerschmidt

  • Xenia Hausner, Five Pound Orange, 2022, oil on paper on Dibond, 74 3/4 x 63".
    picks May 24, 2022

    Xenia Hausner

    There is a trace of Pablo Picasso’s Famille de Saltimbanques, 1905, in the dozen paintings here. Rendered in broad, gestural brushstrokes applied in cynically cheerful hues, the sober expressions worn by Xenia Hausner’s subjects deviate from the brightness of each scene, much like the severe faces of Picasso’s acrobats seem to contradict their merry garb. Take Marriage Story, 2022, with its somber couple and indistinct setting, which is made stranger by colorful abstract forms, like the bolts of cloth that are at once draping and unnaturally geometric. The allusion to Picasso is appropriate,

  • Peter Uka, Veranda Lovers, 2021, oil on canvas, 74 3/4 x 96 1/2".
    picks April 08, 2022

    Peter Uka

    Peter Uka’s figurative paintings quietly sing. Music seems to emanate from each work via the twist of a dancing body, a subject’s unflappably cool posture, or a vibrant pattern on cloth. Music is represented in more literal ways as well, as we see in the vinyl 45s hung on a wall above an amplifier and turntable in Basement Barbers, 2018, or the three-piece band in Highlife (Funky Groove 2), 2021, who are barely visible behind an ecstatic crowd of dancers. Rhythm is an attitude in the exhibition “Peter Uka: Remembrance,” which nostalgically recalls the 1970s Nigeria of his early childhood, a time

  • View of “Sorel Cohen: Conceptual Metaphors,” 2021-22. From top: The Grid, 1975/2021, Triangular Grid, 1976-77/2021.
    picks January 27, 2022

    Sorel Cohen

    The retrospective “Sorel Cohen: Conceptual Metaphors” showcases elements of the artist’s long career as a photographer, spanning the mid-1970s to now. Here, the organizers find cause to reexamine her feminist practice in imagemaking. Take Domestic Activity as Visual Information #1 and #2, both 1977. In these pictures, housework is caught in blurred process: items are mussed, cluttered, unkempt, though at times the disarray is crystallized into geometric formations. Unsurprisingly, the bed is a recurring motif.

    The show was inspired by Cohen’s 1975–76 series of soft sculptures, “The Grid,” some