Sherman Sam

  • View of “Ann Craven,” 2015.

    Ann Craven

    Ann Craven’s third solo exhibition in London was also the first devoted entirely to her palette paintings. As the name of the show, “Untitled (Palettes: Naked, Tagged), 2013–14,” implied, the fifty canvas objects on view in the gallery, all 24 x 18 inches, had first been used as palettes to mix paint; Craven says she finds it “easier to mix color on a canvas than on paper palettes.” The pieces are dated from October 2013 to October 2014 and hung chronologically in a single line along each of the two floors of the gallery; each work corresponds to a single painting or group of paintings for which

  • View of “Imi Knoebel,” 2015.
    picks September 06, 2015

    Imi Knoebel

    There has always been a matter-of-fact quality to Imi Knoebel’s art: The artist calls on basic structures to convey the ineffable nature of color. This exhibition of ten recent, predominately wall-based works, his first ever solo in a commercial gallery in Britain, teases out a greater sense of lightness and playfulness from those propositions.

    This is best demonstrated in Drachen II (Dragon II), 2015: Made specifically for the space, seven white, kite-shaped aluminum forms have been mounted at the highest point of the wall, as if clinging near the ceiling’s edge. The quadrilaterals draw attention

  • Patricia Treib, Batignolles, 2015, oil on canvas, 72 × 54".

    Patricia Treib

    At first glance, the ease with which the eye travels through one of Patricia Treib’s paintings belies the complexity she brings to the canvas. The seven large paintings and three smaller works in this New York–based artist’s exhibition “Mobile Sleeve” mostly feature forms created from large painterly marks that appear to have been made in a single gesture with very thin oil paint. With their flat, slightly bubbly surfaces, they resemble marks made in watercolor or ink. And yet those fluid gestures—in bright, soft color—often suggest solid volumes: architectural sections or biomorphic

  • David Reed, The Mirror and the Pool (detail), 2015, oil and alkyd on canvas, 18“ x 12 1/2' x 1 1/2”.
    picks July 24, 2015

    David Reed

    Constructed with five stenciled gestures, including four taken and reified from his life’s body of work, the painting The Mirror and the Pool, 2015, is David Reed’s response to this venue’s Mies van der Rohe building. It is a new work, but one with a retrospective quality. The single piece, divided into fourteen canvases and installed as a long thin line bisecting the gallery’s space, repeats the same brushstrokes throughout in different configurations and colors, thus creating dense, graffiti-like moments in some parts and expansive, elegiac zones in others. In one area, two facing panels have

  • Ellen Altfest, Armpit, 2011, oil on canvas, 8 3/8 x 7".
    picks June 08, 2015

    Ellen Altfest

    Ellen Altfest is known for her painstakingly slow approach to bringing her paintings to fruition—a depiction of a dead tree once took her thirteen months of daily work in the woods of Connecticut. Given this time frame, the twenty-two paintings in this solo exhibition spanning seventeen years—with subjects ranging from trees, gourds, views out a window, and mostly naked man parts—comes close to being a survey of the American artist’s endeavor.

    No matter how small her works—the size of Alfest’s paintings seems to be diminishing—they still advance a sense of claustrophobic largeness. Armpit, 2011,

  • Ian Woo, Can You Hear Us?, 2015, acrylic on linen, 98 1/2 × 78 3/4".

    Ian Woo

    Although the title of Ian Woo’s most recent exhibition was “Falling Off Plastic Chairs,” the sensation created by its five large paintings and seven works on paper was more of a sense of slippage. At first glance, Woo’s paintings suggest a kind of organized chaos, a collision of choice and indeterminacy. For example, the largest work in the exhibition, Can You Hear Us? (all works cited, 2015), consisting predominantly of cold and muted greenish yellows and yellowish grays as well as flat white patches, has no image or obvious point of focus. It is composed of thinly painted brushstrokes, both

  • Simryn Gill, Dalam #42, 2001, C-print, 9 1/4 x 9 1/4".
    picks May 11, 2015

    Simryn Gill

    Simryn Gill’s latest exhibition brings together three photographic series from the past fifteen years along with a brand-new work. Collectively, “Hugging the Shore” offers a glimpse into the everyday. However, these works are more than merely documents of the quotidian.

    Elegantly hung in a grid, the three older collections, “Dalam,” 2001, “Standing Still,” 2000–2003, and “May 2006,” 2006, depict living rooms, derelict buildings in Malaysia, and Gill’s street in Australia, respectively. “Dalam”—meaning “inside” in Malay—consists of images of living spaces that range from blinged-out foyers in

  • View of “Anna Betbeze,” 2015. From left: Tangle, 2014; Sludge, 2014; Naples, 2014.

    Anna Betbeze

    The nine works that were displayed in Anna Betbeze’s exhibition “Plush Vision” are both absurd and compelling. Created from flokati rugs—a type of woolen shag rug originally made in the north of Greece and now widely available—they appear, at first glance, to have been abused and distressed with fire as well as paint. Betbeze’s process involves searing the wool with pieces of smoldering wood and coal, soaking it in an acid dye, and weathering it outdoors, as well as shaving and perforating it. For her, the “soft white wool seemed [the] perfect ground to spill, stain, and defile.” This

  • Iain Ball, Neodymium (Energy Pangea), 2011, Maitreya solar cross, Exo Terra halogen lamp, neodymium reptile lamp, bearded dragon, driftwood, terrarium, sound, dimensions variable.
    picks April 10, 2015

    “Rare Earth”

    There are seventeen rare Earth elements in the periodic table. Perhaps best known for their presence in cell phones, among other forms of technology, they provide the departure point for the artists—seventeen of them, appropriately—contributing to this thought-provoking exhibition that’s much more than just a documentary study of the minerals’ economic value or political impact.
    With works ranging from Roger Hiorns’s Untitled, 2012, in which a naked young man perches on a helicopter engine, to Suzanne Treister’s commission Rare Earth, 2015, which diagrams a seemingly fantastical history of these

  • Bill Lynch, Untitled (Branches, White Background), n.d., oil on wood, 48 × 43 1/2".

    Bill Lynch

    This selection of nine mostly undated paintings plus one large book of paintings on paper was only the second one-person exhibition of Bill Lynch, who died in 2013, at age fifty-three. Chosen from a thirty-year body of work, a larger group of which was on display at White Columns in New York last year, the show testified to the vast talent of the New Mexico–born, New Jersey–raised artist, who suffered from schizophrenia.

    Made predominantly on unprimed pieces of found plywood, Lynch’s roughly painted expressionistic pictures feature birds, branches, flowers, and the occasional shed or obelisk. At

  • View of “All the World's a Sunny Day,” 2015.
    picks March 03, 2015

    Roy Voss

    Roy Voss’s latest exhibition, “All the World’s a Sunny Day,” consists of 101 found and manipulated holiday postcards hung tightly in a single line around the space. Picked from an ongoing series, the cards themselves range from the early 1960s to the late 1980s and were mailed from around Europe to the UK. Each depicts a sunny day and, with two exceptions, has had a word carefully cut out from the message, reversed, and replaced in the hole created by its removal. The result is a landscape with a single, seamless fragment of writing, encouraging reciprocal readings between language and image.

  • Nick Mauss, nervous system, 2014, powder-coated steel, acrylic, 65 × 86".

    Nick Mauss

    Nick Mauss’s work embodies drawing—which may come as a surprise, considering that, at first glance, his latest exhibition consisted of six cut powdered-coated-steel sculptures, four plaster wall pieces, and one work in aluminum leaf. That is, the activity of drawing seems less prominent in these works than the things themselves as constructed material objects. For example, place of blurring, 2014, is drawn and painted on a rectangle of plaster held by wire mesh in a wooden frame, while nervous system, 2014, is a linear wall relief made out of cut steel covered with patches of green acrylic