Ah, art fair season. What’s not to love, right?
Sometimes art fairs take your money, pour an unbelievable amount of closely-hung work into your brain via your wandering eyeballs, and kick you in the ass as you exit. You are stuck on the sidewalk wondering whether you ever need to see a work of art in person again.
Pulse is not that art fair.
We were happy to visit last night and found it quite enjoyable. The following is a rundown of some of our favorite moments.
Generally, the bottom floor was a bit more difficult to digest. Set traditionally in the art fair format of one gallery and many artists per booth, it took a minute to adjust to after entering. By the time we got to the second floor, the restriction of one artist per booth was a welcome change of pace. The quality of work between the two floors was a pretty evenly split.
Charles Hinman of Marc Straus Gallery (NYC) is making brightly painted gem-like constructions of armatures covered in stretched canvas. The planes of the wall-based work are selectively painted to utilize the contrast between vibrant and more subtle color shifts of paint. Hinman makes lovely use of the light and shadow created by the form’s relationship to selective gallery lighting. He also paints some reverse facing planes of the work in radiant pigments, bouncing colored light off of the wall behind the constructions.
Eric Cahan of Eric Firestone Gallery (East Hampton NY) is showing a vertically installed stack of images that at first come across as polychromatic pigment bleeds similar to Cory Archangel. On second inspection these are actually images of the sky at sunrise and sunset. Mounted on panel and covered in what appeared to be resin, the work is sickly sweet in it’s use of candy colors under surfaces which are slick and seductive, but at the same time make one wonder whether the images could possibly be altered. In the end, its just nice work and we don’t actually care to know.
Patrick Heide Contemporary Art (London) had a booth with a nice variety of different work. The most compelling of which was a series of paintings by Pius Fox, a young German painter. His intimate works are of paint on a canvas-paper like material applied to panel. All around the size of printer paper or smaller, these works use paint applied many different ways in beautifully muted tones. They play between painterly passages and tightly controlled geometries that reference recognizable internal spaces. Fox’s compositions here utilize a broken frame of color around the boarder, which serves to suggest looking into a fragmented space through a window or a door.
David E. Peterson, showing with Krause Gallery (NYC) is making paintings and wall-based constructions that both utilize and actualize hard-edged geometric abstraction. His resin covered acrylic works on MDF are carefully composed abstractions, of high contrast of hues sunken into sexy high gloss resin environments. From intimate to quite large in scale, Peterson has a knack for making attractive wall based work that dances between painting and object. Their formal compositions allude to space while their reflective exteriors seem to keep the viewer out, creating a divide that is tempting to cross.
Two single work standouts in the show served to blow the art hung around them out of the water. The first was a one-of-a-kind tondo construction by Frank Stella. Showing in the booth of Zemack Contemporary (Tel Aviv) this work was something to behold not just because of its singular status, but because it was executed in typical vibrant Stella colors embedded in a support of formed paper and fiberglass.
The other object that left us wanting more was a work by Frank Gerritz shown by Pablo’s Birthday (NYC). A painter of many talents, one body of Gerritz’s work is reductive abstraction that appear to be black oil on aluminum. Inspection of the edges reveals that Gerritz is actually filling channels cut in the metal support with oil stick gestures amassed so that they evenly fill the empty space. Simplicity of form here disguises what must have been a brainy process to conceive.
The art that made a real impression on us was all carefully composed abstraction and experimentation with material, but maybe that’s due to personal taste. Pulse truly has something for everyone and is a fair that is curated so as to resist overwhelming the viewer. If you skip all the rest, we suggest you still consider Pulse. Go take the chance. This is one that won’t disappoint.