Exhibition Review:  Artists Choosing Artists

Exhibition Review: Artists Choosing Artists

Jurors and Artists at Parrish Art Museum

By Sandra Tyler, Editor-in-Chief

Juried shows abound, but Artists Choose Artists, on view at the Parrish Art Museum, is unique in that the works of the jurors are shown together with their chosen artists. Each of the seven jurors selected two out of nearly 200 online submissions. This could have proved a particularly difficult exhibition feat—to hang works chosen by seven aesthetically quite different jurors who also happen to be artists—but curators Corinne Erni and Alicia Longwell did so quite successfully. “Artists Choose Artists is not only a wonderful survey of the richness and diversity of artistic talent on the East End,” comments Erni, “but a great means to nurture relationships between artists who are at different stages of their career.”

In the larger context, this show is an apt demonstration of how contemporary art is pushing the boundaries of mediums, some brilliantly engineered, like Leo Villareal’s “Particle Universe,” a rather dizzying experience of shimmering stainless steel:

Photo by Daniel Gonzalez

Tony Oursler’s “#ISO” is a complex orchestration of wood, inkjet print, LCD screens, USB flash drives, and sound:

Tony Oursler, #ISO, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong. Photo by Gary Mamay.

Equally conceptual, though more quietly compelling, are the works of Monica Banks. Her cakes baked out of porcelain serve as “domestic monuments to a full range of emotions, from playfulness to grief,” some with quite visually arresting toppings of birds and bugs, even miniature humans:

Monica Banks, Dotted Cake with Four Tall Figures, 2016. Glazed English Porcelain, 15″ x 7 1/4″ x 7 1/4″. Photo by Gary Mamay.

Ben Butler’s “Elegy to The Disappearing of Objects” is a towering installation erected in poplar. Even in his exquisite pen and ink drawings which can be found on his site, he clearly has a natural inclination toward the repetitive of the grid-like, but is more interested in the disruption of the repetitive than its perpetuation—his works are more surprising than predictable. As he states, “the way it appears and what it evokes were never the initial impulse.”  While this installation may appear to be conceptual, it is finally a deeply intuitive work:

Benjamin Butler, Elegy to the Disappearance of Objects, 2015. Poplar, polystyrene, resin, paint  Approximate dimensions: 19′ x 10′ x 14′

Marianne Weil masterfully melds her primary medium of bronze with the more delicate of glass—a fascinating paradox and to aesthetically gratifying effects. A departure from her earlier bronze works that resonate of the relic and more rustic, these unique sculptures appear at once emboldened and fragile:

glass, coper, bronze
glass, copper, bronze

In the context of the show’s actual theme, it’s interesting to compare the vein of the jurors’ works to their actual selections. For instance, one might be surprised that Weil was one of Oursler’s selections as a juror; as artists they seem to spring from entirely different sensibilities. One of Villareal’s selections was Karin Waisman, whose resin and ceramic works are in comparison not so much outwardly innovative as complexly nuanced:

Karin Waisman (Argentinian born), Tondo V, 2015. Cast resin and ceramic, 67″ diameter

Overall, this exhibition runs the gamut of medium, technique, and style; and if curated differently, its theme might have been the only thing holding it together. But it is organized in such a way that the divergent are harmonized; Lynda Benglis’s wall sculptures of handmade paper over chicken wire and Saskia Friedrich’s “Stars” (Friedrich was chosen by juror Benglis), while of entirely different mediums, appear synchronized in color and tone:

Lynda Benglis (American, born 1941) Feminine Fork, 2016 Handmade paper over chicken wire, cast glitter on handmade paper, ground coal with matte medium 26 x 8 x 9 Courtesy CHEIM & READ
Photo by Gary Mamay.

The layout of the Parrish museum itself certainly lends to the exhibition the space it needs to breathe:


This show is worth a visit to Long Island’s south fork and is on view through January 16. For more information, go to Parrish Art museum.

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