E J Hauser, Crew Man. Courtesy of pluto.
Curated by Brent Burket.
Curated by Brent Burket Paintings: Rosanna Bruno Beth Gilfilen EJ Hauser Robert Schatz Luke Whitlatch Video: Kate Gilmore
Bad shit happens, like, constantly. Quite frankly, I’m surprised we all aren’t in cardiac arrest by the time we’re 8. I’m not tipping you to anything new by pointing out that most of us make it past childhood, grow up, and drag our “long black bag” of heartbreak along for the ride. There are plenty of ways to lighten the burden though, and one of them is to look at art. (Therapy also helps. LOTS of therapy.) Every once in awhile I’ll come across art that reverses the damage done, at least a little bit. I knew when I was offered this show that I wanted to include artists who have provided me with those moments of “unbreaking”. You know how it works. The world slows down and you can almost feel the shards coming back together (Blondie style), the sinewy shreds of tissue reconnecting (David Lynch style). We just have to keep our eyes open and our hearts on the block. It’s gonna be alright. At least for this moment.
Rosanna Bruno: Very physical work. Sometimes it rips my head off right away and sometimes it takes awhile, consuming me slowly. I’ll be standing in front of a painting and then suddenly I’m all, like, “Da-amn. Where is my head?” Her swaths aren’t grand, sweeping gestures of the brush though. They’re finely tuned vortices of color, line, and space. Enter here. (http://rosannabruno.com/)
Beth Gilfilen: The two paintings we chose for the show are awesome gestures of texture and space-building on their own, but side-by-side they sing harmony like Gary Louris and Lucinda Williams on Williams’ song, Essence. The dominance shifts back and forth between the voices and sometimes they share the middle. In one painting the color and action fills the canvas, and in the other Gilfilen let’s the white space fly. Back and forth they go, making me wonder who’s in charge. (http://www.bethgilfilen.com/)
Kate Gilmore: Kate was an easy choice. If I do a studio visit with you and your work makes me cry, well then, if I I curate a show a couple years later I’m probably going to ask you to be in it. The video Heartbreaker is from 2004, but I couldn’t pass up the irony of having it in the show. I mean, the artist takes an axe to a heart made out of lumber. In the destruction of her heart, she makes mine a little less broken. It’s a weirdly triumphant act for both the artist and the viewer. Kate is the one artist for whom I put aside my self-imposed no-artists-with-representation rule. Big ups to Amy Smith-Stewart!(http://www.kategilmore.com/)
EJ Hauser: See the making-me-cry-in-your-studio rule above. Whew! I was unfamiliar with EJ Hauser’s work before artist Sarah Peters introduced me to it. (Thank you, Sarah.) Abstracts, not-quite-abstracts, and text paintings make up her three-pronged attack. The lines she develops in the text paintings are so strong you can forget the text, but I’d recommend against that. There’s too much fun to be had therein. Killer stuff all around, actually. Beauty can be hard. Beauty can be delicious. In EJ’s work it’s both. (http://www.ejhauser.org/)
Robert Schatz: I’ve known Bob for years now, but I didn’t see the swoopy and swirly goodness of his paintings until last year’s show at The Phatory in Alphabet City. His intuitive and (literally) hands-on approach to the materials is a move towards nature, but it’s his mad grasp of technique and composition that brings it home to the rest of us. (http://www.re-title.com/artists/Robert-Schatz.asp)
Luke Whitlatch: This is my across-a-crowded-room choice for the show. I went to see a jammed and lively group show of drawings at Daniel Weinberg Gallery a few summers ago in LA, and amidst the Ed Ruscha’s, Lee Bontecou’s, and Dan Zeller’s it was a small drawing by Whitlatch that pulled me in and held me close. When I saw a couple of his paintings at the LA Art Fair here in NYC the next year I officially became a fan. This summer Luke had a piece in a group show at Rivington Arms and that cemented the deal. (http://www.lukewhitlatch-art.com/)