Unknown Artist, Donald Baechler, Thomas Bayrle, Michael Byron, Suzan Etkin, Karen Flatow, Wayne Gonzales, Joanne Greenbaum, Sonia Knopp, Cameron Martin, Suzanne McClelland, Chuck Nanney, Jason Osborne, Arlene Shechet, Jessie Wood
DINTER FINE ART is pleased to present a group exhibition entitled “gray.” Loosely conceived around the notion of gray in high summer, with its built-in contradiction, this show was planned prior to the appearance of the Jasper Johns exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past winter.
Since then, references to Mr. Johns appear to be popping up, such as in the current exhibition at Shafrazi Gallery titled “Who’s Afraid of Jasper Johns?” and recently at Danziger Projects. This exhibition obliquely connects to a small group of black-and-white photographs by an unknown artist (possibly Rudy Burckhardt) who photographed Johns’s paintings in the late 50’s, or early 60’s, for the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City. These 8×10 inch black and white prints were the gallery workhorses of their day, put to use as JPEGs are used these days, or as slides and transparencies were used in previous times, for promotional and reference purposes.
Gray is a meaningful color for artists. It isn’t just neutral. Here it appears in an early Donald Baechler work (1982) as a striped background for a Warhol-like super-imposed image of a cowgirl. Titled “Don’s Dilemma,” it refers to a Frank Stella piece called “Jasper’s Dilemma” from 1963. In the vintage Suzan Etkin drawing we see a ghostly figure with Johnsian overtones. Gray finds itself at home in the grisaille painting by Michael Byron with references to the—usually unseen—under painting used in classical painting techniques. Wayne Gonzales gives us a gray White House; Cameron Martin paints one of his haunting gray buttes; Karen Flatow renders from the old tale of passionate murder, which she continues to investigate. Sonia Knopp’s tiny meticulous gray paintings of ethereal buildings and landscapes evoke other worlds, while Thomas Bayrle’s gray cardboard construct of an image of the Brandenburg Gate brings us closer to old Cold War times, when things were really gray. Joanne Greenbaum, Suzanne McClelland and Arlene Shechet each in their own way deliver on gray, whether etchings, a painting, or ceramic work, respectively. Chuck Nanney happened one time to stretch a piece of gray painting across a rough handmade rectangle of sticks. Jason Osborne takes us off on one of his flights of fancy, featuring gray. Last but not least, the colorful personality Jesse Wood shows us the exterior of a building with a gray door and window, surely somewhere in Greece, in high summer…