News & Events
Yizhak Elyashiv: Prints
Louis Risoli: New Paintings
January 4 - 26 at Gallery NAGA
Ringing in 2013, Gallery NAGA presents solo exhibitions by Yizhak Elyashiv and Louis Risoli.
Yizhak Elyashiv: Prints and Louis Risoli: New Paintings run from January 4 through 26. A reception for the artists and the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, January 4 from 6 to 8 pm.
Elyashiv is a native of Israel who has lived and worked in Providence, Rhode Island since 1991. His best-known prints, which have been shown and collected by museums throughout the country, are records of physical activity in and out of the studio, “maps” of gestures and measurements undertaken in the landscape and on his printing plates.
The strictness and concision of mark that once used to characterize Elyashiv’s work is starting to untangle in this most recent grouping of work. Untitled (#3) is comprised of an engraved background onto which an ink drawing floats. The composition, in the loose shape of a tree, is then partially obscured by a system of numbers and marks made with ink. The lyricism and boldness of the mark making is in contrast to the subtlety of the engraved impressions.
A large map, Untitled (#4) dominates one of the walls of the gallery. The subtlety of the blue drypoint and engraving is partially eclipsed by the gestural quaility of a system of numbers drawn with watercolor the tone of bubblegum. The numbers hover above a mountainous landsape resembling blossoms drooping from the branches of a tree.
Louis Risoli’s work, which has been moving for a decade from rectangle to increasingly complex shaped canvasses, continues to expand and open. As he puts it, “These are all bold paintings, with much more complicated patterns, on a much larger scale, more colorful and with looser handling.”
“I look for shapes that are dynamic, that look like they could change in a second,” Risoli says. “Unlike [Ellsworth] Kelly, where the shape seems inevitable. There’s so much going on, it does change from second to second. By the time you look back, you’ve forgotten what you saw.”
For all of their apparent nonobjectivity, Risoli’s work strikes many viewers as communicating meaning as well as being. Suggesting both vast cosmos and microscopic worlds, the forms also interact and relate in ways that refer to humans. “What’s happening internally is a response to the approach,” Risoli comments, a remark as true of us as it is of his panels. “I’m looking for a painting that asks more questions than it answers.”
GREGORY GILLESPIE: Transfixed
November 9 – December 15 at Gallery NAGA
2012 will end, at Gallery NAGA, on a high point with the work of one of America’s most important contemporary painters, Gregory Gillespie (1936 -2000).
Gregory Gillespie: Transfixed is on exhibition from November 9 through December 15. A reception for the public will be held at the gallery on Friday, November 9 from 6 to 8 pm.
Gregory Gillespie began his art studies at The Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art in New York. He received his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1962, was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Grant, and received the Chester Dale Fellowship to continue his work and study at the American Academy in Rome, where he resided from 1964 to 1970. He continued to paint and show regularly in New York and Boston, and his career was interspersed with national exhibitions, which catapulted him into major institutional recognition.
The work to be exhibited at NAGA is comprised of a relatively narrow breadth of time in Gillespie’s production. Generally painted between 1995 and 2000, the work is varied and defies categorization: fantastical and spiritual landscapes, startling portraits and self-portraits, symbolic abstractions, and allegorical interiors. Miles Unger, writing for the October 31, 1999 New York Times, remarks, “Rather than eliminating troubling elements, Mr.Gillespie holds them in front and center, the better to tame them. His is an art of precarious balances: between chaos and order, carnality and transcendent spirituality, the quotidian and the bizarre.”
Gillespie’s highly detailed portraits and self-portraits are bewitched and disturbing. Many of the subjects gaze directly at the viewer as if they are in control and omnipotent. Roberta Smith, writing Gregory’s obituary for the April 29, 2000 New York Times wrote, “Continuity was provided by a sense of unflinching scrutiny on himself; some of his strongest works are psychologically charged self-portraits. They recorded his changing appearance and shifting moods and always pivoted on his intense blue eyes, which suggested that a profound secret might be revealed if one stared hard enough.”
On the other hand, a portrait, Peg’s Grandmother, expresses tenderness. Her wisps of hair frame an almost translucent face; her eyes, unfocused, appear to be looking elsewhere.
The landscapes and interiors are intricate and brilliant examples of realist painting taken to a surrealist place. One can imagine them having begun as bucolic scenes, then Gillespie, having found them not interesting enough, pushed and pushed until they became haunted and disturbing. The paint becomes gnarly, as if it’s rotting, like flesh. Red Mountain, depicts a hilly landscape with a tree and root stretching into the ground, which looks, upon closer inspection, like a corpse. The paint stands off the canvas, twisting and turning, as if in turmoil.
Paintings by Gregory Gillespie are included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Georgia Museum of Art at Athens; Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock; and many others.
Ken Beck "Acts of Painting: One at a Time"
Hammond Residential Real Estate, South End office, 10 Berkeley Street, ATELIER 505 Building, Boston, MA 02116.
Reception: Sunday, November 11, 4-6pm
Denizen South End artist Ken Beck relocated from Charlestown to a studio at the Boston Center for the Arts in 1980, where he lived, worked and studied for a brief period until taking flight a short distance to the Piano Factory were one can still find his treasures; created and collected these last thirty years in his home and studio. A Massachusetts native, Beck earned his BA in Philosophy and his PhD in Anthropology but studied at the famed Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and received his MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. Presently an Adjunct Faculty of Fine Arts at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University, he approaches the teaching of painting and drawing as an interactive studio group experience in which each student, in effect, is both student and teacher, working together to discover the extraordinary power in the media of oil paint, ink, watercolor and collage. As an artist and anthropologist-manque, Beck comments, “I have always been interested in the human capacity to animate the inanimate, to see in the objectness of the world a mirror of ourselves, and thereby to enter into that endless human outreaching to seeks to find meaning in life...and in paintings.” With this exhibit, we see Beck’s attention to the minute details in simple, everyday items one might use: hats, fruits, vessels, toys, pails and stuffed animals. Or items we pass without nary a thought: fireplugs, marine bollards, tree trunks, letters and railings. He exagerates their size and colors to create pieces of art which are hard not gaze upon and within them we see ourselves and, more often than not, they bring smiles of simple joy.