New York Postcard: The Uncaged Bird

Art Life , Stuff Oct 18, 2017 No Comments

George Shaw reports from an exotic sounding place…


Be(e) Sanctuary, 2017

Be(e), 2017 (detail)

Sanctuary, 2017

Green Unplugged, 2017

ForceFlex, 2012


The exotically named Borinquen Gallo presents the exotic-sounding show Like a Jungle Orchid for a Lovestruck Bee at the gallery with the equally exotic-sounding name of Burning in Water. The exhibition features large-scale sculptures hand-woven from reconstituted street materials like yellow and red “caution” tape, construction tarps, garbage bags, and debris netting. Gallo gathers the materials from the streets and construction sites in her community in the Bronx. By reconfiguring everyday discarded materials into objects of beauty, she comments on the ongoing change in physical and social settings around her.

Woven #11, 2015

 Woven #17, 2016

Woven #17, 2016 (detail)

Woven #9, 2015

Intrigued by what remains, what is saved and lost in nature and culture, Tanya Marcuse preserves living and rotting plant and animal life, to construct densely packed works that are documented photographically. The large-scale images in her show Woven at the Julie Saul Gallery show intricate tableaux imbued with the beauty, opulence and decay found in the Dutch vanitas tradition, as well as medieval hunting tapestries. Viewed from a distance, these dynamic works bring to mind Pollock’s energetic, all-over abstract compositions. Up close, they reward the eye with mesmerising detail.

Paradise Lost, 2017

Paradise Lost (detail), 2017

Paradise Lost (mural)

Ellipsis, 2017

The Caged Bird, 2016

Best known for large, colourful paintings that integrate afro-madonnas, glitter and elephant dung, Chris Ofili presents the monochromatic, gallery sized installation Paradise Lost at David Zwirner. Ofili created the work as an evolution of his previous The Caged Bird’s Song. In this dark, oppressive atmosphere, obstructive elements like a chain-link fence and narrow corridors make it hard to properly see murals (overpainted with their own chain-link pattern) and works inside. At this time, Ofili asks, “Is the sweeter song of the uncaged bird, or the song of the caged bird?”

The Art Life

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