The borderline between East Side and West Side is the Bowery. This stretch used to house the legendary CBGB’s (closed), Amato Opera House (closed), the Bowery Mission still remains and the bevy of restaurant supply stores dot the block. The proliferation of new restaurants, high-rise condominiums, the New Museum and the smattering of art galleries exemplify how the area had changed over the course of two decades. Galleries especially add vitality and color to this stretch of the city. Nothing is more colorful than the annual summer show at Judith Charles for Bowry Lane 3. AF attended the show last July 16th with its quartet of artists whose works are varied yet intersecting by the dynamic careers they all have.
Dominating one wall up front is the colorful mural and geometric strips of Jason Woodside whose signature patterns have garnered him collaborations with fashion lines (Obey, Urban Outfitters, Adidas, etc.) and West Coast heat with larger projects in the works. The act of covering the surface in vibrant yet meticulous shapes with colors keeps the brevity factor high. There is no doubt that he not only uses the colors of the rainbow but cuts them up judiciously to spread the spectrum of lightness everywhere.
On the opposite wall is the witty and hand printed posters of George Horner. If the mural exuded lightness and fun in the color strips and patterns, Horner is cleverly using the communicative power of the poster with its sardonic wit and quotes he took from people he knew. Using a press in the Midwest still employing artisanal methods that Horner banks on serendipitous choices in font, color, and typeset to convey his artistry. More will be coming as he is slated to have a solo show at the gallery in the fall.
On the back wall are a pair of sculptural works mounted with the cluster of deflated balloons providing depth, structure, and the WOW factor. Integrating quotidian objects in the work owes its tradition in Arte Povera where found objects are elevated into high art. The work of Mauro Bonacina can be a slice of the wreckage masterpiece of John Chamberlain. Providing a tactile surface plus luster with the Mylar balloons and the grand scale that Bonacina anchored the entire show. It definitely packed heft and weight but the playful spirit kept it buoyant.
Finally, the fantastic four is complete with the work of Hrafnhildur Arnardottir aka Shoplifter where her hair laden (synthetic of course) smiley faces is the epitome of fun and creativity unleashed. Known for her extensive work in real hair do’s and in installations that the crowning vanity of vanities gets a send up that is clever and contributed to the spirit of FUN for the show. She is also known for her work with the avant-garde singer/performer Björk. (just the hair, not the swan dress, okay.) Dare we say that it was a hair-raising experience?
Summer shows are the antidote to the oppressive heat where they must provide a lighter, happier, and buoyant feeling to counter the sweat-laden brows of the art audience seeking to be refreshed with the new right now. Colors. wit, ingenuity, and unconventional methods speak loud and cool the restless thirst of the art hounds. Bowry Lane 3 most certainly gave a refreshing take on contemporary art. Details are the ice cubes but the overall picture is the thirst-quenching oasis for all to imbibe and drink in. Quench your thirst ladies and gentlemen!
To view our interview with artist Jason Woodside, please click below:
Bowry Lane 3 / On View: July 1 – August 9, 2014
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (12 to 6 pm)
Judith Charles Gallery. 196 Bowery. NYC, NY 10012
Art Review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
Photography and video by: Max Noy Photo