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Buhmann on Art, Week of Jan. 22, 2015

Jan29_Art_Stickman
Courtesy Woodward Gallery
Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk: “A Gift of Wind to Amuse and Mystify” (2010 | Acrylic on canvas | 11 x 14 inches; 27.9 x 35.6 cm | Signed on verso | Framed).  Courtesy Woodward Gallery
Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk: “A Gift of Wind to Amuse and Mystify” (2010 | Acrylic on canvas | 11 x 14 inches; 27.9 x 35.6 cm | Signed on verso | Framed). Courtesy Woodward Gallery

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN  (stephaniebuhmann.com)   |  As if to advocate a year of rich diversity ahead, this eclectic group show brings together 20 contemporary artists. Here, subjects vary as much as the styles in which they are depicted, covering figurative, abstract and some nuances in-between.

Cycle: “Rex vs. Rex” (2013 | Acrylic on canvas | 48 x 48 inches; 121.92 x 121.92 cm | Signed on verso).  Courtesy Woodward Gallery
Cycle: “Rex vs. Rex” (2013 | Acrylic on canvas | 48 x 48 inches; 121.92 x 121.92 cm | Signed on verso). Courtesy Woodward Gallery

While the sculptural installation by Gabriel Specter, Richard Hambleton’s figurative and yet Franz Kline-inspired “Dancing Shadowman” and Deborah Claxton’s photographic images might have little in common, they gain by playing against each other candidly. It is this contextual contrast that allows “20in15” to slowly gather steam. While each of the artists represents a certain aesthetic and medium, they share the roles of commentators and explorers of their time.

Interestingly, Susan Breen, Thomas Buildmore, Hiro Ichikawa and Mark Mastroianni, among others, comment on today’s world by dipping into various references to the past. Jo Ellen Van Ouwerkerk’s remarkable composition “A Gift of Wind to Amuse and Mystify” — which depicts an array of perhaps identical female figures flowing freely in space — alludes to the Surrealist fantasies of Leonora Carrington. Cycle’s circular rendition of a Tyrannosaurus rex chasing, and being chased by, a wolf offers an unusual blend of street art, Native American symbolism and pop. By allowing for such unpredictable discoveries, “20in15” guarantees a playful and refreshingly not self-important slice of the Downtown New York art world of 2015.

Stickman: “Threaded” (2014 | Acrylic on plexiglass | 27 x 15 inches; 68.58 x 38.1 cm). Courtesy Woodward Gallery
Stickman: “Threaded” (2014 | Acrylic on plexiglass | 27 x 15 inches; 68.58 x 38.1 cm). Courtesy Woodward Gallery

GROUP EXHIBITION  |  “20in15”
Through February 28
At Woodward Gallery
133 Eldridge St.
btw. Broome & Delancey Sts.
Tues.–Sat., 11a.m.–6 p.m.
Sun., 12–5p.m.
and by private appointment
Call 212-966-3411
or visit WoodwardGallery.net

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