Thursday, December 6, 2012

The New Brutalists @ Parallel Art Space

I know nothing of brutalist architecture. I assume it involves unfinished, large cement buildings from the 60’s with little in the way of windows or maybe I am just projecting from the work in the show.  My personal favorite is Guy Nelson and his sparse sculpture of weathered dark wood plank that seems to be in a frozen state of disappearing into a silky-smooth black void. The sculpture is pretty wonderful and a nice addition to Frank Zadlo’s screen prints of soft and malleable objects like crumpled paper and linen reproduced onto small cement squares, creating a nice play between material and content while maintaining a nice curatorial constancy of dark muted colors and unwelcoming materials. A constancy matched by the inverse painting of Samuel T. Adams, who hangs his work with the raw back of the canvas facing out, putting the viewer in the rather unenviable position of being forced to stare at the work from the wall’s point of view. And if being forced behind a painting doesn’t strike you as aggressive enough, consider Leah Raintree’s drawings that consist of a large piece of gray paper with stabbing-like gashes in it, as well as her photographs that appear to be exposed sheets of paper covered with scratches. These are combined with a sheet of glass coming out of a cement block and a sculpture of goat balls and fiberglass, which does create a coherent and brutal vibe.

Already Down
Parallel Art Space (17-17 Troutman St. #220, Btw. Onderdonk  & Cypress Aves., Ridgewood, NY)


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