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Fall Art Season on the LES, Angela Dufresne, Ian Tweedy, Jean Lowe

Fall Art Season on the LES, Angela Dufresne, Ian Tweedy, Jean Lowe

The fall art season in New York starts on the Lower East Side and will ripple through Chelsea and mid-town by next week (to say nothing of what's happening in Brooklyn.) So if you found yourself on the LES on Sunday hopfully you wadded through the tipsy crowd, the rock bands and the beer benches crammed in the middle of Orchard Street, to get a good look at some fine painting. At least these are the shows that stood out for me:

Angela Dufresne opened Monya Rowe's fall program with an eye popping array of fantastic allegories whipped together with mighty brush strokes and bleeding paint. Original figurative painting in the age of #ZombieFormalism (as Saltz is fond of saying) is truly a sight for sore eyes. And in Dufresne sixth show at Rowe, her work reminds those who insist mid-century formalism is still interesting—it is not. Dufresne deft brush work is expressive, abstract, and most importantly exacting, giving her imagery the corporeal sensuality of living bodies while maintaining the integrity of its paint. Figurative painting, a genre always on the verge of extinction, could too easily have become schlocky in lesser hands.

Dufresne narratives make what seem like confounding Freudian nightmares into alluring thought provoking spectacles. Are the boners and bulging eyes merely oedipal or are they a commentary on so many of the social ills we've been reading and hearing about of late; campus rapes, police brutality, beheadings? All of these images can clog our neuron synapses as we try to make sense of the senseless. Isn't this what dream allegories are made of, the ordering of the irrational? I leave it to you to decipher.

Angela Dufresne
"Lets's Stay Together" @ Monya Rowe
34 Orchard Street
September 7 – November 2, 2014

Who doesn't have a soft spot for good irony and painted text? Not I, which is why Jean Lowe's auction posters called me through the paned glass from across the clogged street. You know how people often say they look for a sense of humor in their prospective mate? Smart and funny is what we all want, right? Well, if you could date an art show Lowe's would be it.

Lowe's show is structured like an art auction, with lot "items" for sale (more like the antique road show than Sothbey's mind you). In her wall hung pieces Lowe sports an easy un-labored brush stroke, that lends itself to her wry interpretations of mid 20th and late 19th Century ephemera. Half the works are paintings on canvas, paper or board the others are printed. While the painted images have a depth and tactility, the printed images serve her wry contemporary interpretations as a means to an end. With titles and text such as "If God Loves Me, why do I need a vibrator," and "Lost Drone (reward has family photos)" she amplifies reality's special kind of irony. Also pay close attention as you walk across the painted Persian carpet on the floor, that's for sale too.

Jean Lowe
Lost Time @ Mckenzie Fine Art
55 Orchard Street
September 7 - October 12, 2014

Ian Tweedy's latest works at UNTITLED are inspired by a contested event in the life of fluxus artist Joseph Beuys as well as the current conflict in Crimea. In 1944 Beuys, who was a gunner pilot in the Nazi military, was shot down in Crimea. He survived the crash and claimed that a Tartar nomad nursed him back to health. The official accounts of that event are much more mundane. However, this event seemed to presage the kind of shaman-like performance art that Beuys went on to do—blurring fiction and fact.

In Tweedy's show "Desent" the artist takes on historical images and other found objects reconfiguring them in monochrome paint and charcoal on canvas and other sub-straits as he explores ideas of propaganda and media representation. Tweedy's press release is a a lot to chew explainging the works as, "the fall of man and potential reinvention." Its the kind of mumbo-jumbo that would keep one away from a looking at a work. But fortunately UNTITLED has an eye for smart artists whose graphic clarity may not clearly advance a personal mthyos but will catch you by the actual strength of the work.

Paintings that look like photos (or screen-prints) can easily fall prey to a reductionist kind of minimalism that eschews the material history of the medium. However, in Tweedy's hands the works are expertly accomplished with minimal distraction and just enough material that leaves a trace of the artists hand.

Ian Tweedy
UNT/TLED
30 Orchard St
September 7 - October 19