Monday, April 27, 2009

A Good Move for Gallery Museum 52

Gallery Interior
Museum 52 on East 2nd Street

Museum 52 has temporarily moved to the old Rivington Arms sun-filled space on East 2nd Street. Although small, the gallery allows visitors various vantage points – near, far, to the sides. Works are close enough to their neighbor to interact yet distant enough for concentrated viewing. It’s a comfortable arena for art and an improvement over Museum 52’s previous Rivington Street location which provided an awkward, uninviting, two-level exhibition area. Does space matter? You bet.

For those of you who don’t know, Rivington Arms closed in January, the owners wanting to go their own way. I have fond memories of Rivington Arms’s exhibits both on East 2nd Street as well as in the original Rivington Street gallery. There seemed always to be something interesting and stimulating on view that was enhanced by the intimate locale. I ask myself if a palimpsest of galleries exists for while at the Museum 52 exhibition, I felt the space reflecting its history.

The new show consists of eight works by four artists of merit. All are concerned with questioning the essence of their work’s basic nature and occupying simultaneous contradictory modes.

Stefan Sandner
Acrylic on canvas
39.5 x 39.5 inches

Stefan Sandner’s Untitled, 2008 canvas is both outgoing gestural and minimally contained. Up close, it moves. Further away, it's still. Personal and impersonal co-exist. His other work incorporates words that may or may not have meaning. It is abstract and empathic. Words are a concern for other artists here.

Sarah Braman
Wrong Thing
Wood and paint
48 x 51.5 x 42 inches

Sarah Braman’s sculptural and painterly constructions engage with their manipulation of painted words or implied words and fine use of color. I say “implied words” because of the incorporation of cassette players in one of her three exhibited works. We look at the object for the recording of words that can not be heard.

Ida Ekblad
Odean Sky Uncanny
Oil on canvas
91 x 50 inches

Ida Ekblad stands out with her raw, exciting brushwork and hidden figurative finds. Both her 2009 Triptych, oil on wood, and her Odeon Sky Uncanny, oil on unstretched canvas, have depth, complexity and attraction. Her rich palette adds to the enjoyment.

Joe Bradly
Grease pencil on canvas
50.5 x 40 inches

The only piece by Joe Bradley, Bax, nicely framed by the brick wall separating the gallery’s two exhibition rooms, offers contemplation and associations. His grease pencil marks on canvas both describe and negate meanings.

There is much to hold your attention in this probing show. You leave wanting to see more.

Museum 52
4 East 2nd Street at the Bowery
Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 12 – 6 pm
Exhibition through 23 May 2009

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