Paul Anthony Smith, through May 11 at Jack Shainman, 513 West 20th Street and 524 West 24th Street
Christina Forrer, through April 20 at Luring Augustine, 531 W. 24th St.
*The Whole Picture: Zipora Fried, Arturo Herrera, Thomas Pihl, Erin Shirreff, through April 6 at Sikkema Jenkins, 530 West 22nd Street.
*Never got to a post on the recent, intriguing abstract quartet at Sikkema Jenkins that closed last weekend, but still want to mention, in mentioning texture, Thomas Pihl‘s evenly sheathed, encaustic-like minimalist paintings. Close-up viewing of his waxy, glowing fields approached Rothko territory, in terms of inner light. The revealed–namely layering, confined to painting edges, in fact iterated the context of a continuum as much as very personal abstract expression.
Still plenty of time to catch the latest by Paul Anthony Smith spread prolifically across both Shainman spaces. Smith‘s “picotages”–textured mounted photographs–debuted in New York five-some years ago with images of Jamaican street scenes and portrait subjects donning African masks, then “pricked” with a sharp potter’s tool in sections to create, magically, a simultaneously furry and sparkling surface rippling. This “scarring” induced of kind of spiritual veil over the depicted realities. Now Smith’s scale, subjects, and signature technique have expanded boldly a series of (Caribbean) carnival scenes “behind” complexly patterned, pricked grill-work literally dazzling. And a third-level screening of sometimes spray-painted, sometimes speckled chain link fence in another loose series has equally tiered levels of associative content.
At the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum, Christina Forrer‘s Freudian-cartoon tapestries at Luhring Augustine, which, from a distance look very much look like blobby, post-millennial figurative paintings. Upon approach woven textures pixilate a rotating constellation of girls, boys, and anthropomorphic others with goopy, stretchy tongues, gum bubbles, and Gumby-body parts emitting from their mouths. Absurdist, abject, amusing, honest.
Smith and Forrer share a near obsessive commitment to their materials and methods, which itself generates at least part of their respective results and communicates, overall, a humanistic (for lack of better term) motivation and intention.