Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gallery Happenings

Elise Siegel's“I am what is around me” at Nancy Margolis Gallery.

Gallery Happenings

by Julie D. Andrews

Chelsea galleries brimmed with activity last Thursday night as warmer breezes sent doors flinging wide open. I popped into four shows – two sculpture, one photography, and one “new combination” exhibition where painting and sculpture mingled.

As austere as a factory was the entrance to the 529 W. 20th St. galleries. Already, at half past six, clusters of people, some with strollers, some decked out in leopard prints with hair dyed shocker white piled into elevators.

Kathryn Markel Fine Arts gallery premiered new sculptures by Arden Scott. A large steel  piece called “We're Here” (boasting the highest price tag in the show at $16,000) was striking. It cut diagonally across the hardwood gallery floor. The frame, looking like a hollowed-out canoe oddly felt not vacant, but full.
“Cross Section (4) 2004” ($8,000) by Elissa D'Arrigo at Elizabeth Harris Gallery.
Detail of “Recollection ... Yellow (1) 2006” ($7,000) at Elizabeth Harris Gallery.
A sculpture called “Crossings” ($12,000) was reminiscent of a swinging covered bridge. Bending nails overlapped to form a floor of the miniature bridge-like upswinging arch. The theme, of perfectly rounded curved lines meeting those straight, gave the show a nautical feel, to which the stout dog sniffing about and chomping on a red chew toy added.

Winding around the maze of hallways, I checked out Elissa D'arrigo's works at the Elizabeth Harris Gallery and encountered an Andy Warhol look-alike. Were these paintings ... or sculptures? A combination of both in which blocks of fabric sewn together with ginormous white stitches were covered in acrylic paint. Like gurgling lava, the canvas was not flat, but rather uneven with blobs of fabric protruding into space. “Cross Section (4) 2004” ($8,000) was a collage of cut-up pink socks.

A piece with layered snippets of yellow fabric called “Recollection ... Yellow (1) 2006” ($7,000) had comforting imperfect edges and corners. The Modelo Especial's  were going fast, so it was time to go. Rounding W. 25th St. around 7:30, gobs of gallery goers clad in stiletto-heeled boots and thin purple scarves and caps -- from baseball to pageboy -- choked the sidewalks. Gazers eyed Kelli Connell's “Double Life” photographs at Yossi Milo Gallery documenting an evolving, sensuous relationship between women.
Clockwise from top left: Arden Scott's “Crossings” ($12,000) at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts gallery; West 25th Street sunset; Elise Siegel's “I am what is around me” at Nancy Margolis Gallery.
More people, though, flitted in and out of Nancy Margolis Gallery where 25 life-size ceramic adolescent half-figures meshed with museum goers. Reality and fantasy blurred. The over-sized bobbled-heads with animated hands – mid-clap or palms up – were stuck onto black poles with wheels. Figures are sold singular ($8,000) on in groupings of two ($15,000) to 20 ($140,000). Though the pieces first struck one as blithe, upon studying the puzzled sculpted faces, the work “I am what is around me” resonated a more haunting feel.

Not-to-be-missed Chelsea gallery openings for Thursday, April 26:

Group Show: Carrozzini von Buhler Gallery: Awakening, 6-8 PM
Massimo Audiello: Alison Brady, 6-8 PM
Mike Weiss Gallery: Samantha Thomas, 6-8 PM

Or Instead of catching a gallery opening, how about a celebratory closing reception? Thirty plus artists contributed works to Franklin 54 Gallery's month-long silent auction where bidding for small paintings began at $200. See where those initial prices climb Thursday which marks last-call on the gallery bidding floor. Expect to find Chinese paintings by Edward Evans, minimal resin pieces by Elisa Pritzker, NYC architectural paintings by Sharon Florin, and more. Proceeds benefit Equality Now, a non-profit protecting women worldwide against human rights abuses.