Pareidolia: Shawn Thornton’s hallucinatory visions

Witch Doctors at the Eye of the Solar Epoch (2008–10) is a long, landscape-oriented oil painting on panel whose dimensions and compositional structure resemble a folded-out paper map. In urgent hues, it presents a god’s-eye view of a watery city or an entire cosmos, punctuated with networks of mystical and mathematical symbols. Curving sections of […]

Douglas Witmer’s simplicity

It is timely that Douglas Witmer’s solo exhibition, “Dubh Glas” at Tiger Strikes Asteroid (TSA) in Philadelphia, opened shortly after the Guggenheim’s Agnes Martin retrospective closed to the public. Witmer’s group of ten softly geometric, gesso and acrylic paintings on canvas are reminiscent in atmosphere and texture of Martin’s darker works, made in the mid-2000s, […]

Rodney McMillian: Waging an artist’s war

It has been a big year for Rodney McMillian. In a rare achievement for any artist, three major East Coast institutions mounted simultaneous solo exhibitions of his multimedia works, spanning more than a decade. At the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia, and MoMA PS1 in New York, McMillian’s […]

Nick Hughes: Naive descriptions and intricate models

In Nick Hughes’s densely worked aquatint intaglio prints, puppet or toy-like figures float in formal relation to intricately modeled furniture, tentatively moored in deep black and silver-grey surfaces. Each work on paper arranges impressions, or as Hughes puts it, “naive descriptions,” of materials that surround him in both his studio and memory: a wooden souvenir […]

Active Voice: Art and books

Ulises is a collectively run art bookstore and exhibition space&emdash;modeled after venues such as Printed Matter and Dexter Sinister in New York&emdash;whose quarterly, essayistic presentations constellate works of art, publications, and public programs around a curatorial theme. “Active Voice,” this season’s apt focus, places the politicized, pop-inflected narrations of Hannah Black’s recent videos and Steffani […]

Jane Irish’s painterly protest

The title of Jane Irish’s most recent solo exhibition, “A Rapid Whirling on the Heel,” adapted a phrase from Edgar Allan Poe’s epic 1848 prose-poem “Eureka.” Poe’s text unfurls a cosmology that anticipated the “big crunch” theory of an infinitely collapsing and expanding universe. Mobile conceptions of time and location, the likes of which undergird […]

Ellen Harvey’s ornamental leaves and abandoned ruins

View the spread (PDF) In a 2015 interview with Adam Budak, Ellen Harvey observed: “For me, the museum exists as an aspirational space, continually collapsing under the weight of its hopes and dreams, much like my own projects.” Since the late 1990s, Harvey has consistently submitted her artistic identity to the same careful scrutiny she […]