Dateline: New York, March 20: Chelsea

Dateline: New York, March 20: Chelsea

Today was my first full day in New York City.  Spent it in Chelsea, cruising the galleries.  As usual a few remarkable pieces, some good work, the inevitable schlock.

I want to share these artists with you.

The painter Susanna Heller impressed me with some large=scale works at MagnanMetz Gallery.  The image that the gallery has online is too small to wow you properly.  So here’s an example of her brushwork. She’s alive in her work, comfortable at the canvas, authentic.  Still growing.  I suspect that Cecily Brown is a painter she admires — as do I.

En Garde, by Susanna Heller      via Olga Korper Gallery

Extrapolate from the above to this image of the keynote painting at MagnanMetz:

 Rolling Thunder (Night for Day) by Susanna Heller (69 x 238 inches)      via Magnanmetz Gallery


Pace Gallery on 25th Street showed a painter who’ll drop your jaw, Adrian Ghenie.  The centerpiece work Pie Fight Interior 8 belongs in a museum.  The intensity of the paint handling and the emotional wallop overwhelm the historical details that may appeal to some.  The book accompanying the exhibit includes a potent detail that I can find nowhere online.  Here is the biggest I’ve found of the complete canvas.  A mere tinge of the totality.

Pie Fight Interior 8 by Adrian Ghenie      via Pace Gallery

Persian Miniature by Adrian Ghenie       via Pace Gallery

I want to underline that this is the same Pace Gallery where I saw the Chinese painter Li Songsong in 2011.  Both painters’ psyches clearly have bonded with paint as a material.   They are masters, poets, symphonists in paint.  You will not mistake one man’s style for the other’s; both inhabit a higher realm.

Craving the Flaws (though I’ve seen another title too) by Li Songsong     via AsiaArt Archive

I’ve been cruising New York art galleries for over two decades, learning as I go.  Funny what your eye comes to know.  So many strivers, artists with some gift, but every once in a while an artist will ring true as a bell.  You know when you stand in front of it — you’re not finding reasons to like it (because it may be good) but you’re simply struck dumb.

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