Right now, we need some alternatives. One possibility is to open a space that's not in Chelsea or Williamsburg or the Lower East Side. Molly Bradford and Bill Pace's Pluto is a safe distance from all of the above, but their new show curated by Vargas-Suarez Universal is wel worthl the trip to Prospect Heights (and it's just a couple blocks from the Brooklyn Museum so I don't want to hear any excuses). I wrote about their first show, Norf*neasters, here.
I think I've met Pedro Barbeito a couple hundred times through his sister-in-law and a friend, so it was nice to finally see his work. Barbeito's work feels like the artist might start in a minimal place and then realize that, well, it's really not enough. So from there he just lets it flow . . . lines, grafitti, new surfaces, what's next until he knows it's done. I am imagining this and I'm probably wrong, but wasn't that fun? I like when paintings make me say "WTF?" There are angels in the architecture here.
I didn't like Angela de Rosette's paintings when I looked at them the first time. When I took another look though they warmed up. Like an infinitely looser version of Chuck Close's grids, the work also made me think of Warhol's camouflage paintings. All I know is that, in the end, the pieces pulled me into to the paint. Surface blitz.
Things tighten up in the back of the gallery with Marsha Cottrell and Daniel Zeller. It's difficult to look at Marsha Cottrell's work without thinking of Julie Mehretu, but get past that difficulty and you land in a place that's closer to the invented architecture of Angela Dufresne. Actually, that's not quite right either. Although their media and methods are completely different, I was most reminded of Amy Sillman paintings, the way respresentational forms peak out from the abstraction. But these are all useless thoughts that came to me after I got lost in the little dramas created by Cottrell's fine lines and markings.
Last, but sooooo not least, is the wonder that is Daniel Zeller's work. I always find his work mesmerizing and beautiful, and his three pieces in this show keep the pressure on. Gallery co-owner Molly Bradford made a video of the four artists in their studios, and the bit on Zeller is especially illuminating.
On a personal note, one of the biggest kicks of the opening night festivities was getting to meet one of the owners of one of my favorite bars in the city.