And last, but certainly not least on our crawl was Ryan Schneider’s show “Send Me Through” at Priska Juschka Fine Art.  Much
of what I have been getting at was well stated in the gallery’s press release which speaks of “his method of leaving out the
superficially conclusive to favor the inclusion of the unspoken, the unconscious and the unknown.  By carving, scratching or
flattening paint and picture plane, Schneider leads the way to a painting’s inner life, to its seductiveness or its uncanny implications--
creating an aura of possessive enamoredness with his work.”  Again, we are confronted with very bright paint, almost hot pink,
vibrant greens, deep and bright blues that makes me think more of a child’s palette than of color theory.  There is also an apparent
conscious naivete that makes me think of Grandma Moses, as in his painting “I’m All Around You Now” (2009) and “Send Me
Through” (2009).  But it is clear that this is Schneider’s own style and I believe conceived of his own volition and not of the external
factors of the recent painting trends.  He is having fun, he is painting, and I as a viewer am enjoying.  Isn’t that what art is about?

Ryan Schneider: Send Me Through
January 14-February 20, 2010
Priska Juschka Fine Art
547 W. 27th Street, 2nd Floor

As an end-note, one thing, if nothing else, that ties these three painters together--other than their passion for the material and
process above all else whilst still figurative to varying degrees--is that they are all “younger than Jesus.”  So I suspect we will be
seeing much more of them, and I look forward to watching their development.  Paint away!

And if by chance this genre of painting is not to your liking, a great show to balance these off is “Stripped, Tied and Raw” at
Marianne Boesky Gallery.  This group show presents the works of Jorge Eielson, Donald Moffett, David Noonan, Steven Parrino and
Salvatore Scarpitta. “From the 1950's to the present these artists have stripped, ripped, twisted, draped, stretched and stitched the
canvas to create works that push the definition of painting,” (press release).   

Stripped, Tied And Raw
January 14-February 13, 2010
Marianne Boesky Gallery
509 W. 24th Street
The New York Optimist
You Tube
Digg It
January 6th & 7th, Chelsea,
January 8th Williamsburg  and
January 14th Chelsea Art Crawl 2010
By Stephan Fowlkes
I’m back!  After an interesting Fall in the Chelsea art world where I chose to sit back and absorb the dramatic transitions largely spurned by the
economic situation, it is time to welcome the new year and decade, time to look forward with great optimism.  If nothing else, the art world actually
thrives on change, whether induced internally or by external factors, and last season certainly brought about quite a bit of change, but I shall not
dwell on the past, but instead focus on the present and what’s to come...
The New Art Year is here, and with it comes a new perspective, a new approach, a freshness that has been amply and abundantly present and
visible in the openings of the past couple weeks.  Last year put the flow and evolution of trends into a state of chaos, as the art world reacted and
responded to the economic down-turn, with galleries--in my opinion--playing it safe, hawking the wares they deemed most “sellable,” turning back
to tied and true established work, a lot of photography, and with much less risk-taking.  Personally I see this as a good thing, as I feel the prior
trend was to push boundaries as much as possible, regardless of the quality of work, and don’t get me wrong, I am all for the new, the different,
and the pushing of boundaries...just not for the sake of pushing.  Art has always evolved, but to seek the new simply for its own sake, regardless
of quality and content is going too far.  A pile of garbage is still a pile of garbage, even if it is in a gallery or museum.  I feel we’ve already visited
that, and pushed it, but really, do we need to beat that dead horse over and over, and then think, “Brilliant!  I will show that dead
ART!”  That direction was pushed beyond reason, and thank goodness, the economy finally was the one to pull in the reigns.
The academic, art-babble, over-intellectualized MFA-driven way of making and looking at art  has swung to its logical pendulumic extreme and
inevitably has to swing in another direction.  I am thrilled to announce that this year has already presented me with a long overdue breath of fresh
air and art.  I feel the galleries have seen their opportunity to take the reigns over and redirect, redefine the direction that the evolution of art will
take, and I am delighted to see the direction they are taking seems to give more credit to the artists and their the artistic process
and the creative mind, no longer bogged down by pure intellect and “content.”  It is time for the artists to have fun again, to bask in their process,
to love the materials for their own sake again: to paint for the sake of painting, to get dirty, to play and push paint around with the purity and
innocence of a child, but with the love of said material that comes from years of intimacy with it.  Go ahead, make a mess, but not because it fits
nicely into the historical context, but because you want to!
One thing that fortunately has not changed are the crowds at the openings: the fun, colorful, eclectic, at times predictable, yet always
unpredictable and ever-changing masses.  The blue-chip galleries have been packed wall-to-wall but that is understandable, when showing icons
such as Patti Smith and Steven Sebring, William Eggleston and Diane Arbus.  Matthew Marks Gallery and Cheim & Read were literally packed like
a sardine can, with barely enough room for you to get your drink to your lips (though believe it or not, Patti’s opening was dry).  Groupies, artists--
both starving and established, critics, collectors all came flooding in to herald the new year and it was clear, especially at Patti’s show that the
spectacle was as much about the crowd as it was about the work, at least at the opening.  At Cheim & Read, it was so crowded that it was very
difficult to simply circumnavigate the room to look at the photographs on the walls.  Arbus’ works are all from the ‘60s focusing on interiors and
artificial landscapes void of subjects, titled “In the Absence of Others.”  Eggleston’s “21st Century” is all new work, yet there seems to be an
aesthetic thread connecting the two artists’ work.  Patti and Steven collaborated, bring Patti’s personal objects and Steven’s photographs of said
objects such as a childhood dress, a knight’s helmet, her Land 250 Polaroid camera together; there were collaborative collages, some beautiful
intimate drawings by Patti of a crucifix intertwined with loose-lined figures.  The crucifix was traced from a granite crucifix displayed elsewhere in
the show.  Also there were more elaborate installations combining video and objects, as well as some of her paintings, including “Strange
Messenger,” her largest painting to date.  All in all, the show presented a beautiful autobiographical portrait of the musician, performer, artist.
Patti Smith and Steven Sebring:
Objects of Life
January 6-February 6, 2010
Robert Miller Gallery
524 W. 26th Street
Stephan Fowlkes with Patti Smith @
Robert Miller Gallery
Steven Sebring
Archival Pigment Print, ed. 1/3
40 x 32 inches . 101.6 x 81.2
Arts Editor
"Stephan Fowlkes"
Diane Arbus: In the Absence of Others
William Eggleston: 21st Century
January 7-13 February, 2010
Cheim & Read
547 W. 25th Street
The next night was in Brooklyn, for  Williamsburg’s Second Fridays with all the galleries having their openings and staying
open late.  being a resident of the neighborhood for 10 of the past 15 years, I have had the luxury of watching the gallery scene
more-or-less be born, grow through its adolescence with bigger-than-its-britches attitude--often overshadowing the quality of the
work, and finally mature into a youthful, edgy and self-confident adulthood.  For a long time it seemed the galleries had a chip on
their shoulders about not being in Chelsea though all gallerists would argue that is not the case, that they have been their own
entity, but really, I feel that until recently, it truly felt like the Salon des Refusees--those artists who couldn’t get into Chelsea.  
Finally this tide has turned, and how!  I was blown away by quite a lot of the work  
I came upon as I mingled with the predominantly hipster crowd, most younger than myself.  But the interest is there, and so is the
passion.  The galleries have managed to avoid the stuffiness apparent in Chelsea, the attitude.  There is a friendliness, where
gallerists and artists alike are willing, eager even to chat and mingle with all, not just the potential collectors or critics.  However,
this in no way reflects on the calibre of the art being presented.  There is definitely a different aesthetic sensibility, but in no way
inferior to Chelsea.  It was a beautiful thing to behold.  Instead of W’burg being a stepping stone to Chelsea, it felt as if soon more
Chelsea artists will choose to come over the bridge or through the tunnel to the ‘Burg.
Mark Masyga
Untitled  03.02.09 (oil on paper 10 x 8'
One of my favorite encounters of the evening was the work of Mark Masyga: photo, sculpture, AND paintings in the group show
appropriately named “In Williamsburg” at the Fleetwing Gallery.  His meticulous attention to detail, process and craftsmanship
was supremely evident in his intimate, maquette-sized sculptures made of wooden coffee stirrers (yay for using common,
everyday objects so effectively!) and plaster loosely creating architectural ruins or frozen explosions of building materials.  The
craftsmanship was impeccable, yet did not over-ride the objects themselves.  If they were maquettes, they would directly
translate to 1x4 planks beautifully, though the intimacy of the scale is part of what makes them so appealing.  His paintings are
equally meticulously executed and manage to convey a similar sensibility even through such a different approach.  their
diminutive scale draws the viewer to wonder at the control of minute brushes, with a precision that almost looks digitally

In Williamsburg
January 8-March 7, 2010
Fleetwing Gallery
111 Grand Street
For a decidedly anti-Chelsea feel, Cinders Gallery presents a salon-style show in an old store-front gallery space, with a
wide range of work floor to ceiling. Though some of the work seemed young and decidedly anti-high art, there were a few
stand-outs including the work of Leif Parsons and Eli Lehrhoff.
Know New York
January8-February 7, 2010
Cinders Gallery
103 Havemeyer Street
For stunning photography, we
found ourselves at the Front Room
 The show was a series of
large scale photographs of the
aftermath of the CA wildfires.  The
show was beautifully curated and the
photographs beautifully mounted and
presented.  In the past, I would have
said, “I could see these in a Chelsea
gallery,” but now am proud to say, yes,
this is my Williamsburg!

Sasha Bezzubov: Wildfire
January 8-February 14, 2010
Front Room Gallery
147 Roebling Street
One more show to not miss while in the ‘hood is Vector/vector.  Sculptural paintings or painterly sculptures elegantly fill the
walls.  These aluminum and canvas and silver and canvas wall hangings are the result of collaboration between sisters Ruth
Avra and Dana Lynn Kleinman, known collectively as KX2.  There is a purity and clean formal, geometry to these modular works,
ranging from 2 to 9 elements per work.  The whole comes across as very “clean” in the best formal sense, and the juxtaposition
and simultaneous integration of the two very different surfaces goes beyond the parameters of either and creates a new
synergy.  These sisters dialogue and collaborate in a tight, succinct visual language of their own making.  Plus, I am a sucker for
clean geometry and impeccable craftsmanship!

KX2: Vector/vector
December 10, 2009-January 30, 2010
Causey Contemporary
293 Grand Street
But now it is time for me to get back to what I was saying about a certain newness and freshness I sensed most
evidently last night in Chelsea.  In just one word I would describe the trend as “FUN!”  These three shows in particular caught my
attention and delight and I walked away with a whole renewed faith and excitement about the art scene.  What I saw was a group
of painters who truly and clearly are having fun in their studios and with their medium.  Yes, some of the subject-matter may be
serious, but the approach, technique and application of paint is fresh, immediate, even playful, and it once again seems to be as
much about the process of painting for painting’s sake and the enjoyment of the process and technique and material as it is
about any underlying message that may exist.  The work comes more out of the body--the gesture--than the intellect.  The
emotion lies more in the act than in the content, or at least I did not have to read the whole press release to enjoy the work.  
They were immensely pleasurable on the most basic level...visually, aesthetically.  I was taken in by them and I smiled.  Here was
no profound Lacan or Barthes infused speudo-intellectualism overshadowing the work.  I looked at and saw...paintings!  I know
this may sound silly, but I have for a long while seen a lot of painting about painting, but stuck in too cerebral a mode where it
took itself too seriously within the historical context of painting, and what painting is supposed to mean and be.  These are much
rawer, stripped of all that pretext...they are but paintings, but in the most exquisite of ways.  Fresh, bold, colorful, immediate,
passionate, in-your-face paint...heavily applied, dripping, PAINT!  It was so refreshingly sublime.
This euphoria and delight started immediately at Zieher Smith with Eddie Martinez’s large canvases.  In a very coherent, fluid and
smooth, if not frantic and immediate style, Martinez paints figures and situations with the freedom of a child’s imagination.  
Floating somewhere in the current of past greats such as Basquiat and Guston, Martinez has a particular signature style he has
developed which is apparent on his large canvasses, his dry points, carbon transfers, drawings and collage, and this works
equally well on both large and small scales.  And though one can make reference to the past, this is clearly his own work,
disentangled from any past.  One of his signature themes seems to be the table top, serving both a subject within a work, but
also framing a smaller work within a work.  For example, in “The Grass Is Never Greener” (2009), four figures are seated at a
poker table of sorts, but the table alone, filled with loose imagery of bottles, dice, cards, chips and such could easily stand as a
successful, complete work on its own, filled with a symbolic vocabulary.  The four figures in no way detract, but in fact enhance
the composition.  There is even an empty chair, possibly for the viewer to join in?  This is echoed in a couple of his mixed media
on paper works where the table top itself in fact becomes the sole subject of the works.  The looseness of line and playfulness of
style shows clearly the enjoyment Martinez is experiencing in the act of painting and drawing.  This show alone reminded me and
reinforced my very reasons for having always wanted to become an artist in the first place.  Only his two monochromes did I feel
were a bit out of place and possibly contrived, but that is probably just my cynical self talking, especially since I am sure he had
just as much fin in their creation.  It is just that he plays so beautifully with color that it is hard to appreciate the lack thereof in his
two “White Caulk Paintings.”  I just wish I could put into words the sensory and visual  impact this show had on me, free of all
intellectual over-thought and art-speak.

Eddie Martinez
January 14-February 13, 2010
Zieher Smith
516 W. 20th Street
But this was not the exception to the rule, fortunately!  Many of my sentiments form Martinez’s show carried over to Stephanie
Gutheil’s show “Kopftheater” at Mike Weiss Gallery.  Her large-scale paintings literally ooze with paint built up so heavily in some
cases as to be sculptural or bas-reliefs.  Her monsters seem to spring forth from a primordial ooze or to be that ooze itself--or the
paint.  She renders figures, animals and monsters in abstract, often crowded landscapes or interiors, apparently with reference to
past greats such as Brueghel and Bosch.  Whether there is a sense of Purgatorial waiting and listlessness as in “Der Neuling”
(2009) or chaotic madness and danger as in the title work “Kopftheater” (2009) or of death and dismay as in “Berg II” (2009),
Gutheil manages to evoke these atmospheres through the use of both very bright or somber color palettes with equal success.  
They are like full meals, fulfilling all my aesthetic needs, heavy on the paint, with a good side of collaged elements from aluminum
foils to floral patterned fabrics.  Clearly the paintings tell or reference some story, but even in ignorance of these stories, the works
are complete compositions, well balanced and fulfilling.  Yum!

Stephanie Gutheil: Koptheater
January 14-February 20, 2010
Mike Weiss Gallery
520 W. 24th Street