Buhmann on Art: Paintings Manifest as Portals in ‘The Roaming Eye’

David Rhodes: “Untitled 16.2.17 (1)” (2017; acrylic on canvas; 19.6″ x 15.7″). Image courtesy Shirley Fiterman Art Center.

BY STEPHANIE BUHMANN | Curated in a joint effort by the acclaimed New York-based painters Kathleen Kucka and Jennifer Riley, “The Roaming Eye” brings together an unusual group of artists, aesthetics, and approaches.

Alison Blickle: “Moon Phases” (2017; oil on canvas and ceramics; 87″ x 55″).

Still, despite this obvious eclecticism, they have one thing in common: all of them utilize vision as the dominant sense.

The result is a vivid and surprisingly cohesive exhibition, in which the vocabulary might herald from many sources — such as abstraction, figuration, as well as narrative structures — but in which it is nevertheless fused into a unique, independent language.

“We consume with our eyes and as visual-centric beings we’ve created activities that include image feeds saturated with innumerable pictures of life and art alike,” state the curators, while further pointing to modern technology as an ongoing source of inspiration. “On our devices we scroll — searching for ideas, meaning, inspiration and connection to life. We swipe right for ‘like’ or left for ‘no thanks’ to people and works of art. In this process, images of diverse type and source flow seamlessly in front of our eyes.

Browsing the different paintings on display, which range from stunning black and white paintings by Christopher Deeton and David Rhodes to Shirley Kaneda’s stark juxtaposition of luminously patterned color fields to Russell Robert’s intriguing compositions made of gestural brushwork, one will quickly find inspiration in the manifold ways in which contemporary visual expression can take shape on canvas.

As the exhibition primarily embraces large-scale works by all artists — including Alison Blickle, Davide Cantoni, Kathleen Kucka, Margrit Lewczuk, Judith Linhares, Jennifer Riley, and Marc Andre Robinson — it allows visitors to be enveloped by each unique vision. Here, paintings manifest as portals rather than windows, inviting the audience to step into a purely visual experience.

Through Dec. 9 at the Shirley Fiterman Art Center (81 Barclay St., btw. W. Broadway & Greenwich St.). Hours: Tues.–Sat., 12–6pm. Call 212-776-6237 or visit http://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/sfac/

Christopher Deeton: “Number 236” (2015; acrylic on canvas; 108″ x 80″). Image courtesy Shirley Fiterman Art Center.

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