“Sueellen Rocca: Bare Shouldered Beauty, Works from 1965 to 1969” at Matthew Marks Gallery is an astute look at the work of an important Chicago-based artist of the 1960’s who managed to make her distinct mark away from the male-dominated arts scene of New York. Resolutely representational, Rocca developed her own pictorial vocabulary of everyday objects and phenomenon and set them onto a map that neither castigated nor deified the role of women and mothers in the 1960s. The show probably takes its name from Rocca’s large-scale painting “Chocolate Chip Cookie” (pictured) from 1965 where a bare shouldered woman reigns over a surreal landscape dotted with rings, children, household objects, food, and clothing in a field of purple and raw canvas – a brilliant rendering of Rocca’s delicate balancing act at the time as a wife, artist and mother of two small children. Through October 22.

Lynda Benglis continues to surprise. In her new exhibition at Cheim & Reid, the venerable artist presents a new set of sculpture where the starting point is a skeleton of chicken wire which she expertly drapes with brilliantly colored hand-made paper into vaguely sexual amorphic shapes that appear both playful and poetic. Without question, Benglis’ work has mellowed out vis-a-vis her earlier radical feminist beginnings. But what has been lost in shock value has been gained in arresting intensity. Perpetually inventive with new materials, shapes and ideas, never conceited, and always true to her feminist roots, Benglis continues to inspire other much younger artists and remains one of America’s most significant living female artists. Through October 22.

It’s hard to put a time stamp onto Jonathan Gardner’s ladies at leisure. They occupy flat interiors that reference Matisse, their expressionless faces remind of Fernand Leger, their improbable body proportions and distorted limbs come via Surrealism, and yet there is something oddly contemporary about them. Neither hair styles, clothes nor their languid presence give a hint. The answer lies in Gardner’s expertly balanced background compositions. His innovative use of patterns and fresh use of color place these women squarely into the present. Ultimately, they could easily be latte-sipping uber-hipsters having a day off from their punishing twenty-four-hour tech jobs. At Casey Kaplan through October 22.

Fuzzy Logic is a technological problem solving approach and works much the same way that humans tackle problems: by considering all available information and making the best possible decision given the input. It is used in a variety of ways from household objects to stock market predictions, from cars to pacemakers or modern cyborgs. Turkish artist Hayal Pozanti has made the merger of technology and humanity the anchor of her practice. In her new show at Rachel Uffner, Pozanti presents a set of sunshade paintings that merge the emotive art of mark making with a subject matter of matching computer parts with emotions, as in for example, “10 Neurochips 8 Chuckles”. In Pozanti’s work technology and humanity are on equal footing, working side by side in an ideal partnership for the betterment of humanity. What could possibly go wrong? Through October 23.

There is something very domestic about Jonas Wood’s practice. Whether it is his subject matter of interiors, lush greenery and family members or his unaffected flattened cut out painting style, Wood’s sense of color and layering of patterns recalls Henry Matisse who once remarked that painting should have “a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair”. A new body of work currently on view at Anton Kern of mostly portraits of his friends and family members and their pets brackets this statement beautifully. Through October 22.

A novel kind of social interaction experiment between viewer, artwork and artist is being tested at Dominique Levy Gallery in New York. Brazilian-born artist Karin Schneider introduces the exhibition through a “Situational Diagram” based on several constructive principles such as Negation as in Ad Reinhardt’s black paintings, Extraction as in Henry Matisse’s cutouts, or Splitting as in Barnett Newman’s zip paintings. Visitors are asked to linger to perceive the various ways in which the configuration of the works negotiate formal, moral and aesthetic concerns. Collectors need to take a leap of faith as the sixteen monochrome paintings on the 2nd floor come with an interesting caveat: the works are subject to alteration by another (unknown) artist at any time after purchase. The show is accompanied by a series of poetry readings and public programs. Through October 20.

Welcome to the gym from hell! Gladstone Gallery is re-visiting Matthew Barney’s break-out exhibition “Facility of Decline” from 1991 with the familiar sexual fetishist exercise equipment cast in polyethylene, petroleum jelly, sucrose, and tapioca. Barney’s critically acclaimed videos “Radical Drill” and “Blind Perenium”, shown on high-mounted small TV-projectors masquerading as surveillance cameras, give a taste of what’s to come in form of his brilliant “Cremaster” series. Two key sculptures of the exhibition “Transsexualis”, housed in a private gym room that looks and feels like a meat locker and “Repressia” a wrestling mat in flesh color, frame this seminal exhibition that examines masculinity, sexual fetishes, gender ambiguousness, the malleability of sculpture and the value of the aesthetic object. Through October 22.

According to Meleko Mokgosi the only way to investigate the history of Southern African liberation movements from Western hegemony is paradoxically via the decidedly complicit Western genre of History Painting. In his view, rather than attack the problem from the outside, it is better to come at it from within. In Comrade II, an exhibition part of a brilliant two gallery show at Jack Shainman, Mokgosi judiciously employs History Painting’s main covenant of truth via images by proving that the truth cannot be investigated by ignoring the perpetrator’s means of representation. Through October 22.

WordPress Image Lightbox Plugin