Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Few Install Shots of The Painting Center

I hung my show Refrigerator Paintings at The Painting Center in Chelsea yesterday.  It went better than expected.  Someone with a strange (read: bad) abstract spatial sense like me sometimes can really mess up visualizing a space and scale of things.  But I think I brought the right work and it hung well together.  This work plays much more with value and low saturation than some of my other work so the color didn't fight as much.

The show is all paintings with the subject of the refrigerator as a jumping off point (with a microwave and oven thrown in for good measure).  I don't know why I started with this subject but once I did I found it touches on so many of the things I like to challenge in my work.   


These are intimate spaces but they are also isolated and matter of fact.  They are like stages for still life, objects stacking and overlapping in fortuitous ways.  These are spaces where the sense of light is dramatic, especially in value.  They are spaces where the point of view can be surprising.  Compositionally there are deep spaces and occlusions of that space in the shape of a door or shelf.

In one piece, Fridge Closing, (I don't have a close up image of that one installed) I had painted an entire composition of food stacked to the ceiling, like it would  be before a party.  It was too crowded and flat and I didn't know what to do.  And then I thought, I'll zoom out and put the door on top of the stuff.  Knowing that it was all in there behind the door was pretty freaking satisfying.

Then I read this snippet from Guston interviews:  "...then I just covered it up with a brick wall.  It felt good.  So in my mind, everything's behind the brick wall."  He does everything first.  But I still felt good knowing I got there too.

The other thing that feels unexpectedly good about the show is how the space mimics the idea of a refrigerator.  The project space is very narrow and feels like you must enter into a compressed area.  That was the reason I felt the show needed a tight relationship in terms of subject.  But the space adds to that impression and my content I think.

The last thing I was able to do because I have control of the curation, is show my paper mache sculptures.  I have made these off and on since graduate school but I never show them and never intended to.  There is one wall in the space which has a door on it, and is hard to get any distance from, and I thought-- I don't want to put any paintings there.  Then in my studio one day making the sculptures for no obvious reason but enjoyment I thought, hmm, these sculptures might be just related enough and more playful, sort of like characters from the paintings.  I expanded on them and made one shelf Things I Crave, Pregnant and the other Things I Can't Have, Pregnant.  

These are the only things I think non-pregnant people want to know about pregnancy.  They want the middle of the night pickle peanut butter story which I don't have (and question its origin haha).  But food is definitely on the mind at nearly 9 months pregnant and for me pop tarts, banana cream pie and spaghetti are the top.  I also think pregnancy feels taboo as a painter.  It seems like some people expect you will stop painting (what?) and is a physical reminder of being a woman in a man's profession.  So I  wanted to put it out there loudly and continue to allow my work to touch on my life in whatever way that seems to crop up.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Baby DIYs

I'm having a baby boy in February.  It's getting exciting.  I'm going to continue teaching and painting but I know things will change.  Working hard to get ready for two shows and a residency in Ireland in May, which Alex and baby will come along for.  In the midst of these things I'm trying to get ready for baby in reading books and getting his room ready.  

Being a painter and person who cares about the color, shape and surface of things I feel like there are two main roads to go down.  The loud fisher price plastic neon road or the million dollar faux amish hipster road.  Feels a lot like wedding planning: small budget, specific taste.

I've decided less is more, especially since we will have so little stuff in Ireland.  I'm keeping it simple and trying to put care into a couple special things.  One is an old lamp from when I was a kid that I repainted.

Freshly Painted...

The other thing I did is make an 'activity gym'.  This is something you see on Etsy and Pottery Barn and wherever else for over $100.  When I saw one in person I realized I can make this with leftover wood from making frames.   Its very simple.  So it only ended up costing the price of the dowel, something like $5.  Then I can buy or make some cute toys to attach.

left: Land of Nod $30(handy like mom, not dad haha) right: Ukranian Etsy Shop LanaCrocheting $20

Monday, December 19, 2016

Winter Gallery Guide

Another semester wrapped up, another gallery guide list for students over break. I hope some of them will use it but always feel better when I post it here too in hopes that more people will use it well..

Winter Gallery Guide Painting Shows of Note
**Check the holiday hours, some galleries are closed the week between xmas and new years

Left: Max Beckmann, Sculpture Studio, 1950  Right: Nell Blaine, Still Life with Daisies #1, 1959

NYC Uptown (near the MET and Central Park)
Kerry James Marshall at @ the MET BREUER through 1/29 – 945 Madison Ave (@75th)
Agnes Martin Retrospective @the Guggenheim through 1/11 – 1071 5th Ave (@89th st)
Max Beckmann @ the MET through 2/20 – 1000 5th Ave (@82nd st)

NYC Midtown (near MOMA)
Francis Picabia @ MOMA through 3/19 – 11 w 53rd st
Israel Hershberg @Marlborough Midtown through 12/30 – 40 w 57th st
Nell Blaine @ Tibor de Nagy through 1/28 – 724 5th Ave

NYC Chelsea/Downtown (near the Whitney, High Line)
Joan Mitchell @ Cheim and Read through 12/31 – 547 w 25th st
Mark Rothko @ Pace through 1/7 – 510 w 25th st
Philip Guston @ Hauser and Wirth through1/14– 548 w 22nd st
Carmen Herrera @ The Whitney through 1/9 -- 99 Gansevoort Street


Left: Philip Guston, Untitled, 1971           Right: Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1964

Giorgio de Chirico@ Center for Italian Modern Art through 6/24 – 421 Broome St (Soho)
Stanley Lewis @ Betty Cunningham through 12/22 – 15 Rivington St
Group Exhibition @ Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects through 12/31 – 208 Forsyth St


left: Ashley Wick, To get rid of the line of influence..., 2016, Painted animation (duration: 2:30 minutes), papier mâché, mixed media

right: Emilia Brintnall, Caracol, 2016, Papier-mâché sculpture painted with flashe, 42 x 44 x 21 inches, (collaboration with Jayson Musson)
(artists in the group show at Fleisher-Ollman, Philadelphia)

Group Show and Jennifer Bartlett @ Locks Gallery through 1/6 – 600 Washington Square
Bill Scott @ Cerulean Arts 1355 Ridge Ave  through 12/24
Jane Piper @ Schmidt Dean through 1/21 – 1719 Chestnut st
Hollis Heichemer and a figurative group show at Gross Mccleaf through 12/23 – 127 s 16th (at sansom)
Mexican Modernism @ Phila Museum through 1/8

Group Show, figurative and pafa alums @ Fleisher Ollman through 1/28– 1216 Arch St 5th floor

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Refrigerator Paintings at The Painting Center's Project Space

I'm showing a series of small paintings and objects in The Painting Center's Project Space this January.  I would love to see you there!  The opening is Thursday the 5th.  The main space is showing the work of Patricia Spergel and Sarah Lutz, two abstract painters I really admire and thank for inviting me in for this opportunity.  Here is a link to their show: 

The space is located in Chelsea, at 547 w 27th st, on the 5th floor.  If you would like a postcard or to be on my email list let me know...I have a stack of cards about 6 inches tall so don't be shy! aubreylevinthal@gmail.com

Here is a link to some of the paintings I am showing and a statement on the series: http://thepaintingcenter.org/exhibitions/aubrey-levinthal-refrigerator-paintings

Hope to see friends there post holiday madness.  I'll grab some installation shots and post them here once the show is up.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Images from Lois Dodd at Swarthmore College

Alex and I recently went over to Swarthmore College to see the show Windows and Reflections, a solo show of Lois Dodd's work.  List Gallery has such a strong line up of shows, they never disappoint.  Here are a few images of some of my favorite works from the show.  They span about 40 years of her career and as usual should be seen in person for the full experience.  The show is up through December 15th and the campus is beautiful in the fall.

          detail of image at left

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Miserably Timely 114 Year Old Film "A Trip to the Moon"

In trying to dig myself out of the heavy depression that set on since Tuesday November 8th election, I decided the best course of action was two part.  The first is to voice resistance, agitate, petition and donate.  The second is a more self-preserving action; to witness more exquisite human creation, stay in touch with human empathy through art.  In the last few days I went to see Lois Dodd's show at Swarthmore College, a concert at a local venue Boot and Saddle, started back on reading On Beauty by Zadie Smith, all in all feeling better about being a human being.  

It gave me the momentum to deny myself more wallowing in nytimes, cnn etc and seek out a film instead.  I found this short little film on Netflix called "A Trip to the Moon", it was produced in 1902 and each frame is hand painted.  And as beautiful as some of the sets are, I have been haunted by this thing.  It's awful in its message and exacting in its relevance.

The premise is this group of explorers take a rocket to the moon.  Of course, only men can actually go in the ship, the women just wear the same strange outfits to assist them into the rocket and send it off into space, (sick of women getting no credit for these menial tasks.)  

 When the group gets to the moon, which is illustrated as a blinding ketchup bottle to the eye (ominous of the mucking up humans are about to do) they find alien life there.

These inhabitants of their own planet curiously look on at the newcomers and do little dances on a log.  Which prompts the group of Rocket Men to start detonating puffs of pink and green gas from their umbrellas to kill the inhabitants.

Somehow they are invited into the capital, brought by the inhabitants.  The Rocket Men pretend to look around innocently and then as the king is welcoming them, the leader goes up, grabs him and smashes him into the ground in a puff of gas.  

The group goes back to Earth to celebrate in a town gathering where a statue depicting the Rocket Man with his foot crushing the moon's head is erected to commemorate what they have done.  

Fuck.  It's 1902 in America.