SO worth the trip! Eric Aho’s show, Guide

My life can get rolling in so many different directions sometimes. Helping our daughter move and settle in to a new city, + major home renovations which equals moving within your own home, + excitement about the beginnings of two new series in my studio….but sometimes I have to press pause and just not miss something that my heart knows is important. Stopping it all and flying to NYC to see Eric Aho’s newest series of paintings, Guide, at DC Moore.

My daughter Aneka was inspired to travel with me—in addition to being someone who loves looking at art, she’s on her own personal quest as she’s been busy creating an amazing menu of craft cocktails for a new restaurant, Machine, she’s helping to open in Chicago. What could be better? Art + Cocktails + NYC.

We worked our way up to the Aho exhibit. We only had one weekend and of course there’s always so much to see (and taste on this trip too).

Aneka, Rebecca Allan and me

We got to see a beautiful exhibit by friends Rebecca Allan and Richard Kooyman, Dislocation/Reclamation at North of History, and got to meet up with Rebecca! Rebecca’s exquisite botanical drawings are juxtaposed with her abstract landscapes where the plants are typically found. Richard is showing portraits of women retrieved from their “absence” in Classical Western art. We loved the connection between all the bodies of work…especially the landscapes and the portraits.

Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint, Paintings for the Future, at the Guggenheim is an absolute must if you can get there. She was creating radically abstract paintings in 1906, way ahead of the pack. We were completely drawn in. The exhibit left us speechless, our minds totally engaged with processing the evolution and transformations that she was describing in this HUGE exhibition. It says something that she specifically held back her work from the world until she thought the world would be ready to receive it. How much of that was because she was a woman creating radically different work…

Elise Ansel

Elise Ansel

Elise Ansel’s new work, Time Present, at Danese Corey stopped Aneka and I both in our tracks. Luscious paint, applied in huge strokes described abstracted representations of historical masterpieces. They absolutely glowed. The show is up until Dec 20th, and it’s beyond worth the visit.

 

We also loved a show of new work by Annie Lapin, The Art of Heads and Hands, at Miles McEnery Gallery. Layer and layers of intention and accident resolved and unresolved, giving my eyes ages of time and space to be lost and found.

Annie Lapin

We checked out a series of altered photographs by Hew Locke, Patriots, at PPOW. The photographs of contentious statues are richly decorated with shiny metallic objects, coins, totems, chains, gold mesh, etc. Locke envisions the opportunity for various ethnic groups to express their relationship to these statues/figures through an elaborate ‘costuming’ ritual. Much to unpack in this powerful exhibit….

Then, the Aho exhibit! The paintings create an environment instantly upon walking in the door of the gallery. So expansive, they breathe and pull you right into rhythm. Towering trees reference a huge space, yet the lake, river, meadow in the foreground is intimate. The paintings are so honest and direct and real. The space they describe is both absolute and direct but also magical at the same time – so much the way that we can feel when we are confronted with the overwhelming beauty (and simplicity) of nature. Some of the paintings pulled me in to a place of quiet and calm; subdued colors, nestled together shapes. Others are so brilliant and shiny! Light dashing through shade, a huge waterfall crashing through the forest. Absolutely magnificent. The show is only up through the end of November, but there is an excellent catalog available through the gallery with an essay by Peter Heller, Thoughts While Listening to Eric Aho’s Latest Paintings. Heller puts so perfectly into words both how I felt while looking at Aho’s work and how I often feel while being outdoors myself. Eric Aho, Guide.

Eric Aho

Eric Aho

We saw a two linked exhibits by Lisa Yuskavage at David Zwirner. Babie Brood: Small Paintings 1985-2018 is a huge retrospective of very small, intimate, delicate, beautiful, erotic, high vs low, sacred vs profane and we loved it. We then buzzed up to her show up town, ‘New Paintings’. This townhouse location, by contrast, contained an intimate show of large paintings, mostly of couples. Many of the studies for the larger paintings we had seen in the first exhibit, it was fascinating to see the characters fully realized in these gorgeous large canvases.

Lisa Yuskavage

And of course we visited so many amazing cocktail bars! Existing Conditions (my fav cocktail of the weekend was there, ‘Barry Huffman’: Genever, Rum, Benedictine, Green Chartreuse. Acid-Adjusted Lemon Cordial), Mother of Pearl, Death&Co, Fresh Kills, Dead Rabbit, Maison Premier, Amor y Amargo (maybe it was my favorite)…thanks to Aneka for the amazing flavor tour!