Shannon Cartier Lucie
Until November 14. Lubov, 5 East Broadway, Ste. 402, Manhattan. 347-496-5833; lubov.nyc.
When Nashville-born artist Shannon Cartier Lucy, who had previously had success with a conceptual practice, reappeared last year after a decade of absence from the art world, it was with a crisp, realistic style. . This exhibition is his second in Lubov, a small gallery in a worn out walk-up in Chinatown whose office remains make it look like previous tenants have fled in the middle of the night. The frame adds to the transparency quality of Lucy’s paintings.
Bright scenes of unease – a girl eating with too large cutlery and uncomfortably; a nurse inspecting a dose of blueberries, her face veiled behind a canvas; a self-portrait of the artist after falling face first, somehow still sitting in a dining chair – suggests reanimated trauma in new forms. A vague fear is softened by a delicate palette, like a hot bath taken during a session. The obliquity is presented as obvious, as in “A New Pack”, four pairs of white cotton briefs spread out with obsessive precision on a threadbare carpet. “After a great pain, a formal feeling comes” from Emily Dickinson would be an appropriate accompaniment (“The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs -”).
A claustrophobic air fills the frames, as in “Loblolly Pine,” a pine cone suspended in a drinking glass whose mouth is sealed by someone’s palm, both suffocation and divination. All the images here take place in a domestic setting, and their action comes up against the oppression of their interior walls. The clarity of Lucy’s imagery is clouded by an emotional obscurity which may be interpreted as elusive or difficult to analyze, but neither are the day-to-day affairs of life and its meaning.
Until November 13. Karma, 188 and 172 East Second Street, Manhattan. 212-390-8290, karmakarma.org.
Tehran-born painter Manoucher Yektai came to New York in 1945 and had his first solo exhibition at the Grace Borgenicht Gallery in the early 1950s. With the exception of a few extended stays in Paris, he remained here, painting, until his death at the age of 97 in 2019. A large study of his oils in Karma, in the East Village, includes paintings just after this first solo exhibition. until 2002, and throughout you can watch him wrestle with the still life. Taking up elements of abstract expressionism without ever completely letting go of the representation, he simplifies, exaggerates and twists the fruits and flowers almost to the point of breaking. An untitled play from around 1961 first struck me like a cartoon fairy snowball fight, with multicolored circles and force lines zigzagging in all directions.
He also applies paint so thick that it casts shadows, further upsetting your sense of scale. In his 1976 “Still Life with Cantaloupe”, a white vase with blue contours is placed on a bloody pink table, against a beige curtain, supporting a group of large green lines. In a nearby bowl are a dozen fruits with colors as vivid and distinct as Crayola pencils. The impasto in this extreme usually comes with a sort of sensuality, but in this case the overall effect is distinctly dry. Yektai left sections of blank canvas on either side of her figure, and even the painting itself, unvarnished and vigorously scraped across the surface, looks oddly ascetic.
Until December 18. Cristin Tierney Gallery, 219 Bowery, second floor, Manhattan; (212) 594-0550, cristintierney.com.
Over the course of two days in November 2019, hundreds of blacks marched 24 miles from LaPlace to New Orleans for freedom. They weren’t protesting – or maybe they were, in a way, participants in a socially engaged performance piece of art called “Slave Rebellion Reenactment.” Designed by artist Dread Scott, the play was a recreation of the German Coast Uprising of 1811, a revolt of hundreds of slaves in the territory of Orleans (now Louisiana). It was the biggest slave uprising in US history, but many Americans don’t know about it. With his ambitious work, Scott – who uses art to stage confrontations with the realities of injustice – attempted to reclaim it.
“Slave Rebellion Reenactment” debuts in the gallery as an exhibition titled after one of the protesters’ chants: “We are going to end slavery. Join us! ”The show is too small to properly represent such a formidable project, but the six full-scale photographs and three hand-made flags offer a glimpse into the power of the performance. We see black actors in costumes. period move with passionate determination. Such images of black resistance and liberation seem to fill a historical gap, as a type of image too rarely shown in public. Yet in some photos the march takes place in a modern context of highways and oil refineries – pieces of infrastructure often constructed expressly to harm communities of color and perpetuate racism. They are a stark reminder that even if slavery has ended, it will take much more work and imagination to dismantle its legacy.