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Marcin Roncancio.

I recently went to the Chelsea Galleries on my own. I was looking forward in particular to New Materials, and a couple of other galleries I had scribbled down directions for. Walking around the neighborhood however got me too interested in other galleries and I went into more than a few on a whim. The first was Stricoff Fine Art on 25th and Eleventh Ave. Looking back on the entire afternoon my favorite had to have been this one gallery. The paintings were absolutely brilliantly executed, and the other oddities the gallery housed made it a great first stop into Chelsea.

Favorite: Joshua Bronaugh “Cassatt” The painstaking attention to detail in the middle that drifts off towards the edges gives the painting an ambiguous and dreamlike quality that contrasts with the parts of the painting that almost seem like a photograph.

Favorite: David Kessler Twilight Echo II (acrylic on aluminum). The metallic elements of this painting add a quality I’ve never seen before. The effect this artist is able to create in his painting works perfectly with his subject of quiet pools lending them an incredibly vivid feel.

I kept walking after that one, still looking for 520 24th Street when austere black and white paintings caught my fancy as I walked past the gallery Hasted Kraeutler. The strong rigid lines reminded me of a technical drawing class I had taken in high school. It was my favorite class at the time and this exhibition managed to bring me back to that time.

I walked out and went a little farther before entering Andrea Rosen’s gallery. What interested me was the second gallery, which is apparently used an “an inspiring and liberating arena to show a large range of selected one-time exhibitions”. I could barely make heads or tails of the paintings of Jose Lerma’s “I am Sorry I am Perry” as I walked in, and then upon seeing one painting, which rested against the wall where the entrance was, I began to make sense of the exhibit. The painting I mentioned resembled a nickel to me, or perhaps another denomination of a coin. After making that connection, the rest of the paintings suddenly seemed to resemble figures from American history. Two paintings that seemed meaningless before grew into faces before my eyes. The large painting resting on two keyboards seemed to retain some measure of coherency where there was none before. Though I exited reflecting that the paintings continued to be utter tripe, I marvel at the effect of a single detail to change one’s perspective on a range of things.

Leaving that gallery, I looked across the street. There was 520! At last, I had found Kim Dorland’s exhibit, which I had been looking forward to after hearing the praise of the others for it. However, after the lovely paintings in the various other galleries I had seen that day, Dorland’s New Materials seemed terrifyingly hideous. I can only allow that I found the use of paint and other materials to be interesting; subject matter and the end result of his paintings are another matter entirely. I continue to consider art to be defined in part as a thing of beauty, and in that respect Dorland’s work misses the mark.

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