The Night Gallery and Laura Owens
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When I saw the line up of artists in Made in Space at the Night Gallery through April 15, I was intrigued. Well known contemporary artists Jorge Pardo and Jim Isermann and Liz Larner with veteran talents like Derek Boshier, Marsha Hafif and Peter Shire with talented younger artists like Jedediah Caesar and Vanessa Conte and host of even younger artists who appear to have great potential. Who could pull this off? Artists working as curators, of course. In this case Laura Owens and Peter Harkawik who organized this completely enjoyable show. Identifiable pieces by known artists and unfamiliar pieces by unknown artists are mutually enhanced by playing off one another in this open airy context. The curators' quirky 13-point mission statement mentions the "commingling of purposefulness and aimlessness," which rather sums up the sensibility.
"June 25 2001 (How the Universe Will End)," 2012
"March 6, 1995 (When Did the Universe Begin?)," 2012
(foreground) Joshua Callaghan, "Chicago Snow Chunk 03," 2012
Courtesy Night Gallery
Mungo Thomson's piece embraces the ethos, a pair of giant mirrors silkscreened with the logo of Time magazine and placed opposite each other to create a doppleganger containing the repeated reflection of the viewer.
Jim Isermann, "Untitled," 1987
Courtesy Night Gallery
I was particularly pleased because the Night Gallery is now open during the days. Founded by Davida Nemeroff who later partnered with Mieke Marple, the gallery has moved into a 6,000 square foot space downtown, 2276 East 16th Street, re-purposed up by architect Peter Zellner, who installed a smaller black wood paneled gallery within the gallery to recall the original space.
Laura Owens, "Untitled," 2013
The timing is fortuitous as there is an exhibition of Laura Owens own monumental paintings on view nearby in a 12,000 square foot space, through an arrangement with her New York dealer Gavin Brown Enterprise, at 356 South Mission Road. A dozen 12-foot tall paintings, all untitled and dated 2013, incorporate printed text from old Berkeley Barb newspapers, abstract gestures, thick globs of color, a sailing ship, a cityscape, nods to Matisse and cartoons. Owens approaches painting with a fearless joy and there are no taboos. I don't mean predictable taboos like S&M sex. I mean the taboo of painting a huge canvas with cute kittens. Kittens! Now that is daring stuff.
The woman has guts. See for yourself and make time to browse in Ooga Booga, the art and book boutique that is temporarily housed in her space. For more information, go to nightgallery.com or owenslaura.com. Or pick up the March Artforum. Her work is on the cover and there is an insightful interview conducted by Sarah Lehrer-Grawer.
Banner image: Laura Owens, Untitled, 2013