Wednesday, October 19, 2011


JTF (just the facts): A total of 6 large scale works, unframed and unmatted, and hung in the single room gallery. Five of the works are single image c-prints face-mounted to plexiglas, sized 71x49, in editions of 5+1AP, taken between 2002 and 2011. The sixth work is a group of 5 smaller c-prints face mounted to plexiglas, each 20x14, the suite in editions of 10+2AP, from 2005. (Installation shots at right.) 

Comments/Context: German photographer Roland Fischer takes the idea of abstraction based on architectural forms to its logical end point extreme. Fragments of modern buildings are flattened, tightly cropped, and rendered scale-less (is this an entire facade or a tiny detail?), becoming exercises in colorful geometric patterning. Printed large and given a now familiar glossy object quality, they seem to drift away from the conventional photographic discourse, echoing Mondrian and Richter in their crisp, formal stripes and grids.

This method of abstraction is not, of course, new; we can go back to Barbara Crane and Harry Callahan or look to more contemporary work by Ola Kolehmainen to see this line of thinking being explored or to see echoes of similar pictures. Where I think Fischer has gone further is that in many cases, he has even removed surface depth and texture from the equation, truly paring the forms down to elemental two dimensional shapes; it is often difficult to ground these images in the context of "buildings" or to place them in some kind of recognizable physical reality. The scale of the works confuses this further, as "big" and "small" lose their relational meaning. 
The more Fischer pushes away from typical photographic norms, the more these works drift toward a concrete connection to Hard Edge, Color Field, and Geometric painting and even Op Art; their original underlying photographic truth becomes insignificant, and we are forced to focus on the purity of the forms, regardless of their origin. Yes, these are architectural facades, but in each case, Fischer has sliced off a thin top layer and transformed it into a strict study in color and pattern.

Read full review @ DLK COLLECTION

JOHN CHIARA | PIER 24 Photography | VIDEO: Oakland Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge

Pier 24 Photography is pleased to announce a new series of original artist videos. Each video features a single artist discussing his or her images, ideas and process. Throughout the year, Pier 24 will release additional artist videos about photographers in our exhibitions and from the collection.

Launching the series are two videos produced with photographers John Chiara and Doug Rickard, both featured in our current exhibition, HERE., on view through December 16th.

John Chiara: Oakland Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge
Presented in the exhibition HERE.
Pier 24 Photography / May 23rd - December 16th

John Chiara photographs landscapes in a process that is part photography, part event, and part sculpture - an undertaking in apparatus and patience. Many times this process involves composing pictures from the inside of a large hand-built camera, that is mounted on a flatbed trailer, and produces large scale, one of a kind, positive exposures. Two works investigating the gateways of San Francisco, the Oakland Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge, are included in Pier 24 Photography's recent exhibition, HERE., on view May 23rd - December 16th.


LOWELL BOYERS | PatternPulp Review

New York: What We Long to Know

In an almost alchemical process, artist Lowell Boyers blends acrylic paint, ink, watercolor and resin to create lyrical imagery that hovers between abstraction and figuration. Calling to mind the delicate and fine-lined drawings in Asian art, while embracing a modern freedom of form, Boyers’ works straddles the grace of multiple forms.

With gorgeous swathes and swirls of color interlaced with gravity-defying figures, the works function as portals between the material world and a fluid, dreamlike realm of symphonic hues, bold brushwork and mysterious narrative. Combining skilled draftsmanship with a poetic sense of color and composition, Boyers paints in an intuitive, stream-of-consciousness. His unconventional and captivating use of ink and watercolor on exposed canvas results in unexpected painterly detail and a surprising materiality at close range. Click here for more info.

LOWELL BOYERS | ARTINFO | Gallery Openings / Happenings

Gallery Openings / Happenings
Thu Oct 13 2011 - Nov 12 2011
at 08:00 PM 

Thu Oct 13 2011 - Nov 12 2011 at 08:00 PM 

Lowell Boyers: What We Long to Know Beautifully vibrant and fantastical acrylic, resin, watercolor and ink works on canvas will be at Lowell Boyers new show at Von Lintel this week. 

Lowell Boyers – Inhale/Exhale | Essay By Edward A. Shanken

Lowell Boyers – Inhale/Exhale 
Drain Magazine #6 (2006)

By Edward A. Shanken 

 Lowell Boyers
Boundless/Unboundless (diptych), 2004 
acrylic paint, resin, watercolor and colored inks on canvas
96" x 120"

Lowell Boyers is a painter's painter. Inhale/Exhale, at Briggs-Robinson Gallery confirms, moreover, what many Chelsea insiders have known for many years: that Boyers is one of the most talented painters of his generation. This long-awaited first solo- exhibition finally allows audiences to see the artist’s work in a proper setting that reveals its full dynamic range. The eight paintings simultaneously scream their eviscerated guts off the walls while whispering alchemical secrets conjured by the artist’s feather-touch and use of randomness. Combined muscularity and delicacy is a hallmark of Boyers’ work and is but one example of how the artist consistently integrates pairs of opposites, strikes satisfying balances between them, or presents the tensions of their irreconcilability. Similarly, Boyers' process – which involves struggle, grace, and redemption – successfully unifies enervating form with epic content.

Agonizingly contorted nude or partially disrobed figures are engaged in timeless crusades of mythic proportions. Battles between life and death, good and evil, male and female, heaven and earth, freedom and enslavement are frequently symbolized by entrails, hearts, blood, crowns of flowers, brains, cages, and barbed wire. Spiraling ladders, decrepit pathways, and makeshift harnesses nonetheless offer the hope of redemption to Boyers' protagonists. Indeed, the suffering souls, the bilious spewing, and the seductions of base desire that confront the viewer are trumped by the overriding belief that human dignity can prevail over disgrace and that cosmic rectitude permits the fallen to be redeemed and enables beauty to blossom in the ashes of evil.

The compositions are original and dynamic, intuitively poised between balance and imbalance. The figures are defined by outlines that are at once drawn and painterly, sure-handed and tentative. Their diaphanous forms sink, sail, hover, or are loosely anchored in an indeterminate ether. The depiction of musical horns, as in Miasma, is augmented by the lyricism of the composition and parallel handling of materials, together invoking a sonic field of symphonic richness that is shared by all the pieces in the exhibition. In earlier work, Boyers employed thickly brushed impastos of painterly bravura to produce a feverish, climactic intensity. His recent canvases, by contrast, are more subtlely rendered, with complete opacity and saturation used sparingly, expanding the dynamic range and heightening the drama. Inhale/Exhale invokes a synaesthetic sensibility that can be described as operatic, with each canvas embodying the presence of individual acts that work together to propel the cycle through stages of an unfolding tragedy.

Indeed, Boyers' paintings embody the archetypal narrative structures underlying classical drama but they also draw on diverse narrative and visual sources ranging from ancient Hindu traditions to Judeo-Christian religion and iconography to comic books. Yet Boyers elects to approach historical references unselfconsciously and without postmodern irony. His work is gutsy, dead serious, and completely sincere. In this respect, compared with contemporary artists whose work attempts to wrestle with such ambitious subjects, the painter is temperamentally more closely aligned with Hermann Nitsch or Anselm Kiefer than with Matthew Barney or Julian Schnabel. In contrast with Francesco Clemente, Boyers’ work is less focused on a personal, internalized psychological exploration than on an intersubjective journey of transcendence. 

 Lowell Boyers
One Great Step, Building to Blossom, 2004 
acrylic paint, resin, watercolor and colored inks on canvas
76" x 68"

The heroic struggles, uncertainties, and moments of redemption depicted in these paintings are embodied in Boyers' studio process. The lightly and unevenly primed raw canvases possess an organic quality as they inhale cloud-like washes of pale, transparent pigment and exhale layers of poured resin that undulate like ancient rivers or create faint golden pools that mix with and amplify the underpainting and simultaneously provide a slick ground for additional layers of pigment that float on top. The application of sprayed turpentine or splashes of water to the medium create crater- and canyon-like disturbances, enhancing the works' presence as living, breathing beings with a primordial history. Brushed and poured patches of white semi-gloss enamel provide another element of surface tension and open further physical and metaphysical dimensions. Sections of some paintings reveal the scars of Boyers' battle as a painter with his subject-matter and medium. These traces serve as witnesses to the classic battles of man against nature, man against the supernatural, and man against himself, here embodied and enacted in the studio, where the artist plays the role of a mythic character, who, like Atlas, carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. Other sections of paintings reveal redemption and grace, where the artist has achieved instances of extraordinary clarity, the beauty of which courses through his brush to memorialize the glory of victory, the sweetness of bliss, the light of epiphany.

Boyers' canvases are psychologically dense, complex, and unsettling. Yet they leave us with a sense of rightness, a feeling of empowerment amidst difficulty to surmount our burdens, whatever they may be, by recognizing and asserting the virtues that lie deep within us. His protagonists serve as models of ascendant spirits who, in a moment of heroic desperation, by force of sheer will selflessly summon the beauty and power required to overcome adversity and, by saving others, save themselves. The journeys Boyers depicts are fraught with temptation, danger, and evil. But that is the nature of the journey of life, his canvases suggest, and it is our responsibility to rise to those challenges, lest we fall to the temptations of passivity, apathy, or disinterest, which ultimately lead to our demise individually and collectively. Such probing assertions would amount to no more than shallow platitudes if Boyers' paintings did not themselves bear witness to his own heroic confrontations with darkness and the battles he has waged with both the metaphysics of the spirit and the physics of his medium.

Boyers has been on the New York scene since 1990, when he moved to lower Manhattan after earning his MFA at Yale. He first gained attention at Water Street Studios, the loft space where his partners and he hosted a series of popular exhibitions for a then-twenty-something crowd. Over the last fifteen years, Boyers has generated several potent bodies of work, held open-studio events, exhibited in group shows, and sold work directly from his 26th Street studio to a devoted group of collectors, including Andy and Kate Spade. Perhaps his decision to delay his commercial gallery debut was for the best, as his development has been untainted by the pressures exerted by gallerists, critics, collectors, and curators. Boyers has proven that he is an artist who will continue to make outstanding paintings, regardless of whether or not he “makes it” as a commercial success. He will do so because his personal journey in life is bound up in an unflinching and unyielding exploration – through the medium of paint - with the most profound and enduring questions of human existence.

 Lowell Boyers
Each Rung, One Great Step, 2004 
acrylic paint, resin, watercolor and colored inks on canvas
76" x 58"

Edward A. Shanken is a leading theoretician in the field of media studies.

LOWELL BOYERS | Opening Photos

Monday, October 10, 2011

LOWELL BOYERS | Opening Reception Oct 13, 6—8 PM

What We Long to Know

October 13—November 12, 2011
Opening Reception Oct 13, 6—8 PM

Lowell Boyers
As If from Nothing He's Coming into Something
, 2011
acrylic, resin, watercolor and ink on canvas
38 x 46 inches

Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to announce "What We Long to Know," Lowell Boyers' first solo exhibition with the gallery. The show will be comprised of new paintings and will run from October 13 through November 12, 2011.

In an almost alchemical process, Boyers blends acrylic paint, ink, watercolor and resin to create lyric images that hover between abstraction and figuration. Including swathes and swirls of brilliant color interlaced with depictions of figures who appear to defy gravity, the works function as portals between the material world and a fluid, dreamlike realm of symphonic hues, bold brushwork and mysterious narrative. Combining skilled draftsmanship with a poetic sense of color and composition, Boyers paints in an intuitive, stream-of-consciousness fashion. His unconventional use of ink and watercolor on exposed canvas results in unexpected painterly detail and a surprising materiality at close range.

Lowell Boyers' work has been exhibited nationally and internationally since 1994 and is included in many prominent collections.

Catalog available.

LOWELL BOYERS | Selected Paintings

Lowell Boyers
Red Boat, White Paint, Still Traveling, 2010
acrylic, resin, watercolor and ink on canvas
76 x 58 inches

Lowell Boyers
Threshold Crossing, 2011
acrylic, resin, watercolor and ink on canvas
58 x 76 in (147 x 193 cm)

Lowell Boyers
Bridging, Burgeoning, 2011
acrylic, resin, watercolor and ink on canvas
76 x 58 in (193 x 147 cm)

Lowell Boyers
Pink Episode Whispering, 2011
acrylic, resin, watercolor and ink on canvas
48 x 58 in (122 x 147 cm)

Lowell Boyers
Red Wing Black Boom, 2011
acrylic, resin, watercolor and ink on canvas
58 x 48 in (147 x 122 cm)

LOWELL BOYERS | Selected Drawings

Lowell Boyers
untitled, 2010
ink and watercolor on paper
22 x 30 inches
Lowell Boyers
untitled, 2010
ink and watercolor on paper
22 x 30 inches

Lowell Boyers
untitled, 2010
ink and watercolor on paper
22 x 30 inches

LOWELL BOYERS | Essay by Tom Healy

Because A Fire Was In My Head


Lowell Boyers paints big. But not with Julian Schnabel's mountaintop grandiosity, nor with Kiefer's architecture of lead and straw and the burden of history, and not with the controlled, pseudo-chaos of so much late, late abstraction. What's large is the color and gesture, the atmosphere and motion, the movement of brush and paint into figuration and events that the canvases can barely contain.

Boyers' paintings radiate outward. It's as if we were witness to the moments following internal combustions, as if Boyers had just broken a barrier between us and some inner world.

The surfaces are so liquid that color stains that world, saturates it with brilliance, but never seems to fix it into a rigid image. There is no ground, no sky, no horizon in these paintings. We look through cloud color, breath, vapor toward the glow of some inner space.

And what do we look in on? Who are the figures we see? I sometimes wonder whether Boyers has painted the atmospherics of people in the throes of Stendhal's syndrome - the mysterious swoon, tears and rapturous fatigue that can come from experiencing something beautiful. It's a lovely irony: to be looking at something beautiful that reveals what can happen when we look at something beautiful. It's both a cautionary tale and an invitation.

Mark Rothko announced near the end of his life that it was his exuberantly colorful works, not the dark ones, that could be described as "tragic." Perhaps he meant that color bleeds. We live in color, its joy and sharp pain. We can put darkness at a slight distance. But perhaps he meant that it's our need to categorize, to live in assumptions, that is tragic - our need for an idea or statement or convenient label to possess, rather than allowing art or the world to possess us.

There is always the danger in speaking and writing about art that we'll fall prey to false categories, that we'll assume that because we've put words around a painting, we've somehow understood it, that we'll have stepped back and gained sufficient perspective.

Interestingly, Lowell Boyers' paintings don't tempt the grand explanation so much as they pull us inward. They crack a door open. It's almost impossible not to want the impossible: to enter the canvas, to follow the frenzy within. After all, the paintings do provide us with all kinds of ladders and bridges.

But where do they lead?

Disturbing a river with man-made spans used to require the care of special priests. Romans called the bridge-builder a "pontifex" and his function was always as much to bridge the distance between the gods and man as it was to move people and horses across the Tiber. Bridges brought two realms into communication - with the risk of conquest and the possibility of love.

Every step we take on Earth
Takes us to a new world.
Every footstep lands
on a floating bridge.

I know there is no straight road
In this world.
Only a vast labyrinth
Of intricate crossroads.

Federico Garcia Lorca, "Floating Bridges"

That sense of being led somewhere by Boyers makes me think of figureheads on the prows of ships, an ancient tradition begun by the Chinese and Egyptians who painted eyes on their vessels to help them find their way. Boyers' figures are often in profile, often looking to the left. Go west! (Is there no East?) And yet Š Boyers' figures often have their eyes closed or they're squinting or blindfolded. Are they lost? In prayer? In pain? In reverie?

Whatever they're doing, absorbed and theatrical, they are certainly not looking at us. And in our narcissistic time, the only thing more confusing - and compelling - than being looked at is not being looked at.

Notice too that the figures in Boyers' paintings are never simply standing: they are kneeling, crouching, getting up, rolling forward, seeming to float or fall or fly. Ineluctable motion, but never actual movement: Wherever you go, there you are.

My possession of spiritual language is paltry. I step up the rung of Boyers' ladders, out onto his bridges, with an unsure foot. I have to cling to the words of poets and philosophers who've journeyed inward far more deeply than I can.

"If the place I want to get to could only be reached by way of a ladder, I would give up trying to get there. For the place I really have to get to is a place I must already be at now."
Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Culture and Value"

But even without the vocabulary and the habits of faith, I am attracted to the mysticism - is there really another word? - expressed in these paintings. I feel a certain heartbreak of unknowing, but still have the hunch I might just know something about the places these paintings reveal.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on
the wind.

Pablo Neruda, "Poetry"

"Broke loose." That is not a condition we feel comfortable admitting in our world of attachments and arguments, in our quest for certainty and things. It is the condition of ecstasy, literally "standing outside or beyond" ourselves, that Boyers' paintings portray and evoke and perhaps even provoke.

All good art states some claim and makes claims on us. As Arthur Danto has written, "Art presents a proposition in a sensuous medium, a way of expressing a truth." And yet, in referring to the emotive power of Lowell Boyers' paintings - their unsettling register neither in pure abstraction nor in the now-popular documentation, parody and critical engagement of our physical and political surroundings - I hope I am not seeming to imply that there is something morally didactic, exclusionary or narrow at work here. The paintings are not devotional; they aren't signs of any cross or path. They are too strange, painterly and aesthetically alive to be limited by a merely spiritual impulse, however powerful that generative spirit might be.

Visionary language, visionary painting - these require a sincerity, an experience of being possessed, that we are so suspicious of in our cool, ironic, secular world. What's particularly brilliant about Boyers' work is that it is innocent in Blake's sense of the word: his work is open and immediate, generous and aware, modest in its claims but ambitious in its painterly attention. Boyers somehow has the ability to displace all the signs of his effort with the feeling of his amazement. This is painting - let me reach to another great poet for help - that dwells in possibility. When he is asked who the characters in his paintings are, Boyers often says they are "Everyman." The word came into currency in the late 15th-century as the title of an English morality play, in which the eponymous protagonist is summoned to account by God for his wasted life. Everyman tries to bribe Death into sending someone else; when he's refused, he seeks out a companion to make him less afraid. He pleads with Fellowship, Kindred and Cousin, Beauty, Strength, Possessions, and Wit - but all abandon him. Only Good Deeds will go with him beyond the grave.

In his long tradition, in everything from epic poems to novels, songs, movies and videogames, Everyman is always constructed so that the audience can imagine itself negotiating the same situations he encounters, without possessing special knowledge, skills or abilities. Everyman is not a hero. He gets hurt. He is a child of the plot and not his personality. Everyman's most important feature is a highly polished surface, in which we can always see our own faint reflections.

It's strange that, yes, we can see ourselves in Lowell Boyers' paintings - because we are so surprised, disoriented and entranced by what we see, we call ourselves into question. We wonder who we are.

Tom Healy
March 2009




1990 Yale University, MFA
1988 Rhode Island School of Design, BFA, Florence Leif Award

2011     What We Long to Know, Von Lintel Gallery , New York, NY
2010     Whispers of Becoming, Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, TX
2009     Emerge, Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, TX
2008     CUT Works on Paper, Half Gallery, New York, NY
2007     What We Long to Know, Akus Gallery, Curated by Marion Callis,
            Eastern Connecticut State University
2005     Awakening, Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, TX
2005     Inhale/Exhale, Briggs Robinson Gallery

2008     Brainwave: Common Senses, Exit Art, New York, NY
2007     Nicholas Robinson Gallery, NY, NY
2006     Insight/ Insitu: Paintings by Lowell Boyers and Mary Ann Strandell,
            Panorama Arts Space, Curated by Michael Somoroff, Cologne, Germany
2004     About Painting, Curated by Ian Berry, Tang Museum,
            Saratoga Springs, NY
Touch and Temperature: Art in the Age of Cybernetic Totalism, Bitforms Gallery, NY, and  
            Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston, Texas, Curated by Michael Rees, Courtesy Briggs 
            Robinson Gallery
2003     Fly On the Wall, New York, NY
1999     Feigen Contemporary, New York, NY, Courtesy Dechiara Stewart Gallery, NY, NY
Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
1998     Elliot Smith Gallery, St. Louis, MO
Sauce, Brooklyn, NY
1995     Richard Anderson/Sauce Group Show, New York, NY
1994     98 Greene Street Gallery, New York, NY
Brick Bottom Gallery, Boston, MA
Kim Light Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Friday, October 7, 2011

VLG @ PULSE LA 2011 via TruffleHunting

"Marco Breuer is also an artist of seemingly endless inventiveness. Working in the realm of non camera photography, Breuer manages to coax textures, patterns and delicacy from color and B&W photographic paper by erosion, scratching and chemistry. Amounting to a form of alchemy, Breuer continues to make interesting work visually appealing and beautiful work intellectually rigorous. Also at von Lintel Gallery is a wonderful single example of Mark Sheinkman‘s Graphite Painting and Erasure paradigm (photo to follow.) Sheinkman creates an allusion of near photographic depth with a limited range of graphite as his chosen medium." 

Read more @ TruffleHunting

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Best of PULSE LA" | Daily Serving review feat. Allyson Strafella

By Danielle Sommer

"Art fairs are synonymous with crowded, cavernous booths, prepackaged artwork, and most of all: money. But, this new art fair in Los Angeles does what very few art fairs have managed in the past; PULSE has combined a strong, experimental group of galleries and project spaces with actual money making. Combining gallery booths with project spaces for non-profit institutions and artists, PULSE delivers sculpture, installation, photography, and painting from some of the world’s most interesting contemporary artists. Having a strong presence in New York and Miami, PULSE opened its doors in Los Angeles to an all new crowd on Friday September 30th, and will continue through 5pm this evening. DailyServing sent three writers to  PULSE LA to bring you the most interesting and noteworthy projects.

By its very nature, an art fair overstimulates. This might be the reason my eye landed on Allyson Strafella’s work, a series of simple and colorful geometric forms, à la Ellsworth Kelly:  two deep red rectangles, one black, and one more I can’t quite recall—possibly something voluptuous and green floating in a field of white.  They looked out of place, overly simple and stubbornly modern.  Yet…they wobble.  They even seem a little furry.  Strafella works on a customized typewriter, with a special set of keys and a much wider bed than what any of the secretaries on Mad Men would use.  She chooses flimsy papers, including colored carbon papers, which she then inserts into her machine and completely distresses through repeated mechanical contact. In some places that Strafella hits over and over with the typewriter keys, the paper becomes lace-like, or begins to fall apart.  The results hover between sculpture and drawing, bringing new texture to an old form."

Read more @ Daily Serving