One of the best summer group shows in town is “Painting as Is II” at Nathalie Karg, organized by the artists Heidi Hahn and Tim Wilson. Filled with off-kilter takes on materials, space, shape and display by 22 artists, the exhibition offers a sequel to “Painting as Is,” which Hahn and Wilson curated at Alfred University in 2020, presenting the work of artists interested in “the blunt facts of painting.”
In the current show, expanded into sculpture and photography, Marina Kappos shows how acrylic paint can be layered and spread across the canvas to create perceptual effects that mimic photography and other visual mediums. Connections between art and technical images are extended in Dennis Delgado and Benny Merris’s inkjet prints and in the painterly, abstract 16-millimeter film by the duo Blinn and Lambert. Approaches to space — positive, negative and beyond — are central to paintings by Robert Bordo and Craig Taylor. Materials are put to the test in James Hyde’s fresco on Styrofoam reliefs, Rochelle Feinstein’s banner-style painting made with spray paint and embroidery, Lisa Beck’s burned canvas and Sarah Braman’s sculpture with a wood base and tinted glass panes.
The artists’ approaches to color are the real showstoppers here. Color is employed in dizzying, hallucinogenic and marvelous ways throughout the show. Paintings by Meena Hasan, Theresa Daddezio and Dan Walsh feel like tutorials in color theory. Most of the works I’ve already mentioned, however, take color for a serious test-drive, suggesting that, in the realm of “blunt facts,” some aspects of painting are more complex, nuanced and complicated than others.
- MARTHA SCHWENDENER