Each Friday, our writers review a few choice (New York) gallery openings from the night before. 

by Elinor Case-Pethica, Staff writer

Jay Miriam’s “Catch the Heavenly Bodies” at Half Gallery

Art critic Clement Greenberg was known for a maneuver he would do each time he encountered a new work of art: covering his eyes and turning his back, and then rapidly removing his hands and spinning around to face the piece. The trick was based on the idea that aesthetic judgements are best made instantly and devoid of unnecessary context, with fresh eyes. This spin-and-reveal is very much how one feels walking into Half Gallery for their new show, Catch the Heavenly Bodies. Located at the end of a narrow and secluded walkway, behind an un-marked door and up a flight of stairs, the exhibition space is impossible to predict. It is with fresh eyes, then, that one takes in Jay Miriam’s  paintings arranged around a decidedly domestic-looking gallery, which is complete with a fireplace and spiral staircase. The paintings themselves are clearly riffing off some of the greats — DeKooning and Matisse to name a few— but with a distinctly feminine authorship that spins the familiar genre in an unfamiliar direction.

Catch the Heavenly Bodies will be on view until July 27th.

Jay Miriam, “Fountain of Youth”, oil on linen,  64" x 50"

KwangHo Shin at Unix Gallery

Any student of painting learns early on that the material texture of paint is almost always more alluring that the subject matter it is used to depict. KwangHo Shin has taken advantage of the naturally seductive nature of oil paint for his most recent solo show at Unix Gallery. The bright and lustrous oil paint that adorns his canvases is, in places, as much as two inches thick off the surface, and satisfyingly swirled like a the frosting on a cupcake. The majority of the works are explorations in color and texture, confined within the silhouette of a portrait-bust. The sheer volume of paint in the show is somewhat hypnotic: to quote a fellow gallery-goer, “It’s hard to go wrong pushing materiality.” The best of the works included are indeed mesmerizingly physical. However, the show could have benefitted from tighter editing. Three of the more figural pieces in the front room were of a markedly different quality level than the more abstract heads, and felt like a post-script saying “I can paint illusion too!” rather than contributing to the force of the central works. Regardless of this— the overall experience of the young artist’s work is compelling and tactile.

KwangHo Shin’s work will be at Unix Gallery until July 30.

KwangHo Shin’s collection at the Unix Gallery

Evan Robarts “Super Reliable” at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Super Reliable by Evan Robarts cleverly references art history in a playful and fresh way. Inspired by his time as a superintendent, the show is made up of a series of paintings on linoleum tile made by mopping watered-down plaster over them repeatedly, as well a glass sculpture with black rubber hose winding through it in lethargic loops. Robart’s use of grids, lines, and bold primary colors is reminiscent of artists like Sol LeWitt. His industrial materials combined with an element of gesture, however, add an interesting new level by inviting parallels between the work of the artist and the work of the manual laborer. Both formally and conceptually, the show is tidy and elegant.

Super Reliable will be on view at Bryce Wolkowitz until July 29th.

Evan Robarts’ collection at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery