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

Jenin, West Bank, Daniel Rich, 2016, acrylic on dibond, 40″ x 30″

by Elinor Case-Pethica, Staff writer

Joshua Liner Gallery opened its fourth annual rendition of Summer Mixer, a group show which this year includes Daniel Rich, Johnny Abrahams, Jane LaFarge Hamill, Aaron Johnson, Mark Mulroney, Ed Templeton, and Parra.

The show was not visibly organized around a theme; rather it seemed to simply include the most recent work from the group of artists, selected to show together for some unknown reason—convenience perhaps. The curatorial efforts in designing the show were clearly put into deciding which pairings of artists to show side by side.

Full Moon Picnic, Aaron Johnson, 2016, acrylic on polyester knit mesh, 18″ x 25″

The front room—with the exception of Ed Templeton’s flat and cynical painting Huntington Beach, displayed on the entry wall—was dominated by the work of Daniel Rich and Parra. Rich’s paintings of architecture are clearly and strongly influenced by graphic design. The lighting situations in his work are simplified into blocks of tone and employ little to no color-shift, and the small rises in his paint at each hard edge where one color meets another attests to the artist’s fixation on using painter’s tape to achieve crisp lines. Viewing Rich’s work, one is as immersed in the imagined image of the artist gleefully peeling long thin strips of tape from his piece as one is in the image created by the process. Parra’s paintings are similarly graphic, but with a more colorful palette. Falling Into Myself shows two cutout-like figures, symmetrical but flipped, swan diving to each other from top and bottom of the canvas to meet in the middle like a venn-diagram. These artists compliment each other well with their love of crisp lines and decorative subject matter.

Pamela Ampela, Mark Mulroney, 2016, acrylic and paper on wood panel, 40″ x 60″

The tone of the show in the back room and hallway was markedly different, with an apparent focus on the grotesque and extravagant. Aaron Johnson’s Full Moon Picnic stood out, a disturbing abstraction of a portrait described as being painted on “polyester knit mesh,” a surface which looked very much like tube socks. The overall effect was that of a face covered in orifices—disgusting yet strangely fascinating. Another noteworthy piece was Mark Mulroney’s diptych Pamela/Ampela showing on the left a sticker-like composite of Pamela Anderson in her Baywatch bathing suit, accompanied on the right by a disjointed duplicate presumably made up of the same components. Seeing her long white fingernails scattered across the bottom of the panel is particularly amusing and satisfying.

Pamela Ampela, Mark Mulroney, 2016, acrylic and paper on wood panel, 40″ x 60″

Although comprised from a somewhat random group of artists, Summer Mixer managed to include some eye-catching pieces that kept visitors circulating back through the gallery several times to take in. Summer Mixer will be up at Joshua Liner Gallery until August 19th.

Matthew Weinstein at Jacob Lewis Gallery

Weinstein’s work, Revolution, on view in the special project room of Jacob Lewis Gallery, features an animated toddler preaching about the end of the world from atop a wooden crate. The piece is an interesting mix of politics, sarcasm and dark humor. The outer gallery displays a group show of predominantly painted works, including one by Weinstein. The show will be on view until August 19th, at 521 West 26th street, on the fourth floor.

LUX: The Radiant Sea at Yancey Richardson Gallery

This group show includes the work of 20 photographers, all ruminating on the central role of light both in composing a photograph and in the mechanics of creating one. The work shown ranges from traditional to quite abstract. LUX: The Radiant Sea will be showing until August 19th.