Curator’s Review

Radka Salcmannova

Though humor in art can exist for its own sake, humor, cynicism and parody can be part of an artist’s ouvre even when their message is deadly serious.

Featured artists like Mark Reigelman (Manifest Destiny),  Santina Amato (Cigarettes and Bees Knees), and Andrea Mary Marshall (Self-Portrait of Rosemary Myst with Balloon Dick) use playful elements to deliver strong commentaries on social or political issues including urban expansion, feminism, female transvestism, and erotophobia. Dr. Lisa Levy, a Brooklyn performance artist’s experiential project is just as much a parody of the “science” of psychotherapy as it is of art itself. Teresa Henriques piece Problem  is both conceptual and ironic,  pressing us to think about how we personally take on problems.

Still, cynicism can be expressed just as powerfully without humor, striking a more direct blow to gender and sexual issues as in the work of Barbora Mastrlova, whose bronze sculpture unabashedly combines a heart and a vagina as if to say “women feel with their vagina.” Teresa Henriques piece “Problem”  is both conceptual and ironic – give us an accessible and fresh perspective on charcoal work and how to take on problems.

The artists in this issue cross the spectrum of traditions from classical painters to those who are using technology and materials that are newer to the world of art. The extraordinary mechanical installations of American artist Kit Reisch whose studio we visit in in Prague, is at this cutting edge.

Aakash Nihalani a New York street artist uses new media to manipulate to create “virtual” space in his project called “Space in Space.” Through very different methods both “outsiders” in their own lives challenge us to think about our place in this world.

Teresa Henriques piece “Problem”  is both conceptual and ironic – give us an accessible and fresh perspective on charcoal work and how to take on problems.

Some contemporary artists are using familiar materials and traditions in new ways. Aleksander Garin, combines painting and sculpture and Pansum Cheng uses latex as a medium for creating classical paintings which appear as organic and touchable object. Ashley Zangle creates voluptuous works on paper applying inks and soaps using watercolor techniques.

To show the range of possibilities an artist can achieve, this issue of PTM presents two pieces by Daphne Arthur that seem in diametrical opposition. If seen separately, a viewer might not attribute them to the same artist.  Her sensitive “smoke drawings’  are exquisitely delicate and ephemeral while her sculptural scenes demand or command our attention with their confounding subjects and twisted painted forms.

Finally, Bill Hayward, PTM’s featured photographer, captures the soul of his subject, Rob Sedgwick, who in this  “portrait of the collaborative-self” honors the memoirist’s beloved dog Tybalt with a painted paw fastened to his heart.

Radka Salcmannova,

» Read Radka’s “Curator’s Review” from Issue 1, July 2012