Monthly Archives: May 2013

Review: Brian Kosoff — Visual Art Source

[Originally published in VAS]

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Brian Kosoff’s work in his current show, “The Illumination of Night,” is gorgeously pared back. “Highway Lights, 2012” focuses our attention on the shape of a curving road and a street lamp juxtaposed with signs and star trails. (He uses long exposures that allow him to capture planetary movement.) The image operates with stunning visual calculus as a metaphor for roads taken and directions offered. Kosoff deftly merges heaven and earth without any hint of preaching. In fact, his subtlety is precisely why his images are so affecting.

“Tracks, 2012” is similarly spectacular. Mountainous terrain reminiscent of the American Southwest is a backdrop for train tracks, telephone lines and, yet again, the marvelous curvature of glittering planetary rotation. It shows us the place where time and eternity meet; Kosoff captures the intersection with rare nuance. “Windmill, 2012” is fascinating because it shows us two kinds of circularity — the blades of farm machinery and the physics of a nighttime sky. It’s a ramped up juxtaposition that makes us ponder our inconsequential erector set-like constructs when compared to the stuff of creation. For my money, that’s plenty good. Great even.

Copyright, Patricia Mora 2012

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Archived Review: Philip Pearlstein — Talley Dunn Gallery

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Anyone with access to Wikipedia can instantly learn that Philip Pearlstein was born in the twenties, shared roach-infested digs with Andy Warhol and is filed under “Contemporary Realism.” But no online compendium of facts will prepare you for the sheer pleasure of seeing his recent paintings at Talley Dunn Gallery. For a man in his eighties, his work exudes a surprisingly joyous boyishness. Pearlstein is adept at reminding us that the world is deliciously tactile. Model with Chrome Chair, Kiddie Car, Kimono and Bambino serves splendidly as an exercise in visual plundering. It’s refractory; it’s shiny; it’s chocked with baubles and it’s impossible not to love it.

The aforementioned kiddie car enters the painting with pent-up velocity that plays against the model’s angular lassitude. A gloriously colorful floral motif connects the two with a vertical riff and it’s all dopplegangered in the reflections of a chrome chair. This is more fun than dessert carts at a birthday party. The painting’s cherry red is alliteratively cheery and we’re simultaneously dazzled by the jumbled array of the coolest-garage-sale-stuff-ever-assembled and puzzled by the somberness of the female figure. She’s firmly situated in the lineage of odalisque figures of the 19th century. However, she’s been updated and given the shimmer of exotica cast by dreadlocks and ethnicity.

She becomes stuff among other stuff, asleep in Wonderland. Perhaps it’s being suggested that we’re slumbering, too. This is our white-hot chance to wake up. If these paintings can’t jolt us into consciousness, better head for Esalen or Burning Man — or the ER.

Copyright, Patricia Mora 2012

Review: Roger Winter — Kirk Hopper Fine Art

[Originally published in The Dallas Morning News]

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Kirk Hopper Fine Art is featuring a show by Roger Winter, “Collages: 1968-2012, Portraits: 2013.” It’s a mash-up of works that include painting, collage and — the greatest of these — photomontage. While the other works are interesting, the latter will seize your attention more fully with their complex strategy of odd juxtapositions and dreamlike sensibility.

Bulldog is one example. A white dog is charging the viewer from the foreground, ostensibly chasing a ball through a grassy sward. In the upper-left corner, a crouched figure appears to be eerily frozen in time, perpetually waiting for a pet that may opt to “fetch” and acquiesce to his master’s bidding. A tree and frame house are sepia-toned and suggest that the world of domesticity is both part of the black-and-white action as well as oddly separate from it. The tree floats above the ground and contributes even more to the dreamlike quality. It’s discomfiting — and perhaps that is the point.

Meanwhile, A Child’s Story delivers images that smack of haunted-house tales. In the left foreground, a scruffy hedge and makeshift bench loom toward the viewer and a broken picket fence drifts off into nowhere. It dissolves into a psychic blandness that intimates that the whole world is out of kilter and canted toward strangeness. Even smoke rising from a chimney has none of the usual cheeriness associated with homey connotations of fireplaces and crackling warmth. However, the real capper is a little girl in period dress, oddly posed and made to look as if she’s leaning on a surface to which we are not privy. A lopped-off tree adds still more dark import to the scene and, when examined closely, it threatens psychological eeriness with such tenacity that we long to look away.

The show is hardly an uplifting lyric idyll — but it is definitely worth a look.

Copyright, Patricia Mora 2012

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Review: “Impressions of Europe: Nineteenth-Century Vistas by Martin Ríco” — The Meadows Museum

[Originally published by The Dallas Morning News in an altered format]

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The opacity of artistic fashionability can weigh heavily on gallerygoers. In fact, when encoded, conceptual work becomes burdensome, it’s refreshing to rediscover how deeply the spectacle of luxuriantly painted landscapes can make us dive. The Meadows Museum offers a case in point with their ambitious show, “Impressions of Europe: Nineteenth-Century Vistas by Martin Ríco.” Over 100 of his works are on display, allowing us to stray through a fissure in time and experience the work of a 19th-century sensibility honed to a degree akin to perfect pitch.

Ríco is known for his work as a plein air artist, working outdoors and capturing landscapes in France, Italy, the United States and, of course, his native Spain. The show is varied and each piece is spectacular; however, among the most interesting works are those capturing the Islamic influence upon Spanish architecture. There is a resonant thrill in intricate tile work and carved, arched doorways, all of which are captured in Ríco’s paintings. One example, among many, is “The School Patio,” a work rife with romantic exotica.

The artist spent multiple summers in Venice — sometimes working in gondolas — and painted nearly every surface in the city. Thus, “Santa Maria della Salute” is a seductive paean invoking the nostalgia of one of the most fabulous cities on the globe. It depicts dappled water, a stucco façade and a cascade of columns and domes that reverberate with tactile charm. Yet another work, “La Corniche,” renders the lineaments of the French Riviera before it became piled with spendy, multi-story buildings that flare with all the architectural allure of fast-food chains.

The Meadows Museum continues to put up stellar shows. Their ongoing relationship with the Prado Museum in Madrid is not only a coup; it offers a tremendous opportunity for those of us near “the museum on the prairie” to see some of the best art in the world.  In an overly digitized world, it also operates as a badly needed reminder that we are exuberant, incarnate beings made for imbibing beauty.

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Review: Brian Kosoff — Afterimage Gallery

[Originally published in The Dallas Morning News]

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The photographs making up Brian Kosoff’s exhibition at Afterimage Gallery, “The Illumination of Night,” crackle with the voluptuousness of poetry. He presents visions of night skies and planetary rotations coupled with sailing vessels, churches, highways and Southwestern landscapes. Because he creates photographs at night, he calculates directions, angles, exposure times and weather with the precision of a sailor navigating with an astrolabe.

This specific kind of brilliance might lead some to understand his work by reveling in its sheer virtuosity. Dixon Cemetery, for instance, is a tour de force of lighting, composition and technical perfection. However, it is also a study of mesmerizing planetary rotation, star trails and theological underpinnings, ultimately detonating with an imagistic theater of crosses and plaster figures. It sparks with the intersection of earth and heaven wherein, to paraphrase scripture, we live and move and have our being.

There’s no need to pack your hymnal when you see Kosuff’s show; however, it is guaranteed to evoke a state of dreamy luminescence. Boats at Night, Scotland is yet another example of a two-dimensional work that operates with magic akin to the three-dimensional shimmer of rolling mercury.

Kosoff lives near Manhattan and honed his skills as a commercial photographer before going off-road to work solely on producing work depicting landscapes. (How fortunate for us.) He shows us places of such splendid isolation that they offer encouragement to extricate ourselves from the daily scree of distractions in favor of searching for all-too-rare rapturous moments.

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Music Review / Press Release: Margo Rey

Margo Rey’s highly anticipated CD, “Habit,” features her smash single, “Between Us” as well as her chart-topping hit, “Let the Rain.” The latter, co-written by Ms. Rey and the legendary John Oates, remained on the charts for an astonishing 21 weeks, making it a “Hot Shot Debut” on Billboard Mainstream AC Charts as well as earning her kudos in “Billboard” magazine’s “Bubble Under” column. The duo also teamed up on the stunning cut, “Saturn Returns.” Oates sings on both tracks and he provides an ideal complement to Rey’s powerful yet nuanced vocals. Listeners closest to it claim that “Habit” is its own brand of sonic luxury and Rey emerges as a force of nature — in heels no less.

Margo has a diverse and loyal fan base and, given her track record, her following is understandable. In less than a two-year span she has delivered five hits in diverse genres that include Adult Contemporary as well as Dance and Pop. She also charted two #1 Dance hits and, if that’s not enough, Rey also generated an original Christmas hit.

Reflecting on the direction of “Habit,” Margo explains:  “I wanted something ‘lo-fi’ as opposed to the cloned sounds of today’s pop culture environment. I needed my music to sound like me rather than the equipment it was recorded on. Plus, I feel a huge affinity — love affair even — for the singer/songwriter era of the seventies and eighties.” Ms. Rey employed a technique as simple as it is novel in today’s recording environment. She gathered extraordinary musicians in a room and they recorded (equally extraordinary) music together. If that doesn’t sound radical, it should — and “Habit” underscores the point. It’s a CD that never leaves the human vibe behind. It revels in it and, if anything, deepens it.

Margo has produced a collection of songs that reverberates with a gamut of emotions. Greed, love, lust, doubt, remorse, obsession and crazed vulnerability are all present — in abundance. “I hope listeners respond to the penetrating pulse in each of these songs. They’re an exploration of my contradictory feelings over the past two years. Roll all of those emotional tangents into a set list and you have, well, something that I hope will become a ‘Habit.’”

The album unleashes thirteen songs, all of which are original. One exception is a gorgeous cover of The Zombie’s hit, “She’s Not There.” If you think you’ve heard the song before, think again. This version has more down-under burn than most people can handle. But it gets better. Ms. Rey will be on tour. So hang on. Or, better yet, let yourself go.

Organica Music Group is a boutique media company with four divisions that include:  music; stand-up comedy; publishing; television and film. OMG’s distributor is Universal Music Group. Michael Blakey serves as President and has worked with top artists around the world, receiving over 60 gold and platinum albums, 5 Grammy nominations and selling over 140 million albums. “Habit” was recorded and mixed at Rusk LA by Elton Ahi, mastered by Yossi Shaked, produced and arranged by Margo Rey in collaboration with Elton Ahi and Chris Wabich. Ron White and Michael Blakey are Executive Producers of the album and partners in OMG.