Concepto Hudson, Jeff Bailey, NOBO, two branches of Retrospective, and this weekend the R Wells Gallery, not to mention big chunks of Valley Variety and other sophisticated venues. There have been so many openings of serious new art galleries in the upper and lower parts of Warren Street in recent months (bringing the total to over twenty in the town) that one might begin to wonder if this actually means something. Even though we might still need a cobbler, grocer, and even a picture framer more at this point, it’s a healthy development, happening as it is in previously sedate retail areas of Warren Street and bringing even more young Brooklyn types here, at least at openings. (Maybe one of them will open one.)
Many of the new galleries in Hudson have so far had hip, skilled, freshly representative takes on what’s happening out there in the art world, the style du jour seeming to be “finding your inner child” – or at least not telling him to quiet down and go to his room. As it turns out, my favorite shows currently running happen to be more adult in spirit, and, coincidentally, are in galleries that have been here for a slightly longer bit of time. There’s Mark Wasserbach’s exhibition of sculptures at McDaris Fine Art, and most particularly, Color as Environment at Hallam + Bruner – a selection of works by color field artists who came to the fore in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s, including Ilya Bolotowsky, David Roth, Walter Swyrydenko, Robert Goodnough, and Hudson’s very own Myron Polenberg – which is nothing less than an abstract dazzler.
David Roth’s work (one of which is pictured above) is particularly dominant here. When people think of geometric art like Roth’s, as well as Wasserbach’s large-scale metal sculptures, perhaps the furthest thing that comes to mind is an evocation of nature. But, in essential ways, such art can be as much an accurate representation of the natural world as the most detailed figurative painting. Roth’s geometric screen prints, paintings, and drawings present nature at its most fundamental level – an artist’s intuition of the mathematical and quantum physics as known and most recently discovered by physicists at Cern and around the world: the laws of gravity, spectrums of light, and subatomic forms and electromagnetic forces that are the very foundation of everything we see around us and, and in fact, are what we are ourselves. The impulse of Roth and perhaps his fellow artists in Color as Environment and currently at McDaris as well, is to reduce – or rather expand – natural elements into purely lined and colored works of beauty. Their efforts are not only graphically appealing but, drawn large, a recognition that, as physicists have recently discovered, everything on earth, even a multi-formed leaf, consists of purely geometric fractals, and beyond that, a mysterious world of unpredictably moving particles. They represent not necessarily what we see right off but the unseen world lying underneath the world we see. – Scott Baldinger