Dog Days, currently on view at C L E A R I N G’s Brooklyn outpost is a classic summer group show that doesn’t try to present itself as anything other than a group of exceptional artworks. Spanning across four galleries, Dog Days encompasses a mix of painting, sculpture, and video works by some of the gallery’s own artists as well as newer names take you on a fun exploration through the space.
Despite the high quantity of work in the gallery, each room retains a palpable sense of excitement and intrigue. Pieces like Zak Kitnick’s backgammon table, Harold Ancart’s vibrant canvases and Hugh Hayden’s wooden skeletal forms are familiar additions that add character to the show.
Ryan Cullen, “The Sixth Angel of Signification (Brian)”, 2019
Anchoring the first gallery is a visually puzzling painting by Ryan Cullen. From a front-facing view, Cullen’s work takes on an abstract appearance of a warped figure, collapsing upon itself. There is little indication of its human qualities other than the skin-colored hues and trace of bodily features. The genius Cullen’s work lies in its illusionary objective. If you know Cullen’s work, you will be tipped off to the optimal vantage point of viewing the work from against the gallery wall on the canvas’s right side. From here, the work transforms from an abstract composition to a figurative nude. The meticulous, mind-bending creating process with which Cullen paints displays the artist’s technical mastery, adding a layer to his practice few could achieve.
A large watercolor painting by Calvin Marcus has a soft power that illuminates the gallery with its somber but bold presence. Marcus has a knack for producing enthralling, unordinary works that magnetize the viewer’s gaze. Here, Marcus’s formal decisions direct the painting with the subject matter seeming to be an afterthought. Nevertheless, the singular image of frog legs remains a compelling focal point. Acting as an ideal vehicle to display the watercolor quality, this strange motif feels right at home in Marcus’s practice.
Ryan Foerster, “Hannah Onion – Zoltog99”, 2016
Similar to Cullen, Ryan Foerster’s take on figurative painting is wrought with humor. Foerster pairs simple and traditional combination of oil, watercolor, and pencil, with onion skins. Using these materials, he produces a portrait with a delicate beauty and femininity. Its quirkiness feels understated amongst the overall splendor which the painting exudes. As Foerster works to preserve the likeness of the subject, so does he preserve what would otherwise be a food scrap.
David Altmejd, “Muscle Memory”, 2019
Julie Curtiss, Jamian Juliano-Villani, and David Altmejd contribute stand-out works that illuminate their individual practices in playful and unique ways.
With a laundry list of works by an outstanding mix of artists and too many favorites to name, Dog Days’ feels like a carefree summer party which everyone can attend. This hot take on a summer group show is not to be missed.
Julie Curtiss, “Breeders”, 2019
Dog Days at C L E A R I N G Brooklyn is on view through August 9th.