New work in Raleigh's Lump Gallery and Adam Cave Fine Art | Visual Art | Indy Week
Pin It

New work in Raleigh's Lump Gallery and Adam Cave Fine Art 

Beauty and the bestiary

click to enlarge "Beauty Tips, Wynne Greenwood, Ladies, don't touch your moustache" (2006), C-print, 20 in. x 24 in. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

Beauty Tips
Becca Albee
Lump Gallery
Through May 31

There are probably as many ideas about how to "do-it-yourself" as there are concepts of beauty. This is readily apparent in the show now on view at Lump.

For several years now, New York artist Becca Albee has been asking for beauty tips from friends, family, distant acquaintances and gallery goers. From each tip, she creates a unique photograph; the resulting work is often a collaboration with the tipster.

What's particularly engaging about her ongoing project is the tremendous variety in her output. There are a few images that represent the theme quite literally. For instance, an artist known simply as Lucy has contributed a tip that seems straight out of a beauty contest manual. It contains useful instruction on setting one's makeup by keeping it on while in the bathtub (a la Bianca Jagger, she is careful to note) and the concomitant photograph is a portrait of the artist as a young cosmetics diva soaking in a tub of bubbles. Likewise, Melissa Ip's suggestion results in a straightforward glimpse of Ip in a bathroom mirror contemplating personal prettification, involving conditioners and moisturizers.

Apart from the literal visualizations, there are a number of images that veer off in intriguing directions and give the show its edge, but most of the photographs still grapple with the issue of portraiture in some fundamental way. There are several pictures that take a more metaphorical stance, such as the one accompanying a beauty tip provided by Rashanna Rashied-Walker. In this case, the photo was made with the camera looking up into the canopy of a tree; the moment of the camera flash gives many of the leaves an ashen appearance. Walker's tip appears as more of an admonition: "Take time to wonder and wander," it says, and there are many other similarly therapeutic admonitions in the series. These more abstract notions of what might constitute a beauty tip make us consider the broader issue of personal convictions and philosophy, forcing us to consider ourselves and our outlook on the world. At times, the show feels like a self-improvement workshop your significant other signed you up for without your knowledge and insisted you attend. While you appreciate the thought, it isn't necessarily the kind of self-improvement you were looking for.


click to enlarge Nathaniel Hester's "Pig" (2008), serigraph on paper, 16 in. x 11 in. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ADAM CAVE FINE ART

Animal Farm
Nathaniel Hester
Adam Cave Fine Art
Through June 14

Nathaniel Hester channels Henri Matisse from the studio on his farm in Person County. From the available evidence, the artist's relocation to the countryside—complete with a few farm animals—has had a direct, beneficial impact on his art.

His latest show is an exploration of abstract composition, in the context of a colorful animal portrait series. An accomplished printmaker and painter, Hester uses the serigraph (a type of screen print) as his chosen medium for this series, and he has employed a collage-like technique of layering blocks and swaths of color—much as Matisse did in his late collage cutouts. Because serigraphs demand that each color be laid on with individual screen passes, there are strong similarities to collage in the printing process. Just as the French artist's use of scissors and colored paper freed up his method of creating form, Hester lets his serigraphs liberate compositional elements so that they interact with their background and—most effectively—each other in lively and compelling ways.

click to enlarge "Bumble Bee" (2008), serigraph on paper, 16 in. x 11 in. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ADAM CAVE FINE ART

With these prints, Hester experiments with expectations of what any given animal's portrait might look like (or not) while at the same time exploring its distinctive natural qualities. His abstractions are sometimes extreme enough that the viewer is challenged to find a visual connection between animal and picture. Some images in the series, such as "Flamingo," reference the namesake in color with only the slightest anatomical hints. Works like "Chicken" and "Moth" are even more minimal and utilize hovering Rothko-esque planes of color. To Hester's credit, he avoids taking on clichés of animal caricature and instead makes intelligent use of various oddities in his subjects, such as unexpected greens in his "Giraffe" and a very human-like visage in "Owl." When looking at these pictures, it's useful to keep in mind some aspect of the animal's fundamental nature: perhaps writhing and curving for "Snake" and brilliant coloration and segmentation for "Caterpillar." This is an effective starting point in engaging the work on its own terms. These images are not about unerring representation; ultimately, it is Hester's keen sense of composition and knowing when to say when that keep the work accessible and under control.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Visual Art



Twitter Activity

Comments

So glad to see Edgerton's painting exhibited and appreciated. He is a North Carolina living treasure. …

by Sharon B on Clyde Edgerton, Painter? A Noted North Carolina Novelist Gets Visual with Photographer John Rosenthal. (Visual Art)

Great article! Good luck DAM!

by J.P. McPickleshitter on In The Carrack’s Former Digs, Durham Artists Movement Creates a Safe Space for Diverse Voices (Visual Art)

Most Recent Comments

So glad to see Edgerton's painting exhibited and appreciated. He is a North Carolina living treasure. …

by Sharon B on Clyde Edgerton, Painter? A Noted North Carolina Novelist Gets Visual with Photographer John Rosenthal. (Visual Art)

Great article! Good luck DAM!

by J.P. McPickleshitter on In The Carrack’s Former Digs, Durham Artists Movement Creates a Safe Space for Diverse Voices (Visual Art)

We have a well-equipped infrastructure which is supported by technologically advanced machines and tools that allow us to offer latest …

by Sumit Chaudhary on Chris Bradley finds creative opportunities in the simplest of objects in Close One at CAM Raleigh (Visual Art)

I believe one of the artists mentioned is actually Sally Van Gorder, not Gordon.

by MH on A novel agreement between a landlord and artists gives Raleigh a new art space (Visual Art)

I remember when SAJ had her Tree Planting exhibit at the John Hope Franklin Center years ago. The most amazing …

by Pamela Gutlon on In the provocative exhibit Wonderland, Sarah Anne Johnson turns sex and nature inside-out (Visual Art)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation