Chimento Contemporary: Straight Outta Bushwick
By Genie Davis
Through February 4th
Straight OUTTA Bushwick, at Chimento Contemporary through February 4th, is less about geography than it is about the artists that geography contains. Organized by Patricia Hamilton, former curator of the Hamilton Gallery of Contemporary Art in New York, the exhibition showcases the work of artists who have exhibited in Bushwick’s Schewitzer/David Gallery. Farrell Brickhouse, Daniel John Gadd, Brenda Goodman, Dana James and C. Michael Norton are the featured artists in a group show that dazzles with color and texture.
These New York based artists are a part of thriving art scene in Brooklyn’s Bushwick district. Bringing their work to Los Angeles, with its own thriving art community, the five artists represented here each offer works that may have originated in Bushwick but have a universal sense of energy and passion. The brightness of so many of the palettes would not be out of place offering a view of California sea, sky, and sun. However, there is something about the denseness of the abstract images that also sends out a deeply urban, Bushwick vibe.
C. Michael Norton’s “What a Wallop,” large scale acrylic abstract on canvas vibrates with lemony yellow. The work features patterns of pink, green, white, and beige blossoming like water- drenched flowers. The intensity and size of the work and its intricate patterns define their own landscape.
Daniel John Gadd’s “Rosemma” is a mixed media work on wooden panel that evokes the feelings of a porthole with a stunning aqua sea reflecting sunlight on water. Created with oil, mirrored glass, wax, and aluminum leaf, the frame around this seeming “window” is a varied design that ties neatly into the patterns on Norton’s piece. Layered and thick, Gadd’s work in the exhibition often feels tangible as if viewers can slip through his Circles series and into a new dimension.
Brenda Goodman’s smaller scale works adjoining Gadd’s larger ones serve as a fascinating counterpoint, all tangled line, with the rhythmic feeling of a visualization of audible sound. Other works of Goodman’s appear to be a-swirl with dancing, shifting figures. Her “Untitled (1b),” a diminutive 10 x 10 oil on paper and wood is scarred, geometric, a creature emerging.
Dana James offers lush images that speak of the sea and the sky, vast brush strokes of cloud, wave, horizon; rich blues, aqua, and depth-infused white. Her “Caldera in Eternal Blue” is so thick, deep, and swirling that the ink, dye, and oil on canvas makes viewers feel as if they are falling into its depths. The yawning maw of a churning sea seems to pull at the edges of the painting. “The Swimmer” dwarfs the titular subject against a sweeping background and foreground. The figure is adrift on sea foam, overpowered by the sea even as the viewer is overpowered by such an immense and mesmerizing seascape.
Farrell Brickhouse, too, shows us what could be either a glittering night sky or the sea, with a work that looks like starfish lying on the sand. Created in oil and glitter as part of his Stars series, the piece expresses what the artist defines as “that moment of epiphany and a trace of how the imagery conveyed thru paint was discovered and experienced by the artist…the mystery of it.” His oil on canvas “SciFy #5″ appears to be creatures within creatures, trapped but dancing, or perhaps just coming alive. Test tube creatures? Gestating beings?
The exhibition may be titled and come Straight OUTTA Bushwick, but viewers will see works that feel more “outta” this world than limited by what the east coast’s art scene alone can contain.
Chimento Contemporary is located at 622 S. Anderson St., No. 105, in DTLA.