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Review: 'Translucent' at McKenzie Fine Art

Currently on show at McKenzie Fine Art, New York through August 12, 2017

McKenzie Fine Art summer group show, “Translucent” features works by Andrea Belag, Michelle Benoit, Freddy Chandra, Christopher Dunlap, James Lecce, Shane McAdams, Doreen McCarthy, Maureen McQuillan, Shari Mendelson, Pipo Nguyen-duy, Erin O’Keefe, Fran O’Neill, Rob de Oude, Gary Petersen, Don Voisine, and Laura Sharp Wilson. The artist's mediums range from painting, sculpture, glass sculpture to photography and come from vastly different backgrounds, but the contemporary common ground for this group exhibition is their tackling of mediums and materials to produce translucency.

Erin O’Keefe, a New York born photographer and architect, uses her skill set to break the boundaries of photography, making the viewer wonder if her works are photographic images, paintings, or something else altogether. Her photographs of plexiglass boards and dowels play with light and color, creating structure and architecture within the flat photographic prints. Brooklyn based painter, Rob de Oude has two oil paintings in the exhibition, both of which brought me back to the childhood wonder of looking through a kaleidoscope. Oude says “I mix an intuitive use of color, rhythm, composition and layering choices with a systematic mode of painting. These types of juxtapositions between intuition and methodology are part of seeking an orchestrated balance, with a single line as the building unit.” Several other artists here, like Andrea Belag, Maureen McQuillan, and Fran O’Neill use layers of paint to achieve elements of transparency, all the whilst embodying incredibly different styles of painting.

Vietnamese born Pipo Nguyen-Duy whose work most often portrays human beings as subject turns to nature in his indigo-hued cyanotypes which capture botanical samples from Monet’s gardens at Giverny. The pieces are part of a series called “AnOther Expedition” in which Nguyen-Duy reverses the colonial order, by imagining his series as part of a natural history museum installation of a fictitious Vietnamese colonial expedition to France. Alongside the dominating painting diversity in the show, Shari Mendelson has made vessels which immediately call to mind glass and vase work of antiquity, yet are made out of the wholly modern recycled plastic bottles.

Towards the back of the gallery space, more sculptural pieces, like Michelle Benoit’s candy hued lucite panels; Doreen McCarthy’s “Curious Inversion,” a layered sculpture of colorful plexiglas triangles, light and shadow cast down on the layers. Installed in a different space, with different light, it would be an entirely new viewing experience. This may be the most “Instagram-able” work here, so at the very least pop in and take a few selfies with the colorful hues from McCarthy’s sculpture.

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