The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation, one of the most competitive and prestigious free studio space programs in the country, had their open studios last weekend, and I wanted to share some of the highlights.
Entering Franklin Evans studio felt like you were actually stepping into one of his intensely detailed paintings. The ambitious space was covered in strips/pieces of vibrantly painted tape, wall drawings, works on paper; and the floor was tiled with art journal and press release printouts. Evans talked about using his time in the program to create and document a working space that would push his work in new and unexpected directions.
Eric Sall had some new large paintings on display in his studio that push abstraction’s ability to continually re-invent itself. The background surfaces of these new works were reminiscent of Helen Frankenthaler or Morris Louis, injected with his varied application of surface and texture. He also had an entire wall dedicated to drawings, photographs, skateboard decks and assemblages that serves as a revolving salon of visual prototypes.
Erik Benson had a nice mixture of his signature building and landscape paintings, layering pieces of acrylic of re-imagined parks, high-rises, and perhaps as a nod to Ed Ruscha, the Ikea in Red Hook, billowing black smoke. The new paintings, with their gentle washes of white and sophisticated color decisions, have a mature simplicity to them, achieving a deeper psychological space.
Kristine Moran uses representational imagery as a jumping off point for her fleshy, loose oil painting. Playing around with editing and masking her subjects with bold gestures, Moran develops her surfaces with a direct application and earthy palette, which gives the paintings a classic aura. The spaces in the paintings have a real physical force about them—projecting a movement and intensity comparable to Francis Bacon.
The focused paintings of Frank Webster appear to capture fleeting moments at the beginning or end of a day. His most recent work has developed the subtle color shifts with careful precision that give the images a quiet, powerful authority. Webster glazes layers of detailed brushstrokes to render the light of the sky against hulking urban structures or delicate pieces of debris caught in the branches of a tree.