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Kathryn Markel Fine Arts

529 W 20th St, Suite 6W, New York
212-366-5368
Tuesday - Friday 10am - 6pm, Saturday 11am - 6pm


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Following the Thread
Aug 03-Sep 02
The distinct divide between the worlds of art and craft has been rapidly shrinking. Artists who work with textiles are being welcomed into the contemporary art world like never before. Following the Thread celebrates a selection of these artists who are experimenting with and being inspired by textiles and the techniques used to work with them in a modern way. Drawn to the aesthetics or the cultural and political connotations of textiles, their work looks to the tenets of painting, applying notions of space, form, and color to their manipulation of fabric and thread. Emily Barlettas embroidery on paper uses the language of painting and drawing to create abstract works with thread. With references to landscape and biology, she explores color and form on a small scale. The materials allow for vivid evidence of process, lending an intimate sense of Barlettas hand in each piece. Eric Blums layered arrangements of ink-washed, wax-infused silk are rooted in modern painting techniques yet activated by the experimental manipulation of his media. Their parts dont always seem to go together, while the whole wavers at the edge of recognition. He is drawn to unexpected juxtapositions and awkward harmonies with menacing undercurrents that dont make a nuisance of themselves. Sarah Irvins Quilt Series deconstructs quilting and builds it up again into something entirely removed from its two-dimensional form. She reworks cotton, thread, and wood into structures that only allude to tradition. Subverting the notion of quilting being womens work and therefore tidy, delicate, and commercial, her pieces reimagine its materials as building blocks to form strong, architectural sculptures. Sydney Licht updates the conventions of still life by shifting the subject matter to signifiers of contemporary consumer culture and studying them with a painters eye, skewing perception and abstracting familiar forms. She is drawn to the materials that make up the world around us -- the packaging, bags, and containers that are often overlooked despite being some of our most common sources of visual intrigue. With her series of paintings centered around fabric and sewing supplies, she breaks that focus down even more, elevating the tools used to create so much of what we consume into subjects worthy of study. Gina Occhiogrossos preoccupation with the materiality of painting has led to expanding her language to include materials and processes outside of paintings usual conventions. She pierces, slices, or punctures her surfaces and incorporates craft-based materials to lower the material hierarchy of the piece. Yarn is a natural match for her interest in working with line, and she uses it to alternately enhance or disrupt the line work of her paintings. In other pieces, she uses layered cotton as a foundation to challenge traditional notions of field and space. Marilla Palmersmixed media works navigate the unexpected overlap of the organic and artifice. Dried flowers and foliage are delicately combined with fabrics, holographic paper, and sequins to embellish renderings of found branches and plants. While at first glance they may appear to be a celebration of the femininity of nature, closer inspection reveals that she incorporates the decay of her natural materials into her work. The glamorous synthetics serve as a mask to hide this process and their fading beauty, questioning the power to fully transform through adornment. Debra Smith approaches her textiles with the sensibilities of a modern painter and seeks to break the stereotypes associated with piecework. Working with vintage fabrics - primarily mens silk suit lining and kimono - brings an historical and poetic weight to the work even before she begins to meticulously piece together her materials into abstract forms. The masculinity of the suit fabric and the femininity of the silks strike a harmonious balance thats then thrown off by skewed geometry. Yolanda Snchezs textile work is inspired by Bojagi, a Korean art form that pieces scraps of fabric together to create textiles that were originally intended to wrap goods as a symbol of fortune. As the tradition evolved to include finer and more delicate fabrics, the stitching and seams were used to create linear elements that were viewed as essential to the design. Snchez sees parallels in this to modernist aesthetic, and experiments with sizing, color compositions, and stitching techniques to play up that comparison. With a Full Heart is made completely of strips of silk leftover from her previous Bojagi projects arranged in the shape of a wonsam, a Korean ceremonial garment, with its outstretched sleeves symbolizing a readiness to protect, envelop, or fly.


Marcelyn McNeil, Revising Making-Nice
Sep 07-Oct 14
Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to present Revising Making-Nice, Marcelyn McNeils second solo show at the gallery. Marcelyn McNeils latest large-scale abstract oil paintings react against the tendency to overly manicure work. While her strong sense of color remains, McNeil strives to loosen up and broaden her vocabulary. She combines poured paint, fades, and drawing to create new relationships between softer forms. High-pitched color amplifies the energy that has always existed in McNeils work, but now there is a greater sense of playfulness, sensuality, and risk. The interplay of competing elements activates the paintings so that they nearly feel animated. They are exuberant yet quietly confident, fueled by off-kilter humor and anthropomorphism. Yet McNeil is steadfastly a modernist in that she remains faithful to the flatness of the surface, eschewing modeling or linear perspective to create the illusion of depth through color and shape. Formalism moves freely in and out of her work. Her compositions appear both carefully considered and the result of intuitive exploration. Marcelyn McNeil has been exhibited throughout the United States including at the Wichita Center for the Arts, the Texas Biennial, the University of Dallas, and the Harvester Arts Center, among other institutions. She received a MacDowell Colony Fellowship in 2011, and was rewarded the Visual Artist of the Year by the Decorative Arts Center Houston in 2015, along with other accolades. She has a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland and an MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She lives and works in Houston, TX.