Levine & Antonio Adriano Puleo represent the first of two
concurrent two-person exhibitions at Gallery Bershad. These two
painters have been friends since 1996 when they met while living
in Boston. Several years later, Levine finds his home in New York
City while Puleo lives in California. This exhibition recalls
last year’s exhibition Coast to Coast, but reflects Bershad’s
recent change of direction by juxtaposing a Bershad veteran with
a young gun from art-star studded UCLA.
Levine: until recently a Boston resident, lives and works
out of his studio in Manhattan where he has exhibited at Gallery
Onetwentyeight. Since his last exhibition at Bershad one year
ago, Levine’s work has expanded its vocabulary and scope. His
works on paper are still spacious and are more concise than ever.
Minimal marks on paper with short textual elements offer circular
forms that drift slightly away from what we expect to be symmetrical.
His color palette further creates an oscillation which prevents
the eye from resting in the center of the circular forms. This
tension is then juxtaposed with a textual snippet, or quotation,
which attempts to create a similar resonance in the realm of language.
Whether recalling a line from a song we fondly remember, a clever
turn of the tongue, or a red herring Levine reminds us that some
words just sound memorable enough to trigger the sense of recollection.
His approach to both visual art and language is whimsical, and
the spaciousness of the work opens the viewer to an experience
akin to losing oneself in song.
Adriano Puleo: grew up in Boston and attended under-graduate
studies at The Massachusetts College of Art. He currently lives
in Los Angeles and attends the UCLA graduate painting program.
His work was most recently exhibited at Brandeis University in
Waltham, MA. Unlike Levine’s abstract forms in space, Puleo’s
work offers a landscape in which representational forms are heavily
abstracted and stylized; what Puleo and Levine have in common
is a whimsical approach to their respective topics. This affinity
underscores their creative work together and the tone of their
discourse. To this end, the artists have created two works for
this exhibition as part of a collaborative process. The artists
have swapped two works through the mail, back and forth, such
that the first hand in the work also gets the “last licks.” Puleo
will also be installing a selection of his works including
Dow & Laurel Sparks represent the second of two concurrent
two person exhibitions at Gallery Bershad. These two painters
first exhibited together at Gallery Bershad during the modernMODULAR
exhibition late last year where their work initiated a conversation
which has lead to this exhibition. Both artists manage to bring
new life to familiar projects in the discourse of contemporary
painting. Dow’s work brings new subtlety to a formal project with
the use of birch plywood surfaces while Sparks manages to take
visceral drum-like surfaces of paper-pulp into the realm of tight
Dow: Graduated from the Yale University MFA painting/print-making
program in 1998. She has stayed in New Haven where she currently
paints and runs a gallery aptly named Untitled Space. Her work
uses horizontal stripes of color to affect our perceptual experience
of surface and depth. Dow’s work relates to the optical artwork
of Brigett Riley (recently featured at the DIA Center for The
Arts), but takes the baton another step. Her work enhances/prononounces
the harmonies and discordant stripes with the use of the birch
panels. The measure and rhythm of the stripes are in part dictated
by the wood-grain on which Dow paints; as the grain comes through
the paint, which is applied with varying opacity, the oscillation
between surface and depth locates the viewer in the space of perceptual
resonance. The size of the work and their placement flush to the
wall further seduce the viewer into a bodily relationship to the
painted surface. Though Dow’s work may at first blush appear merely
quiet and poetic, it is also quite complex in the whispering subtlety
of the relationships orchestrated between color, composition,
and organic patterning.
Sparks: is a local artist based in Jamaica Plain and is a
Graduate of the School of The Museum Fine Arts in Boston. Sparks’
work has won several awards and was most recently curated into
an exhibition at the MPG Gallery by Rachel Lafo, Senior Curator
at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA. Sparks’ paintings use
paper-pulp, foam, and vellum to create a drum-like surface that
represents a threshold between internal and external worlds. Her
visceral works somehow transcend a vocabulary of materials which
often recall craft work but which bring us into a design oriented
landscape. The threshold of her surfaces recall the organic skin
of a drum which simultaneously expresses beauty and violence.
Whether this surface is punctured or scarred there is a tight
compositional balance which seduces us through a visceral reaction
and into the presence of a complex appreciation for the relationships
set up between repetitive and random elements.