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press release :: Laura Newman | Recent Paintings

Jen Bekman Gallery is pleased to present Recent Paintings, new abstract works by Laura Newman. Recent Paintings is Newman’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.

An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 7, 2012, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Recent Paintings will be on view Saturday, September 8th, through Sunday, October 14th, 2012

In Laura Newman’s new abstract paintings, exuberant pours, stained pools of color and gestural swooshes interact across austere, almost meditative white fields. Spatially expansive, her often architecturally sized canvases evoke the stark forms of Modernist abstraction, while her sprawling figures, painted in bright candy colors that are both playful and assaultive, suggest multivalent narratives. The resulting landscape is unplaceable yet organic, and both comforting and unnerving, as the viewer is allowed to seemingly float through this geometry of unarticulated white space and intense color. The paintings included in the exhibition can appear at first as playful, flip outbursts of abstraction, but to reduce the works is to miss the vivacity and poetry in her considered construction of elegant spatial relationships among the flowing and billowing colored shapes.

 From the catalog of Newman’s work Amy Sillman notes:

 The overarching tension in her paintings is located in a dynamic opposition of presence vs. void, seeing vs. feeling.  It is as though her paintings describe a place between forces or events, like a big optical hug, where two arms come to hug you and yet never quite cross over each other to exert any physical pressure or weight. 

 Newman is a Brooklyn-based painter who has exhibited at numerous institutions and galleries, including the Weatherspoon Art Museum and the New Museum, among others. Publications include a catalog from NSCAD University with essays by John Yau and Amy Sillman, and reviews in the Brooklyn Rail, Artforum, the New York Times and BOMB magazine. She has received fellowships and awards from the American Academy in Rome, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, and educated at Cooper Union, the California Institute of the Arts and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, she teaches painting and drawing at Vassar College.