Hyperallergic’s ‘Top 10 Brooklyn Art Shows’ of 2019 included two of the gallery’s exhibitions from this year: Anoka Faruqee and David Driscoll’s ‘Relative Brightness’ and American Artist’s ‘(If I Was ▉▉▉▉▉ I Would Die).’
8. With a straightforward palette of desaturated primary and secondary colors, plus a gray or two, Faruqee and Driscoll’s gently spectacular Circle paintings are marvels of chromatic control. By overlaying two or more sets of slim, concentric bands slightly off-register, the artists put interference patterns into play and transform the surface of the canvas into a rippling, luminous field of ever-shifting admixtures of hue — daylight’s double. Fruitful contradictions abound in these stunning paintings, presented in Relative Brightness, among them the illusion of metallic sheen that emanates from their flat matte surfaces. The glitch-ridden precision of the artists’ technique demonstrates the indeterminacy inherent in a seemingly predetermined action. While that uncertainty may be disconcerting in some contexts, in these paintings it is exhilarating. —Stephen Maine
9. In transforming Koenig & Clinton’s gallery space into a classroom whose desks came equipped with sightline-obscuring riot shields, American Artist’s acclaimed exhibition, I’m Blue (If I Was ▉▉▉▉▉ I Would Die), dramatized the defensiveness of the Blue Lives Matter countermovement. The exhibition’s video centerpiece, Blue Life Seminar (2019), portrayed an animated, blue-skinned avatar — a mash-up of Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan and the late former Los Angeles policeman Christopher Dorner — who delivers a distraught monologue about police power’s warping, racialized effects. Aesthetically, Artist’s early career work has been anti-sensationalist, even withdrawn, but, politically, it has grown increasingly, and powerfully, pointed. —Louis Bury
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