Tuesday, August 09, 2016

BONNY LEIBOWITZ at Liliana Bloch Gallery


Spin Cycle, 2016
quilted vinyl, vintage and contemporary textiles and acrylic. 50"x46"x8"
photo  credit: Kevin Todora

ModernDallas.net repost of my article

What is risk taking in art? When do you know you see it happening in an individual artist? Where do you find artists that take risk? The Bonny Leibowitz show at Liliana Bloch Gallery is a good example to help flesh out these big questions of aesthetics.

Risk taking is often associated with danger, opening oneself to ridicule, or attempting something new. Bonny Leibowitz has been pushing the boundaries of her own art production over the past few years by exiting her painting series and delving into a more hybrid form art. I can tell that her recent travels to Miami art fairs and New York City made a huge mark on her new work. The best risk taking requires that you see a lot of work in order to build a rich vocabulary. Leibowitz did the work to see as much art as possible while building a body of work for a show. If you review her Facebook account over the last year, you wouldn’t know when she even had the time to work. I think this new body of work reached that edge of successful and failed work. That point where everything could have been too kitschy or too sweet, or romantic, but Leibowitz pulls back just enough to leave us with objects that make us pause.

When an artist is taking a risk, some work might succeed while others might fail. I think Liliana Bloch was careful in selecting the work for the show. I can tell that Liliana and Leibowitz make a good fit, because both like to play with the edge of aesthetic experiences. I think on the whole, Leibowitz’ show was successful, but a piece like Suburbia with its vinyl grass print and leaf shaped cut outs, really challenged my sensibility. I don’t know if the piece was a colossal failure, or a successful pun, but I was still thinking about it after the show. That makes a piece of art a candidate for a risky piece. The small pieces in the Remnant series reflect a similar process to that of the Suburbia piece, which helped build a little extra context for the piece. All those little Remnant pieces were fun to discover all over the walls.

A risky place can be a commercial gallery. The function of a gallery is to first stay profitable, but second to take a risk now and then to test their collectors. Galleries don’t always know what might strike the fancy of collectors, gallery goers, and critics, so they sometimes show an artist or group of artists to the public to test things out. Bonny Leibowitz’ first show with Liliana Bloch was a solo show. Of course, this is still the summer, so the risk is a little lighter for the gallery, but still it is a risk. Any artist that gets a solo show must also represent the gallery’s overall mission and theme. Both artist and gallery played to the edges with their work and I think the show came out quite nicely.

I am still debating a few individual works in my head, but works like On Hold or Spin Cycle were very strong with the same amount of risk the rest of the show embodied. New Artifacts, featuring Bonny Leibowitz will be up until July 23rd at Liliana Bloch Gallery.

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