Art in Brooklyn. Who Knew?

Ivan Albright, Marie Walsh Sharpe (1921), oil on canvas, 25″ x 17″; courtesy The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation

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Few events in recent memory have been as heartening as a visit to this week’s open studios at The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation.

I’d heard of the Sharpe Foundation’s Space Program–no, nothing NASA about it; the Foundation provides a year of free studio space for selected artists–but I had never visited the DUMBO facility. Now that I’ve have all I can say is:  Wow. The studios are the stuff of a workaday artist’s wet dream–high ceilings, ample square footage and, for a lucky few, stunning views of lower Manhattan–and the art on view was of a consistently high quality.

I’ll admit that my aesthetic barometer may have been clouded by one too many plastic cupfuls of red wine and enriched by the company of friends and colleagues. But even the work that wasn’t to my taste evinced meticulous craft and the better stuff was unembarrassed by the attention paid to what meets the eye. Visual art that’s actually visual in nature. Can you imagine such a thing?

Particularly noteworthy was the work of Amy Bennett, Thomas Bangsted, Gary Petersen, Martha Clippinger, Vince Contarino, Harry Leigh, Kirk Stoller and Gelah Penn, through whose kind offices I was invited to the Sharpe Foundation (and who’s currently showing here).

© 2011 Mario Naves

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