Text: Alec Coiro
Photos: Joseph Parra and courtesy of Safe Gallery
We’ve been major Brian Chippendale fans since way back when Ravelin was an iPad-only publication. His music is obviously an inspiration, and we’ve always been into his graphic novel-flavored collages as well. So we were very excited to hear that he was taking a new artistic direction in his latest show with Ioanna Pantazopoulou at Safe Gallery in Williamsburg.
Chippendale’s new paintings are abstractions on a white canvas that communicate their colors very boldly and work incredibly well in combination to create a surreal effect almost reminiscent of seeing trails whilst tripping. The bold colors contrast inventively with the negative space of the canvas that has been carved out with a knife, taking the notion of “negative space” to its ultimate conclusion. Cleverly, some of these canvases were assembled together (with the help of some paper mache) to form the shape of humanoid figures in a way that nicely recalled Sadie Laska’s paintings-as-sculptures from I, Clouded last year at Canada Gallery and perhaps marks a trend in among New York City painters looking to break out beyond their canvas.
The structure that immediately grabs your attention upon entering the show is the Bikini Hut that Ioanna Pantazopoulou created out of literal bikinis that washed up on her figurative shore through a glitch in the system of globalized trade. The hut accompanied by a number of bikini sculptures, which look almost woven together, combining the crunchy earthiness of craft with the space-age fabrics of swimwear.
While the Pantazopoulou’s bikini installation is described as a “temporary residence” and a “monument,” it performed double duty as a primitive bandshell in which Ravelin-favorite Kill Alters performed in for the opening reception. Or at least that was the plan, until it turned out Hisham Bharoocha’s drum kit was too epic in scope to fit into the bikini pagoda. Nevertheless, the clever unity of form (and just generally the space itself, which is wonderfully designed) reflects the brilliant ambition and vision of Safe Gallery and gallerists Pali Kashi and Sarah Welsh-Elliott.