Saturday, March 30, 2024

Artomatic review: the 4th floor

It took me about two and a half hours to finish finish my first walk through of the 4th floor at ARTOMATIC, and then I revisited some spaces and left many comments on the artists' books.

First impressions are: 

(1) A lot of artists channeling Joseph Cornell, which is a good thing, as Cornell was a magnificent artist and his work niche has miles and miles of creativity left to explore!

(2) a lot of BLM-themed artwork, some pretty powerful, some less memorable.

(3) I'm shocked by how many people cannot spell Palestine! 

Now for my impressions, but first, the mysterious, talented and prolific poet known as BRASH has been gifting poetry to ARTOMATIC artists for many years now. And now BRASH has been outed by an artist known as Bebe in room 4043! I really hope that this was an agreed outing!

BRASH by Bebe at AOM 2024
BRASH by Bebe

Wall mosaic by Peijisan at Artomatic 2024
Wall mosaic by Peijisan at Artomatic 2024

In room 4066, the artist known as Peijisan has cleverly recycled materials to create a wall mosaic that translates really well and would be a great addition to any public art building - the best of both worlds: re-using materials and in doing so creating really good art!

My personal best ARTOMATIC find of all time was when I ran into Tim Tate  at the second ever Artomatic in Tenleytown over two decades ago. Today when I waked the 4th floor (I'm on duty on the 4th floor), in room 4123 I met the recent works on metal of a new-to-me artist named James Flowers. So far he's the Best New Artist find (for me)... I will explain more in DC Art News later.

James Flowers at Artomatic 2024
Detail of a James Flowers painting on metal

In room 4009 I was superbly impressed by the portrait drawings of Mary Acosta. In these works the artist has easily captured - not only through her technical skill, but also through her ability to "read" the subject -- something special about each person!
Mary Acosta in room 4009 at Artomatic 2024
Mary Acosta in room 4009 at Artomatic 2024

I am usually highly critical of weird or fancy frames - as opposed to the art word standard of plain frames that do not interfere with the work. In this room I stand corrected! Acosta uses a diverse assortment of interesting exotic frames and I'll be darned if it actually works for her!

Mary Acosta in room 4009 at Artomatic 2024
Mary Acosta portrait
I mentioned that there are a lot of artists on this floor channeling Joseph Cornell - and below is one of my absolute favorites from Tom Noll in room 4038, which is full of wonderful artsy "upcycled" boxes!
ARtsy upcycled box by Tom Noll at Artomatic 2024
Tom Noll at Artomatic 2024

Tom Noll room 4038 at Artomatic 2024
Tom Noll room 4038 at Artomatic 2024

On one of the halls marked 478, I was taken by the pole dancing photographs of Larkin Jones - they are superbly presented, and deliver athletic prowess, eroticism and even humor!

Pole dancing photo by Larkin Jones at Artomatic 2024
Pole dancing photo by Larkin Jones at Artomatic 2024

Below is my award for possibly the scariest sculpture in Artomatic! It is the superb work of Greg Bailou in room 4013!
Greg Bailou in room 4013 at Artomatic
Greg Bailou in room 4013

I have admired the works of my good bud Osbel Susman-Peña for decades now. He's a superbly trained artist whose works draws from deep sources loaded with ages of personal meanings to him, and yet the brilliance of his works is how each individual viewer finds its own meanings in his wondrous paintings.  His work is in room 4057.

Some other masters who need no introduction are Colin Winterbottom (easily one of the best DMV photographers of the city) in room 4062, the breath-taking work of Ellen Cornett in room 4085. I am soooo jealous of her enviable technical skill in her drawings - but technical skill alone does not great art make -- and Cornett is also brilliant in her surrealist work that delivers a wondrous bestiary and images that are best reserved for wonderful dreams! She's in room 4085.

In room 4073/74 I ran into a powerful installation by the duo of Claudia Vess and Lucy Blankenstein - two DMV artists who need no introduction. Titled "Apres Moi?", the two-room install is an orgy of recycled white foam materials that somehow in one room deliver modern forms and in the other room a marriage of modern forms with classical busts!
Apres Mois at Artomatic 2024
Apres Moi

Apres Mois at Artomatic 2024
Apres Moi

More "must see" on the 4th floor: Marcie Wolf-Hubbard in room 4050, Betsy Jones miniature dioramas in room 4015, Monica Perdomo's memorable stitched canvasses in room 4104, and easily the selection for one of the most innovative and serene projects of Artomatic history: Lisa Rosenthal-Yoffe's "Nothing but Blue Skies" in room 4014 -- That's how you do a room installation!

Detail of Monica Perdomo
Detail of Monica Perdomo's stitching

More masters at Artomatic: Susan Jamison in room 4099, and the collaboration of David Mordini and Barry Schmetter in 4029, with nine tracks of motion activated cicada songs is spectacularly superior on a planetary scale! May the broods of 2024 bring new sounds to your repertoire!

And of course there's another great room with Richard Schellenberg's latest. This artist - along with Tim Tate a few centuries ago - almost single-handedly invented the niche of art that took video away from DVD players and made it into fine art!  There are also some exceptional minimalist drawings, which I gotta admit, were a surprise to me - the man can also draw! He's in room 4088.

Richard Schellenberg video pieces at Artomatic 2024
Richard Schellenberg video pieces at Artomatic 2024

Over in Facebook I've been getting my ass chewed by artists who think that no one should get constructive criticism on something that needs improvement - one even called me a jackass. They felt that it was "unneeded" and "mean" that I think that whoever this artist is below, he or she gets the second worst Artomatic installation ever. 

This is ALL that there's in the room:

Why? Because the presentation needs a lot of schooling: there is no information at all, no names, no contact information, etc. And the work is double taped to the wall, which to me does not say that the artist is trying to deliver a message via the poor installation, but that he or she just needs some basic mentoring and information on artwork presentation... Note that I'm discussing the presentation - not the artwork itself - but a lot of otherwise gentle folks over at Facebook are fuming at me for daring to express constructive criticism,

I could be wrong, and if so, I will eat my words -- you readers know that I have done so many times in the past.

Wanna talk about it? Whoever is below artist, email me and let's get together and chat about how to present your work... or you can tell me to fuck off -- either way works... Wanna see the very worst Artomatic installation ever? Click here.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for being such a strong supporter of Artomatic through the years and YES: we artists need thick skin and mentorship never hurts if it is good and well-meaning!


Lissa Rosenthal-Yoffe said...

Thanks Lenny for the wonderful mention in your 4th floor review! xx

“…and easily the selection for one of the most innovative and serene projects of Artomatic history: Lisa Rosenthal-Yoffe's "Nothing but Blue Skies" in room 4014 -- That's how you do a room installation!”

“Nothing but blue skies from now on for ARTOMATIC 2024,” Room 4014. By

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this show - thanks! heading there today!

Anonymous said...

Just read the FB Artomatic small mob upset that you dared to criticize the way a room was presented... that's what you get for trying to point out to someone how to improve something.


Anonymous said...

Glad to see that you're not letting the FB mob of thin-skinned whiners get away with it - Eff them... part of being at Artomatic is learning what to do - especially if you're a new artist.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lenny, If you get the opportunity. Please revisit the fourth floor. I would love to know what you think of my recently updated room 493. Thank you for sharing your reviews with all of us. I've enjoyed them all.
Christine Krizsa Uskievich