Peter Gronquist’s New Show “Refuge” opens at Joseph Gross Gallery

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Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

“Serenity now!” (yes, that is a Seinfeld reference) came to mind when I immersed myself in Peter Gronquist’s pastel-colored painting show entitled Refuge at Joseph Gross Gallery (548 West 28th Street). A contrast to his edgy strapped-taxidermy animals that blatantly address gun violence, the paintings in Refuge hold a subtle quietness that act like a call and response to his previous work (with these paintings clearly being the conclusive latter). Using color and texture as his subjects, Gronquist has abandoned representational work to communicate a place of happiness and resolve.

To me, Refuge feels like church. Having a particularly chaotic life in a particularly chaotic city, I was both surprised and relieved to emerge from Gronquist’s exhibition feeling totally at ease.  Although the color-field paintings hold up on their own, together they created a cocoon-like environment for me, a safe place for my mind to relax- and actually day dream. Anyone who has experienced the environment created with a room of Robert Ryman white paintings will understand the freedom felt with experiencing art that lets your mind rest. It is a coveted quality I can’t quite describe, and getting there is extremely difficult. But when successful, this type of art has the ability to allow the viewer to shut off the analytical/busy part of their brain, and instead just give in to the subconscious experiential facet that we equate with day dreaming.

Whatever it is, Gronquist has conquered it with Refuge. I focused on the subtle gradation of one color to the next, the gentle textural interplay of tulle, the thick white frames that seemed to elevate each color field as it floated through my daydream. I left the exhibition without anything to say (shocking for a blabbermouth like me) but feeling satiated, all knowing, more understanding.

While some may not find color field paintings to be a religious experience, those who are willing to let go of their brain clutter for a few minutes can experience the relaxing satisfaction that Gronquist’s beautiful new show inspires.

 

Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

L-R: Haley Wen, Sonia Edwards and Evan Berk attend the Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

L-R: Haley Wen, Sonia Edwards and Evan Berk attend the Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

L-R: Casey Gleghorn, Lori Zimmer and Logan Hicks attend the Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

L-R: Casey Gleghorn, Lori Zimmer and Logan Hicks attend the Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

L-R: Artist Sebastian Wahl, Joseph gross and Anastasia Wahl attend the Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

L-R: Artist Sebastian Wahl, Joseph gross and Anastasia Wahl attend the Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

L-R: Sienna Mkuruh and Lucia Gioiello attend the Peter Gronquist "Refuge" exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

L-R: Sienna Mkuruh and Lucia Gioiello attend the Peter Gronquist “Refuge” exhibition opening at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York, NY on June 9, 2016. (Photo by Stephen Smith)

YUP, There Was More At SCOPE Art Fair Than Skulls and Guns

I’m always a bit skeptical of SCOPE NY.  If you went to SCOPE in Miami then I’d probably tell you to skip SCOPE NY and go check out a fresher fair.  Chances are pretty high that at least 70 percent of what you saw in Miami got hauled to New York.  I confess, this was not the case last week. This year, SCOPE was relocated closer to the Armory Show; the new location left me without a decent excuse for skipping it – honestly, I’m glad I didn’t.

Every fair has an unofficial theme – I like to refer to it as a resonating recurrence. ‘Guns and Skulls’ held court this year. Particularly popular was the Uzi: Magnus Joen’s blue Jesus double fisted uzi’s, OG Slick had Mickey Mouse thug his one-handed, Gronquist gold plated the Uzi while Nando constructed his out of typewriter parts.  I resisted the urge to snaps pictures or add them to this list…come on, you’ll see plenty pictures of them on Instagram.

Also absent from this list is the Hubert Kretzschmar, pigment print,  Björk (2015), its placement at the fair felt like a play for attention based on the freshly minted Bjork exhibit at MoMA.  I suppose its unfair of me to assume that, however, it the first thing I thought of when encountering it, so I won’t revoke the thought.

I guess it’s time to get on with it – here are my non-skull, non-gun, non-Bjork favorites from SCOPE NY.

Erik Jones, Joseph Gross Gallery

Erik Jones, Joseph Gross Gallery

Sandra Chevrier, La Cage Maintenant, Mixed Media

Sandra Chevrier, La Cage Maintenant, Mixed Media

Juliane Hundertmark,Kitchen - Galerie Juliane Hundertmark

Juliane Hundertmark,Kitchen – Galerie Juliane Hundertmark

Christine Wu, Showed You How to Love, 2015  - oil, acrylic, toner, paper, and glitter on wood panel

Christine Wu Showed You How to Love, 2015 – oil, acrylic, toner, paper, and glitter on wood panel

Andrew Hem, Flipper 2015 - Thinkspace Gallery

Andrew Hem, Flipper, 2015 – acrylic on wood panel, Thinkspace Gallery

Russ Noto, Untitled Venus - Concrete, latex, tennis balls, wood and oil on canvas

Russ Noto, Untitled Venus –
Concrete, latex, tennis balls, wood and oil on canvas

Vicodin Lover - Ritalin Kids, Ben Frost - acrylic, crayon on canvas

Vicodin Lover – Ritalin Kids, Ben Frost – acrylic, crayon on canvas

Erin Riley, Loot, Soze Gallery

Erin Riley, Loot, Soze Gallery

Hiroko Shiina, Forever, 2015 - wooden panel, paper, ink, acrylic, coffee

Hiroko Shiina, Forever, 2015 – wooden panel, paper, ink, acrylic, coffee

*all photos care of HAHA MAG