"Making Your Mark: On Paper"

Brooklyn Arts Council Gallery, through Apr 21

Jonathan Gall, Reckless Small Talk

Jonathan Gall, Reckless Small Talk

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

Now that the deluge of international art fairs has passed, it’s time to reconsider the important role that small, community-based shows (curated the old-fashioned way, via an open call for entries) play in the discovery of new art. This offering of works on paper, organized by the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) and installed amid the cubicles and conference rooms of their newly renovated offices in Dumbo, is an excellent case in point.

The general consensus here seems to be: Small-scale is good. So are fetishistic processes like burning, sewing or repetitive mark making. Elisabeth Smolarz’s Closet is little more than a scratch or two, “carved” (per the wall label) onto a piece of ink-coated paper. Yet visually (and viscerally), that’s plenty. We know Smolarz’s closet is a dark place. And we don’t know what lurks inside. Jonathan Gall limns a man’s jaw with just a handful of well chosen, roughly hewn lines. Christopher Walsh’s gouache painting is built up of lozenges of color, each one a definitive, architectural stroke. Amy Tamayo draws a smoke-trailing cigarette inside the center of a sweetly colored paper doily. Is smoking encouraged or discouraged? You decide.

Chances are, most visitors to the show will be at BAC for a grant workshop or the like. But one hopes they’ll stay long enough to ponder all the trouble artist Scott Henstrand went to when he wrote the word exegesis backward and upside down in charcoal on a long scroll of paper. Such devotion to craft is unmistakable and impressive whatever the setting.—Sarah Schmerler