IN NEW YORK CITY, five must-see solo exhibitions are dedicated to artists whose practices are largely focused on painting: Sylvia Snowden, Naudline Pierre, Walter Price, Wole Lagunju, and Ebony G. Patterson. Expressing themselves through abstraction and figuration, the artists explore fantasy worlds, beauty, violence, religion, and “mental landscapes.” The gallery shows close this weekend:


Installation view of “Sylvia Snowden: Green Paintings,” Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, N.Y. (May 13-June 18, 2022). | Photo by Lance Brewer

Sylvia Snowden: Green Paintings @ Andre Kreps Gallery, 394 Broadway. | May 13-June 18, 2022

Sylvia Snowden‘s powerful approach to abstraction is “characterized by a visceral and sculptural application of paint in which color and texture emerge from densely-worked underlayers.” Her current exhibition features recent paintings, gestures of thick acrylic produced using brushes and palette knives. The show is presented in collaboration with Franklin Parrasch Gallery in New York, where Snowden’s work was on view last fall. The artist’s six-decade career began at Howard University where she earned bachelors and masters degrees studying with prominent scholars and historic figures in the fields of African American art, including James Porter, James Lesesne Wells, Lois Mailou Jones, and David C. Driskell. Snowden lives and works in Washington, D.C.


WOLE LAGUNJU, “Goddess II,” 2022 (oil on canvas, 73.5 x 57 inches). | © Wole Lagunju, Courtesy the artist and Montague Contemporary

Wole Lagunju: What Will You Do With Your Aje? @ Montague Contemporary, 526 West 26th Street, 4th Floor | May 5-June 18, 2022

Expressing himself with brilliant color, Nigerian-born Wole Lagunju interprets Yoruba culture through a contemporary lens. For his first solo exhibition in New York, he is presenting 10 large-scale figurative paintings made this year. The term Aje referenced in the title of the show has two contrasting definitions. One speaks to an otherworldly sinister force. Lagunju is inspired by its alternative, more positive meaning, which is about “the possession of special gifts and creative acumen with which to harness spiritual powers for the transformation of society.” Lagunju is based in North Carolina.


Tell Me What You See: Ebony G. Patterson talks about her practice, explaining that her work “explores ideas around the garden as a space of burial regeneration, but it also explores the garden as a space where social racial and political ideas unfold, but thinking about that within a ‘post-colonial lens.'” She emphasizes, however, that the work is ultimately about what the viewer sees. | Video by Hales Gallery

Ebony G. Patterson: …to kiss a flower goodbye… @ Hales Gallery, 547 West 20th Street. | May 5-June 18, 2022

Over the past five years, the symbolism of the garden has served as a foundation for Ebony G. Patterson‘s work, exploring notions of beauty, violence, loss, trauma, and religion. Throughout the gallery, Patterson has installed custom wallpaper whose dark surfaces transform the space into a night garden featuring an abundance of flora and fauna in the form of new mixed-media paper collages and large-scale tapestries made in 2021-22. Patterson splits her time between Kingston, Jamaica, and Chicago, Ill.


NAUDLINE PIERRE, “Stronger Than You Think, Softer Than You Know,” 2022 (oil on linen, 40 x 30 inches / 101.6 x 76.2 cm). | © Naudline Pierre, Courtesy the artist and James Cohan Gallery

Naudline Pierre: Enter the Realm @ James Cohan Gallery, 48 Walker Street and 52 Walker Street. | May 14-June 18, 2022

For her first solo exhibition with James Cohan since joining the gallery in March 2021, Naudline Pierre is presenting more than 40 new paintings, drawings, and sculptures made between 2020 and 2022. The artist envisions “an alternate universe populated with jewel-toned celestial figures that dance, writhe, and soar across her fantastical scenes.… The works on view are an exquisite and extensive tale of becoming, shaped by an intensely cultivated internal fantasy life and the acknowledgment that change and metamorphosis, however uncomfortable they may be, are often necessary to reach new heights.” Displayed across two spaces on Walker Street, the works include a wrought iron gate, paintings mounted on wrought iron platforms, a three-panel altar piece, and sculptural apse structures. Pierre lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y.


WALTER PRICE, “Getting house,” 2022 (acrylic, vinyl, and gesso on fabric, 56 x 102 x 1 1/2 inches / 142.2 x 259.1 x 3.8 cm). | © Walter Price, Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali

Walter Price: Pearl Lines @ Greene Naftali, 508 West 26th Street, Ground Floor. | May 12-June 18, 2022

Brooklyn artist Walter Price works at the intersection of figuration and abstraction. For his second exhibition at Greene Naftali he is presenting new paintings, drawings, and a bronze sculpture, more than 60 works made between 2020 and 2022. This latest body of work “often expands Price’s dense mental landscapes to a more ambitious, near-panoramic scale, in which swathes of vibrant color give way to recurring motifs, still legible but increasingly unmoored.” CT


Exhibitions are free. Check with each gallery for COVID-19 visiting requirements


“Walter Price: Pearl Lines” documents the artist’s current exhibition with text by art historian Darby English. A new monograph of Sylvia Snowden was published to accompany her exhibition at Franklin Parrasch Gallery. Published by American Art Catalogues, “Sylvia Snowden: M Street,” features essays by curator Gavin Delahunty and art historian Rebecca VanDiver, along with a cross-generational conversation between Snowden and fellow artist Nathaniel Mary Quinn. “Ebony G. Patterson: …while the dew is still on the roses…” was published on the occasion of the artist’s 2019 presentation at Pérez Art Museum Miami.


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