Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Private Frontiers" at Hosfelt Gallery

Michael Light
"Lake Las Vegas 2010-2012 20. 'Casa Palermo' Lake Las Vegas Homes Looking Southwest, Henderson, Nevada"
Pigment print mounted on aluminum
40 x 50 inches
Edition of 5
I recently visited Hosfelt Gallery's impressive new space, currently home to "Private Frontiers," a two person show featuring works by Brooklyn-based painter Chris Ballantyne and San Francisco-based photographer Michael Light. According to the press release, the two artists "have been in dialogue for the past year to develop work that examines the human urge to stake territory and its more absurd manifestations on the American landscape." Whatever the specifics of the artists' conversation, Ballantyne's paintings are a terrific compliment to Light's large-format aerial photographs. Exhibited on their own in the expansive Hosfelt loft, Ballantyne's colorful and occasionally whimsical works would risk being swallowed up as bittersweet morsels. Hanging alongside Light's grand photographs, though, Ballantyne's modestly-sized pictures comport themselves especially well; their affability and humor endure, but undercurrents of earnestness and melancholy, too easily missed if exhibited on their own in so airy a space, are amply felt.