Stroke of Genius

[New York] “Stroke of Genius” brings together three disparate artists working, in three different places, and in three different mediums, yet evidences the shared spirit of repetition and reduction, creating beauty from one single mark.

As a curator, “Stroke of Genius” is one of those shows that percolates for a long time, then in a matter of moments falls together. The exhibition evolved from wanting to highlight the black monochrome paintings of James Austin Murray. Murray is a non-objective abstract painter whose methodology is the culmination of muscle-memory and that exact moment when intuition and practice intersect. He creates his paintings by troweling oil paint onto the face of the canvas and then pulls a stiff bristle brush across its surface in one single stroke. The marrow of Murray’s work is its optical play. The way the natural and incandescent light reflects and refracts off the ivory black paint is mesmerizing. When standing in front of one of Murray’s paintings, you can feel its pulse. There is a palpable sense of assuredness in the marks he makes which can only be defined by intuition, with a little dash of magic.

Then arose the question, “How can I highlight this single stroke of genius?” Enter ceramicist Michael Boroniec. I have been following Michael’s work for quite some time and each time I found his deconstructed vases very engaging, especially the single ribbon-like forms. Boroniec writes, “What began with teapots and a single spiral has evolved into a series of vases that vary in form, degree of expansion, and number of coils. Each vessel is wheel thrown then deconstructed. This process reveals aspects of the vase that most rarely encounter. Within the walls, maker’s marks become evident and contribute to the texture. The resultant ribbon effect, reminiscent of a wheel trimming, lends fragility, elegance, and motion to a medium generally perceived as hard and heavy. This emphasizes a resistance of gravity, allowing negative space to unravel and become part of the form. The result is a body of sculptural objects, resembling and born of functional vessels.” Pairing Boroniec with Murray just fell into place visually.

Similarly, I follow the sculpture of Rodger Stevens. Stevens was part of a group show, “Unlimited Potential,” curated by James Austin Murray at Lyons Wier Gallery. Stevens installed a wonderful ceiling mounted mobile titled Resurrection Machine. It was a multi-piece installation of delicately bended steel that certainly nodded to the mobiles and stabiles of Alexander Calder but with a paired down contemporary feel. As my plans were coming together for Murray and Boroniec, Rodger posted an image of his brass sculpture and jewelry. This was a curatorial gift! Alongside his suspended installation work is his collection of pedestal driven sculpture and jewelry that is often made out of a single piece of brass. Here too, Stevens’ work reflects the desire to create an artistic mark in one simple gesture. His work is certainly reminiscent of the past, yet is clearly concerned with contemporary thoughts of fashion and design.

Start Date

April 1, 2017

End Date

April 29, 2017


11:00 AM - 06:00 PM


542 West 24th Street

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