The Brooklyn Rail
What’s left of abstraction? Not long ago we were told—most famously by some rambling and snobbish essays of Clement Greenberg’s—that only art which consciously pursued formal innovation could save culture from drowning in mass-market kitsch. As movement gave way to movement, Greenberg insisted, art moved toward increasing abstraction. Artists responded to the past by shucking off more and more unnecessary baggage—figuration, perspective, even shape—in the pursuit of ever purer explorations of the medium itself.
Conceptual art meets traditional Turkish kilims in Mike Berg's solo exhibition Degenerate Work at Site: Brooklyn. The exhibition encompasses the artist's latest body of work, including tapestry, drawing, and sculpture that Berg uses to recapture the fleeting moment of creation. A kilim is a flat, hand-woven rug made in Turkey. Traditional weavers pick colorful threads and specific motifs to tell a story around a popular theme among which could be celebration of marriage, baby or new house. Istanbul-based New York artist Mike Berg strips meaning off his conceptual kilims to watch randomness at play at his latest show.
Born in Portland, Oregon, artist Mike Berg has been interested in abstraction since the early days of his career. Feeling connected to countries such as Turkey, Uzbekistan and Armenia, Berg created his own form of artistic expression through geometrical abstractions created on tapestry. Over the span of his 6 decade long career, Berg has exhibited in countless galleries and museums throughout New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, New Orleans, Seattle, Rome, and Istanbul. Famed art critic Linda Yablonsky once praised Mike Berg as “a kind of aesthetic anarchist, disrupting the natural processes of decay and organizing his interventions into exquisitely layered abstraction.”
CRUSH, a solo show from Rebecca Leveille on view at Site:Brooklyn in partnership with R. Michelson Galleries, plays with the word’s multiple meanings. Admiration and devastation bloom in bright colors brushed into graceful china patterns and iconographic imagery. A smile, an embrace belie inner turmoil and social ills. Memories, good and bad, waver and drift throughout the show, and personal relationships mingle together with affinities developed from afar.
NEW YORK POST
Rebecca Leveille has made a career illustrating comics and graphic novels featuring Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” characters and others, as well as role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, under the name Rebecca Guay.
Her painterly Magic: The Gathering trading cards are so popular that when she went to Japan for an event given in her honor, she was greeted by a thousand local fans, waiting to meet her.
Rebecca Leveille’s (who is also known for her illustration work under the name Rebecca Guay) new body of work entitled Crush deals with an artist’s emotional relationship with their subject. Two meanings of the word “crush” come into play. Leveille examines the way the act of painting can lead to the artist having a crush on the subject of their work.
R. Leveille’s modernist paintings hover between Pop Art, Expressionism, and Art Nouveau, using expressive brushstrokes and a lush, colorful palette to create strong pictorial content that conveys a powerful message. Leveille inducts the narrative of each piece by strongly delineated figures, adding powerful design elements and text, so that the visual content doesn’t crumble under the weight of her subject matter. She succeeds at directing the viewer’s focus of attention towards both visual and analytical content.