‘Seeing Red, Looking Blue, Feeling Green’

New exhibit showcases at Marquee Projects

Linda Leuzzi
Posted 8/18/22

You need to come to this exhibit.

There’s Stefan Sagmeister’s “Josephine,” an oil on canvas mounted on Masonite, with inlay tiles placed over the painting of a 19th-century …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

‘Seeing Red, Looking Blue, Feeling Green’

New exhibit showcases at Marquee Projects


You need to come to this exhibit.

There’s Stefan Sagmeister’s “Josefine,” an oil on canvas mounted on Masonite, with inlay tiles placed over the painting of a 19th-century woman.

It is startling.

“Stefan actually used an old painting from a family collection, with colored tiles placed over her image to signify the percentage of women working in the U.S. over the last 100 years,” said curator Paul Laster during an LIA interview.

Marquee Projects Inc.’s new exhibit, “Seeing Red, Looking Blue, Feeling Green,” which opened last Friday, is a stunning compilation of colorful, thoughtful, playful, social commentary abstraction and figuration artwork, in painting, sculpture, photography and assemblage, 17 pieces in all.

There is Jennifer Deppe Parker’s “Northern Pike,” an acrylic on board of hand-cut art, fashion and design magazine papers, molding paste, gel mediums, an eye of the fish, as Laster pointed out. The eye is black. Look closer—the paper is meticulously fanned out. Then, blues, yellows, pinks, whites swirl around the eye, skillfully arranged on hand-cut magazine papers. It’s small but riveting, in the upper right-hand corner of the Marquee Projects Inc. gallery.

Here’s looking at you, kid!

Then there’s Jeff Muhs’s bust, “Marie Antoinette, 2021,” that pulls you over. “He pours concrete into a bag tied with rope and it has to be done in one pour,” Laster explained. A laser-focused control is at work here; a neck corset, sheets, T-shirts, bread bags, and women’s undergarments were used to get the doomed queen’s posture and shape.

“I put this grey ‘Marie Antoinette’ sculpture in the middle of the gallery, so all the pieces around her are drawn out in color,” Laster added.

Indeed. Matthew Magee’s “Yellow Block Hanger, 2022” hangs nearby, a whimsical collection of cut-up shapes in yellow, purple, blue, green, orange, from laundry and shampoo bottles and trays. Laster commented that the artist “cuts the shapes and wires them.”

Valerie Hegarty’s “Weeping Vanitas, 2021” is a wood, canvas epoxy resin, papier mâché, armature wire and Styrofoam creation of beautiful, vivid but weeping Tim Burton-like flowers right next to Magee’s work.  “It reflects the deterioration of America with its collapsing flowers in a frame, the melting down of democracy,” Laster commented.

Erik den Breejen has an acrylic on canvas, “Heroes V (After David Bowie) 2020.” “WE CAN BE HEROES FOR JUST ONE DAY” is printed on a gorgeously rainbow-hued concentric circle, alongside others.

Other artists featured in the exhibit are Reed Anderson, Jeannette Montgomery Barron, Adam Handler, Greg Lamarche, Ted Lawson, Donna Moylan, Sylvia Naimark, Erwin Redl, Rhonda Wall, Taylor Anton White and Nola Zirin.

Laster is a Brooklyn-based artist, a New York desk editor at ArtAsiaPacific, and a contributing editor at Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art , among many significant others. (He was also a former adjunct photography curator at what is now MoMA PS 1.) He met Marquee Projects Inc. owner and artist Mark Van Wagner via artist Taylor Anton White (also in this show), who Van Wagner has exhibited, and they clicked.

He is imbued with a down-to-earth, infectious enthusiasm for art, and said, “I’m always learning.”

“I came by Mark’s gallery, returned a couple of times, invited Mark to do one of our art fairs, ‘Intersect Palm Springs,’ and we talked,” said Laster of the lead into their collaboration.

The result: “Why don’t I curate a show?” Laster said.

“I like Bellport Village, the people and collectors who live here and who attend the gallery, and like the intimacy of the space.”

Laster chose artists he reviewed or interviewed. “I felt they were right for the space or market,” he explained. “And I wanted to give a payback. I started as an artist.”

There was no initial chosen theme; the show is about what was reflected of the current moment, he said.

Laster even made a model of Van Wagner’s gallery, and when the artwork was shipped in and arranged, “they fit perfectly.”

Some of the artists hail from far-flung places. “Matt Magee’s hanging piece was rolled up and shipped from Phoenix, and Sylvia Naimark had carried her small painting, ‘Dancing Mirrors, 2021,’ about fading memories or daydreaming, from Stockholm, Sweden, so that she could come to the opening,” Laster said.

Van Wagner said seven of the artists attended the Friday night event.

Inviting guest curators to present a different aesthetic, is a goal, he added.

“Paul’s approach to mounting a show is similar to mine,” Van Wagner said. “He thinks of the gallery as a canvas and the artworks relating to each other, and considers the space as to color and content, so you’ll start seeing things that get repeated throughout the show. It’s a visual tool I also use. I don’t know if it’s unique to a curator, but because he is an artist, he thinks of the space. He built a scale model of the exhibit, but he had so many pieces and he had to make it work. That eye piece hung on an angle (Jennifer Deppe Parker’s ‘Northern Pike, 2021’), he wanted it to be the eye of the exhibition.” 


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here