It’s been decades since the great powers of the New York City art world decamped for Chelsea, but SoHo remains dotted with galleries of long standing like Ronald Feldman; numerous newer arrivals; small museums like the Drawing Center, the Donald Judd Foundation and the Center for Italian Modern Art; and the magisterial Dia Art Foundation, with its permanent installations of Walter De Maria’s “Earth Room” and “The Broken Kilometer.” Here are five of the most notable gallery shows up right now or opening soon.
1. Peter Blum, ‘Paul Fagerskiold: Flatlands’
Oil paint can be sculptural, especially if you use as much as Paul Fagerskiold does on “Flatland.” The young Swedish-born painter lays so much blackish-purple paint on this enormous canvas that the finished surface of its figure, a monochrome rectangle with a bowed bottom edge, has the definition of hammered bronze. Each ridgy brush stroke is an eddy, and the whole is a view of the ocean — but it’s a restless one that won’t subside into the easy diffidence of most two-dimensional images. Not for nothing did Mr. Fagerskiold name the painting, and the show it appears in, after Edward Abbot’s 19th-century novella of mind-bending sci-fi geometry. Through May 11 at 176 Grand Street; 212-244-6055, peterblumgallery.com.
2. Jeffrey Deitch, ‘Austin Lee: Feels Good’
Austin Lee’s analog portraits of cyberspace are strangely fascinating. After drawing floppy cartoon hearts, stumpy, grinning figures and prancing ponies on an iPad, the painter then renders the images by hand, at a much larger scale, with brush and airbrush. Maybe it’s the adeptly balanced hot pinks and neon reds, or the promise that a virtual world might someday seem as joyful and genuine as the real. Or maybe it’s just the marrying of such disparate mediums, the quiet shock of confronting computer effects in physical form, which makes it so difficult to look away. Through May 18 at 18 Wooster Street; 212-343-7300, deitch.com.
3. Team, ‘Scenes of the American Landscape’
We all know something’s askew — and the artists in “Scenes of the American Landscape,” which I was able to sneak into before it officially opened on Thursday, know it, too. Video installations by Collin Leitch and Theodore Darst channel the restless sense of imbalance in contemporary American life into a twitchy, unrelenting shifting of styles that feels very much like a new kind of rhythm. Andrew Jilka’s oil and enamel painting of sailor tattoos and cartoon Picassos puts the same effect into freeze frame. Color photographs by Lili Jamail, of an empty armchair, and Jheyda McGarrell, of a half-dressed woman seen through her window, are a deliberate tilt both jaunty and alarming. And an untitled painting by Alissa McKendrick, in which fiddly figures unspool against an intensely worked red background, is suffused with vertigo. Through June 1 at 83 Grand Street; 212-279-9219, teamgal.com.
4. Peter Freeman Inc., ‘Silvia Bächli and Eric Hattan: Between Windows’
The Swiss artists Silvia Bächli and Eric Hattan undertake a sublime exegesis of that simplest of artistic gestures: the line. A line is an emblem of sustained effort, but also a paradox. Whether as the confident green and brown stripes of Ms. Bächli’s elegant gouaches or the wonky metal poles that Mr. Hattan stands upright and sets in concrete, the line only gets richer in isolation. Mr. Hattan’s “Schnurvideo (String Video)” is a 20-minute close-up on the artist’s hands as he untangles a clump of string and winds it up again into a grapefruit-size ball. Notice how tightly he holds it, and how, when the string slips off, he simply presses an errant loop against the ball and keeps winding. Through May 25 at 140 Grand Street; 212-966-5154, peterfreemaninc.com.
5. Ronald Feldman, ‘Bruce Pearson: Shadow Language’
Bruce Pearson makes text paintings, technically. But by overlapping text and imagery in complicated patterns, cutting those patterns into foam, and painting every resulting divot a different color, he arrives at arresting compositions that evoke tropical camouflage or the inside of a psychedelic pomegranate — even when, as sometimes happens, the original text remains legible. This should be the case with “Shadow Language,” opening this weekend at Ronald Feldman Gallery. One star is likely to be “Not to Interrupt Your Beautiful Moment,” an orange-themed pixelation of an entrancingly ambiguous phrase. April 27-June 8 at 31 Mercer Street; 212-226-3232, feldmangallery.com.
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