November 18, 2011

Janet Rickus - At Rest

Is it fair to compare what’s exhibited in a pop-up show with the groomed offerings of an established gallery?

I don’t see why not. We can catch gallerists and artists early in their careers at the pop-up shows and prominent artists at their best at the established galleries.

Gallery Henoch hosted their annual solo show of Janet Rickus’ latest paintings (open through Dec. 10).

Rickus is a highly acclaimed still life artist, working in oil on either canvas or board. She’s gotten excellent critical praise from the start of her career. It’s well deserved. Her work is highly polished, done in ultra-realistic style. But that isn’t what makes it special – it’s her composition which is meticulous and her whimsy.

Each painting is carefully architected, components, color schemes and relationships among pieces.
Each has a distinctive element that simply makes you smile – whether it is the pumpkin on a pillow, the carrots standing among the bottles, the gaggle of lemons or the mango whispering to the other mango. Rickus expresses the joy of life in each very special painting. Perhaps there’s something to be said about living in a quiet place if Rickus is the product.

In contrast…

Skylight Gallery (also an established gallery but operating for less time than Henoch) focused most of their space on the work of Thomas Huber. Huber shows mostly in the Beacon, NY gallery scene. One of the surprises of the evening was how like his work was in style to that of Margaret Withers, who was included in a 4-day pop-up show curated by Francesca Arcilesi Fine Art with an advertising agency as host.

Huber’s and Withers’ works are best classified as mixed media. Huber defines himself as riding the interaction of science and Buddhism using cellular structure as his vehicle of communication. Sounds complicated like the worst kind of artistic hubris, reminiscent of the gobbledygook that writers make artists say in 1960’s movies about modern art. Actually Huber doesn’t have a message; he simply wants the viewer to see what they want in his work.

Withers channels her childhood, moving from place to place, finding her most usual companions in her imagination. Once you get this thought, you see the structures of childhood with its imaginary friends and demons, it’s protectors and its dangers – much like adult life, too. She has a wonderful way of expressing these ideas and exploring her thoughts visually. I’m a big fan. My suspicion is that someday Margaret Withers will show in a gallery like Henoch.

The Skylight show is open through January 6. Margaret Wither’s work can be seen through this Sunday, Nov 20 at 122 W 26 St., 5 Fl.

(My apologies to readers and artists.  WordPress is only allowing one image it seems.  Email me at chris@thesecondhanging.com for the rest.


  1. Glad you liked the review. I certainly like your work. FYI, it’s Chris.

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