By way of Oct. 24. Galerie Lelong & Co., 528 West 26th Avenue, Manhattan; 212-315-0470, galerielelong.com.
The painter Ficre Ghebreyesus (1962-2012), who makes his New York solo debut with the present “Gate to the Blue,” traveled a great distance in his cut-short life. He was born in Eritrea, East Africa, and left at 16 to flee the nation’s brutal conflict of independence with Ethiopia. He traveled on foot to Sudan and lived as a refugee in Italy and Germany. In 1981, he settled in the US, the place he studied portray on the Artwork College students League in New York and on the Yale College of Artwork and supported himself for years as a restaurant chef in New Haven, Conn.
Throughout these years in exile, he grew to become fluent in a number of languages, spoken and visible. In a mural-size portray on unstretched canvas titled “Zememesh Berhe’s Magic Backyard,” an enclosing “wall” of Eritrean-style geometric patterning serves as backdrop for an African-American bottle tree. And far of his work — semiabstract, opaquely autobiographical — has a dreamlike solid. In “Mangia Libro,” titled for a nickname — “book-eater” — that his household gave him as a baby, he depicts his youthful self absorbed in studying as he walks away from what seems to be like a line of monumental buildings towards a subaqueous realm of implausible fish and vegetation, all achieved in colours Matisse would have relished.
And enormous histories, past the private, are ever-present in his artwork. These embrace repeated references to the Center Passage of the trans-Atlantic slave commerce. In just a few circumstances the topic of exile is instantly named, but it may be learn obliquely in all places within the present. Taken collectively, two small footage, certainly one of an unmanned boat, the opposite of a hovering seabird, is likely to be asking: What’s the distinction between being minimize adrift and flying free?
Mr. Ghebreyesus’s appetitive colours makes his artwork immediately magnetic, however it’s his pictures — boats, animals, musical devices, angels — that write tales within the thoughts. Visible poetry is a phrase overused and underdefined. However you already know it while you discover it, and you discover it right here.
By way of Oct. 31. Postmasters, 54 Franklin Avenue, Manhattan; 212-727-3323, postmastersart.com.
Through the early years of U.S. navy involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the New York painter Steve Mumford traveled quite a few occasions to these war-torn international locations as an embedded artist with American troops and made drawings he would usually flip into oil work.
“Drawings From America’s Entrance Traces” at Postmasters finds Mr. Mumford again within the fight zone — solely this time the scenes are shockingly native and up to date: New York within the midst of the coronavirus disaster, Black Lives Matter protests and marketing campaign rallies for Donald Trump. A discipline hospital arrange in Central Park for Covid-19 sufferers brings residence the warlike trauma of coping with the virus, as does a drawing like “Photojournalists Outdoors Wyckoff Medical Heart, Brooklyn, NY, Apr. 7, 2020,” an ink and watercolor work on paper depicting a scene of a virus scorching spot. Different works, like “Anarchists Campsite, Lownsdale Sq., Portland, OR, Jul. 25, 2020,” and several other drawings and watercolors of Trump rallies and supporters seize the tumult of our time.
Rendered in pencil, ink and watercolor Mr. Mumford’s drawings — together with texts from overheard conversations — are reviews from the sphere, but in addition vividly expressionistic. (He additionally works from photographs taken along with his iPhone.) 1000’s of images of those occasions are circulating on the web, however Mr. Mumford’s drawings present what it means for an artist — skilled draftsman and commentator — to bear witness and doc historical past.
By way of Oct. 25. Interstate Initiatives, 66 Knickerbocker Avenue, Brooklyn; interstateprojects.org.
The wall-mounted works that make up most of Manal Kara’s exhibition at Interstate Initiatives provide an pleasing sort of sensory overload. The arched ceramic frames are textured and ponderous, evoking previous stone home windows, however with fashionable, usually cryptic pictures and texts embedded in them. They enclose images printed on cotton and held in place with string looped by way of grommets, recalling the D.I.Y. aesthetic of tenting gear. These footage produce other, smaller cloth photographs pinned to them.
The that means of the items is difficult to decipher; they appear diaristic and observational, structured by their very own logic. They create the impact of a temper board: Your eye doesn’t fairly know the place to land.
Kara, a self-taught artist and poet who makes use of the pronoun “they,” contains many photographs of wildlife. Typically, they appear to be drawing connections between the pure and man-made worlds, as in “cherry grape blueberry (syntax error system shutdown)” (2020), the place the coiled type of a snake echoes a picture of a tire. The phrase “yesterday was right here at this time” is written on the body like a koan — however perhaps additionally a intelligent commercial. In spite of everything, the tire picture is a part of a business signal.
One conceptual key could also be within the present’s title, “The Viewing-Room vs. the Adoring-Gaze,” and the information launch, which comes from the artist’s dream journal. It’s a surreal, parodic script for an infomercial, narrating a journey from a sequence of medical areas, referred to as “viewing rooms,” to a discipline crammed with cows “gazing intently with their large stunning fringed eyes.” This exhibition is a product of Kara’s personal adoring gaze. The artist is modeling a approach to look.
By way of Oct. 10. Chapter NY, 249 East Houston Avenue, Manhattan; 646-850-7486, chapter-ny.com.
You have got only a day or two left to catch Cheyenne Julien in her New York solo debut, “Phantom Gates and Falling Properties,” at Chapter Gallery. (The on-line viewing room stays dwell by way of the tip of the month.) I’ve been attempting for weeks to articulate what’s so thrilling about how this younger painter from the Bronx handles colour, and her knack for together with drips and unfinished however patently purposeful brush strokes. And my thoughts retains coming again to a line I just lately overheard in a youngsters’s cartoon: “A rainbow solely comes out when it’s wet and sunny on the similar time.”
The road goes particularly properly with a small portray referred to as “Treading Water.” When Ms. Julien started the piece, in keeping with the gallerist Nicole Russo, it confirmed an condo window crammed with hand-drawn thank-you indicators for important employees. Later, in response to information of cops destroying water bottles and different provides at Black Lives Matter protests in Asheville, N.C., Ms. Julien overlaid the window with the arm of a closely uniformed man stabbing plastic bottles with a knife. You possibly can nonetheless see a rainbow on one of many indicators, a part of it by way of the officer’s forearm. However the portray’s two topics don’t synthesize: They’re merely each occurring directly.
It’s an trustworthy approach to confront an awesome second, and whereas easy sufficient on its face, it’s hardly straightforward to take action adeptly. However what’s most placing is seeing Ms. Julien use the identical assured iridescence to soak up the complexities of reminiscence, race and her native metropolis in additional straightforwardly private views. In “Grasp of Home,” the artist’s father rests one naked foot on a duplicate of Marvin Gaye’s album “What’s Going On”; in “Black Out,” Ms. Julien recollects, with youngsters enjoying at an open hydrant, a second of pleasure throughout New York’s 2003 blackout.