Contemporary Art

“Rainbow” and “Zugzwang” opening at Eugene Binder

Opening reception from 6-8 p.m. for new paintings by Zeke Williams and recent work by Richard Shaffer

Marfa, Texas. Zeke Williams’ “black” paintings could easily be evocative of the Kazimir Malevich painting Black Square, the first of four made beginning in 1915, a little over one hundred years before the opening of “Rainbow” by Mr. Williams this Friday evening. Malevich considered himself a theorist and with the creation of Black Square he achieved what he referred to as the “zero point of painting,” and in retrospect he, perhaps unknowingly, created the point of departure for contemporary works of art are now referred to as “minimalist” made a half century later.

The two similarities between both artists’ work is quite obvious: the paintings are rectangular and black. In terms of the Zeke Williams paintings, closer inspection reveals a subtle undulation of compositional elements, floating just beneath the beautifully masked surface that Williams skillfully uses to achieve nuances of light and depth intensity perceived as rolling cross currents beneath a surface that is constantly in motion.

Although at cross purposes with Malevich’s intention and conceptual goals of creating the Black painting of 1915, Zeke Williams is acutely aware of his early twentieth century historical predecessor even as he allows the aspect of painting, i.e. making imagery that constantly shifts between the ambiguity of abstract and representational elements, to dominate the pictorial “black” rectangle that Malevich so courageously defined a century earlier.       

The title of Richard Shaffer’s exhibition of new work is “Zugzwang”, a chess term specific to a move a player must make, despite the fact that any move weakens his or her position.

Marcel Duchamp famously abandoned making art in favor of playing chess, after “creating” work that defined 20th as well as 21st century art. Unlike Duchamp, Shaffer chooses not to employ “readymades”, for no other reason than the beautiful utilitarian objects that could easily be found in the early 20th century and are no longer available.

Shaffer creates his own readymades, which, of course, are not ready-made, and therefore he returns to the ambiguity of the term – a realm he is quite comfortable in based on an irony and humor that possibly even Duchamp could enjoy.

Opening reception with both artists in attendance is Friday, December 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. For questions and more information call 432.729.3900 or email

RICHARD SHAFFER, Zugzwang (installation view)

RICHARD SHAFFER, Zugzwang (installation view)

ZEKE WILLIAMS, Double Flower Disaster (black, black), 2016 acrylic and glass beads on canvas 72 x 54 inches (182 x 121 cm)

ZEKE WILLIAMS, Double Flower Disaster (black, black), 2016 acrylic and glass beads on canvas 72 x 54 inches (182 x 121 cm)

Paul Kremer, Clark Derbes opening Saturday evening at Eugene Binder

MARFA, TEXAS. – An exhibition of paintings by Paul Kremer and sculpture by Clark Derbes will open Saturday evening, October 8, with a reception for the artists from 9-11pm at Eugene Binder 218 N. Highland Avenue in Marfa, beginning immediately after the Chinati Foundation members’ dinner.

A catalogue with an essay by Jack Massing reflects the title of this exhibition, “Frozen Territory,” and places the compelling work of both artists within the dialogue of contemporary art being made at present as well as the work’s significance in terms art historical precedents.

Kremer (born 1971) is an American artist whose artwork references everything but performance art.

He uses traditional methods, working with acrylics on canvas to achieve his distinctive style of painting. His artistic production oscillates between digitally printed meditations on the internet, and massive color field abstractions.

Kremer created the popular image series “Great Art In Ugly Rooms” and was a co-founder of the “I Love You Baby” collective. He has been included in publications such as The New York Times, Interview Magazine, Observer and White Lies Magazine.

He has exhibited his paintings worldwide, including shows at Makebish (New York), Marlborough Chelsea (New York), Wilding Cran Gallery (Los Angeles), Mark Flood Resents (Miami), Cardoza Fine Art (Houston), Site 131 (Dallas),  and Fondazione 107 (Turin).

Kremer currently lives and works in Houston.

Derbes (born 1978) using a chainsaw, transforms locally felled tree stumps into complex polygonal sculptures.

Drawing on a variety of inspirations, such as early American folk art, quilts, and modernist architecture, Derbes masterfully plays with perspective, volume, and space to achieve a deft trompe l’œil, which subverts viewers’ expectations and perceptions. The geometrically shaped and richly hand-painted pieces slip between flat and three-dimensional forms. These sculptures buck simple categorization by simultaneously appearing both organic and refined; fissures and checking frequently appear on the surface of his wooden objects, exposing them for their honesty of materials.

He has exhibited nationally, as well as creating numerous site-specific public artworks. Derbes currently lives and works in Vermont.

Exhibition hours for this weekend are, Friday, 11am-7pm; Saturday, 11am-5pm, with an opening reception from 9-11pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm; and by appointment. For appointments and further information, please call 432. 729. 3900.

PAUL KREMER, Frozen Territory (installation view). Photo courtesy of the artist.

PAUL KREMER, Frozen Territory (installation view). Photo courtesy of the artist.

CLARK DERBES, “Ain’t got no Home,” 2016, carved polychromed silver maple. 27 1/2 x 22 x 5 inches.

CLARK DERBES, “Ain’t got no Home,” 2016, carved polychromed silver maple. 27 1/2 x 22 x 5 inches.

Alyce Santoro exhibition opens Friday at Binder

MARFA, Texas. – An art exhibition by Alyce Santoro opens from 6-9pm Friday at Eugene Binder, located at 215 N. Highland Avenue.

Her work addresses a myriad of concepts in a variety of mediums. In the current climate of what might be referred to as post-deconstructivist, Ms. Santoro’s thinking and creative process go against the grain.

A major component of her work is creating underlying and holistic relationships between seemingly disparate aspects of the art she makes, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, the interaction between the different aspects of her work being an important part of the overall “landscape” of her creative process.

As Ms. Santoro puts it, “for many years I was a devout existentialist. Then I discovered believing in everything is more fulfilling than believing in nothing.”

Like the sorcerer’s apprentice, the work she creates has a life of its own, often taking a direction that was perhaps unforeseen when initially completed. And like the actual sorcerer, she is very much in control via the skeins of meaning that she endows each work with, forming the conceptual foundation of everything she makes, from objects, which she refers to as “Philosoprops,” based on the specific object’s relationship to philosophical concepts, as well as paradoxes (not to mention puns and malapropisms). “Sonic Fabric” is one example, as well as the two-dimensional works she refers to as the “Color of Space,” visualizing tonal relationships.

During the opening reception Friday evening, there will be several performances by Ms. Santoro at random intervals. One will be using a Ruben’s tube, an apparatus used to make sound waves visible in flames. There is no danger in giving away one of her performances, as the atmosphere created by just this one work has to be experienced simply by being present.

Ms. Santoro received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in biology from Southampton College, Southampton, New York, and earned a graduate certificate in scientific illustration from RISD, Providence, Rhode Island. Her most recent New York exhibition at Gasser-Gruner took place in 2013.

Exhibition hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm and by appointment.

More info: 432.729.3900 or

ALYCE SANTORO, Soundings (installation view)

ALYCE SANTORO, Soundings (installation view)

Two one-person exhibitions at Eugene Binder

MARFA , Texas. – The opening reception for artists Erika Osborne and Mark Cole will take place on Friday evening, October 5, from 9 to 11 p.m. Both artists’ work explores the American West, but from very different points of view.

Erika Osborne’s paintings, from her new series Re- Manifesting Destiny, have as their subject the contemporary legacy left by the westward expansion of the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The predominantly large-format paintings are extraordinary observations of natural and man-made geological phenomena. For example, Chasm at Bingham depicts the world’s largest strip mine, as well as, according to Kennecott Utah Copper Corporation, the world’s largest man-made excavation. In the foreground of this work, Osborne has painted the remnant of a once idyllic Northwest forest meadow now overshadowed by the gigantic proportions of a strip mine, which has displaced millions of tons of earth since it began operations in 1906. Osborne’s Looking for Moran portrays similar disparities of scale: the subject is the Grand Canyon at dusk, with a turgid sky and shafts of golden light breaking through the overcast atmosphere created by cloud cover, highlighting areas of rock formations in the immense canyon as well as several tour buses parked near a precipice in the foreground. In each of Osborne’s paintings there is an uneasy, almost eerie and disquieting, relationship between nature and the overpowering evidence of human presence. That Osborne skillfully and knowingly paints in the manner of her nineteenth-century predecessors such as Thomas Moran and Frederick Church, capturing the American West when it was comparatively unspoiled, heightens the disturbing mood of her work, highlighting the tension between the vistas’  undeniable beauty and the disruptive, sometimes violent, processes that produced them.

Where Osborne draws on the visual vocabulary of nineteenth-century landscape painters, Mark Coleemploys clichéd, iconographic images that look as though they have been faxed from faded postcards and reconstituted on canvas via silkscreen or drawing, though they are in fact painted. The sense of isolation in the paintings is reminiscent of walking down a lonely two-lane highway in Texas (where the artist was born) with nothing to focus on other than the vegetation growing near the cracking edges of the pavement and the detritus tossed from the occasional passing car. But there is also an element of comic abstraction in the world Cole depicts. In the vast undefined emptiness we can easily imagine a character, down on his luck, inhabiting this barren non-landscape, presumably walking slowly from an unknown beginning point to an unknown destination. The abstract Western imagery would be suited to the set for a production of Waiting for Godot, where very little, if anything, happens but there is a vague, perhaps imagined sense of time and place (whether this is actually there or not is yet another unknown). Because of the work’s indeterminate spatial, metaphorical, and perhaps metaphysical connotations—or its lack thereof—Cole’s paintings and works on paper take on a Zen-like quality, slowing or completely stopping time in an identifiable yet unidentifiable realm, with the aid of painfully meager clues that make no attempt to be greater than the sum of their stark elements. Stalled by the artist with a stoppage of imagery and time, between Pop, Minimalism, and abstraction, the paintings take on the characteristics of all these approaches, while capitulating to none. These oddly quirky works force the viewer to join that unseen character, who will most likely never actually appear in any of the paintings, on a timeless journey that starts from the point of looking at the paintings and moves toward an unknown destination of interpretation—or not.

The exhibitions are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during Chinati Weekend from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and by appointment. For further information please call 432.729.3900 or e-mail

MARK COLE, Holiday (installation view)

MARK COLE, Holiday (installation view)

ERIKA OSBORNE, Chasm (installation view)