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Time Out New York
May 1-8, 2003

Time Out New York
May 1-8, 2003
"Ballpoint Inklings"
by Andrea Scott

Inklings are vague notions, like doodles in the margins of a notebook. "Ballpoint Inklings" is the punning title of this dynamic show of drawings by 40 artists who wield the doodler's tool of choice: a disposable ballpoint pen. Gallerist Kerry Schuss, who organized the exhibit with writer and dealer Geoffrey Young, generally presents "outsider" art, and one of the exhibition's strengths is the way it levels the division between art-schooled and self-taught–not to mention between established and emerging–artists. Work by well known painters like Elizabeth Murray (hotel-pad sketches in the full Bic palette of black, blue, green and red) and Gary Stephan (graceful spirals that suggest a chorus line of Slinkys) hang alongside pieces by autodidacts such as the late Chelo Amezcua (dense black-and-white filigrees) and teenager Jonathan Lerman (portraits of AC/DC and Kurt Cobain).

The incised mark of a ballpoint underscores the obsessive intensity inherent in some of the artists' work shown here, like the hermetic labyrinths of James Sienna and the shimmering apocalypses of Steve di Benedetto (whose blue moiré helicopters are scene-stealers). The visual stream of consciousness, seen in Alex Ross's all over composition (a push-pull of cosmic and cellular elements) and Michelle Segre's lacy daydream tumble of imagery (think Rorschach on acid). In a number of works, the conscious and the obsessive meet; for example, in Bill Adams's sketches of imagined animals, notably a one-eyed fugitive from a hang-in-there-kitty poster, and in newcomer Yuri Masnyj's alluring panorama of design elements–rolls of wallpaper, an Eames bench, an Aalto stool–attended by a large, mysterious black bird.