5 Standout Shows to See at Small Galleries This January

Eu Estava Voando Para Os Jardins Tropicais Do Hawaii, 2023
Anita Schmid

commonsensegallery.art

Untitled, 1931
Gopal Ghose

DAG

In this monthly roundup, we shine the spotlight on five stellar exhibitions taking place at small and rising galleries worldwide.

Gopal Ghose, “Flower of Fire: The Life & Art of Gopal Ghose

Dag, New Delhi

Dec. 22, 2023–Jan. 25, 2024

Untitled, 1961
Gopal Ghose

DAG

Red Rose, early 1960’s
Gopal Ghose

DAG

This unrivaled exhibition by Gopal Ghose traces the life of an artist whose vibrant and emotive works left an indelible mark on 20th-century Bengali art. “Flower of Fire: The Life & Art of Gopal Ghose” offers a rare comprehensive view of Ghose’s evolution, spanning his early days as a founding member of the Calcutta Group to his alignment with the Progressive Artists Group of Bombay. These works, predominantly on paper, burst with color and emotion—reflecting on resilience and beauty amid the Bengal famine and mid-century political turmoil in India.

The exhibition features an extensive collection of Ghose’s finished works, sketches, and notebooks, coupled with new archival research. Ghose had a preference for small-scale yet intensely expressive landscapes and still-lifes. A prime example, Red Rose (ca. 1960), challenges the grandeur typical of the artist’s contemporaries, revealing a deep, observant eye and a soul in constant dialogue with the world around him.

Reishi Kusaka, “Advancing mystified perspective

Gallery Yukiko Nakajima, Osaka

Dec. 28, 2023–Jan. 18, 2024

#16, 2020
Reishi Kusaka

Gallery Yukiko Nakajima

Line #47, 2010
Reishi Kusaka

Gallery Yukiko Nakajima

Reishi Kusaka is challenging the trust we place in our own perceptions. His abstract geometric works, defined by regimented and colorful shapes, encourage viewers to question the comfort and satisfaction derived from viewing the figures, colors, and movements that surround us.

In “Advancing mystified perspective,” the works serve as a visual metaphor for the complexity and ambiguity of perception. Each piece in this collection is a contemplative journey, urging the observer to look beyond the obvious and to reconsider the reliability of their sight. Works such as Line #47 (2010) are reminiscent of Agnes Martin’s “Grid” series, where form is a means of contemplation for both the artist and viewer alike.

His work—likened to Japanese Zen gardens in this exhibition at Gallery Yukiko Nakajima—is an exercise in perceiving the imperceptible, finding movement in stillness, and discerning the undefined in empty spaces. Kusaka’s “diamond” series manipulates space and form, inviting viewers to engage with an illusory painting where the eye is led to search for a point of focus.

Lee Simmonds, “Kaleidoscopes

Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London

Jan. 11–Feb. 10

Untitled (apples), 2023
Lee Simmonds

Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

Lee Simmonds approaches his paintings by prioritizing the materiality of paint; he studies the movement of color rather than employing formal or rigid techniques. His third exhibition with Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, “Kaleidoscopes,” is titled not only to reflect a playful and explorative approach, but also to emphasize how light and movement can alter perception.

Simmonds’s largely intuitive method begins with rapidly applying paint to canvas, then leaving it to dry, before revisiting it to build upon the composition that has emerged. At times, he employs stencils to add layers to his works, which tend to oscillate between figurative and abstract forms. Moreover, Simmonds developed his technique to mirror the kaleidoscope—a tool first envisioned to discover new patterns for fabrics.

In The Drawing Room (2023), the foreground appears to melt into the backdrop, illustrating how crisp images dissolve into abstract forms. The work also showcases Simmonds’s talent for merging the ordinary with the fantastical.

Chase Travaille, “Exquisite Corpse

LaiSun Keane, Boston

Jan. 5–Feb. 18

Exquisite Corpse No. 1 , 2023
Chase Travaille

LaiSun Keane

Exquisite Corpse No. 2, 2023
Chase Travaille

LaiSun Keane

Living and working in Little Rock, Arkansas, Chase Travaille excels in the art of assemblage. His method, inspired by the “exquisite corpse” technique conceived by the Surrealists, involves bringing together disparate elements to form cohesive, yet unexpected compositions—ranging from paper collages made from comic book pages to sculptures made from ceramic scraps.

Appropriately titled “Exquisite Corpse,” Travaille’s first solo exhibition with LaiSun Keane features the full breadth of his practice. Travaille’s recycled ceramics are at the core of the exhibition, including colorful iterations, such as Creature of Boggy Creek (2022), or more muted pieces like Season of the Witch (2022). These works were conceived during a residency in Montana, where the artist experimented with ways to create ceramic sculptures without a kiln. There, he developed this regenerative technique, resulting in sculptures that reflect a narrative of community, strength, and renewal.

Anita Schmid, “Pastel on paper

commonsensegallery.art, online

Dec. 23, 2023–Jan. 31, 2024

As Above So Below II, 2023
Anita Schmid

commonsensegallery.art

Wheel of Transition, 2023
Anita Schmid

commonsensegallery.art

In “Pastel on Paper,” Austrian artist Anita Schmid combines warm and cool hues to cultivate striking contrasts in each of her abstract paintings. Exhibited online by Vienna-based commonsensegallery.art, her works are marked by the sharp use of geometric shapes, which create a visual tension for the viewer. This deliberate juxtaposition of shapes and colors achieves a dynamic balance, evoking a sense of energy transfer. Her style—drawing inspiration from artists like Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, and Loie Hollowell—blends traditional geometric abstraction with a contemporary sensibility.

Schmid’s inspiration is often rooted in the natural world, where she finds geometric patterns in landscapes. In As Above So Below II (2023), Schmid layers the contrasting hues into a sensual, mesmerizing image. Like her entire repertoire, these paintings are designed with sharp geometric cuts and teem with life through color and movement.

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