David Ebony’s Top 10 New York Gallery Shows for July, Artnet News

Installation view of Melissa Kretschmer / Russell Maltz: Plywood, MINUS SPACE, Brooklyn, NY

Top 10 New York Gallery Shows for July
By David Ebony
Artnet News
July 22, 2015

9. Melissa Kretschmer and Russell Maltz at Minus Space, through August 15.

“Plywood” is the title of this intimate and elegant two-person show filling Minus Space’s new ground-floor venue in DUMBO. The New York-based artists Melissa Kretschmer and Russell Maltz both use plywood frequently in their recent abstract works, but to vastly different ends.

Kretschmer’s approach is rather pictorial, using the material as a painterly surface. She carves out networks of long horizontal lines, or short vertical markings, usually gathered toward the top or center of each composition, or off to one side. One of her strongest works,Conflux (2015), features long horizontal bands of raw wood, and slats of subtly applied earth tones, set against white grounds, which suggest ghostly, panoramic landscapes.

Maltz’s art is centered on installation, in which process is key. Here, he creates variations on stacked plywood, with one area painted in his trademark DayGlo yellow. He then cuts up and hangs together the transformed plywood pieces on a single large nail, a technique that recalls Lucio Pozzi’s works of the late 1970s.

Maltz’s most striking pieces here are SR 17 Floor Stack (2015), featuring a heap of plywood planks partially over-painted with a DayGlo yellow rectangle; and a window installation of tall, leaning plywood planks visible only from the street.

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