(image courtesy of Baxter Street Camera Club of New York)

Walking In Lightness
Opening Thursday, April 19 at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 12.

Some photography is staged, utilizing the lens to create a fantastical scene that would very likely never be encountered in a candid sense. Rather than doing that, Mexico City-born photographer Amanda Gutiérrez seeks to document her surroundings as she ventures through Brooklyn’s Sunset Park, focusing both on her “subjective experience as a Mexican woman living and working in New York” and painting a photographic portrait of the neighborhood’s Mexican immigrant community. In addition to photography (shot with a 35mm disposable camera), Gutiérrez’s solo show will also feature videos of her working in the darkroom, animations created from her own prints, and binaural audio tracks of her walking through various environments, welcoming you in on multiple sensory levels.

(image via Mary Mattingly / Facebook)

Because For Now We Still Have Poetry
Opening Thursday, April 19 at Robert Mann Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through June 9.

Poetry and mining aren’t exactly two things the average person would associate, but this exhibition by Mary Mattingly waxes poetic about the more insidious side of the extraction process, while still trying to hold onto a kernel of hope for a better future. She zeroes in on the fact that most mining operations rely on the supply chain, which she defines as “cogs in the machine work[ing] independently from one another without realizing the full potential of their destruction.” That includes both human and environmental exploitation. Mattingly also documents sought-after minerals that have a range of uses, from military operations to developing photos, that complicates a blanket critique of sourcing them and creates what she calls a “poetic contradiction.”

Carol Joo Lee, Landed, Porcelain 2017 (courtesy of Greenpoint Hill)

Opening Friday, April 20 at Greenpoint Hill, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through May 27.

This exhibition by Carol Joo Lee, while indeed opening on 4/20 from 6 pm to 9 pm, is nothing to chuckle at. Rather, it’s a clever exploration of the pliability (and stubbornness) of both humans and the clay that forms her ceramic sculptural creations. Lee immigrated to the U.S. from Korea and is now naturalized, and her artwork delves into the particulars of this immigrant journey. It’s one where people go from one formal category to the other, and maybe find a potential unwillingness to leave their past identity behind in order to be fully consumed by a new one, even one that some consider aspirational. Ceramics, her medium of choice, can be shaped into practically anything, but they can also become brittle, hard, or simply not turn out the way you’d imagined after they go through the firing process. It’s a flexible thing, until it’s not.

Robert Buck
Second Hand (Nancy Doll), 2015
Oil paint and India ink on found oil painting
12 x 9 x 1/8 inches (unframed)

Second Hand
Opening Saturday, April 21 at Ulterior Gallery, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through May 27.

Any work coming from an artist who “changed his surname as a work of art” is bound to be, if anything, interesting. And “interesting” was indeed what came to my mind when I heard about the latest offering by Robert Buck (formerly Robert Beck), which consists of a series of “modified” paintings the artist found at thrift stores. Rather than taking these found paintings and turning them into something unrecognizable, Buck takes a more minimal approach: he adds copies of signatures people left in his guestbook at past exhibitions, and then he signs his name. The fact that these slightly-altered preexisting paintings are now being showcased in a New York gallery certainly raises some of those age-old questions that have always swirled around artmaking, such as what qualifies as art and who is permitted to take credit for it.

Update, April 18: The closing date of Secondhand has been updated.