(image via Cooler Gallery)

Surface Tension
Opening Tuesday, July 31 at Cooler Gallery, 7 pm to 9 pm. On view through August 12.

Some art has sweeping sociopolitical messages, while other art serves a primarily aesthetic purpose. Neither is better or worse: sometimes you want to be provoked into thinking deeply about the world around you and sometimes you just want to be dazzled by how cool something looks. The work of mixed media artist Senem Oezdogan (presented in partnership with Uprise Art) falls more into the latter category, consisting largely of “fiber-based geometric studies” inspired by architecture, shapes, and the textures of fabrics. They’re fairly simple pieces, featuring abstract shapes and rich splashes of color, and manage to convey an alluring calmness in their playful minimalism. Rather than fixating on what message an artwork might be trying to proclaim, Oezdogan’s work invites you to merely appreciate the visuals. If it makes you feel nice, you don’t need to question it.

Emily Furr, Steel Pulse, 2018, oil on board, 6.5 x 5.5 inches (image via Sargent’s Daughters)

Mother Lode
Opening Friday, August 3 at Sargent’s Daughters, 6 pm to 8 pm. On view through September 9.

Adding to the oeuvre of LES/Chinatown gallery Sargent’s Daughters, which previously has included interactive domestic art by conceptual artist Jennifer Rubell and a matrimonial painting exhibition by Girls actress Jemima Kirke, is a solo show by painter Emily Furr, featuring small works that seek to work against patriarchy and facilitate “a new yonic era.” The show marks the beginning of a new collaboration between the gallery and Lower East Side gallery SHRINE; the two will share the East Broadway space for both their own ventures and joint curatorial endeavors. Mother Lode will be accompanied by a selection of paintings and sculptures by SHRINE artist Billy White.

(image via Tiger Strikes Asteroid New York / Facebook)

Splitsville smells like irises
Opening Friday, August 3 at Tiger Strikes Asteroid New York, 6 pm to 9 pm. On view through September 9.

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer or something, but I’m always attracted to exhibitions that have interesting titles. Matt Morris’s installation-slash-sprawling group exhibition is one such show. Is Splitsville smells like irises a nod to a beneficial breakup? It depends, I suppose, on what your opinion of said irises are. Title speculation aside, what we do know is that the show features a hearty jumble of stuff, from cross-stitchings by Morris’s father to olfactory (scent-based) art and pretty much everything in between, considering 12 other artists are also involved. Together, they delve into “queer formalism,” constructing the self, and how the current political climate has fundamentally changed the ways we can safely approach express identity and non-normativity.