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      The Nutmeg Steel Ceiling Hung in Cindy Tower: "Clutter Paintings"
      The Nutmeg Steel Ceiling Hung
    Cindy Tower's work ethic

    Endangered Americana is preserved in "Clutter Paintings," an exhibit of organized chaos.


    Ever stare at an unsightly and malignant pile of neglected stuff? Who hasn't. When the eyesore represents a life's work, emotions may well up. Painters take different views of unsold works collecting in the studio. Some cavalierly overpaint; others take drastic and dramatic destructive measures. With space at a premium, something must be done.

    Exhibition: "Clutter Paintings".
    Works by: Cindy Tower.
    May 1 - June 12, 2004

    Gallery: Uzi N.Y. Gallery
    120 Ave.C
    New York NY
    Hours: Wed.-Sat. 3-7
    Phone: (212) 420-8103

    Cindy Tower embraces and immortalizes her artworks in the lovingly painted oil, "Racks." With baby blue hues she aligns her brush with her positivism. In a voyeur's view of her studio racks, the works are carefully wrapped in plastic. Anxiety is also present in the harsh glare of a fluorescent work light. It directs the eye to the monumental mass of great works. Distorted New York School perspective gives an illusion of instability that is contemporary.

    Tower's portrait of sculptor friend Wendy Klemperer's New Hampshire studio is also a tribute. The front yard of this modest charmer is littered with scrap metal. A small endearing sculpture of a horse stands on a picnic table near completion.

    A graduate of University of California at San Diego, Tower rebelled against the conceptual theories of her academic environment by making things. She comes to painting from installation art, which she says "just gets you into debt." Tower's last solo show in 1998, "Pirate Cindy" met with critical acclaim. Hit with the wrecker's ball, her truck and its entire contents were reworked into a ship, berthed at Trans-Hudson Gallery.

      Though she relies mostly on chance, 'a better art director,' she has a hand in these poetic and uncannily composed scenes.
    Tower gains entry into unlikely places with her easel for "Clutter Paintings." The portraits of endangered livelihoods are reverent and beautifully composed. In "The Nutmeg Steel Ceiling Hung" the action takes place in a Branford, Connecticut factory that is about to be demolished. Insulation droops down from open panels above 'like a necklace.' A piece languished on a desk underneath 'like a woman.' Tower thought to warm and humanize the scene with that feminine presence. Though she relies mostly on chance, 'a better art director,' she has a hand in these poetic and uncannily composed scenes.

    In "Ruth Hammond's Study" a fill of books and papers is surrounded by low casement windows. Each small pane has been painted to reveal a panorama of lawn and green woods. The grid of tiny adjacent landscapes is full of light. A hastily painted toy sized sword and mask seem vestiges or afterthoughts, stamps that slash the sunny scene and the otherwise singular focus of the work. "Clown Door: P.S.214" is a kindergarten class with a disarray of playthings, speckled with glitter. For Tower, the thrill of painting is "in the places — in peoples lives."

    Careful compositions of metal findings are gorgeous but gravely disquieting.  

    Tower plants her paintbox in the trailer of a mentally unstable Vietnam veteran who she says, "let me in to see his iconography." All his staples seem readily available in this view of his cluttered kitchen countertops. In the foreground are various and eclectic spiritual icons; the statues and figurines seem poised to protect and defend.

    Three of the most recent oils, still faintly odiferous, were made in the Forman factory across from Peter Luger Steakhouse on the Southside of Williamsburg. 'At this moment,' says Tower, 'the factory is being torn apart to make way for a bank and maybe a Banana Republic.' Until her recent move to Manhattan, the artist lived and worked nearby. These newest paintings are somber sepia and the careful compositions of metal findings are gorgeous but gravely disquieting. In these, the aberrant edge is embodied in twisted pipes. There it's beauty reigns most powerfully.

    Uzi N.Y. Gallery itself is not your usual four white walls. It overflows with director, performer and writer Uzi Parnes' vintage collectibles. The viewer feels at once voyeur and subject of "Clutter Paintings."

    MAY 28, 2004

    Reader comments on Cindy Tower: "Clutter Paintings":

  • Newest Painting   from Jillian, Jun 18, 2004
  • "Charly"   from Van Jeffreys Frankel, Aug 15, 2004
  • Cindy   from monica, Sep 30, 2004
  • FASCINATING!   from , Jan 28, 2005
  • greetings from Germany   from helena villalobos, Dec 6, 2006

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