Leslie Wayne at Jack Shainman Gallery

“Looking at art is a free experience,” says painter Leslie Wayne, meaning that it doesn’t have to cost a thing, but also questioning how freely we look at something new. The title piece for the show, ‘Free Experience,’ relies on the associations we bring to its colorful, patterned drapery of oil-skins that recalls flags, modernist textiles and more. (At Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea through Oct 21st).

Leslie Wayne, Free Experience, oil on wood, 28 ½ x 26 x 7 inches, 2015.

Maira Kalman at Julie Saul Gallery

Simple furnishings and pleasing complementary colors in this gouache on paper painting by Maira Kalman recall Van Gogh’s Spartan but intensely colored Arles room. Titled ‘The approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity,’ Kalman’s room illustrates a dictate by Strunk and White in their iconic writer’s guide. One of a group of 57 illustrations for ‘The Elements of Style’, published with Kalman’s paintings in 2005,’ it turns writerly concision into a lifestyle. (On view in Chelsea at Julie Saul Gallery through Sept 16th).

Maira Kalman, The approach to style is by way of plainness, simplicity, orderliness, sincerity, gouache, 8 ½ x 12” (image), 2004.

Lao Tongli in ‘Transitions’ at Chambers Fine Art

Lao Tongli’s organic forms stand out against a black background, suggesting that they populate some dark, interior space despite their color. Though they look like plant forms or stylized tree branches, their resemblance to blood vessels is appropriate, having been inspired by Tongli’s fathers’ long struggle with heart disease. (On view at Chambers Fine Art in Chelsea through Sept 2nd).

Lao Tongli, (detail of) Horizon, Positive Negative Zero Zero 03, ink and minerals on silk, 54 ¼ x 54 ½ x ½ inches, 2017.

Ron Gorchov at Cheim and Read

Pleione, the nymph in Greek mythology who protected sailors, shares a name with this 2016 canvas by Ron Gorchov. Painted on the artist’s signature saddle-stretchers to suggest ancient Greek shields, the colors of each panel range from fleshy to fiery as they reach skyward. (At Cheim & Read through August 25th).

Ron Gorchov, Pleione, oil on linen, 76 x 35 x 9 inches, 2016.

Nari Ward at Lehmann Maupin Gallery

The pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar bill – symbolizing long lasting power – has been rendered in outlines of U.S. currency in this piece by Nari Ward (seen here in detail). The paper money edges are askew, however, suggesting an unsound structure, while cowry shells (once used as currency elsewhere in the world) create straight and sound lines. (At Lehman Maupin Gallery in Chelsea through August 25th).

Nari Ward, detail of ‘Providence Spirits (Gold)’, U.S. currency edges, cowrie shells, wooden rolling ladders, gold powder, gel medium, indelible ink, and overproof white rum on canvas stretched over wood panel, 96 x 96 inches, 2017.