If there is a thread that unites the varied bodies of work that the protean painter Brenda Goodman has produced over her five-decade career, it is the sense of urgency -- in the need of the artist to articulate her thoughts and emotions onto the painted surface, but also a feeling of immediacy in the directness of expression, the painterly "hand" manifest in the work. Even in the Ingre-esque drawings of her work in the 1970s, one senses Goodman's need to capture a moment, a relationship between her psychological characters, and then move on, leaving a generous space unfinished for the viewer to move around in. This restlessness pervades her work, in fact defines it, as she jumps from style to style, figure to abstraction, throughout different periods.
An older creative man who finds energy in their work from having a new young love in his life can represent a wonderful coda. In 1857 when Dickens was 45 years old, he fell in love with the 18-year old actresses Ellen Ternan, a passion that lasted the rest of his life. In 1917 the composer Janacek met Kamila Stösslová, 38 years his junior, who inspired a host of new works. A young woman's sexual ecstasy is the central theme of a suite of new pieces by Anselm Kiefer at Gagosian on 21st Street in Chelsea, up until September 1st.
Upon entering we were informed that this was a world class exhibit. Not certain what exactly that was meant to imply, the term stuck in my head as I began my journey... by the end of my time there I had my answer.
Presently on display at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, "Terracotta Warrior Exhibit of the First Emperor" offers a rare opportunity to view a large collection of the famed Terracotta Warriors of the the Qin Dynasty. Along with the legendary statues themselves, interactive displays help bridge the gap between a professionally curated instillation and a hands-on approach utilized elsewhere at the Pacific Science Center to engage school children. This touring showcase succeeds in being child friendly without being childish, inviting people of all ages to approach the exploration of these artifacts with the kind of beaming excitement often reserved for children.
Beginning with a dramatic and somewhat cinematic introduction, projected images and a looming voice-over prepare audiences for the ancient wonders just on the other side of a pair of closed doors. This presentation induces a fitting amount of anticipation for this momentous opportunity as the Terracotta Warriors aren't often on displayed outside of their home in the province of Shaanxi. Unless you're planning a trip to China some time in the future this may be your only opportunity to witness in person such an extensive collection of these haunting figures.
The concept of walls and borders has been tossed around with such frequency of late, and with such politically charged implications, it seems almost anticlimactic that artists would address this notion within a primarily aesthetic context. Counterpoints to the Narrative curated by D. Dominick Lombardi, features a group of artists exploring ideas that are simple, yet provocative, visuals of this complex subject matter. Sparky Campanella, Mark Sharp, and Martin Weinstein, two painters, one photographer, whose work, seen in combination is much more than a contrast in method and style; rather, it is a meditation on visuality and viewership. These artists are creating work that explores some of the ideas Rudolf Arnheim has put forth regarding the contrast between "seeing into" a work of art, and "seeing as."
The exhibition, A Breeze Comes from ‘Meng Bana Xi,' displays recent oil on canvas works whose quirkiness and individuality are rare in an era of globalization, when standardized ideas take on a generic identity that reveals few personal hints about the artist who creates them. The twenty-four paintings on view provide a glimpse of purity undiluted by outside contemporary influences. Ting works in a small isolated village in South China, near the Myanmar (Burmese) border, separate from the hip and the trendy burgeoning yet government “guided” art centers of Shanghai and Beijing. These works are rife with messages and feelings that seem on the brink of exploding. Her demonstrative approach, which harks to the era when both the German Expressionists and Edvard Munch gave voice to their dark feelings of foreboding and anxiety, is viewed by local Chinese authorities with suspicion. Ting fails to follow the official lines whose boundaries determine acceptable styles and content for contemporary art in China.
Looking at the career of the artist Robert Longo can be a philosophical meditation on style. Style, as opposed to stylization, is a key to understanding Longo’s importance as an artist, both at the beginning of his career with the Men in Cities drawings, through his large charcoal drawings of guns, to his blue-chip Abstract Expressionist paintings, and into this recent, powerful exhibition at Metro Pictures.
For the past 17 years, painter and graphic artist Jorgo Schaefer from Wuppertal, Germany has been an artist-in-residence at the New York Vision Festival, one of the world’s premier festival’s of avant-garde jazz, dance, poetry, film and visual art.
Steve Dalachinsky Can you explain a bit about your process and becoming an artist?
Jorgo Schaefer: My career as a professional artist started in 1970 at the Werkkunstschule (WKS, School of Applied Arts) in Wuppertal. At this time, the WKS was a highly regarded institution with a long tradition. It was not an art academy but arts were a key element. Artistic skills were taught as well as philosophy. Our freshman class consisted of 15 students and we were hanging out together day and night, influenced and inspired by the political and artistic movements of about 4 good years. Plus: Amsterdam was just around the corner...
There was a time, over a century ago, when the idea of a purely abstract painting, one which referenced only the means of its creation, was a far-off goal, a seemingly unattainable dream. In the following decades this idea was tested, tried, worked, and re-worked until the project engendered many and various permutations. Post-modern, appropriational, deconstructed -- the list of approaches to this idea is legion; yet there endures some compulsion, some drive that seems hardwired, to create paintings of pure visuality. Just when we think we have come to the end of this story we find new characters waiting in the wings, new gladiators wanting into the arena. In C. Michael Norton’s current exhibit at David&Schweitzer Contemporary we see that this project still has viability. Indeed, Norton seems to open new fields of exploration.
Dona Nelson is showing new paintings at Thomas Erben Gallery. There is no other artist in America that is a "modern painter" in so many different ways without losing her centre.
Trying to subvert its meaning seems to be part of the definition of what modern art is. There doesn't seem to be an accurate way to define an activity that is made up of a system or interelating systems that has occasional contradictions built into it, But art doesn't seem the worse for it. Modern painting in particular is like a series of interconnected temples where people are constantly entering and trying to knock down a load bearing pillar to see if it still stands or if it's now something else. It's quite often a sign that that particular approach is thriving.