Art Review http://culturecatch.com/index.php/art en The Rube Is On http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3896 <span>The Rube Is On</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/349" lang="" about="/index.php/user/349" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dom Lombardi</a></span> <span>November 15, 2019 - 21:44</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/280" hreflang="en">sculptor</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="722" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-11/rube-goldberg_1.jpg?itok=wnIgCL4U" title="rube-goldberg_1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="926" /></article><figcaption>The Art of Rube Goldberg, Queens Museum, (l-r) Charles Kochman, Jennifer George &amp; Creighton Michael</figcaption></figure><p><i>The Art of Rube Goldberg</i></p> <p>Queens Museum</p> <p>Flushing Meadows–Corona Park, New York</p> <p>Rube Goldberg defied the odds. He was a highly paid and award-winning artist at a time most such practitioners were living hand to mouth. He collapsed the cavernous divide between illustrative or commercial art and fine art with a popular, albeit wildly witty vision. He bridged the gap between engineering and fine art in a way that was both compelling and entertaining to his audience, by inventing compellingly impractical machines to complete mundane tasks. And he eventually became a spokesperson for a number of products such as Luck Strike Cigarettes (Goldberg only smoked cigars) and Old Angus scotch whiskey.</p> <p><br /> Goldberg created some 50,000 works, mostly on paper that were drawn or painted with black ink. You don’t often hear of such a staggering output of work. Myself, I can only think of Picasso, who too amassed such a number, which included paintings, sculptures, collages, prints, ceramics and textiles. And it is also important to note that their eras overlapped: Picasso 1881-1973, Goldberg 1883-1970, while both were the greatest, most recognizable figures of their related fields. </p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="638" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-11/rube-goldberg_2.jpg?itok=ym-ZQLDL" title="rube-goldberg_2.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1000" /></article><figcaption>Foolish Questions Postcards (1910), color postcards, 3 ½ x 5 ½ inches, Courtesy of the Queens Museum</figcaption></figure><p>Picasso's legacy can be found in every important museum in the world, or in any volume of Modern Art. Goldberg’s legacy lives largely in the memories and minds of artists, engineers and inventors, people who see the beauty in belaboring a simple task creatively, by employing endless ingenuity. In fact, Rube Goldberg is listed as an adjective in Miriam-Webster's Dictionary, and there is something called the <i>Rube Goldberg Machine Contest</i>, a national competition that occurs every year. In it, six finalists from various colleges and universities compete as they conceive of, design and build machines that turn an everyday task into dozens of otherwise frivolous actions that, when occurring in a crazy continuum of wiggles, waves and whirligigs, completes a uncomplicated task that would normally take a person one or two trouble-free movements or moments to achieve.</p> <p>My renewed enthusiasm in Rube Goldberg's legacy all comes from a recent talk and exhibition I attended at the Queens Museum, which was aptly titled <i>The Art of Rube Goldberg</i>. Conceived of by artist Creighton Michael, curated by the Senior Curator of the Aspen Art Museum, Max Weintraub, and toured by International Arts &amp; Artists, The<i> Art of Rube Goldberg</i> stands as a glowing reminder of just how influential Goldberg was in his day. Like some, I am most familiar with his mesmerizing machines, and was pleased to learn of and see more of his voluminous cartoons and strips that had a distinctive, modern (for its time) and very humorous look at social behavior, human and personified animal mannerisms and all the trials and tendencies we project in terms of class, gender, religion and most importantly relaxation.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="467" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-11/rube-goldberg_3.jpg?itok=F_QwrW8Q" title="rube-goldberg_3.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1000" /></article><figcaption>Confessions of Confirmed Golf Addicts (1919), ink on Paper, 31 ½ x 26 inches, Courtesy of the Queens Museum</figcaption></figure><p>The talk consisted of two presentations. The first was by Jennifer George (Fashion Designer and the artist’s granddaughter, and author of the book, <i>The Art of Rube Goldberg</i>), and Charles Kochman (editorial director of Abrams ComicArts and editor of the book). Both highlighted Goldberg’s education as an engineer, his life as a father and grandfather, and his continued creative influences, which are far-reaching, sometimes anecdotal, and always cross-cultural. The second overview of Goldberg was given by Creighton Michael, with his thoughts of Goldberg's relationship to key art historical figures, pointing to Da Vinci's caricatures that focused on harsh, distorted facial features of everyday people; and Peter Bruegel the Elder’s powerful storytelling ability.</p> <p>Looking forward from Goldberg's influences, I noticed one link between he and Robert Crumb. Not so much in the content, of course, but more so in the absurd levels of social interactions. Crumb does credit Goldberg, among many others of those early cartoonists as influences, and I believe you can see it most easily in works from the incredibly popular, and always stinging and zinging retorts in his <i>Foolish Questions</i> series (1909-1934), or in the wildly reactive fantastical fashion fiasco in <i>Men in Hats at Theater</i> (1926).   </p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="667" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-11/rube-goldberg_4.jpg?itok=ch4bmgDn" title="rube-goldberg_4.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Men in Hats at Theater (1926), ink on paper, 31 1/2 x 26 1/8 inches, Courtesy of the Queens Museum</figcaption></figure><p>Then there are the many thousands of cartoons Goldberg created that truly defined an awkward era, revealing a magical mindset that only he could portray. In addition, Goldberg was awarded a Pulitzer in 1948 for his political cartoons, some of which are in the exhibition. The most powerful and timeless work is <i>Jews and Arabs</i> (1947), which depicts two lone figures crossing an endless dessert in parallel paths that one must assume have been forged by generation after generation. The irony here is they are headed in the same direction, unaware of each other's presence despite their relatively close proximity. Profoundly, Goldberg is pointing out both the differences and similarities of the two peoples traveling roads that unfortunately, may never meet.</p> <p>Goldberg also had a postage stamp created in his honor; a color version of one of his most familiar works, <i>Professor Butts and His Self-Operating Napkin</i> (1931). The stamp was issued in 1995, while the original work can be credited in influencing Charlie Chaplin’s great film <i>Modern Times</i> (1936), which features a self-operating napkin machine.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="766" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-11/rube-goldberg_5.jpg?itok=REXvh5fT" title="rube-goldberg_5.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1000" /></article><figcaption>Rube Goldberg Inventions United States Postal Service Stamp (included on sheet of "Comic Classics" stamps) (1995), 7 ⅞ x 7 7/16</figcaption></figure><p>And those machines, oh those machines. They were, and still are transfixing to me, especially the ones that are considered "wearable". For instance, <i>Professor Invention Drawing (An Idea to Keep you from Forgetting Your Wife's Letter)</i> (1930) shows a man who is just about to pass a letter box, as a device he is wearing strapped to his waist goes through over a dozen key points or movements to remind him to mail a letter his wife gave him. What really rings true here is the nod to human nature, how we tend to daydream. Getting lost in one's thoughts, how one forgets what they set out to do as they move from place to place with intended goals, big and small is something anyone can relate to.</p> <p>Goldberg continues to turn minutia into magic with<i> Professor Butts Invention Drawing (Postage Stamps)</i> (1929) that, using various sounds in a mix of progressively bizarre mechanisms, places a moistened stamp on a letter. In this instance, as Creighton Michael pointed out in his presentation, Goldberg utilizes diagonal forces to enhance the movements, while the contrasting dark sides of the two desks helps to both move the eye and create depth.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="416" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-11/rube-goldberg_6.jpg?itok=paBeyKvI" title="rube-goldberg_6.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Professor Butts Invention Drawing (Postage Stamps), 1929, ink on paper, 14 ¾ x 25 ⅝ inches, Courtesy of Queens museum</figcaption></figure><p><i>The Art of Rube Goldberg</i> at the Queens Museum, which also includes film shorts produced by Goldberg, videos of the influences of Goldberg, games, functional objects, books, strips, play money, advertisements, illustrated articles, and archival film clips, and photographs runs through February 9<sup>th</sup>, 2020. Be sure to see it, and the other wonderful exhibitions the museum offers.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3896&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="mpsU02wy2YUkWcScgHxSTt48AYKBZuAx3IuLmaSRc-Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sat, 16 Nov 2019 02:44:18 +0000 Dom Lombardi 3896 at http://culturecatch.com The Seduction of the Apple http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3891 <span>The Seduction of the Apple</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/maryhrbacek" lang="" about="/index.php/users/maryhrbacek" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mary Hrbacek</a></span> <span>November 1, 2019 - 19:02</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/510" hreflang="en">painters</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1200" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-11/adamnewton5.jpg?itok=AHolOTsP" title="adamnewton5.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Adam's Apple/Newton's Apple</figcaption></figure><p><em>Yungtae Won: Something, Nothing, Differential   </em>  </p> <p>Elga Wimmer PCC, NYC</p> <p>Oct. 21–27, 2019</p> <p>Elga Wimmer PCC presents "Yungtae Won: Something, Nothing, Differential" curated by Paris Koh, is an ambitious thought-provoking series of conceptually based works executed in oil and in lenticular acrylic, a variation of the traditional hologram format. The artist expounds a narrative that probes philosophical, scientific and religious questions that find their focus in the lush, ripe red properties of an apple that functions as the central protagonist of the artist's inquiry. At first glimpse, the conceptual show appears to accentuate the visual luster and sensual appeal of a piece of fresh fruit, but on deeper contemplation the titles, "Adam's Apple/Newton's Apple," awaken the realization that the works delve far deeper than superficial appearances indicate. The ripeness of the singular fruit with its unabashed saturated red hue calls to viewer consciousness a visceral recognition of the indomitable life-force signified by the correlation of blood with the color red. The apple acts as the human equivalent in the show’s equation, as it recalls Newton's Law of Gravity as well as the apple plucked illicitly from the Tree of Knowledge in response to the devil’s temptation of Eve in the Biblical story of Garden of Eden. The artist's queries about reality parallel those of René Magritte, in his iconic visual/text statement "This is not a pipe" indicating that the painted picture of a pipe is only a surface representation, not to be confused with the genuine object. Won paints an apple from a photograph of an apple with the same doubt in mind: "Which is the authentic apple?" Obviously, the answer is "neither," but he feels the question must be raised.</p> <p>The use of the apple as the focus of the show conjures sumptuous art historical still life images that display the sensuous abundance of fruit, produce and game to nourish bodies and spirits alike, in a micro and macro scientific art method that mirrors the "invisible and ultimate" concepts driving Buddhist beliefs. In Buddhism, the ultimate goal is to become empty of the "self." Similarly, the scientific lens of macro imagery becomes so vast that no traces of specific qualities or characteristics remain detectable. The field of vision becomes empty. The artist cleverly depicts this state in the "Apple differential I," "Something/Nothing 2," "Apple differential 3" and "Something/Nothing VI," presented in a refreshing curatorial sequence of panels. The micro viewpoint is sensitively illustrated in "Apple differential 2."</p> <p>In Buddhism, there is no core "self" as it exists in Christianity. The self is deemed to be empty, subject to changing character, depending on who or what the individual is relating to. In these works, Won researches the shifts in essence to be found with various facets of the subject on view.  In "Apple differential 2" (pigment and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 72.7" 2019), the apple skin is seen through a microscopic vision to reveal the tiny white dots that are spewed across the surface of the fruit. In a less intense view, in a five-panel pigment and acrylic on canvas work, the fruit's surface appears to have natural ridges, within changes of hue. The work, "Adam's Apple/Newton's Apple I," is intended to be an exact replica of a photographic piece but as there is no way to create a completely precise reproduction, the question "which is the 'real' apple" arises without an easy answer. The two apple works created with lenticular acrylic, to create a kind of hologram, change as one views them by walking from side to side, to shift from shades of gray to tones of bright red; these changes indicate what seem to be variations in ambient light that arises from the inner depths of the pictures of fruit, giving rise to mysterious, inexplicable diffused gray tones that hint at the process of aging in the natural course of time. In the piece entitled "Adam's Apple/Newton's Apple III," 2019, the artist paints the apple from a frontal view at the top to disclose an apparent crevice from which the stem arises, which provides a surprising viewpoint; it suggests that the apple moves toward the viewer as if propelling forward like a thrown ball. In the "Homage to Rectangles I and II," joined with the "Something/Nothing I," the artist investigates the rectangle in a series of views that pay homage to Joseph Albers's famous squares, but seen in deep bright with varying degrees of texture to subtly delineate the rectangle.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="830" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-11/won_yungtae.jpg?itok=LZGNHppx" title="won_yungtae.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1000" /></article><figcaption>Apple differential 2, 2019, Pigment and Acrylic on Canvas, 60 x 72.7"</figcaption></figure><p>The artist's use of a single red apple as the key subject of his philosophical and religious probes is at first disconcertingly suggestive of a 17<sup>th</sup> century Dutch still life gone slightly awry. In contemporary art the Still Life genre has fallen quite far from favor, to the extent that it is rarely if ever on view. But Won's use of the apple as an example that illuminates through imagery the principal tenets of the Buddhist faith is revealing and enlightening. The ingenious method he uses to examine science and religion through the creative process of image making is a procedure that exudes a sense of purity and wonder that is not usual despite or because of the fact that almost everything has previously been investigated and nailed down. Won raises the question of "which item is the real and which is the replica," or is the apple fundamentally all and none of the views he has taken.</p> <p>The show is playful yet serious; at first glance the large ultra-red fruit is a bit dominant, yet one becomes accustomed to following the artist's deliberate illustrative permutations as he expounds his ideas via the size and surface of the apple. The apple tree in ancient religion was considered a symbol of knowledge; in Christian art it is a source of redemption for humankind in combatting the evil of original sin associated with the devil's temptation of Eve leading to the expulsion from paradise (1000 Symbols, p. 255, Rowena and Rupert Shepherd). The color red is linked with fire and blood by Australian Aborigines and the Navaho. In Japan and Korea, it is connected to the sun (p.343). Fire keeps us warm but if fire goes out of control it becomes destructive.  In ancient times blood was the equivalent for life-force (p.638, "The Book of Symbols," Taschen). These associations are embedded in our unconscious minds only to stir when we reconnect with familiar sources and meanings.</p> <p>In the exhibition, Won considers the deep-rooted conflict in the West between science and religion, where science is to debunk traditional views of the "self" embodied in the Christian faith, the opposite to the nothingness that is considered the peak achievement in Buddhist religious belief. The ideas presented in "Something, Nothing Differential" are not unfamiliar, yet the freshness and liveliness of the depictions bring renewed force to questions brought forth with the vigor to engage a new generation of thinking artists.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3891&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="PJjA8hUKMt0u40sm5mnwlW1zRpeCskAjybm0p61euA4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 01 Nov 2019 23:02:50 +0000 Mary Hrbacek 3891 at http://culturecatch.com Seeing, Believing and Understanding http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3887 <span>Seeing, Believing and Understanding</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/349" lang="" about="/index.php/user/349" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dom Lombardi</a></span> <span>October 25, 2019 - 14:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/510" hreflang="en">painters</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="599" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-10/image_1.jpg?itok=lQOb2T0a" title="image_1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="902" /></article><figcaption>The Writing’s on the Walls, 2019. Housewrap, oil, plastic tubing, razor wire, sand panel, 96 x 144 in.</figcaption></figure><p>The Frist Art Museum in Nashville does two things remarkably well. Like other capitol city museums throughout the United States, they present fully resolved, educational exhibitions filled with extraordinary works of art supported by thoughtful text and labeling. Most recently, the exhibition, <i>Monsters &amp; Myths:</i><b><i> </i></b><i>Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940</i>, which features works borrowed largely from two prestigious institutions; The Baltimore Museum of Art and The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, offered a great number of iconic works such as the mesmerizing <i>Europe After the Rain II</i> (1940-42) by Max Ernst. In addition to this, the Frist offers a very special form of community outreach in their programming that speaks directly to the citizens of Nashville, giving a much needed public forum to those with perpetual urgent concerns. One of their current exhibitions, <i>Murals of North Nashville</i>, which closes January 5, 2020, is a strikingly energetic and social-political collection of murals created by local artists. Each participant has, in some very personal way, a deep connection to North Nashville's African American neighborhoods -- areas that are in the midst of great change due to encroaching gentrification. Curated by The Frist's own Katie Delmez, this exhibition sheds much needed light on "both the persistent problems such as displacement, gun violence, and incarceration, as well as positive elements like thriving black-owned businesses, a revitalized art scene, and valued educational institutions."</p> <p>All nine of the 8 x 12 foot works for the <i>Murals of North Nashville</i> exhibition are installed in the Conte Community Arts Gallery. This is a very important feature of the Frist, since this space in the museum is accessible to all visitors, as it has no entry fee. All of the installed works have very powerful messaging ranging from violence and despair to hopeful progress. Omari Booker's <i>The Writing's on the Walls (above)</i>, features a woman in a rocking chair on the front porch of what looks to be a home built during the Arts and Crafts era. The house, which has its outline overtly defined with red razor wire, refers to "redlining," a process used by certain institutions, primarily in the financial and real estate fields, in order to separate out minority neighborhoods for the sole purpose of perpetuating their economic woes. The subsequent encroaching gentrification takes up the entire background of this work, as it is covered with newly placed construction materials, while the somewhat less obvious pink-vest-wearing upscale pooch enters the picture plane from the bottom right corner, a detail that is contrasted by the fiery shaped, dying bushes in front of the porch on the left side of the house. This more than metaphorical battle between the underrepresented and oppressed, and the more privileged "protagonists" in this never-ending drama speaks volumes of the inequities based on wealth, which brings political and private access, and race.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-10/rest-in-peace_art.jpg?itok=R7ID0NZG" title="rest-in-peace_art.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Brandon Donahue. Rest in Peace, 2019. Airbrush acrylic on panel, 96 x 144 in. Photo: LeXander Bryant</figcaption></figure><p>Brandon Donahue's <i>Rest in Peace </i>lists all the names, in various styles of eye-catching graffiti, of all the individuals struck down by guns in North Nashville. What first appears as a joyful and celebratory list of local names ends up leaving viewers with a strong feeling of loss and thoughts of what could have been. Conversely, hope and change comes in the form of energetic children and strong women. Elisheba Israel Mrozik's <i>Unmask 'Em</i> shows the power of women who will lead the way, being best equipped to overcome the many sides of suffering built upon the unfortunate truth that justice is not blind. The central figure in the composition, which is a cross between the <i>Madonna and Child</i> and the <i>Pietá</i>, has an otherworldly feel, while the corruption that surrounds is about to be uncovered by righteous disciples. In the end, there is a path to the Promised Land, once the spoilers of future fairness are eradicated.</p> <p><i>Forever</i>, created by the Norf Art Collective, also holds quite a bit of promise, as it features children who will continue the work of all those who have come before, aided by greater opportunity and better education leading to the promise in true equality. The dominating figure, a girl in a yellow dress, runs through the composition as she leaves her tag in ecru paint across a world of blue chiaroscuro painting that clearly defines her path to happiness and success. LeXander Bryant's <i>Opportunity Co$t</i> is a six-stationed stream of powerful graphics and unifying text in red, black and yellow -- all making one think of revolution at first. Only this time, the revolution is about progressive, positive change for people of color; community outreach for all, and the kept promise of a sustainable and sustaining jobs. Additional works by XPayne, Nuveen Barwari, Marlos E'-van and Courtney Adair Johnson round off this field of powerful and compelling murals at the Frist, while other public sites can be found with the exhibition's accompanying map, which locates numerous outdoor wall paintings throughout North Nashville.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="675" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-10/murals_of_north_nashville.jpg?itok=ybjBixa2" title="murals_of_north_nashville.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Murals of North Nashville Now. Courtesy of the Frist Art Museum</figcaption></figure><p> </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3887&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="-oIbLr2n1sot65mXJaP7e9iHszR2zhXJuR6tA4RsL7o"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 25 Oct 2019 18:48:00 +0000 Dom Lombardi 3887 at http://culturecatch.com In The Land of Pink Dreams http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3878 <span>In The Land of Pink Dreams</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/maryhrbacek" lang="" about="/index.php/users/maryhrbacek" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mary Hrbacek</a></span> <span>September 18, 2019 - 12:40</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/668" hreflang="en">group show</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1004" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/sara-manadar-untitled_3.jpg?itok=0L8Em6-J" title="sara-manadar-untitled_3.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Sara Madandar, Untitled, acrylic, and stitchery on linen, 18 x 19,” 2018</figcaption></figure><p><em>Pink Dreams in a Land with No Name</em> </p> <p>Elga Wimmer PCC, NYC</p> <p>9/11 – 9/24, 2019</p> <p>On view at Elga Wimmer PCC, the exhibition "Pink Dreams in a Land with No Name," curated by Roya Khadjavi, presents nineteen visual art works comprised of twelve mixed media pieces and nine laser cut canvas collages, created by Iranian born artists Sara Madandar and Shahram Karimi, who both currently reside in the U.S.  The show explores the strategies the artists have conjured in order to come to terms with their experiences as immigrants living a demanding cross-cultural existence, intensified by the anti-immigration political climate in the U.S. and the social constraints inherent in Iran. Through the creative process of confronting, sorting, and clarifying painful memories and impulses, elucidating notions of place, nation, gender and self, the artists forge the essence of their inner identities and current personas, in works that speak to the feelings and difficulties of displaced people worldwide.</p> <p>Sara Madandar employs metaphoric gestures of release and reclamation, obliterating and reconfiguring the canvas on which she eventually forges a renewed symbolic sense of national place, as her body itself becomes her newly claimed nation and home. In efforts to regain her unique persona in the context of life in an unfamiliar new culture, she reexamines her body, the center of memories and experiences, by stitching her own contours onto cloth formats in a variety of compositions.  The repeated outlines, contrasted with full bodily forms, are split and layered, suggesting discomfort and disorientation as she moves toward integration within herself.   </p> <p>By enduring moves from Iran to Texas, finally settling in New Orleans, Madandar's sense of national identity became eroded in the process of adjusting to new cultures. She began to question the meaning, borders and symbols that relate to place, eventually arriving at a renewed sense of home centered in her own body.  Madandar began to picture her own body as her homeland, as a free land without nationality or borders which she could redeem as the center of herself. She has reconciled the pain and loss that result from immigration through the creative process.  Her art speaks to all people, especially women, who experience loss of their identities by the act of migration.</p> <p>In her canvas and cloth-based collages Madandar employs a laser cutter in a calibrated process, in which she carefully cuts the canvas without setting it on fire, or breaking it. In the work entitled "Persian Fall" (acrylic on canvas, 34 x 66," 2019), the artist unravels thread from the edges of a canvas stretched on wooden bars, destroying portions of the surface to expose the stretchers that support it. She retains part of the intact canvas, allowing the ends to remain unraveled. The piece suggests the deconstruction of remembrances of the past as it recedes from one’s consciousness. With this action she generates a basis for rebuilding a life that has fallen into tatters from the stresses engendered by manifold relocations.  The bars function as a metaphoric structure that supports her explorations. In the masterful piece entitled "Through Roots" (acrylic, stitchery, collage and laser on canvas, 36 x 65," 2019), Madandar multiplies her body form in overlapping outlines, turned right-side up and upside down, eradicating its contours to make space for the symbolic voices of those engaged in simultaneous processes of self-reinvention.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="570" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/sara-manandar-through-roots.jpg?itok=ODrb04tH" title="sara-manandar-through-roots.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="981" /></article><figcaption>Sara Madandar, Through Roots, acrylic, collage, stitchery and laser on canvas, 36 x 65,” 2019</figcaption></figure><p>Madandar has recently turned from her primary medium of painting to a sewing machine, using thread and cloth on canvas in order to challenge herself with an unfamiliar speed and freedom of movement. At times she stitches repeated layered silhouettes of her bodily form on cloth embossed with flowers or traditional Iranian texts, to retain traces from her background. The artist incorporates outlines of her nude body while pregnant, to bring those physical adjustments into a coherent whole. Her signature silhouettes may express loss, while the solid cloth forms indicate stages of growth in a new vision of herself.</p> <p>"Window #1," built as a traditional Iranian window, with green, yellow and red panes that each displays a delicately painted nude woman, allows the viewer to control the LED light source. The piece lends insight into the tension inherent in a dual culture. At home in Iran, Madandar is free to be nude, to reveal herself to herself as she is by nature. This freedom, as fulfilling as it is, may induce a sense of isolation. The strain that arises from conflicts between a hidden but free private life and a socially exposed but impersonal public persona, creates an agonizing divide. The delicacy of Madandar's two-toned female form symbolizes the tenuous hold she has in Iran on the luxury of privacy that makes existence worth living. Madandar focuses on her personal issues to find resolution which has universal parallels. She speaks through her art to new immigrants and all disposed and displaced persons, as she integrates her life in America with memories of Iran within the realm of her own body, herself.</p> <p>Global artist and film maker Shahram Karimi instills his paintings with touching imagery culled from personal experiences of village life, such as roses and poppies that decorate clothing of women in his native homeland of Shiraz. In a courageous effort to retain memories that stamped his early persona, he moves forward in his present cross-cultural existence as an artist who resides in both Germany and the U.S. Karimi's paintings empower his identity by allowing him to bring his feelings into images that cement them in his consciousness. In this positive way he reclaims his past by inventing his own iconography, in heartfelt narratives which accentuate recollections of his cherished history. He has been exposed to the Western genres of abstraction, minimalism and conceptual art, yet in an authentically global vision, he depicts recognizable figurative human forms engaged in enterprises and rituals, such as weddings and funerals, that relate universally to the ongoing concerns of people everywhere. In this way he recognizes and respects the spectrum of his life as a whole, with the realization that there is no way back to the past from a frenetic and fast-paced life in the West.</p> <p>Despite or because of the fact that Karimi is an autodidact, his technique is skillful, confident and sensitive. He paints freely from his heart without gimmicks or formulas, in works which occupy the picture format frontally, without perspective or traditional spatial pictorial depth, inspired by the mysterious visual poetry of Persian miniature paintings. Karimi is a humanist whose broad view of life encompasses activities and celebrations, births, travels and rituals. His reality is immersed in a broad sense of the human predicament, its joy, its pathos and its limitations and longevity. Karimi's exuberance has enabled him to create shimmering narrative tableaux inspired by his formative years in Iran, highlighted by emotionally charged pink tones that stress the present, contrasted with cool blue hues which denote reminiscences.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="934" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/looks-karimi_1.jpg?itok=wkGClELC" title="looks-karimi.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Shahram Karimi, Looks, mixed media on cnavas, 71 x 53,” 2018</figcaption></figure><p>In many works such as "Angel" and "Untitled" Karimi employs lines to delineate forms and features, while in other works such as "Sisters," two broad faceless figures merge to become one entity which commands the entire space. The artist is especially engaged by female forms in repose, whose enigmatic shapes are reluctant to reveal their specific content. In "Angel" Karimi stresses the coexistence in Iran of the Roman Catholic religion with Islam, by depicting the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, surrounded by angels. Karimi expresses his humanistic perceptions in the video-painting entitled "Red Poppy," inhabited by poetically painted, frontally posed individuals set next to the national Iranian flower which, enhanced by video, sways with life.</p> <p>In many of his deep, serious works the artist employs glazing techniques by applying thin veils of color over underpaintings of figures and flowers. The technique enables him to subtly project the past into the present, creating a mood synonymous with memory and instilling a sense of time passing. In the picture entitled "Looks" (<em>image above</em>), the artist creates depth that hints at recollections of incidences of the past, by painting characters strewn over flowered brocade fabric, in visions of faces that appear to materialize as witnesses. This augmented dimension aids the bright pink flowers on the surface to visually and symbolically bridge the artist's past with his present life.</p> <p>Karimi appears to be grappling with the jarring realities of his current existence, but seems cognizant that returning would be unthinkable. He imprints his works with bits of Iranian poetry (a source of national pride), concealed in hidden corners, that enhance his remembrance of historical events. Karimi struggles with the multiplicity of the life he faces in Germany and the U.S. by channeling cherished growth experiences into narrative paintings that forge a personal iconography. He expresses a unique, global vocabulary which employs, and transcends, the Western genres of abstraction, minimalism and conceptual art.</p> <p>Karimi and Madandar both resiliently face the dilemma of the cross-cultural displaced individual by reconciling the grief that arises from relocating, especially into a new land hostile to immigrants. Madandar envisions her body as a new homeland, and Karimi narrates images of individuals engaged in historic rituals that rekindle and enhance his present engagement with his past life in Iran.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3878&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="5VEcbtzb8815HFHYJZEaKVEhwd1j6xbiDNSFDr5FdBQ"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 18 Sep 2019 16:40:30 +0000 Mary Hrbacek 3878 at http://culturecatch.com Little Q + A: Rick B + BR http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3873 <span>Little Q + A: Rick B + BR</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/529" lang="" about="/index.php/user/529" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bradley Rubenstein</a></span> <span>September 5, 2019 - 14:08</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/203" hreflang="en">painter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-center"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="421" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/shotgun_wedding-lr-1.jpg?itok=ppX4c70s" title="shotgun_wedding-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="564" /></article><figcaption>Shotgun Wedding, 2012</figcaption></figure><p>Rick Briggs is among the first wave of artists to make Williamsburg, Brooklyn his home, having lived and worked there since 1981. He's independent and quixotic, developing distinct bodies of work that reflect his philosophy of making art based on personal experience and out of his own working history. His 2017 show at Ortega y Gasset Projects was occasion for initiating this conversation.</p> <p><b>Bradley Rubenstein:</b> This is a great place to start, with this painting (above: <i>Shotgun Wedding</i>, 2012) .... It is kind of like an index of the imagery and ideas that you are working with now. It reminds me of a kind of work, similar to that of Jonathan Lasker or Peter Halley, in a way. You have organized your gestures and process.</p> <p><b>Rick Briggs:</b> I feel like Lasker's gestures are always in quotation marks, like he really wants that distance. I've always maintained my gesture as being more intuitive and direct, and about capturing a moment. That said, I did begin this painting with a vague idea of indexing different roller pan patterns. This happens when a relatively dry roller picks up the impression of the roller pan, which then looks "printed" on the canvas simply by gently rolling it out. But I can never quite settle on a simple approach to painting, like cataloging a gesture or texture. It seemed too detached, scientific, even. I like to make rules and then break them. Besides, I'm more invested in experimentation and transformation. That's where the round canvases and cutting into the surface and making niches showed up in this painting -- something I began doing in the mid-'80s. </p> <p>A funny story related to this painting is that about a year after I made it, I saw a Sarah Cain show at Lelong. She had done this installation, and one of her paintings had a roller stuck to the surface and holes cut through the canvas. I was with a friend, the painter Harriet Korman, who had already seen my painting in the studio, and we just looked at each other in amazement and burst out laughing. Here I thought I'd done something “original,” and there was someone else on the other side of the country making a somewhat similar painting (in a way), and neither of us knew of the other's work. Collective unconscious? Zeitgeist? I don't know, but I do know painting is very humbling.</p> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/forjmb-lr-1_0.jpg?itok=Dm-NbSrp" width="504" height="462" alt="Thumbnail" title="forjmb-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p><b>BR:</b> These new pieces feel really right for the moment. After a period of "zombie formalism" and whatnot, it's interesting seeing paintings that are imbued with a kind of vitality to their gesture -- an "internal architecture" is how I think I first described them when I saw them.</p> <p><b>RB:</b> Thanks, Bradley. Vitality is important to me. I always think of Matisse saying, if you're not ready to go into the studio, go ride a horse. In other words, bring some energy, some verve. After all, we're trying to breathe life into these inanimate objects, and that's not easy. I also like the word "internal" because I'm not referring to any external architecture, but, rather, interested in finding a structure that comes from within. <i>Rolled Structure</i> (2010) was the first roller painting and was a breakthrough in the sense that the painting had previously been made up of all these cute little areas that essentially added up to nothing. It was failing miserably, and I needed to paint the whole thing out quickly. I resorted to my house painting supplies, alkyd primer, and rollers. I knew from experience that these moments of failure are also ripe with potential for creation, and since the surface was still wet, I just kept working on it. A basic image appeared, but without the rhythm of the line, it's nothing. I've always had an affinity for the simplicity of the line paintings of Agnes Martin, early David Reed, or even Robert Ryman paintings composed of stacked, thickly brushed horizontal lines. In the early to mid-'90s, I did a series of work that essentially tried to wed the existential angst of Guston's late reductive abstract work of the early '60s with the horizontal line paintings of Agnes Martin with her Zen-like approach -- a collision of approaches, to be sure. With this new linear work I felt like I had circled back to those earlier concerns. <i>Big Yellow</i> (2011) reminded me of a painter's scaffold and had a feeling of monumentality. And <i>44</i> (2014) <em>(below)</em> was one of those where all the pieces just fell into place very organically, where it felt like the painting made itself. I like it when a big painting feels like a tossed-off sketch. I suppose the one that has the most kinship to external architecture would be <i>Space Waffle</i> (2011),  which was perhaps an unconscious response to the anonymous corporate high-rises beginning to go up in Williamsburg. I like the idea of referring to high Modernism, but by utilitarian means.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="453" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/44-lr-1.jpg?itok=YWPne2ur" title="44-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="549" /></article><figcaption>44, 2014</figcaption></figure><p><b>BR:</b> Jumping back a bit, because I think it relates here ... tell me about the <i>Painter Man</i> groups you did.</p> <p><b>RB:</b> Many artists have to support themselves with a job. My two <i>Painter Man</i> series were a darkly humorous pseudo-autobiographical narrative of my life as a house painter. I needed to tell a story and thought: here's a way to empower myself and embrace this idea of the artist as workingman. My work has always had an autobiographical aspect, but with the abstract work it had never been so explicit. It was interesting to think in terms of film, as much as art history, as a source to draw on for imagery. For example, the paintings are flooded with blood imagery, but the inspiration is as much from Kubrick's <i>The Shining</i> as any painted depiction of a martyred saint. Also, since my background had been entirely in abstraction, the challenge of suddenly having to figure out how to represent stuff was interesting. But once I'd told my story and completed those two series, I didn't feel the need to keep retelling it. I'm not interested in repeating myself, which is why I keep moving. What became more interesting to me was the idea of transforming my everyday job materials into art. I liked the ready-made authenticity and spattered surfaces of my used drop covers and the physical, material nature of painting on them. This became the through line between that work and what I'm doing now, with my inclusion of stir sticks, drop covers, paint skins, t-shirts, which, in turn, connected me back to the work I was doing in the '80s -- attaching small canvases on object-like painting. It's very flattering when people tell me now how that ’80s work looks so current.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="413" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/rolled_structure-lr-1.jpg?itok=pAHZlN0S" title="rolled_structure-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="504" /></article><figcaption>Rolled Structure</figcaption></figure><p><b>BR:</b> Your work reflects a kind of '70s aesthetic in a way. I'm reminded of someone like Blinky Palermo, who really broke down the barriers of what were proletariat materials, and gestures. He did a wall piece I saw in Germany where one wall was rolled, and one was brushed. He was basically just painting the gallery white, but the gesture -- the artistic gesture -- of brushing the wall compared to rolling it was an aesthetic question.</p> <p><b>RB:</b> I don't know that Palermo piece, but the conceptual simplicity of it seems quite poetic to me. I went to school in the '70s, so of course that time had a huge influence on my thinking. I'm thinking now of movements like Process Art, Lyrical Abstraction, and Arte Povera, for example. Speaking of proletariat materials, I think people forget how radical Judd's plywood boxes were at the time, or Burri's use of burlap for that matter. I really like that attitude of making art with whatever's at hand. In art school in the '70s, there were people making squeegeed abstraction à la  Jack Whitten; I was scattering acrylic paint on raw canvas on the floor à la  Larry Poons. I loved the freedom of mixing some paint in a bucket and reaching my hand in and grabbing the paint to toss. I guess the use of the paint roller is, in a way, an attempt to maintain that freedom.</p> <p> The Abstract Expressionists were probably my biggest influence. I love that de Kooning and Kline worked as housepainters and that, along with Pollock, used house paint in their work. De Kooning's comment about, all he really needed was a gallon of black and a gallon of white and he was in business, really resonates. I switched to alkyd house paint from oil because I wanted to work large, and the cost is peanuts compared to tubed oil paint. Can you imagine squeezing out paint tubes to make enough paint to make one long roller mark? It's absurd. Plus, I like its ready-to-go consistency.</p> <p><b>BR:</b> In this one (<i>Black Sticks</i>, 2014) you touch on Pollock's <i>Blue Poles</i> (1952), and Miró, with the paint can skin. Your use of those reminds me of Frank Stella saying that he wanted the paint to look as good on the canvas as it did in the can.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="354" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-09/black_sticks-lr-1.jpg?itok=wAiCvwpY" title="black_sticks-lr-1.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="432" /></article><figcaption>Black Sticks, 2014</figcaption></figure><p><b>RB:</b> It's funny to think of my little painting in the context of the monumentality of Pollock's <i>Blue Poles</i>. My "poles" are simply stir sticks, which function as line, but there is a connection there. The paint skins form inside the can, and I hated peeling them off and throwing them away. They become ready-made colored circles. </p> <p>I once had a teacher who claimed Pollock wasn't that important because he didn't have any followers, but Larry Poons is someone who certainly comes out of Pollock, and Dona Nelson has been pouring paint for years. You can't avoid your influences, right? The only way past is through. Miró did a lot of weird things; he may have been one of the earliest to pour paint. I'm remembering seeing some pancake-like pools he poured on paintings. I love his playfulness and the buoyancy of his work. </p> <p>Stella once said, “When I open a can of green paint, I wonder why anyone would want to represent say, grass, with it -- it's so beautiful just as it is." I think of Stella when I go to Janovic -- I love buying a gallon of any color I want.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3873&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="RH_w1p3IIZiNXf_asCte2mlOpVu7xMYXkaI54FaKCiY"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 05 Sep 2019 18:08:36 +0000 Bradley Rubenstein 3873 at http://culturecatch.com George Meet John Paul http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3850 <span>George Meet John Paul</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/529" lang="" about="/index.php/user/529" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Bradley Rubenstein</a></span> <span>June 9, 2019 - 14:36</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/498" hreflang="en">interview</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p><em>A conversation between George Lloyd and John Paul, (MFA Yale 1969) Concerning Knox Martin's show at Hollis Taggart Gallery, June 3, 2019.</em></p> <p><strong>John Paul: </strong>When Gabriela Ryan asked me to write something about Knox's recent show at Hollis Taggart Gallery, I was watching a tv program about Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley. I let the picture run through our conversation, fascinated by the timeline of the legendary frontier showman and his shooting starlet.  I felt no distracting contradiction. For us, the life and times of Cody are less legendary than the era of our painting heroes -- those decades in an emptier and less crowded New York when DeKooning, Gorky, Kline, Ilya Bolotowsky and Knox Martin were staking a claim for a viable language in painting. We can add many others -- fanning out into New England and Maine. Will Barnet, Jack Tworkov, Hans Hoffman, even Provincetown's Edwin Dickinson. Knox’s involvement in the New York School of painting is well documented. He was friends with DeKooning and Kline (although not with Gorky personally). Knox was also happy to know his Washington Heights neighbor Elias Goldberg (AKA the Pissarro of Washington Heights) and is deeply moved by these physically modest works in oil and watercolor -- in ways that derive from Cezanne. Knox has no prejudice about size in art.</p> <p><strong>George Llyod:</strong> I write at a disadvantage, unable to view these pictures in person. Nevertheless, I'll do my best based on the exhibit catalog and images available online.</p> <p><strong>JP:</strong> You are the right person to handle the challenge. There aren't many others in our class who kept up  drawing in structures as you have. You also inherited a deep respect for architecture and concept drawing from your father. To continue, the show at Hollis Taggart is aptly titled <em>Radical Structures</em>. The analysis and underlying geometry in art is a Knox Martin phenomenon. No one else was discussing art on this level, or working on it openly.</p> <p><strong>GL: </strong>That's right. In our drawing class Knox would take out a big reproduction of a Franz Hals and trace the linear structure. Some of the students would doze off, but for me it was an eye-opener.</p> <p><strong>JP:</strong> Just recently, Knox, his daughter Olivia, and another friend, were at the Met Breuer for the show "Unfinished." There was an El Greco and other old masters, but the big occasion was Titian's "The Flaying Of Marsyas." Knox took out  his laser pen light and rapidly traced for us, the subtle underlying geometry, the circulating activation of form.</p> <p>Given that the viewer's need to wander and be directed, Titian knew how to create an experience using the myth as a point of departure. The act of composition can bring an acute and sometimes unnerving realization on other levels of perception, on the empathy level. Anyway, Knox's clear and unrestrained voice, and the light pen tracings on the sixteenth century surface, created havoc in the museum. Guards and eventually the head curator had to shut down this wonderful moment -- but it was too late: the mission was already accomplished.</p> <p><strong>GL:</strong> The impression I have from <em>Rubber Soul [diptych 1963]</em>  is one of bright and buoyant forms, gliding  effortlessly across the viewer's field of vision. The effect is analogous to that of a summer's day, or maybe  that of a day dream in fortuitous conjunction with delectable sensations of color and surface. In contrast to some of his more Minimalist contemporaries who applied paint to canvas in a more mechanical and less nuanced fashion, Knox does not shirk from indulgence in the more sensual possibilities inherent in the paint medium. So while on one level, Knox may seem to pull out all the stops, on another he works within a very limited set of strictures, employing classic oppositions like arcs and straight lines, circles and squares .</p> <p><strong>JP: </strong>There are these tilted and interrupted patterns of dots, that intersect, compete for the foreground then recede to an unseen periphery. He references Islamic and Persian art -- and pattern that predates by centuries the Op Art of the sixties.                                             </p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="907" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/rubber_soul.jpg?itok=0JgDb6bE" title="rubber_soul.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Rubber Soul [diptych 1963]</figcaption></figure><p><strong>GL: </strong>I would be remiss not to reference the critical role of movement and gesture in these pictures. In <em>She [1963-5 ]</em>, a sense of high drama is provoked by the playful actions of shapes and forms upon each other in a matrix  of  shallow depth. Historical antecedent here would be early 20<sup>th</sup> century Synthetic Cubist collage. Another essential component of Knox's painting process might well be referred to as "Body English." In this way, the presence of the "Hero Shape Shifter" that Knox would frequently refer to in his classroom lectures in New Haven is never far away. For Knox, it would seem that a sense of the lurking presence of the man who made them would be critical to the effect of his pictures upon the viewer who encounters them.</p> <p><strong>JP:  </strong>The sense of affirmation, exploded by DeKooning and Picasso, and the concealment power of Matisse  (alive and kicking in those days, but in very different ways) is inescapable. Let's not forget that the painter as well as the painting in this show had an extraordinary physicality and confidence. Then Knox was doing many things of personal interest: martial arts, sculpture, magic, dagger throwing, and piloting a small plane. Artist friends would talk of his exploits, but that was beside the point. He was his own man in art. Seeing these paintings in a retrospective show, from his and our youth, revives those memories. And he is still making powerful things happen on the canvas.</p> <p><strong>GL:</strong> The years just after World War 2, when Knox studied at the League with Will Barnet, would have  coincided with Will's <em>Indian Space</em> period. Not a big stretch to find a parallel between the flat patterned  surfaces of Will's <em>Indian Space</em> pictures and the kind of surface arabesques which are so characteristic of  Knox .</p> <p><strong>JP: </strong>I'm glad you mentioned the shape-juxtaposing clarity of Barnet. Will spoke about the excitement of designing a plan for the painting to contain itself, to reinforce the picture narrative with an underlying structure. Not just an expedient, but a solution to a puzzle, a personal icon perhaps. Not letting everything drift or leak out the edges.</p> <p><strong>BL:</strong> It would also be relevant to note that Will Barnet, who was born near to Boston in 1911, was a lifelong  admirer of the great mural cycle by Puvis de Chavannes which had been installed in the grand staircase of the Boston Public Library just a decade or so prior to Will's birth. In Barnet's opinion, which I had directly from him, Puvis was a proto-Modern. According to Will, the French muralist's deep respect for the wall surfaces which his paintings occupied was directly related to Modernist notions about flatness and the integrity of the picture surface.</p> <p>That Puvis was a Symbolist and a painter of dreams might well serve to open up another path not only to Barnet's <em>Indian Space</em> pictures but also to Knox, who was never one to refrain from poetic allusion in his painting. Modernist concerns for material values and a consequent reverence for the painting as a physical object in and of itself did not, for Knox, ever present a barrier to dreaming. Even in a painting as ostensibly reduced to abstraction as <em>SHE</em>, it is the female figure which is found to be the pivot of inspiration for the artist in question.</p> <p><strong>JP: </strong>In this show the elegant weights and balances of the paint bodies remind us of his physical daring and audacity. But getting back to Yale in the sixties -- looking back on Knox's drawing class, when we were students, Knox was more than a responsible teacher: he was a lightning rod of empowerment. His drawing classes in the Yale program were listed in the curriculum with action-inspiring titles: Super Creator 1 and 2. We were learning to find ways to achieve "activation." Drawing needed to be tensed and interactive in its parts like a perpetual motion machine. I know I simplify, and axioms are useless without demonstration. But without Knox in my history, much of the excellent education I had in art academies would fade, or worse, stumble in repetition of a format. His knowledge of art history, literature, philosophy, religions, astronomy and the natural universe sustained our encounters with the blank page, the empty white canvas.</p> <p><strong>GL:</strong> And for Knox it could be a white page of paper or a city wall! The same thing.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1720" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/houston_street.png?itok=Qwfs5y5l" title="houston_street.png" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Woman With Bicycle, Mural on Houston Street, NYC</figcaption></figure><p><strong>JP:</strong> Yes, Knox also painted major public murals. I especially marvelled at the <em>Venus</em> mural on West Street and the <em>Woman With Bicycle (above) </em>on Houston Street. They were fixtures of my adopted city. I would look up at these on a daily basis. In recent years we have discussed murals, when I was licensed to paint outdoor ads and murals. He told me those walls existed for him as works in themselves: not as publicity to promote his status in the art world. Richard Haas, the architect, made many forgettable outdoor walls. They were academic.  Knox's walls were fun and came out of a virile sense of humor. I miss seeing them up there.</p> </div> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-add"><a href="/index.php/node/3850#comment-form" title="Share your thoughts and opinions." hreflang="en">Add new comment</a></li></ul><section> <a id="comment-1082"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1564332091"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/index.php/comment/1082#comment-1082" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Great read!</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Great read!</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1082&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="IJCHLYCziWO8DAEk0pCb8naB74AT9BBRtwSgoZEugvA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/index.php/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/index.php/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fred K.</span> on July 11, 2019 - 11:11</p> </footer> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3850&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="sp-g5nZYsDg0Pxei6aKhnaQUZp5sg3VZjr9qdmRCLzA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 09 Jun 2019 18:36:18 +0000 Bradley Rubenstein 3850 at http://culturecatch.com Steve Keene Thaws Frieze! http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3842 <span>Steve Keene Thaws Frieze!</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>May 5, 2019 - 13:48</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/203" hreflang="en">painter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1200" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-05/steve-keene-frieze.jpeg?itok=VtvT54MP" title="steve-keene-frieze.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Photo credit: d.Bindi</figcaption></figure><p>The Frieze New York 2019 art fair, which ran through Sunday, May 5th, offered over 190 galleries, hailing from over 25 countries. Impractical, from a casual buyer's stand point, as it can be overwhelming (Stendhal syndrome)<b> </b>but always fun for amazing people watching as New Yorkers love to wear their individualism as proudly as any artist's painting on a gallery wall, and despite what some may think, not at all as stuffy as some art gallery shows can be. I always find at least a dozen new artists that I'd proudly display on my apartment's walls,<em> if</em> I had the dollars <em>and</em> the space to do so. But things were different this year. I could actually afford a piece.</p> <p><a href="https://www.artsy.net/p-p-o-w" target="_blank">P.P.O.W</a>.'s booth presented countless paintings by <a color="black" href="https://www.artsy.net/artist/steve-keene" target="_blank">Steve Keene</a> -- priced between $10, $20 and $50 (depending on the size) -- were the art fair's best deal, even cheaper than some of the food/beverage vendors serving up very edible meals, snacks, and libations. With Keene live-painting like a madman across a giant easel set about 3-4 feet above the art crowd masses, he'd set up about 10-12 plywood boards in front of him and would paint them simultaneously. From simple, colorful images of animals (cats), people (Buchanan above), and many cool album covers by musicians like David Bowie, Depeche Mode, The Clash, Bow Wow Wow, Siouxsie and the Banshees, et al., there was always a crowd ready to jump on one of his pieces as soon as it was finished and hung on the wall opposite of him. There was a "cash-only" wooden box to collect the dollars from willing patrons.</p> <p>Keen's work has a simple, but inviting illustrative quality, like hip DIY gig posters from the punk rock/new wave era, something you might have found taped to a lamppost or hung in a boutique. As I watched the artist in action, a middle-aged woman next to me was debating which "album cover" recreation her son would enjoy most -- The Clash's <em>London Calling</em> or <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_of_the_Mohicans_(EP)" target="_blank">Bow Wow Wow's <em>Last of the Mohican</em></a> homage to Edouard Manet's <em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:%C3%89douard_Manet_-_Le_D%C3%A9jeuner_sur_l%27herbe.jpg" target="_blank">Le déjeuner sur l’herbe</a></em> piece. (I suggested the Bow Wow Wow, given that album's original controversy. Or buy both for only $40.) She only had to wait an hour until the paint had dried and the paintings were "hung" on the wall behind her. I didn't wait for her final selection(s) as I decided to walk the fair and come back later to make my $20 selection. (See above.)</p> <p>What an art collector's metaphor, eh? The low price-point meant that any attendee could walk out of the Frieze with a real piece of art by a real life artist. And what a great story to share, too.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3842&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="YkrMWJ6T-KVvZ-56i0vDtWLp3wApXPC1V4gka-rZhvk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 05 May 2019 17:48:12 +0000 Dusty Wright 3842 at http://culturecatch.com Crackling With Electricity http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3831 <span>Crackling With Electricity </span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/6569" lang="" about="/index.php/user/6569" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Rick Briggs</a></span> <span>March 12, 2019 - 10:00</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/115" hreflang="en">gallery show</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p>Judith Linhares' exhibition,<em> Hearts on Fire</em>, at PPOW Gallery (February 14-March 16, 2019), features paintings of nude women coexisting in idyllic nature where they may encounter lions, and tigers, even trolls, but that's all perfectly fine because in these enchanted environs, a magic spell seems to have been cast over all involved.</p> <p>Linhares is an artist who grew up in the California art scene of the '60s and '70s, and in particular the San Francisco scene of David Park and Joan Brown, from whom she may have drawn inspiration in terms of direct, physical painting. She first established herself in New York when she was included in Marcia Tucker's seminal <em>Bad Painting</em> show at the New Museum in 1978. And while she has lived in NYC for the last 40 years, her work is still infused with Californian light and terrain. The first thing one notices upon entering PPOW is that her paintings have the effect of being lit from within -- the result of high-key, sometimes contrasting, colors placed side-by-side. As with the recent Harriet Korman exhibition at Thomas Erben Gallery, the cumulative effect of this is as if the air of the gallery is crackling with electricity.</p> <p>In "High Desert" (2018), a neon magenta nude reclines on a bright, multicolored afghan set on a rocky outcropping while a handsomely coiffed lion stands but a few feet away. Behind them, a sky majestically lit with soft yellows, salmon orange, and crimson -- each band of light a separate, long brushstroke of color. The woman, whose expression is one of rapture at the sight of the heavenly fireworks, seems blissfully unaware of the lion's presence. While there is palpable tension and mystery between the unsuspecting woman and the powerful lion, perhaps it doesn't matter. Because, as with Linhares' forebear in this case -- Henri Rousseau and "The Sleeping Gypsy" (1897), the lion seems not to harbor malicious intent, and together they express a unity with nature. This unity is made evident by formal considerations like the relationship between how the woman's long blond hair curls up at the end just like the lion's tail. Together, along with her curling toes, they form a neat compositional triangle. (It's important to note, however, one distinction with Rousseau is that while his woman is passively asleep, Linhares' protagonist is actively engaged viewing the sky.)</p> <p>While the gallery press release claims <em>Hearts on Fire</em> refers to a type of diamond, the show's title might just as easily (and perhaps more straightforwardly) be read as a comment on desire. The female protagonists in Linhares' paintings happily go about their lives pursuing sensual pleasure -- gazing at the sky, relaxing on the beach, warming their feet by the fire, drinking, and devouring drumsticks. Their pleasure might involve men, as in "Beach," but it isn't dependent on men.  These are women with appetites. Take, for example, the spread-legged female in "Revel." Here, we encounter a nude who is lost in the reverie of listening for chirping birds and wood sprites while consuming copious amounts of booze, ensconced in her own merry world.  While the figure's pose is not overtly sexual, there is the matter of the most lurid-looking tree hollow just to her right. Desire is also expressed explicitly in the exaggerated hanging tongues of the cartoony wolves in "Thirst," and "Rave," and perhaps more subtly in their phallic snouts.</p> <p>What separates Linhares from many other figurative painters working today is her commitment to finding the image through the process of painting, as opposed to having an image in mind in advance and simply executing it.  It is also in her uncompromising fealty to the formal elements of painting: drawing, color, and composition. There is a precision and clarity to her color choices and drawing that gives her work its strong, expressive power. "Tiger" is a great example of Linhares' masterful command.  Constructed stroke by broad stroke, the orange cat's black stripes seem to radiate outward to reflect the rocky terrain and blocky blue ground from which it emerges. Figure and ground are locked together forcing one's eye, as a viewer, to slow down and move carefully around the canvas, back and forth in space.</p> <p>Linhares' tough-minded work carries forward the highest ideals of painting but does so in a felicitous, light-hearted spirit. She's willing to do the hard work that painting requires, to "carry the water," so to speak, as one of her characters literally does in "Saturday Morning" (2017). She has built a vocabulary of forms over the years, a way of treating the figure, of making a mark, a specific color palette, and a consistent subject matter -- in other words, a set of conditions that form her language and together with her accrued wisdom, give her freedom to roam. Linhares embraces traditional subject matter such as the floral still life and the nude because she knows she can transform them and make them her own. Just as the blissed-out figure in "High Desert" marvels at the multicolored sky, I marvel at the myriad grays that make up the rocky outcropping she's lying on. Purple grays, yellow grays, light blue grays -- colors so specific they deserve their own names, but what are those names? You can only experience them. And the experience is to luxuriate in the pleasure of Linhares' conjured scene. One of my favorite subjects in art is the depiction of the act of gazing. Think: a Matisse young woman staring into a goldfish bowl -- we experience both the beauty of the painting while simultaneously becoming self-consciously aware that what we are in the act of doing is the very subject of the painting: gazing beauty. Similarly in "High Desert," we gaze upon the beautiful scene (the painting itself) of another viewer (the nude) gazing at her own beautiful scene. And by the way, the composition of the painting is as solid as the granite the figure is lying on!</p> <p>These paintings take time but one never senses the effort. I once heard Alex Katz say that if someone spent 2 minutes in front of one of his paintings, he'd consider it a successful painting. By those standards, Judith Linhares' painting fantasia of a peaceable kingdom where woman and beast live in harmony "in the wild" is wildly successful.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3831&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="XT2dlN3FzYqqoYANZJPQWxGIDFBRjqH7BROCLwEbcrU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 12 Mar 2019 14:00:00 +0000 Rick Briggs 3831 at http://culturecatch.com Build The Wall! http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3827 <span>Build The Wall!</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/index.php/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>March 1, 2019 - 10:32</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/510" hreflang="en">painters</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p>Popaganda artist <a href="https://vimeo.com/312798557" target="_blank" title="Build The Wall">Ron English</a> is building a Welcome Wall on the US/Mexico border!</p> <p>As a street artist Ron has used walls to tell his story. Often the subject of his work is to make people aware of classism, racism, corporatism, and politics. And now he is building what he calls <em>The Welcome Wall</em>.</p> <p>"A wall is the perfect physical and metaphoric gift from a cult leader to his followers. It positions him as the great protector of his chosen people from the unwashed, unenlightened others!" - Ron English</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-vimeo video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/312798557?autoplay=0"></iframe> </div> <p>CONCEPT<br /> The Mexican American Welcome Wall will be a 2000 ft long physical wall along the US/Mexico border, designed by artists and activists to be a conceptual message board for an ongoing discussion about the wall, border, wildlife, and immigration issues. A temporary art installation to fuel the resistance against Trump's racist monument.</p> <p>TIME FRAME<br /> Ron will start building this spring and the wall will stay up till 2020 Election night. On Election night he will auction the different sections.  Part of the proceeds will go to wild life charities, indigenous communities, and non-profits.</p> <p>DESIGN <br /> The wall is designed to be built in plywood sections of 8' wide by 12' tall. Exactly three sheets of plywood  stacked on top of each other. The design was made so that Art can be created off site and easily shipped by means of a flatbed truc. Of course we encourage the artists to come to the site and make the art locally.</p> <p><a href="https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ron-english-welcome-wall#/" target="_blank" title="Build The Wall!">Donate to his very modest IndieGoGo campaign today!</a></p> <p>(Images courtesy of Ron English.)</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3827&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="wZHWopiKLuDI2oTJmhlVpb8DdhqPcd72Ar7u-bQAquc"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 01 Mar 2019 15:32:32 +0000 Dusty Wright 3827 at http://culturecatch.com Fire From On High http://culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3824 <span>Fire From On High</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/user/6559" lang="" about="/index.php/user/6559" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Fran Bull</a></span> <span>February 24, 2019 - 12:46</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/art" hreflang="en">Art Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/index.php/taxonomy/term/203" hreflang="en">painter</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-05/3._tony_moore_fire_painting_14.11.18_2018_15x22.5x2.5in_wood-fired_ceramic_glass_stone_inclusions.jpeg?itok=5hq_ILdx" title="3._tony_moore_fire_painting_14.11.18_2018_15x22.5x2.5in_wood-fired_ceramic_glass_stone_inclusions.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Tony Moore Fire Painting 14.11.18 2018, 15x22.5x2.5in, wood-fired ceramic, glass, stone inclusions.</figcaption></figure><p>Tony Moore: <em>Transit</em>. Sculpture &amp; Fire Painting</p> <p><a href="http://www.thepaintingcenter.org" target="_blank">The Painting Center</a>, NYC</p> <p>January 29<sup>th</sup> – February 23<sup>rd</sup>, 2019</p> <p>We have admired the kiln magic wrought by such modern-day clay artists as Josep Llorens Artigas (note his own austere vessels along with the outsized, craggy pieces made in collaboration with Joan Mirò).  We've loved the brut, wabi-sabi influenced, almost-pots of Peter Voulkos, and the monumental, brightly glazed standing figures of Viola Frey.  Now comes along Tony Moore who joins this rarefied company with an exhibition of splendid, anagama-noborigama fired ceramic works at The Painting Center, New York.</p> <p>With two bodies of work on view, Moore offers the same breadth of imagination and expansive vision that have characterized his art practice over the years.  Decades ago Moore, Yale-trained as a sculptor, shifted away from a period of self-assigned apprenticeship in the process of making vessels of clay.  While his large vases and pots were themselves unique, he returned to his true path of using clay as an expressive fine art medium.  In this current show, we are the benefactors of Moore having married virtuosic craft with an artist’s probing sensibility.</p> <p>Upon entering The Painting Center Gallery, two commanding sculptures mounted upon stands of rusted steel, greet the viewer.  Massive, hermetic, bearers of undeniable visual authority, each possesses an impenetrable density and weight.  Shakespeare best asks the question that arises: <i>what is your substance, whereof are you made?</i> (Sonnet 53)</p> <p>One of the pair, entitled <i>The Injustice of Silence</i>, is a cascading, gyrating tower of dazzling surface complexity.  Moving around its girth, each view reveals a radically altered facet of its overall anatomy, like the proverbial elephant’s, requiring the viewer to remember, in order to construct an image of the whole.</p> <figure role="group" class="embedded-entity"><article><img alt="Thumbnail" class="img-responsive" height="1800" src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-05/2a._tony_moore_injustice_of_silence_2017_63x25x25in_wood-fired_ceramic_porcelain_glass_steel.jpeg?itok=JivfJY3L" title="2a._tony_moore_injustice_of_silence_2017_63x25x25in_wood-fired_ceramic_porcelain_glass_steel.jpeg" typeof="foaf:Image" width="1200" /></article><figcaption>Tony Moore, Injustice of Silence 2017, 63x25x25in, wood-fired ceramic, porcelain, glass, steel</figcaption></figure><p>Surface colorations transition from rich yellow-browns and umbers, to charcoal grays and blacks.  We wonder: Has some unseen force been brought to bear upon this mass?  Are we being shown a thing in the process of decay, beautiful in its undoing, redolent of things of the earth, of mud, of blackened soil?  Regarding the ganged and sliding cubic shapes so alien to this otherwise biomorphic body, our thoughts turn to man-made things, to architecture or to children’s toy blocks.  There is something apocalyptic and chaotic -- a colliding of the natural and the constructed.</p> <p>The second work, <i>Voice</i>, began its kiln journey as one solid mass.  It developed a central crack in drying -- a kiln glitch gone right, a beneficial accident.  Its surfaces, gorgeously raked and striated as if Nature were the sculptor, evoke a sense of geological process. Imagine rock formed over eons by earthquakes, by water and extremes of temperature. Peering into the crevasse of this two-fold piece, into the tear itself, we strain to see its full contour, catching but a glimpse of two interior chambers, one on each side.  We wonder what they might hold. A sleeping bear? An entombed Pharaoh?  The bifurcated womb of Mother Earth, herself?</p> <p>The second body of work, Moore's <i>Fire Paintings</i>, sing out from the gallery walls.  These gleaming chunky rectangular clay slabs are hybrid forms.  They have the weight, bulk and dimensionality of sculpture while functioning like painting, as frontally viewed wall-hung works.  In their making, Moore added glass and impressed plant matter into the clay, along with a series of luminous glazes.  Kiln fire and time transform these "burnt offerings," melting, fusing and pooling pigments and melted glass to create beautiful surfaces and imagery that is both abstract and figurative, often at once.  Gaining knowledge of materials and their performance "under fire," Moore's studio experiments evolved to become less random and more directed over time.</p> <p>Many of these <i>Fire Paintings</i> have a grid motif, a web work of geometrically ordered squares tinted a seductive, jewel-like Mediterranean blue.  Moore explains he was inspired to find a way technically to work out the effect of multiple shining windows after seeing sun glinting off the glass of New York City skyscrapers.  This viewer can testify that his search was successful.</p> <p>In the passage quoted below, Moore shares, quite rhapsodically, his reaction to the results of the collaboration between himself and the unseen "fire painter," the <i>god</i> in the kiln:</p> <blockquote> <p>"The figures, made from cut and impressed twigs, perfectly dovetailed into my pre-existent vocabulary.  As I investigated, the figures kept running, fleeing, tumbling, searching, moving away from and towards something else.  They moved across landscapes, towards glowing buildings/edifices, systemized structures/societies, which both beckoned them and somehow dominated them.   The figures were present, yet also in spirit form, floating and dissolving in diaphanous light and shimmering waters.  Twigs became, fathers, mothers and children.  They became surrogates, rather like a small child’s dolls, playing out a deeply psychological fiction of desperately moving toward 'something'.  Something hopeful, yet presently out of reach.  Something eternally becoming..." Tony Moore 2019</p> </blockquote> <p>Moore's art invokes a confrontation with the raw, natural elements themselves. Daringly executed, inventive and unabashedly beautiful, we are taken into ancillary realms.  Art and archaeology align, the fossils of paleontology put in an appearance and twigs become running figures surrounded in light.</p> <p>We may also take a lesson from Moore in these fraught times.  In Tony Moore we find all the qualities expected of extraordinary artists -- talent, technical ability, brilliant innovative ideas and communicative power.  We find in Moore as well, and in his art, an affirmation of fundamental values -- exigency, dedication, integrity, and something perhaps ineffable, the transcendent ability to infuse “soul” into matter, to summon pure beauty in the service of profound truth.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3824&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="i57jlR9uHjJWRWns1aEf6TMJrL9u2HNreYIwJbf7qgM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 24 Feb 2019 17:46:10 +0000 Fran Bull 3824 at http://culturecatch.com