Art Review http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/art en George Meet John Paul http://www.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> <section> <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://www.culturecatch.com Steve Keene Thaws Frieze! http://www.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://www.culturecatch.com Build The Wall! http://www.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://www.culturecatch.com Fire From On High http://www.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://www.culturecatch.com Cubed By Eozen http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3799 <span>Cubed By Eozen</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>December 6, 2018 - 12:22</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/204" hreflang="en">abstract expressionism</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="embedded-entity align-center"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-05/eozen_1i9a0051.jpg?itok=CH8VlsHU" width="668" height="837" alt="Thumbnail" title="eozen_1i9a0051.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article><p>Eozen Agopian: <em>The Fabric of Space</em></p> <p>Greek Consulate, New York</p> <p>November 15 – 30, 2018</p> <p><em>The Fabric of Space</em>, curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos, conveys an unusual vision by Eozen Agopian that borrows from Cubist art without in any way replicating its intensions. At first glance the similar-sized shapes in Agopian's works spark the link that soon dissolves as the intricacies of her elaborate overlapping configurations of colored fabric and skeins of thread invade one’s senses. The intelligence of these spaces and movements quickly takes precedence over the superficial initial impressions of the moment. In a city where abstract art reigns, and holdovers of gestural abstraction from the heyday of Abstract Expressionism remain intact for decades, it is a pleasure and a relief to discover an artist whose convictions are backed by the strength of her individuality.</p> <p>Elaborate networks of interlocking and overlapping thread charm and captivate the eye with fleeting recollections of electrical lines or even intertwined networks of roots, maps of roads or the webs of spiders. The artist forges universal comparisons that give full play to viewer imagination and participation in the interpretation of her visually expansive orchestrated cloth ensembles. Because the works are not connected with conceptual art they are free of a planned or prescribed narrative. One may meander visually through the forest of shapes that differ in color, to contemplate their meanings. The square shape is said to symbolize matter, the earth, and stability. In Islam it denotes the heart of a normal human being open to four paths of influence, which include the human, the divine, the angelic, and the diabolic. ("1000 Symbols," p. 335, Rowena + Rupert Shepherd, Thames + Hudson.) The square forms mirror the complexities one might discover within a maquette of the human mind with its quick, shimmering apprehensions of data that are continually entering its portals</p> <p>Agopian succeeds in bringing the canvas beneath the cloth labyrinths to the surface of the works via the cream and off-white colored heaps of vertically and diagonally fixed multiple mounds and hills of directed threads. Thread suggests diverse implications, from narrative literary fables to mythic fates that measure and cut the threads of an individual human life. Threads establish boundaries of alignment in the mazes of the mind. They are indiscernible transmitters of sound, light, memory and emotion. Looped and tied threads conjure intertwining associations and dependencies. Inter-winding knots appear to have no beginnings or ends, implying the process of evolution and the power of destiny. Knots combine as well as entangle. Themes of entrapment arise in the surface of the works, which do not read as morose; rather they present moderated emotions with egalitarian feeling states. Knotting and unknotting reflect the psychic method of analysis and synthesis of the threads of the individual personality. (<em>The Book of Symbol</em>s, p. 518, Taschen.)</p> <p>Fabric is often compared in literature to the "stuff" of life.  Life is created through threads of experience as fabric is created through the weaving of cloth. In this sense, these works are universal metaphors for life; they resound with the richness and vibrancy of sight and touch that our senses respond most to. The artist’s small works grouped in series are especially compelling as they relate intricately with each other, as if carrying on complex conversations. There is a sense of urgent energy that flickers palpably among them.</p> <p>Nets are typically symbolic of binding, capture and entanglements. In certain types of Buddhism, earthly existence is regarded as a net that entraps the human spirit. The net is also regarded as a marshalling force that transforms irreconcilable energies. Networks reference connectedness whether it applies to business, personal, social, or to communication in the World Wide Web. (<em>The Book of Symbols</em>, p. 518, Taschen.)</p> <p>In myth and legends, the patience represented by the stitching process leads to redemption; it mends the torn fabric of the psyche and repairs the beguiled circumstances. Sewing links us to the notion of the weaving of life and the strands of fate. (<em>The Book of Symbols</em>, p. 460, Taschen.)</p> <p>Cloth is perhaps associated historically with women who have created such things as garments, lacework, quilts, bedding, embroidery; the list goes on. But Agopian makes no move to produce careful stitchery or utilitarian or even "fine" handiwork or objects. She is a quirky artist who is having her own say in a language of her ingenious invention, much as Judy Chicago has done in 1974 - 79 in her "Dinner Party" piece. Agopian does not confine her materials to thread and cloth; she also applies paint to her works to provide a rich array of multiple medias whose interplay connects her pieces to the ebullient art of painting. The richness of the paint on the strands of the canvas provides a textural contrast, which augments the artistic revelations and historic comparisons that it stimulates. Agopian's art is tactile and visual; it appeals directly to our senses in an effective fusion of forms that reinforce the abiding power of its intelligent underpinnings.</p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3799&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="jO_J9suU1bmacoNWgrz4vcxU0HINfSPb3f9Vp4BA08w"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 06 Dec 2018 17:22:25 +0000 Mary Hrbacek 3799 at http://www.culturecatch.com Beyond The Surreal http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/node/3716 <span>Beyond The Surreal</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>June 17, 2018 - 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/280" hreflang="en">sculptor</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p> </p> <p>Giacometti</p> <p><a href="https://www.guggenheim.org" target="_blank">Guggenheim Museum</a>, NYC</p> <p>June 8 - September 12, 2018</p> <p>The meticulously curated Giacometti exhibition on view at the Guggenheim Museum spans the artist's early years during his involvement with the Surrealist group (1920s) through his later period when he became associated with the French Existentialist movement in the 1940s.  The exhibition is organized by Megan Fontanella, Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Catherine Grenier, Director, Fondation Giacometti, Mathilde Lecuyer-Maillé, Associate Curator, Fondation Giacometti, and Samantha Small, Curatorial Assistant, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.</p> <p>Alberto Giacometti is thought in many quarters to be the epitome of what has come to be considered a "fine artist."  His practice is highly focused and selective, extremely decisive yet open to the messages his subjects transmitted to him.  One might infer, based on the intensity and angst of his art, that Giacometti was a loner, someone who was prey to anxiety and strain; yet in fact it seems the he was socially connected with friends he saw regularly, he was a married man, and he was an artist who worked diligently in his studio, often into the depths of the night, habitually from a model.</p> <p>That Giacometti's art is unique and insightful is well established; he gained inspiration from the art of Oceania, Egyptian art, Cycladic art and the art of Africa.  It is possible that he was inspired by the physical stature of the Watutsi tribe of Africa that bears a strong resemblance to the artist's fragile, slender "walking" and "standing" man images.  His bond with Egyptian art brings a special emphasis and spirit of the divine to his artwork.  His "Standing Man" bronzes, attenuated into apparently tormented refashioned forms, appear free of all but vital, enduring elongated spirit.  An inventive diversity of scale plays an important part in his art; some of the heads are very small, bordering on the minute, while other standing figures, legs fused into one form, present themselves as much more statuesque than their actual height implies.  The power of the pale plaster pieces is relatively diluted compared with the impact of the regal black bronze works.  The artist was drawn to the teeming energy generated in city squares; his figures walking through plazas seem optimistic and purposeful as they pass close by one another, free of distracting concerns of the moment.  Giacometti's compelling series of maimed broken busts, with forms cut at the shoulders, all have heads that resemble regenerated tribesmen who have endured the ordeal of a rite of passage.  With some exceptions, Giacometti's art encapsulates the post-war era of fear, in which the planet was threatened by the prospect of a nuclear holocaust.</p> <p>The revealing documentary film on view, by Ernst Scheidegger, features Giacometti in his studio as he works from a model before public scrutiny; his art revolves ostensibly around the theme of visual perception.  In his practice he tries adamantly to reproduce the entire subject faithfully, but the more scrutinizing he becomes, the more impossible it is for him to capture the figure in its entirety, true to its visual scale.  The torso may become massive in relation to a head, which has become increasingly flat in front but wide to the side.  He works obsessively with the goal of total truth in the rendering of his models. Through his probing, deliberate and searing search for perceptual authenticity, he finds a working method that enables him to achieve a result that replicates the process of the strengthening of the spirit that is at the core of earthly existence.</p> <p>Giacometti's genuine subjects are bodily pain and endurance.  The artist requires absolute stillness from his sitters, sometimes for five hours at a stretch, in a working mode whose fierceness seems to become an integral part of the final artwork, as he searches for something beyond physical matter.  The film discloses that he feels the eyes to be the only aspect of the model that truly speaks of reality and are as such the dominating part of the subject's personality.  The artist seeks something well beyond a resemblance; he is after universality common to all humankind.  This universality comprises the need in life to endure pain and suffering, but to bear it as part of the higher plan.  Some believe that our human spirits are honed by hardship in readiness to meet our maker in life’s non-physical phase of existence.</p> <p>Giacometti puts his materials, his clay, through tremendous paces (as seen in the film) by reworking and remodeling the shapes and contours, cutting repeatedly into the grooves and curves to make the energetic marks reach deep into the soft clay to bring the forms to their essence.  He impersonates God in his studio, capturing in the expressions of his models' faces the aches and physical tension of endurance that sharpen and strengthen the spirit.  Often the discomfort that the models' features exude supersedes the appearance of their physical traits, so that all his models have a similar attitude and energetic dispersion of their pain and perseverance.</p> <p>Giacometti reproduces the sculptural stance of the Egyptian god kings by melding his statues' legs and feet into one form, infusing an aura of the divine in his standing figures.  He prepares his material, reworking his sculptures, as one can perhaps imagine the priests within the innermost chamber of the pyramids prepared the pharaoh’s body for its ultimate transcendence to the afterlife.   </p> <p>The artist's connection with the Existentialists (he was a friend of Jean Paul Sartre) brought a heightened awareness that humans exist on the edge of belief, shifting from being into a lack of being, or a void of nothingness.  He sought in his work to counter this void by extracting from his model the essential battered, shattered individual spirit, refashioning it in clay to its tormented but new form.</p> <p>The exhibition is admirably curated, providing spare informative wall texts that do not convey overly esoteric content.  It is focused, clear and comprehensible to the informed public at large, placing this art in a transparent context.  The show brings to light the surprising information that this ambitious yet humble man believed he was never able to accurately achieve his intensions in his work.  To consider "deconstructing" an artist of such a specific and personal focus would be not only inflated, it would be an act of undue hubris.  This exhibition demonstrates the authentic expressions of a totally honest, profoundly driven 20<sup>th</sup> century icon of anxiety and truth. </p> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3716&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="LDfg6EX9lQ1_4KZ4RXnk9RhnYAPgjodUJfVoLDqos84"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Sun, 17 Jun 2018 14:00:00 +0000 Mary Hrbacek 3716 at http://www.culturecatch.com Exploring The World of Francine Tint http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/art/francine-tint-explorations <span>Exploring The World of Francine Tint</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>March 13, 2018 - 09:09</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"><div> <figure class="image"><img alt="" height="439" src="/sites/default/files/images/francine-tint-painting1_0.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 378px;" width="650" /><figcaption>Flight, 2017 acrylic on canvas, 53 x 72 in.</figcaption></figure></div> <div><em>Explorations</em>: Francine Tint</div> <div>Cavalier Gallery, NYC</div> <div>2/28 - 3/24, 2018</div> <p>Cavalier Gallery presents <em>Explorations</em>, a series of large-scale acrylic on canvas paintings by Francine Tint. This exhibition provides an opportunity to take notice and ask, what attributes separate the masterful from the mundane, in a city that has placed gestural abstraction on the international art map. It comes as no surprise that the artists’ temperament plays a crucial role. Francine Tint is an artist who transcends skillful manipulation of materials to disclose the reality beneath the surface of everyday things. She imbues the works with her inner being by painting at the height of her emotions, to create a revealing catalogue of impulses and feelings that connect the canvases to enduring works of authentic artists through time.</p> <!--break--> <p>Tint's character, her power, and ability to transfer various modulated states of being to her art, generate compelling energy via a panoply of techniques that fuse intention with intuition, seizing viewer attention with startling force. What is also surprising is the aura of air and light that radiates forth with luminosity from the unexpected juxtapositions of rich hues that are applied with big brushes, for the most part on large formats.</p> <p>Tint's art combines generosity of scale with a sense of dramatic tension that captivates more than the eye. These immersive works do not leave the observer alone in a comfort zone. They engage the viewer with passion because Tint is not "going through the motions" or biding time. Her art and life are inextricably combined; they are one in the reality they inhabit, as the expression of a dynamic, assertive personality. Tint's paintings are not repetitious; they are not timid, they lead the viewer through the picture format with the vehicle of broad, articulated motions and fine points of brushed on or scraped away departures.</p> <p>The works are inspired by nature’s palette at dusk, by the sky in its limitless variations and eloquent nuances. Mood and ambiance play a narrative role in the depth and poetry of the layered works that succeed in creating a sense of air and space, even volume, through the placement of forms and carefully chosen dominant and recessive color combinations. The pictures are alive with personal unconventional color contrasts, such as gold and lavender, and with the interaction of warm expanding hues of orange, yellow and red , opposed to cool enigmatic shades of signature lavender and black. Tint's primary colors are intersected with startling sweeps of strokes that evoke the effects of cymbals sounding or high winds whistling.</p> <p>The jazz that resounds in Tint's studio comes into her consciousness, exposing her responsive interior life as she finesses tempestuous, optimistic works, portraits of Tint’s response to music and the unobstructed sky vistas that provide daily sustenance for discovery and wonder. A fluctuating, panoramic sky provides inspiration and a sense of exultation that seldom springs from views of man-made structures and buildings. Tint employs various materials, but the use of matte medium may diminish the immediacy of the surfaces. Her broad circular strokes coincide with short horizontal touches that ease the vehemence with counter-movements and alternative directions. Tint's painterly intelligence plays out in the complexities of various shapes and sizes, large and small, thick and thin, in paint that is fat and lean, yielding a measure of illumination for the observant viewer.</p> <p>Tint worked for many years as a costume designer in film and television, with luminaries such as David Bowie and Ridley Scott, to name but a few. Her intense feeling for and use of color indicate she absorbed the "push-pull" legacy of the artist and teacher Hans Hoffman. In some of the smaller pieces, she makes textural surfaces with colorful impasto that form a virtual sculptural relief in a freshly shaped terrain. This untamed eloquence is above all an intuitive process, in every way a challenge to geometric, hard-edged minimal abstraction. The two forms occupy entirely different poles on the spectrum of abstract art as it is practiced today. Every day Tint finds new freedom and vibrancy to express her instincts as a painter making emotionally charged, strongly affecting articulate works.</p> </div> <section> </section> Tue, 13 Mar 2018 13:09:41 +0000 Mary Hrbacek 3681 at http://www.culturecatch.com Pox Populi http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/art/yayoi-kusama <span>Pox Populi</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/index.php/users/millree-hughes" lang="" about="/index.php/users/millree-hughes" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Millree Hughes</a></span> <span>December 3, 2017 - 11:12</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"><div> <article class="embedded-entity"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/width_1200/public/2019/2019-06/yahoi-kusama_0.jpg?itok=Ii-Kj43i" width="700" height="792" alt="Thumbnail" title="yahoi-kusama_0.jpg" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /></article> Yayoi Kusama</div> <div>David Zwirner Gallery, NYC</div> <div>Thru December 16th, 2017</div> <p>Spots are a disease -- a "Pop Art" pox; a sign of madness, an hallucination. As Tony Hancock says in his brilliant comic movie <em>The Rebel</em> (1961) where he plays a modern artist: "I get the spots before my eyes, the red mist, and I'm off."</p> <p>Yayoi Kusama is off again at David Zwirner Gallery on 533 West 19th Street in Chelsea. You will have to queue around the block to see her new installations. But you can just walk into a room on 19th street and see 66 of her new paintings. This is a review of the work in that room.<!--break--></p> <p>Paranoia is lonely, ironically the sense you have of being watched belies the fact that no one's taking any notice at all. The putting on of spots was an act, for Kusama, of "field" being used to cover neurosis. Kusama's paintings of the '60s jumped forward, out of "art for art's sake" formalism into using narrative to give context to Abstraction. For her, an allegory on anxiety. She was raised in Nagano to a wealthy merchant family. Her life, famously, enshrouding her art, As a child her mother had her spy on her cheating father. Endangering her daughter's sense of self-worth and creating both a fear of and an obsession with sex.</p> <p>Yayoi Kusama came to New York in '58, alone, at the age of 27. She made paintings, installations and performances that Up-ended Western expectations of Japanese women</p> <p>She returned home in 1968 to field her dotty orgies in Tokyo, traveling fully clothed in the paddy wagon afterward, with her daubed performers. Her trust fund was cut off by her horrified family and she was left to make a career of it on her own.</p> <p>Now at the age of 88 she makes another elaborately radical move -- she revolts against the spot and fills the Gallery with dozens of new approaches to painting, anything but Kusama-style.</p> <p>It's a painted polity. 'Eyes without a face' Like a Gary Panter crowd scene. An organic host seen in a Petri dish. A comic book colored bacteria pullulating on the painting's surface. The Pox Populi</p> <p>Her palette is not a usual oil painters palette but closer to fabric colors like the groovy polyester kimonos and happis of the Japanese '60s. All chimney reds and deep aqua. Perhaps some are meant to be tweaky versions of the ancient "forbidden" colors relegated to the robes of high ranking priests and noblemen. A glimmer purple, a hot burnt orange and the full sun yellow that in the Confucian system represents '"deep sincerity."</p> <p>And they noodle in all directions, unmoored at times. Filling up the space and emptying out the middle, crosses, vortices the knotty understructures of abstraction that she's not previously explored. Some in hypnotized geographies connoting Aboriginal dreamtime. Others like ever-changing new thoughts but with no rubbing out. I wonder if the canvases are on some fabulous rig, allowing her to run the line across the surface with this agility. Not with Joan Mitchell-ish elegance but more like a finger of frosting moving in a constant squish across an epic "birthday cake."</p> <p>Some of the paintings seem to represent a limerence of sexual desire itself. Like the enlarged yoni and the flowing waters of yin in erotic shunga But here free of the body. Become the material of ecstasy itself. About sex, but not sexy. A state of extreme agitation with no release. Apparently like Warhol she preferred not to engage in the orgies she "staged." Even her famous relationship with Joseph Cornell may have been not much more than heavy petting (which for him was a LOT).</p> <p>But just as you can't drink and paint, you can't paint mad. You need your wits about you. Kusama makes it very clear where she is, what she wants you to see, and who she wants you to see.</p> <p>Despite being a hugely popular artist, she distances herself from the production values and slick auction-orientated head of some of her contemporaries at the top of the market. She refers to psych pop, manga, ritual art. A kind of rave and/or free festival tribalism that positions itself outside the tent. She is vouching for the personal over the corporate. The "Vision Quest" is expressed as a search for unconscious connections.</p> <p>I find it easier to see her career as not being about her harnessing her obsessions but as something much more proactive. A series of revolutions. First against the obstructions placed on their women by Japanese culture, then with the counterculture against prurience and the Vietnam War, then from within Modern Painting against the masculinist limitations of strict formalism -- its lack of poetry and emotion. And finally against her own style, the claustrophobia of the Net and the Spot.</p> <p>There's too much context where art is reported. Who did what to who when. Taking priority over what the work is doing. Her Japaneseness, her gender, her story are all background, all undertow.</p> <p>As kids, art teachers urged us to "take a line for a walk" in an effort to promote creativity. It always struck me as a way to marshall forces that were already in full array. Far better to follow where the picture is taking you. I've always admired Kusama's ability to make where she is emotionally, the reason to make the painting, art. But I prefer to see the art take over. Here she lets the paintings rule! They go wherever they want.</p> </div> <section> </section> Sun, 03 Dec 2017 16:12:23 +0000 Millree Hughes 3650 at http://www.culturecatch.com Little Q & A: Mary Hrbacek + Bradley Rubenstein http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/art/little-q-a-mary-hrbacek <span>Little Q &amp; A: Mary Hrbacek + Bradley Rubenstein </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>November 7, 2017 - 04:57</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"><p><img alt="" height="584" src="/sites/default/files/images/hrbacek_queen-connected_16.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 584px;" width="560" /></p> <p>Mary Hrbacek is an artist and an art critic (AICA) based in NYC. In 2016 she received the Carole A. Feuerman Sculpture Foundation, ESKFF Foundation, The Helis Foundation, Financial Grant for her art on view at Mana Contemporary. Her drawings in "Whispers" have been included in the collection of The Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete.</p> <p><strong>Bradley Rubenstein: </strong>These are quite lovely; I did see one of your shows a year or two back at CREON, they had a remarkable clarity, and reminded me of Georgia OKeefe's work -- there is a very large O'Keefe in the Art Institute of Chicago, a sky, with strange biomorphic clouds. It is a strange painting, and growing up in Chicago, held my attention for years. I don’t want to get to far ahead of myself here, so let’s start with a little background…</p> <!--break--> <p><strong>Mary Hrbacek:</strong> My appreciation of the environment began while I was living for five years as a girl near Stockholm, Sweden, in a Scandinavian culture that venerates the natural world. When we returned to the States my dad purchased a rundown house in northern Vermont near Canada, to be our family’s "stuga," a getaway refuge where all Swedes retreat from the city during the summer. First I became fascinated by the peeling bark of the many birch trees on the property, then I noticed the life force that emanates from the human-like "eyes" and gestures of the waving branches. Later when I traveled with my husband we discovered 400-year-old sycamore trees in Viareggio, Italy with distinctly human characteristics and gestures. I became inspired by the mythology of Virgil's "Metamorphoses," with its tales of morphing human and natural forms.</p> <p><strong>BR: </strong>I like what you described about your working process. You create the charcoal that you use to make the drawings… it is an actual tree drawing a tree. It reminds me of Susan Rothenberg's early horse paintings: she used glue paint, a horsehair brush, and traced shadows of horses…all those horses but no horse… just an image of a horse. There was a bit of Jasper Johns in that thinking. Is that similar to how you see what you are doing? The process being a part of the picture?</p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I actually buy commercial charcoal, but it does derive from tree bark, which makes the charcoal drawing of a tree, a "’tree’ made from a tree." The process is certainly a part of the final picture, as it plays a prime role in the deep dark "feeling" and textural surface that I create with layers of charcoal, which I later extract with a cloth to slightly vary the surface. I use line to carve in to hone the forms exactly.</p> <p><strong>BR:</strong> The paintings feel different to me, I mean, they are similar as images, but I see more action going on in them. You are catching the trees morphing into something else. Rudolph Arnheim talks about the difference between "seeing into" and "seeing as." You seem to be doing two things at the same time, choosing the tree because it suggests something, "seeing into", then transcribing it, just painting the part of the tree that you want in this new form "seeing as". Or Leonardo looking at clouds and discovering "characters" in them.</p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I find your analysis very succinct. I think what you say about the artist putting things into a work that others may not see or appreciate, such as references, metaphors and symbols, is a result of the artist’s emphasis or vision. My vision is not very realistic; it is intuitive. I also have a problem with visual reception that affects my ability to see and to read, which may distort how I perceive my motifs. The thing is, one person may not get them all, but just about all of them, even the ones I don't intend, are noticed by someone. That's why two people seeing the same piece see something different. Much of what is perceived in a work is what the viewers bring, that sometimes supersedes what the artist envisions. It is a mix of one’s own likes, dislikes, prejudices, hopes, and fears, which we see in external objects. What is actually there is a different question altogether, and is conceivably never wholly grasped.</p> <p><img alt="" height="649" src="/sites/default/files/images/hrbacek_harlem-mother-and-child_2010.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 649px;" width="560" /></p> <p>This is why, in my opinion, conceptual art, a genre which relies extensively on written forms and narratives to explain the art works and their intensions, tends to close down viewer experience before it even has a chance to start. (Perhaps this statement is controversial?)</p> <p><strong>BR:</strong> Why do think they work and how do you see the viewer sees them?</p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> It is possible that viewers find the ambiguity in my art challenging; there are unexpected yet discernible bodily references in most of my work. The piece called "Facing Front IV" is taken from a tree by Central Park South, which has a warm brownish gray "top" and a cool grayish brown base. "Warm" and "cool" are technical terms used in painting that create contrast and liveliness to a palette or color scheme. I wanted the tree to have a human aspect, so I switched the "warm" brown top zone for pink, the "cool" gray brown base for dull blue. I don’t want to get too technical, but I took certain liberties with the colors to create a dramatic effect of shimmering colorful transformation. In the piece "Tree Woman," the figure is clearly discernible, as seen in the original motif, which is a digital photograph of a tree near Central Park West that has a clear female form inscribed in relief in its trunk. I hopped over two fences to get the shot. I use a flat graphic color space to divorce the motif from naturalistic references, highlighting it to accentuate an iconic quality in the isolated image. It occurs to me that the use of a flat ground connects my organic biomorphic forms with hard edge abstraction to create a hybrid genre.</p> <p><strong>BR:</strong> We are at a moment where the line between organic and synthetic is rapidly blurring. Your tree figures morph, they are organic, they are becoming something new. How much of your interest in them is related to the science of it… they are, in a way new forms.</p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I think the fact that my hybrids tree-figures are new forms makes them noteworthy. I am not at all interested in the science of my vision and process. I just do it. Science is a field that I greatly respect but I have never had much affinity for. I am interested in the manifestations of poetry in the human bits and full figures that I am able to apprehend when I focus on a motif.</p> <p><strong>BR:</strong> There are a lot of artists I can think of that are working in this way, Anna Ehrsam and her light experiment photos for example, Pedro Barcieto creating these geometric abstractions that meld machines and organic passages… What are you looking at? What is influencing you that is out there now?</p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I have always had an affinity for abstraction, although it isn’t my gift. My work is poised on the cusp between abstraction and representation, not realistic at that. I admire Giuseppe Penone’s large-scale tree sculptures and I am drawn to the works of Leonardo Drew, whose massive black sculptural relief works and installations connect with my interests in dark forms and natural materials. I very much appreciate the wooden sculptures and constructions of Ursula von Ridingsvard. Adrian Ghenie morphs abstraction and realism in enormous wall sized painted tableaux (Pace Gallery 2017). I don't look much at anyone; I find my own way through an image to its final resolution in my work.</p> <p>I am crazy about the Old Masters; Rubens, Titian’s mythological themes, J.M.W. Turner, Claude Lorrain, Nicholas Poussin, Gainsborough, and of course Cezanne, Picasso and van Gogh.</p> <p><img alt="" height="493" src="/sites/default/files/images/hrbacek_use-refuse.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 493px;" width="560" /></p> <p><strong>BR:</strong> Your sculptures caught my eye immediately -- I see those and think what a great piece of set dressing for a Beckett play…</p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> Thank you for noticing my sculptures. I confess I know little about Beckett, but I will do some research. People say that my paintings are sculptural and my sculptures are painterly; this is my contrarian nature at play. I made about twenty-five pieces, but I had to stop as I lost my studio space due to contamination on my hallway. My current space is ten feet smaller, but I kept three sculptures to show visitors. When I was doing them, very few people said much about them. Now that I cannot make them anymore, people have begun to notice them. One day perhaps I will do some in my Vermont studio. I loved sculpting and drawing with metal. I painted them gold to signify the value of the found and discarded used objects that I combined with natural materials like sticks and pine cones, which I found in the Sequoia National Park in California.</p> <p><strong>BR:</strong> What are you working on next and when will we see it?</p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I am going back to Scandinavia this month so I will be photographing northern and Icelandic trees. I have some shots of trees growing out of restaurants and cafes in Greece, so I may explore images of obstructed bio-forms intersected by geometric architectural elements. Not sure. I did some strong charcoal drawings of these motifs last summer. I have to intuit what I want next, so I cannot be sure until I am ready to know what to do.</p> <p><strong>BR:</strong> Anything else?</p> <p><strong>MH:</strong> I started a painting of a tree located in Collioure, France that I want to develop. I call it "Pharaoh and the Woman" but of course it is a tree with a projecting figure-like form jutting forth from its side. The forms are deep black with burnt sienna highlights. I also want to paint some more bonsai tree images. That is all I can think of for the moment.</p> </div> <section> </section> Tue, 07 Nov 2017 09:57:51 +0000 Bradley Rubenstein 3577 at http://www.culturecatch.com Free, Form, Five http://www.culturecatch.com/index.php/art/free-form-five <span>Free, Form, Five</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>October 16, 2017 - 09:46</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/510" hreflang="en">painters</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="433" src="/sites/default/files/images/Gottlieb%2C©A Cloud Study%2C Sunset No.2.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 373px;" width="650" /></p> <em>Free, Form, Five </em></div> <div>Curated by D. Dominick Lombardi</div> <div>Olga Wimmer PCC, NYC</div> <div>Oct. 7 - Nov. 18, 2017</div> <p>Elga Wimmer PCC presents "Free, Form, Five," a group exhibition curated by D. Dominick Lombardi, which explores abstract and semi-abstract themes with human and natural references that extend into metaphoric terrain. The exhibition includes photographer Sandra Gottlieb, Sharon Kagan, Bobbie Moline-Kramer, Rebecca Calderón Pittman and Susan Sommer. The artists use with vigor and assurance platforms that incorporate complex processes and aggregate techniques. Pittman's works probe the oblique role of chance in consciousness; the psychological influences of attraction and aversion interest Moline-Kramer. Kagan explores the microcosmic roots of matter while Gottlieb brings the firmament into focus. Susan Sommer records the rhythms of desire in daily existence. While Moline-Kramer, Pittman and Kagan enhance their practices with distinctive procedures, Gottlieb uses specialized equipment, and Sommer mixes her motifs to achieve a sense of depth and relevance that is becoming the exception rather than the rule in contemporary art.</p> <!--break--> <p>Sandra Gottlieb's new photographic series of cloud studies at sunset defies commonly held romantic assumptions about the acclaimed spectacle of the sunset leitmotif. (image top, <em>Coud Study, Sunset No.2</em>) With a 300-millimeter lens, Gottlieb captures a spectrum of rust red, warm gray and white edged with blue, in burgeoning clouds that convey a hint of a volcanic eruption. The deep blackness at the format’s horizon sends an edgy message that projects these images out of the realm of visual perception into a symbolic domain of awe and apprehension. They veer sharply from the conventional bright sunsets one normally envisions. Gottlieb transports the viewer directly into the midst of these roiling phenomena, whose shifting tones and portentous appearance may herald symbolically the approach of an impending storm or the advent of environmental upheavals.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="650" src="/sites/default/files/images/Kagan%2C A Walk in the Park Joshua Tree 2017 36x36 mixed media.jpg" style="width: 560px;" width="650" /></p> <p>In her profound “twining” rope studies, Sharon Kagan discovers and highlights myriad microcosmic shapes she gleans from blown-up sections of drawings, to produce galaxies of forms in an exploration of the essence of matter that skirts the realms of science and philosophy. <em>(image abovie, A Walk in the Park Joshua Tree, 2017) </em>With vast networks of shapes set within systems of thick ropes, she creates an intricate space that undulates in a rhythmic universe of variations. The focus on rope as a motif implies binding or tying, as if the artist’s psyche or emotions are bound in a labyrinth that makes liberty or independence problematic. Yet these vibrant powerful works are optimistic, often rendered in nameable hues that shift them into familiar territory where, with persistence, enigmas can possibly be answered.</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="643" src="/sites/default/files/images/Bobbie Moline-Kramer%2C Ennui%2C 6 x 6 inches%2C colored gesso%2C glitter%2C neon paint%2C oil%2C 2015_0.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 554px;" width="650" /></p> <p>In an extended series of portrait paintings, Bobbie Moline-Kramer analyses character traits in which the feelings conveyed by facial expressions are intended to attract or repel others. She then paints non-representational patterns over the portraits, to create abstract imagery that correlates with the nature of the personality. Overlying painted patterns largely obscure the facial features. But the artist leaves enough to allow the works to exude a mysterious presence, as if someone hidden beneath is determined to emerge from obscurity. The abstract painted designs are meant to evoke the emotions of the expressions they subsume. In these pieces the realism of the facial forms paired with non-representational elements produce an intriguing hybrid tension on an intimate scale. (Image above,<em> Ennui, </em>2015)</p> <p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="1086" src="/sites/default/files/images/Pittman-invisible-font_0.jpg" style="width: 560px; height: 936px;" width="650" /></p> <p>Rebecca Calderón Pittman makes transparent layered drawings and paintings that she overlaps in intuitive combinations, allowing chance to discover relationships between elements that come into her consciousness and daily experience. (image above, <em>Invisible Fon</em>t) These chance searches yield enigmatic, poetic tableaux in which connections are far from linear. They comprise fragmented stream-of-consciousness maps of the artist's unconscious, representing a visual diary of personal awareness that borders on dream imagery. The result is a sophisticated record with universal philosophical underpinnings that probes how memory recapitulates physical actions and the impressions they trigger. The ephemeral condition of broken lines and the elusive overlapped sequences of forms and configurations create an airy luminosity.</p> <div style="text-align:center"> <figure class="image" style="display:inline-block"><img alt="" height="512" src="/sites/default/files/images/Light in Autumn%2C 52x66%2C 2013_0.jpg" style="width: 560px;" width="650" /><figcaption>Caption</figcaption></figure></div> <p>It is significant that Susan Sommer lives a wooded region of upstate New York; her works resonate with the sense of growing vegetation. The works hint at the smell of earth in the woods, without any literal translation. While her abstract paintings are ostensibly related in appearance to the brushy abstraction of the Modernist genre, they have a compelling enigmatic energy born of the hybrid components they combine. The artist's use of primary-colored pixels or squares, which alludes to TV show or game board patterns, enlivens the muted viridian, hookers green and the ochre-softened warm umber that she so fluidly employs. She imbues her art with visual music in pulsating rhythms. Sommer’s poetic works may express in strokes the opens wings of an eagle in flight or the patterned movements of leafy branches as they sway in the wind. The artist's relationship with the earth infuses her art with the power of nature's infinite fluctuations.</p> </div> <section> </section> Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:46:09 +0000 Mary Hrbacek 3640 at http://www.culturecatch.com