Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 54th Venice Biennale, abstraction, aggression, Amy Feldman, animation, archaic battle, Basquiat, conflict, consumption by fantasy, deflation, Design Boom, details, Erkut Terliksiz, faux cardboard, figurative, gesture vs. freehand, guns, Japanese Pavilion, Kate Pane, knives, Mallick & Williams, Manny Prieres, Mattia Biagi, meat head, organic, Palazzo Bembo, party down, Personal Structures, reflective, religious awareness, rotten food, steel, sustenance vs. decay, Tabaimo, tar, Tony Matelli, Turkey, Venice Biennale, Venice Biennale 2011, video art, visual mischief
((Currently showing at the Venice Biennale at the Palazzo Bembo as part of the ‘Personal Structures‘ exhibition.))
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: abstraction, acid wash, antique, art history allusions, Benoit Plateus, bright color, C-Print, collage fauvism, devastation, drawing, erotica, euphemisms, fame, femininity, figurative, fragmentation, gouache, illustration, ink, inkjet print, Joshua Petker, landscape, Leigh Wells, Lucy Stein, Matta, Megan Berk, mixed media, movement, nature, Nick Oberthaler, painting, pastel, pencil, photocopy, Praneet Soi, Ryan Schneider, Samuel T. Adams, seductive versus creepy, solitude, Surreal, texture, watercolor, women, wood
(shout out nicky six: this is an ideal match to the 2UP poster)
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 20th Century Abstraction, abstraction, Charles Pollock, Concealment, detachment, Homage to the Square, Hyperallergic, Jackson Pollock, Jason McCoy Gallery, Josef Albers, Memory, New York Abstraction, New York School, Non figurative Abstraction, process, Rudolf Amheim, Sarah Mattes, Toward a Psychology of Art
Had a write-up posted on Hyperallergic today on Jason McCoy Gallery’s most recent show, 70 Years of Abstraction: Excerpts. The show displayed an abundance of work of debatable vigor. I thought there was a great conversation among works in the second room, focusing more on particular motifs in abstraction rather than just an overview of significant names. My personal favorites were the ones that consumed the viewer, yet truly gave them no option but to travel into their subconscious in the midst of artistic intentions or imagery. Abstraction heightens awareness of your retina’s preferences and can even evoke a physical reaction. I also like the ‘flash-back’ potential of abstract images. With less of a direct correlation to the visual world, the atmosphere and feeling surrounding the image encourages a cerebral slideshow. I also did want to give a shout-out to Sarah Mattes, who I couldn’t fit into the review but is doing some really exciting things with abstraction. Her abysmal mixed-media abstraction in the show consists of a handful of navy-blue materials layered within the frame. The monochrome interacts with the viewer, tempting them into the seemingly dangerous space of sharp angles and persistent corners. Mattes’s labor-intensive abstraction unveils an enthusiasm for new processes and methods of production in the modern age, and the triumphs still to be had over an ancient practice. This one’s for all the haters!
Here’s an excerpt of the article:
“An edition of Josef Albers’s Homage to the Square series is prominently displayed. The room also boasts an extremely underwhelming oil painting from Jackson Pollock before he was famous, ”Constellation” (1946) from the Accabonac Creek series.
A few lesser known forbearers of New York abstraction like Hedda Sterne and Charles Pollock keep each other company. The techniques are varied yet somewhat traditional and predictable. It was clear from this room that abstract art, as Rudolf Amheim wrote in his Toward a Psychology of Art, ‘tends to conceal the philosophical, religious, and social meaning of the individual’s life, to destroy the artist’s function in the community, and to reduce the task to a merely ‘aesthetic’ one.’”
FULL ARTICLE HERE.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: abstraction, allusions, April, Art as Idea, conceptual art, Joseph Kosuth, Kafka, language, lights, meaning, minimal art, neon, Nothing Installation, Samuel Beckett, Sean Kelly Gallery, Texts for Nothing, Ulysses, Waiting for Godot, Whitehot Magazine
After taking a month off from Whitehot I’m coming back with a review of Joseph Kosuth’s show at Sean Kelly Gallery that closed at the end of April. The show was deliciously cerebral. I found myself revisiting each of the three pieces several times, squandering between the seemingly meaningless strings of text. I almost fell into Kosuth’s literary trap and gave up, foraging through the intellectual allusions I couldn’t place. This is exactly his point, however. Words and even images assume a certain degree of responsibility to their message, but what if we could extract something entirely new yet significant and relatable in itself? So it goes, the ceaseless battle between word and meaning. Here’s a small excerpt from the review:
“Kosuth calls upon the words of Samuel Beckett in the exhibition’s title work, Texts (Waiting for –) for Nothing (2011). Kosuth identifies with Becket’s incessant, Kafkaesque search for meaning. Waiting for Godot and the lesser known Texts for Nothing meld in a continuous stream of white light along the upper echelon of an ebony room. Kosuth exposes the waiting game of Vladamir and Estragon in Godot and their inability to break from the suspense. Uniformity, specifically the grey skies and “dim omnipresent light” in the text, summons a fear of plateauing and its subsequent mediocrity. Kosuth battles this paranoia aesthetically by denying the ability to see all the words in the installation simultaneously. He enforces an interaction with the room rather than a stationary viewing experience. The obligatory stroll also surrenders the body to Kosuth’s singular search for meaning. The audience looks up as if in praise or veneration to ennui. The concentric saunter attaches the viewer to the space. Repetitive reads allow memory to inject meaning into the words and inform the work through individual experience.”
FULL REVIEW HERE.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: abstraction, black, Charlie Rose, drawing, interview, jokes, Met Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Richard Serra, space, weight
I’m working on a review of Richard Serra’s current drawing show up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Naturally, Charlie Rose did a stellar (yet brief) interview with him yesterday that is worth sharing. If you take nothing else from this lecture, dear readers, take this one line:
“…great artists make up their own tools and make up their own procedures.”
Check it out here.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: abstract art, abstraction, April, composition, fabric, Graham & Sons, Joe Fyfe, March, minimal, mysticism, New York City, Photography, poverty, sculpture, tension, third world, wood/cloth/color
wood/cloth/color, Joe Fyfe’s current exhibition at Graham & Sons, provides a thorough insight into the artist’s firmly abstract repertoire. The show considers recent sculpture, photography, and fabric paintings as reflections of his journeys to the third-world. Fyfe summons each village’s emotional and bodily accessibility emphatically. Each piece requires time and patience to decipher the stunning composition and devour each sensual component.
A handful of photographs illuminate Fyfe’s instinctual recognition of inadvertently artful compositions. ‘Palermo, 2000′ (2008) epitomizes the quiet beauty of these shots, announcing Fyfe’s attention to vivid colors, robust layering, and patterns. Despite his photographs’ natural depth, the combination of these motifs flattens the image and echos the tension of his fabric paintings. ‘Psar Thmei’ (2011), for example, is a jigsaw composition of gauze and cotton that demolishes the picture plane. The subtle textures of the cotton, the lines of glue melding each layer, and gentle puckers of the fabric mock the artist’s hand. Fyfe denies the idealization of paint and finds expressive gestures within his gathered palate of materials. The single gauze section allows the viewer to penetrate the piece as it fluctuates between sculptural object and painting.
Fyfe also presents weathered wood plank sculptures that lean precariously against the walls or hang by a loop of fabric, reminders of his fascination with poverty’s resourcefulness. ‘For Vann Molycan’ (2010) is a simple conglomeration of found wood and crimson felt that links the formal strength of the fabric paintings with evocative tactility. The scavenged materials are revitalized upon their introduction to the academic investigation of form and composition. ‘Pakbeng’ (2010) is a more conceptually urgent sculpture, consisting of a single gnarly plank of driftwood with two sashes of fabric fastened to the top. Fyfe sustains an open dialogue with vendors and artists of the third-world selling wares fashioned out of minimal resources. Be that as it may, this piece annunciates how close some of the sculptures come to a gimmick that is derived rather than inspired by poverty.
Each work in wood/cloth/color sustains Fyfe’s adoration of the tactility he continually discovers abroad. He implants an emotional resonance into his intellectual explorations, facilitating an semi-transcendent viewing experience. ‘Tanka fragment’ (2011), for example, summons the mysticism of a Mark Rothko painting and Matisse’s uninterrupted space skillfully. Each fragment of driftwood is incorporated into a similarly formal dialogue and is thus renewed. Although Fyfe’s yearning to capture the essence of the penniless is a stretch, he indubitably commends and channels their resourcefulness in this thoughtful exhibition.
((EXHIBITION THROUGH APRIL 23))
(photos courtesy of Graham & Sons)
(courtesy of Joe Fyfe)
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: abstraction, collage, homes, mixed media, Seth Clark
I wrote this in January about a really great artist I discovered by the name of Seth Clark, who constructs mixed media homes that are masked in decrepitude.
Seth Clark invigorates the decrepitude of deserted homes, granulated factories owing to oversight and communities tarnished by natural disasters. Despite their sorry states, his structures cling to the energy of his mark. Graphite fuses with collage and pastels while colored pencils congeal with charcoal and oil paint, sometimes all on the same canvas. His images prance like runners-up in a beauty pageant, defeated but unquestionably beautiful. The houses are seductively placed upon pristine neutral backgrounds. Clark targets the details of decay with great specificity and flaunts a variety of textures. Dark lines transform into spliced wires and derailed balconies. Structures pause mid-crumble. The multitude of media allocates distinct characteristics of each home. A bold stroke of brick-red pastel contrasts slender, colored-pencil cross-hatching in ‘Abandoned IV,’ for example. The image is rich, honoring the home’s structural backbone while recognizing the chaos of decay’s thoughtlessness. As each layer of media is decoded, momentum builds and sustains a brisk pace of viewing that mimics the painfully slow degradation of these human incubators.
The entrancingly deep mark of Clark’s work spans from heavily opaque to delicately sinuous. His lines are animated, contained within the confines of the home, yet completely rampant within it. A minefield of tangible planks and tarnished slabs of roof descend with the majesty of an avalanche. Strokes of coral or cerulean-blue grace many of the dilapidated structures, contributing a softness to their reckless facades. Despite decomposition they resist disappearance with revived poise. Clark rouses a conversation regarding details and their importance as such. When elemental components like a toilet or staircase are eclipsed by evidence of residential life, a house has officially become a home. Fragrant kitchens, a wreath in the foyer, and an heirloom bedspread constitute a home; without, a house is nothing more than a skeleton. An inverse phenomenon occurs with Clark’s neglected frameworks. They occupy a position past the point of repair. Depreciated structural elements dismiss the house, condemning it to abandonment.
Clark delves into the evanescence of the home by exploring function and evolution of the structure. His isolated, deserted homes expose the true pointlessness of forsaken architecture. ‘Roof,’ for example, depicts three disheveled alcoves upon the slope of a destroyed rooftop. The rotting roof is no longer functional but decorative . ’96 Houses’ expands upon the function of the home’s backbone in simplified terms. The hundred-page, hand-bound book contains a reduced drawing of a house on each page. The archetypal square with an equilateral triangle on top is the foundation of each image. Utilizing both interior and exterior elements, Clark plays with the functionality of the structure and the transformation of physical components. They range from aesthetic renderings to theoretical constructs. The symmetrical frame speaks to a number of scenarios including the guise of a jack-in-the-box, a snow-framed cave, a jail cell, a stuffed package secured with taut string, and a circus tent, among other things. Clark exhausts the associations one makes in the most basic rendering of ‘home.’ Some sketches are obscure and fantastical, inciting laughter and endowing the homes with a cartoonish invincibility. Black liquid drains through a small hole from a house filled up to the top like a glass of milk in one drawing; another depicts a house jumping off the page with the assistance of a trampoline. Although conceptions of home are grounded in physical presence, their true nature is as imaginary as it is concrete. Home is a foundational concept that facilitates learning and experience. Home morphs into a vessel capable of nourishing and preserving its residents, sculpting one’s outlook according to the framework.
A house, in Clark’s work, is a skeletal structure providing vague clues to the past without any hope of future revival. Bleak, darkened interiors with shrouded furniture and crunched boards are abrasive remnants of activity. Despite their desertion, the house’s potential whispers through the floorboards. ‘Abandoned XI’ reveals a freshly abdicated location with large peep-holes on the facade. The open wounds reveal the rampant plague of rejection. Clark’s images mourn the demise of these used and abused structures. His houses’ sluggish implosion pronounces their impermanence. The value of the structure dissipates with the memories in a dreadful crumble, reduced to the meaningless framework at the mercy of a new spectrum of elements.