Friday, May 16, 2014

Julian Schnabel A View of Dawn in the Tropics: Paintings 1989-1990 Art Show Review

Julian Schnabel  
A View of Dawn in the Tropics: Paintings 1989-1990 Gagosian Gallery May 2014

Schnabel’s career has been quite controversial and varied thus far, but everything he does centers on his work. I love how in interviews he always redirects you back to his paintings. He obviously cares deeply about painting, the history of it and his place in it. I can’t imagine success at Schnabel’s level can be easy as the art world is well known for ruining lives. It is refreshing to look back at a slice of Schanbel’s contribution to the art world of the late eighties to early nineties and see his success in the work too.

Schnabel does what many good painters do; he experiments with his materials and surfaces to conjure new imagery in a way that produces art.

Yes, there is little evidence of the scraping and covering that goes along with an image hard fought for but Schanbel undoubtedly knows his craft and knows when to stop. He has a voice, preferences, and limitations like all artists but works well within that world.

“Little Later” is my favorite piece in the show. It looks like the piece was painted with a tossed pair of jeans thrown repeatedly across the canvas but you only notice this close up. Getting back a fully formed & colorful piece of abstract art is produced. Darks and lights are placed carefully to make a good composition.

I am beginning to understand what it means to have claustrophobia, which Schnabel has. Surfing, painting outside, living in a huge pink castle in the middle of New York City, moving from New York to BrownsvilleTexas at age 15 all seem to have an influence on these works.

Modern day painters should consider and reconsider Schnabel’s art. Not enough artists play and mess with their materials and surface the way Schnabel does. Drag a canvas behind your car while driving over a dirt road, then a paved one. Perhaps your next stop to get something to paint on should not involve a 40% off coupon from Hobby Lobby.

Friday, May 2, 2014

3 painters I am thinking about

3 painters I am thinking about.

All landscape artists. Each artist’s work results in art that has a unique voice & is full of skill and talent.

Allison’s work has a perfect balance of color and linear perspective and direct decision making showing few scars of any doubt or fear. The verticals and horizontals reference the edges of the canvas the piece lives on. This helps to pull you into her landscape and you can’t really be anywhere else. The forms fit perfectly together across a series of works. I imagine it took decades and decades to be able to paint like this, and the pieces seem to be hard won and fought for. Allison must have stared at and considered landscapes way longer than most of us and the work has paid off in an artistic language system that is unique and consistently high quality.

Lynn’s paintings easily shift from realistic to abstract. She can turn the photo lens on her work in and out at any moment to give you a detailed or abstracted view of a landscape that is satisfying and full of joy. This skill embeds it self in the abstracted and the realistic works and it’s beautiful to see the process inherent in both that relates to direct observation. The color palette is decidedly different from Allison’s; more Midwestern maybe with a certain type of light that comes from direct sunlight where Allison’s landscapes seem to have more of the snow’s light in them. The way birch trees are handled says a lot about Lynn & Allison’s work. Lynn’s edges are softer and bear the scars of a drawing practice; lines define edges as opposed to the lines being the forms themselves as is the case with Allison’s work. Lynn outlines the space more organically while Allison’s directness and economy says a lot with less giving the space a certain power found in handwriting and advertising.

Peter’s work seems to struggle with it self a little more than Lynn & Allison’s work.
His palette is decidedly darker and more urban but extremely and surprisingly color-complex. There is no aerial perspective to my eye here. There are just lots of data up front in the space that seems to fights for air within itself. The lines carve out a space that scares and confines.
The canvases here are way larger than Allison’s or Lynn’s work in the same way life in New York City engulfs and takes over your psyche more than a landscape in the Midwest or Northeast might. You can hide and run through Peter’s paintings. Hofmann’s statement that “the line originates in the meeting of two planes” is sometimes ignored but then given full value.
Peter’s work reminds you that the world is not a safe place and you are going to have to negotiate and compromise your core values somewhat if you want to survive. You may want to push over an old lady over to get on the subway. Pressure and stress may get the best of you for a bit but you’ll see your way out of it eventually and feel like you have done something good. If god created the landscape in Allison’s & Lynn’s work men and women who work their lives away sculpted the landscape Peter is making. Everything natural is covered by something constructed. The world here is a city that is claustrophobic but absolutely necessary.