Jonathan Lasker / Hunter’s Heart / 1983 / oil on paper / 30 x 22 inches / BravinLee Projects
works on paper
BravinLee Projects, 526 West 26th Street, Suite 211, through July 11
May 29, 2008 No Comments
Robert C. Morgan has a nice piece in this month’s Brooklyn Rail, in which he reviews Thomas Nozkowski’s recent show at Pace Wildenstein and discusses the state of current abstract painting.
Tags: abstract painting, post-modernism, review, thomas nozkowski, post modern theory, photography
In recent years, meaning in art is rarely discussed by critics in terms of abstract painting. The implication is that the survival of meaning in art hovers somewhere outside of abstract painting. The alternatives range from illustration on canvas to digital photography, from deconstructive texts to destructive installations, from kitsch assemblages to interactive cyber-pods. Is the concept of meaning in art long-gone, out-of-fashion, overspoiled? In theoretical jargon, it may appear too close to epistemology, as if epistemology—being the study of knowledge—has been inadvertently removed from the aesthetic, conceptual, and productive components of making art. In the wake of this insouciant exhaustion of consciousness, is it possible that substance in art may have reverted back to abstract painting? After two visits to Pace Wildenstein Gallery, the site of the recent Thomas Nozkowski exhibition, I am willing to place my bet that abstract painting is back in the saddle not because of the market, but that it means something…
…To paint abstract form suggests an intuitive process by way of a carefully constructed dexterity. This may or may not add up to being epistemological or even ontological. But is it still about meaning. In abstract painting—in the formalist sense—meaning is closely related to the result obtained from the process, that is, whether the coherence of shape, color, line, and texture hold together. Whether the mediumistic definition of abstract painting is essentially practical is finally the artist’s decision. While meaning may refer deductively to the material, pigment, and process, this does not negate the possibility that whatever appears as form is subsequently about meaning. Meaning is ultimately a linguistic extension of the manner in which the work is painted. This relates to a sense of connoisseurship in art, a pre-Modernist idea that suddenly is beginning to appear again, as if something had been missing for decades, and no one seemed to know exactly what was missing. This may sound like a standard definition of late Modernism—which, perhaps, it is. Yet there are exceptions to this hackneyed paradigm that occasionally come into view. These exceptions subvert the quotidian semiotic nuances, such as the quixotic manner in which palsy-ridden theories and ornery hybrids begin to ascend to the constellation of speculation and investment, relinquishing aesthetics and epistemology along the way. [Read More...]
May 8, 2008 No Comments
A Discussion About Abstraction with Thomas Nozkowski and Dana Schutz
Sat, May 17, 2008 | 3:00 PM
New Museum theater
In conjunction with the current exhibition by Tomma Abts, Kraus Family Senior Curator Laura Hoptman will moderate a discussion on abstraction as a method and idea with artists Thomas Nozkowski and Dana Schutz.
Thomas Nozkowski is a painter who has had sixty-eight one-person shows. His most recent exhibitions include an installation of new work at the 2007 Venice Biennial, a midcareer survey at the Ludwig Museum in Koblenz, Germany, 2007 and the Fisher-Landau Center, New York, 2008, and a one-person exhibition at Pace Wildenstein, New York, 2008. The New York Studio School presented a twenty-five-year survey of his drawings in January 2003. His work is represented in the collections of the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the High Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Phillips Collection among many others. Currently, Nozkowski is the Bob and Happy Doran Visiting Artist at the Yale University Art Gallery. He is also Professor of Painting at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Forthcoming one-person exhibitions include The Douglas Hyde Gallery of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and the Musée d’art contemporain, Montreal, Canada.
Dana Schutz was born in Michigan in 1976 and currently lives and works in New York. Her work has been featured in solo exhibitions in commercial galleries in New York, Boston, and Paris. Schutz’s paintings have also been presented in a number of group exhibitions including “Eclipse: Art in a Dark Age,” Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2008; “USA TODAY,” The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, 2007; “Fractured Figure,” DESTE Foundation, Athens, 2007; “Art in America: 300 Years of Innovation,” Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 2007; “Closer to Home,” 48th Corcoran Biennial, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2005; “Greater New York,” PS1, Queens, (2005); “The Triumph of Painting,” The Saatchi Gallery, London, 2005; and the Venice Biennial, 2003. Her work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and many others. Currently, a group of new work by Schutz is on display at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin. In July, she will participate in “After Nature,” a group exhibition at the New Museum.
*This event is free with Museum admission but tickets are required.Tags: abstract art, new museum new york, Laura Hoptman, new museum of contemporary art new york, shanghai museum, new york art museum
May 8, 2008 No Comments
Katy Moran / Smokers Junction / 2008 / Acrylic on canvas / 18 x 15 inches (46 x 38 cm) / Andrea Rosen Gallery
Roberta Smith of the New York Times picks up on an issue I’ve been thinking about and struggling with in my own work.
Tags: paul klee, new york times, realist tradition, Andrea Rosen, abstract expressionism, modernism
Excerpted from the NY Times
Small may be beautiful, but where abstract painting is concerned, it is rarely fashionable. Big has held center stage at least since Jackson Pollock; the small abstractions of painters like Myron Stout, Forrest Bess and Steve Wheeler are mostly relegated to the wings, there to be considered eccentric or overly precious. Paul Klee was arguably the last genius of small abstraction to be granted full-fledged membership in the Modernist canon.
But what is marginalized can also become a form of dissent, a way to counter the prevailing arguments and sidestep their pitfalls. It is hard, for example, to work small and indulge in the mind-boggling degree of spectacle that afflicts so much art today. In a time of glut and waste on every front, compression and economy have undeniable appeal. And if a great work of art is one that is essential in all its parts, that has nothing superfluous or that can be subtracted, working small may improve the odds.
Small paintings of the abstract kind are having a moment right now in New York, with a luminous exhibition at the New Museum of Contemporary Art spotlighting the wry, fastidiously wrought work of the German painter Tomma Abts; and PaceWildenstein presenting in Chelsea the latest efforts of James Siena and Thomas Nozkowski, two older American whizzes at undersize abstraction. Even post-war Modernism could be downsized a bit, with a show titled “Suitcase Paintings: Small Scale Abstract Expressionism” opening next month at Baruch College.
Four young painters who embrace smallness are now having solo shows — three of them New York debuts — that challenge the importance of the big canvas.
Small abstractions avoid the long realist tradition of painting as a window, and also the shorter, late-Modernist one of painting as a flat wall. Instead these smaller works align themselves with less vaunted (and sometimes less masculine) conventions: the printed page, illuminated manuscripts, icons and plaques.
And yet, as each of these four exhibitions demonstrates, abstraction allows a serious exploration of process despite the limited real estate. This expands the already considerable pleasure of looking at paintings that are not much larger than your head. [Read more...]
April 21, 2008 1 Comment
Tyler Green at Modern Art Notes has just finished his week long review/discussion of the Amy Sillman show currently at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. We can’t
jonathan lasker, composition, hirshhorn museum and sculpture garden, howard hodgkin, paintings, amy sillman
Amy Sillman layers paint over layers of paint the way Richard Diebenkorn did. Sometimes she loads up her brush like Park, Bischoff or other Bay Area School types. She shmears wet paint across a canvas like Gerhard Richter. Sometimes she dabs it on almost tentatively, as Guston did in his great Turneresque abstractions.
Then there are the compositions themselves. Her diagonals reject a painter’s tendency to grid, the same way Diebenkorn’s did circa Ocean Park. This one recalls Lee Bontecou’s delicate, small hanging sculptures from 1967. A green, red and gray section on the right-hand side of I (2008, below) seems informed by those atmospheric Gustons. The vaguely cartoony shapes in several of the paintings here (including this one) abstract Carroll Dunham’s body parts. And Sillman’s stitching together of seemingly disparate swatches of sometimes garish color and pattern recall 1980s David Hockney. Sillman’s rejection of a traditional, harmonious, palette reminds me of of abstraction from about that period, including Howard Hodgkin, Jonathan Lasker and Thomas Nozkowski.
April 18, 2008 2 Comments
Thomas Nozkowski / Untitled (8-100) / 2008 / oil on linen on panel / 22 28 inches / © Thomas Nozkowski. Courtesy of the Artist and Pace Wildenstein Gallery
If you haven’t figured out yet, I am qute enthusiastic about the Thomas Nozkowski show at Pace. I’ve been twice so far and will probably have to head back again before it closes. My first impression was the colors. The glowing lights emitting from these small paintings were fascinating and drew me in, like the sideways pyramid of light beaming out of a television in a dark room (except of course Pace is well light, come to think of it, it would be interesting to see these paintings under different light). They reminded me of the Fra Angelico show at the Met a couple of years ago. Small paintings, radiant colors, small, intimate. They also triggered some memories of Monty Python-like animations, or Yellow Submarine, or the Great Space Coaster that I used to watch back in the 70s and 80s. Each piece struck me as a glimpse into a world, a moment in time, a thought, a memory, a scene, or drama – tightly cropped so I couldn’t see everything in total. A small window.
The shapes and forms, whether pure invention or distillations of something observed, feel alive and moving with an energy across the surface. I wonder if I turn away or blink will it still be the same. Their purpose however, seems to be as vehicles for the color – an excuse for color. The specificity of the shapes feel to me to be of secondary importance to the color. It could just be that I find the color so exciting. On the other it may be that it appears as if the shapes and forms have been drawn in and decisions on their size and position were not questioned, changed, reworked, etc. The colors, however, have been changed. over and over and over. Painted in, wiped down, rearranged, reworked, glazed over, warmed up, cooled off, toned up and toned down. Like a game or a play I just imagine little shapes running around geared up and enjoying all the fun. It’s as if hanging on the gallery wall the shapes are resting. Taking a break. on intermission. or maybe nozkowski’s just hit the pause and is waiting for us to hit play again when we walk in through the door.
As a side note – John Yau, who writes reviews for the Brooklyn Rail, has written an excellent essay for the exhibition catalog in which he speaks to both Nozkowski’s concerns as a painter and his position in relation to contemporary painting and the historical tradition. It’s definitely worth picking up a copy.
Thomas Nozkowski: Recent Work is on view through May 3, 2008 at Pace Wildenstein 534 w 25th StreetTags: pace wildenstein gallery, abstract painting, monty python, fra angelico, great space coaster, energy
April 17, 2008 1 Comment
Thomas Nozkowski On a Hike
This is another good one. A painter’s perspective…a painter looking at the world…
Abstract painter Thomas Nozkowski on a hiking trip talking about painting, nature, and finding inspiration for his work in the random juxtapositions of things on the ground…Tags: Paint, thomas nozkowski, rutgers university, Chelsea, pace wildenstein, abstract painting
April 16, 2008 No Comments
Thomas Nozkowski – video
I’ve been twice now to see the Thomas Nozkowski show currently up at Pace Wildenstein Gallery. It is a great show and I’ll talk about why I think he is a painter worth studying in depth in the next couple of days when I have a moment to collect my thoughts. In the meantime, head over to Chelsea to check out the show or and enjoy this little video that I dug up.
April 16, 2008 No Comments
Thomas Nozkowski / Untitled (8-104) / 2008 / oil on linen on panel / 22 x 28 in. (55.9 cm x 71.1 cm) / © Thomas Nozkowski. All rights reserved. Courtesy the artist and Pace Wildenstein.
Over thirty years ago, Thomas Nozkowski made a commitment to specific decisions regarding the scale and material of his work. Although he has followed this approach persistently, painting small-scale works on canvasboard or panel for several decades, John Yau contends that Nozkowski is not interested in making “reiterations of past accomplishments. He is determined to remain open and inventive, to understand that each experience, however ordinary and meditated, is unique, and to transform that into an abstract painting.” In an interview earlier this year, Nozkowski remarked about his painting process, “I believe that what I’m doing is actually very close to our normal way of looking at and thinking about the world. We slowly build up a whole web of associations and meanings.” [Read More...]
Until May 3 at PaceWildenstein (534 W. 25th St., between Tenth and Eleventh avenues, 212-929-7000) www.pacewildenstein.com
Until April 14 at Fisher Landau Center for Art (38-27 30th Street, Long Island City, New York 11101 Telephone 718.937.0727) www.flcart.org
April 10, 2008 No Comments