12.31.2008

Down to Zero

Kate Beck Digital Snow Cover January 2009
Does it remind you of Stengel at The Whitney?

I've been procrastinating for several weeks now. The election is over, world peace is a fallacy, we're not selling, they're not buying. I've been taking long, really cold walks with my dog just to numb it all. Then I picked up a book of selected writings of Ad Reinhardt, which took me back -- to my own Black Paintings, and to myself. This poem, by W. H. Auden, was sited.


Kate Beck Canyon.Black 46x46 inches Oil, Wax, Mica on Linen 2007



The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell;
But, on earth, indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all the stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look to an empty sky
And feel its total darkness sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.



Kate Beck Untitled 12x12 inches Oil, Wax, Mica on Linen 2008


Indifference, indeed.
I guess it's the best I can do right now.

11.16.2008

Take a Pencil :: Bienále kresby Plzeň 2008

I am frequently awed by the broad European embrace of drawing as a complete aesthetic. Here are a few images from the International Biennial of Drawing Pilsen 2008:


Honored Guest artist, Adriena Šimotová


Jurying process University of Western Bohemia, Plzně , Czech Republic July 2008

Drawings are initially submitted in the raw: only pure mark on paper. Works of 112 artists representing 46 countries were selected this year.


Zdeněk Tománek Barrier III, Pencil, graphite, 100×70,0 cm, 2008 Czech Republic

Works of Adriena Šimotová at Galerie města Plzně




Paul Manfred Kaestner
From the Big Bell of Love, 29.01.2008, Combined technique, hand-made paper, 65,0×50,0 cm, 2008
Germany


Jaroslav Jebavý BP 5, Pencil, 100×70,0 cm, 2008 Czech Republic


Gallery at the University of Western Bohemia




John Jones Untitled VIII 55,0 × 72,0 cm Pencil, 2008 Ireland
The Prize of the Union of Visual Artists of the Czech Republic


A traveling exhibit is comprised of specifically chosen Biennial works that will eventually tour Italy, France, Norway and other countries as it leaves the city of Pilsen, including my own drawing:


Kate Beck Untitled, Graphite on Rives Paper, 22.5 x 30 inches 2008


"....Such a comprehensive show makes it apparent how the individual artists differ from each other in their diversity, how different worldviews they hold, how differently they express themselves. Some, for instance, tend towards the realistic approach, others towards the more abstract.
This, however, is not relevant. The important thing is the quality of the work, its message and the ability to capture the viewer’s attention. I believe that from this perspective, the Biennial is significant and inspirational – it shows the world on a small scale; practically on several tens square metres of exhibition area we have an opportunity to see it in all its complexity. Perhaps no field of human activity can express this better than art. The art of drawing in this case..."
-Werner Schaub, President of International Association of Art – Europe

9.27.2008

Subliminal Structure :: Katharina Grosse

Katharina Grosse: This is Not Dogshit, 2007, acrylic on glass, metal, brick, paving stone, Franchise Foundation, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

Beauty is important to Katharina Grosse. She spacializes rather than localizes visual vocabularies. Paint is her medium of intervention between architecture, color, and political culture. Her mammoth installations are highly controlled pictorial events using encountered structure and objects to define a space where the viewer wafts between the familiar and the foreign; the known and the unknown; reality and illusion: a masterful journey of feeling and affect. In this month's issue of Art Papers , Melissa Ragona describes her work as "...beginning to move off the canvas, onto the wall and out of the gallery...". True enough.

But, what does that mean? I have been thinking about Grosse's aesthetic since reading this interview, trying to sort out exactly why her work seems to resonate so strongly up against my own creative posturings and articulations. For one thing, her work is physically and startlingly prolific. Size is directly related to context. By placing large elements in relatively small spaces, the scale of the work is contraindicated. She outsizes herself, even, by the sheer volume of cubic feet her installations encompass -- at once opening up and negating the space within walls, within buildings, within streets and towns. It is this relationship to scale and boundary that I am most impacted by.


Katharina Grosse: Pigmenta Para Plantas y Globos, 2008, acrylic on balloons, soil, walls and floor, Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain

Above, images of gigantic hue-saturated balloons exist fully and weightlessly against the walls and ceiling of the gallery, and piles of dirt on the floor. I am initially uneasy with this. The proportion of mass to the architecture of space seems 'wrong'; foreboding almost. There is something horrendous and beautiful all at once.

Then I notice the drips of paint falling and hanging so beautifully over the surfaces of those looming spheres, onto the dirt, against the walls. And I feel better. I look more. This is such a powerful example of Grosse's ability to transcend feeling and emotion through her created artificial structure. The architecture of the gallery space is a rational, understandable given, contrasting with the saturation and drips of paint which represent an emotional link. Fictitious space, illisionistic space and painterly space become one as she deftly rocks the viewer, including me, between this subliminal concept of chance and structure.



Katharina Grosse: SKROW NO REPAP, 2008, acrylic on paper, floor and walls, , FRAC Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France

At FRAC, above, white paint was sprayed on the walls, ceiling and floors first, then Grosse installed drawings made before hand in her studio to offer yet another dimension of entry into the project space. I think this image, and the one at the beginning of my post, are incredibly sensuous and interesting. I respond emotionally to the tension between the gentleness and purity of the white hue against the grey stability of the architectual surfaces. The white paint breaks down the boundaries between the walls and floors so that the structure becomes one unified whole, laden with potentially expressive swaths and drips of paint, beautifully and simultaneously opening up and negating the space. Paintings within paintings, within paintings.


Katharina Grosse: Picture Park, 2007, acrylic on,wall, ceiling, soil, balloons and canvases, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia

Grosse considers her work representational in the sense that it 'looks like' psuedo-realistic landscapes, something recognizable, when in fact they represent abstract landscapes. Her projects and installations, which she defies you to describe as monumental, are an elegant analysis of scale, time and mood.

Thanks, Katharina.



Read More:
Katharina Grosse: Lush Irreverence ART Papers, September/October 2008
Text + Interview by Melissa Ragona

8.19.2008

Essentials of Light :: Pure Color

It is high summer and my eyes are filled with all manner of blue and green, but it is to Orange I am drawn. From Tilman's very personal grasp for the potential of color as light and form to Joanne Mattera's iridescent geometric surfaces described as 'lush minimalism', the aesthetics of these artists challenge, stimulate, move and satisfy.


Tilman : Expander with Urban Structure 2, The House of Art Ceske Budejovice (CZ), 2008




Rose Olson: Double Orange Left, Acrylic on Paper, 41 x 26 inches , 2005



Julian Jackson: Interior with Orange, Oil on Panel, 36 x 38 inches



John Tallman : Ssamzie Shape , mixed media , 7 x 6 inches, 2004




Joanne Mattera : Silk Road 99, Encaustic on panel, 12 x 12 inches, 2008



Rossanna Martinez : Crash Into Me, Fluorescent orange and hot pink ribbons,
Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York, NY, 2007



Steven Alexander : Sage, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 60 inches, 2006


Jeff Kellar: Fold 16, Resin, Clay, Wood , 7 x 7 x 4.5, 2007



Julie Gross : #115, Gouache on Paper, 16 x 16 inches, 2008 , Courtesy of Kenise Barnes Fine Art


Following is an excerpt from a conversation between Chris Ashley and Tilman,
Tilman, by Chris Ashley
MINUS SPACE, June-August 2006
:

CA: The color is material, first. It could be the natural color of the material, or painted, or printed, or the color is applied in some way. It’s a property of the object. Of course, color is made possible by light, but how does the color move from being a physical thing to being simply light?

T: In early Greek philosophy, light is described as the fourth element, the ether; they called it Olkas, a carrier which holds all together. That’s what I am trying to say with simply light, making a reference to this thought. So color, yes, as a material it becomes a carrier of thought, something essential, so to say.



And finally, as August steamrolls past us, Julie Gross sums it up:

"...Orange...the warmest color in the spectrum...so to use it, despite its warmth, is less assertive, more moderate than red, and more weighty & more serious than yellow..."



:: Happy Summer Days ::


7.15.2008

On Maine: New Paintings by Don Voisine and David Row

Don Voisine Pinwheel Oil on Wood

Over the weekend, I stopped into the opening of On Maine at ICON Contemporary Art in Brunswick to see my friend Don Voisine and his new work. Don makes reductive paintings, created within a vocabulary of architectural geometry, light and austere color.


Don Voisine On Point II, On Point III, On Point IV oil on wood

The paintings are constructed on plywood substrate with painted bands and shapes of color shifting, subtly and precisely, throughout the surface. He uses black in dual viscosities to create a visual tension that pulsates between highly reflective and softer tones, and hue.

Don Voisine Connection oil on wood

This dichotomized ambiance deftly seduces the eye into and out of the picture plane. I find them pensive, very personal and beautiful.

David Row Blind Spots oil on canvas

David Row's aggressive paintings are new to me. In contrast to Voisine's meditative work, his luminous, gestural surfaces practically implode from the gallery walls. Beginning with canvas or aluminum, he builds his work with technical precision in layers of color and subtle mark, culminating in final undulating curvilinear strokes which dip below or rest on the surface.

David Row Avatar Oil on Steel


I don't think I've ever wanted to call a painting voluptuous, but, these are.


David Row Gossip oil on canvas


Both artists live and work in New York City, but hail from Maine. They have exhibited widely within the United States and Europe.

With these combined approaches to color, space and composition, ICON gallery owner and curator Duane Paluska has a great show.


ICON Contemporary Art 9 Mason Street Brunswick, ME 04011 207-725-8157
Through August 9

5.22.2008

Ideas of Housing: Christine Hiebert

Brooklyn-based artist Christine Hiebert 's drawings have been speaking to me for a long time. Her very sensitive and powerful marks explore spacial tension, spontaneity and structure, all elements which I am greatly interested in. Her drawings -- from works on paper to gigantic wall drawings -- are personally evocative in an almost primal sense as they explore the relationships between humanity and physical space. To reference:



Untitled 2004


movement and vision





at Gallery Joe, Philadelphia, PA 2004

awareness and eloquence




Untitled 2003


fragility and strength


Untitled 2004


intuition and intellect



at Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, 2005

physicality and other-worldliness



in her Brooklyn, NY studio

" If a house is the physical place where I live, where I feel at home," she writes," then my drawings constitute metaphysical houses that allow for the kind of mental living I need to do. That mental living is full of hesitations, fits and starts in my thinking as well as the determination to process headlong into something unknown."

Untitled 2004

Hiebert's surfaces give us cause to think of who we are and how we define our own existence -- the lines within which we live and formulate 'home'-- an architecture of humanity.

Thanks, Christine



5.13.2008

Robert Rauschenberg



Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Robert Rauschenberg at his home and studio in Captiva, Fla. in 2005. More Photos >

Robert Rauschenberg, Titan of American Art, Is Dead at 82

Published: May 14, 2008

Robert Rauschenberg, the irrepressibly prolific American artist who time and again reshaped art in the 20th century, died Monday night. He was 82.


Art © Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

"Retroactive I," 1963. More Photos »

He died of heart failure, said Arne Glimcher, chairman of PaceWildenstein, the artist's gallery in Manhattan.

Mr. Rauschenberg’s work gave new meaning to sculpture. “Canyon,” for instance, consisted of a stuffed bald eagle attached to a canvas. “Monogram” was a stuffed Angora goat girdled by a tire atop a painted panel. “Bed” entailed a quilt, sheet and pillow, slathered with paint, as if soaked in blood, framed on the wall. They all became icons of postwar modernism.

A painter, photographer, printmaker, choreographer, onstage performer, set designer and, in later years, even a composer, Mr. Rauschenberg defied the traditional idea that an artist stick to one medium or style. He pushed, prodded and sometimes reconceived all the mediums in which he worked.

Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Cornell and others, he thereby helped to obscure the lines between painting and sculpture, painting and photography, photography and printmaking, sculpture and photography, sculpture and dance, sculpture and technology, technology and performance art — not to mention between art and life.

Mr. Rauschenberg was also instrumental in pushing American art onward from Abstract Expressionism, the dominant movement when he emerged during the early 1950s. He became a transformative link between artists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning and those who came next, artists identified with Pop, Conceptualism, Happenings, Process Art and other new kinds of art in which he played a signal role.

No American artist, Jasper Johns once said, invented more than Mr. Rauschenberg. Mr. Johns, John Cage, Merce Cunningham and Mr. Rauschenberg, without sharing exactly the same point of view, collectively defined this new era of experimentation in American culture. Apropos of Mr. Rauschenberg, Cage once said, “Beauty is now underfoot wherever we take the trouble to look.”

Cage meant that people had come to see, through Mr. Rauschenberg’s efforts, not just that anything, including junk on the street, could be the stuff of art (this wasn’t itself new), but that it could be the stuff of an art aspiring to be beautiful — that there was a potential poetics even in consumer glut, which Mr. Rauschenberg celebrated. “I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly,” he once said, “because they’re surrounded by things like that all day long, and it must make them miserable.”

The remark reflected the optimism and generosity of spirit that Mr. Rauschenberg became known for. His work was likened to a Saint Bernard: uninhibited and mostly good-natured. He could be the same way in person. When he became rich, he gave millions of dollars to charities for women, children, medical research, other artists and Democratic politicians.

A brash, garrulous, hard-drinking, open-faced Southerner, he had a charm and peculiar Delphic felicity with language that nevertheless masked a complex personality and an equally multilayered emotional approach to art, which evolved as his stature did. Having begun by making quirky small-scale assemblages out of junk he found on the street in downtown Manhattan, he spent increasing time in his later years, after he had become successful and famous, on vast international, ambassadorial-like projects and collaborations.

Conceived in his immense studio on the island of Captiva, Fla., these projects were of enormous size and ambition; for many years he worked on a project that grew literally to exceed the length of its title, “The 1/4 Mile or 2 Furlong Piece.” They generally did not live up to his earlier achievements. Even so, he maintained an equanimity toward the results. Protean productivity went along with risk, he believed, and risk sometimes meant failure.

The process — an improvisatory, counterintuitive way of doing things — was always what mattered most to him. “Screwing things up is a virtue,” he said when he was 74. “Being correct is never the point. I have an almost fanatically correct assistant, and by the time she re-spells my words and corrects my punctuation, I can’t read what I wrote. Being right can stop all the momentum of a very interesting idea.”

This attitude also inclined him, as the painter Jack Tworkov once said, “to see beyond what others have decided should be the limits of art.”


4.29.2008

Two Marks, Necessarily, make a Line

Anna Hepler Wire Sphere Composite Sculptural Prototypes 2008

"Drawing as an approach is regaining the importance it once had as a way of thinking or acting that is fundamental to the human experience. It is being considered less as a particular use of materials or sub-activity of a particular discipline, and more as an approach discrete in itself.
" So says Andrew Hewish, Director of the London-based Centre for Recent Drawing, a public, independent space dedicated to the exhibition of drawing.

Thanks Andrew:
two marks, as in mathematics, do necessarily make a line.

Fiona Robinson Journey Sequence Oil and Conte on Canvas 90 x 140 cm 2006

Here are works of six artists I know -- Anna Hepler, Rebecca Salter, Amy Stacey Curtis, Fiona Robinson and Gosia Wlodarczak -- who share this interest not only in their core connection to line, but in their sensitive and powerful humanistic modes of expression. And Richard Serra, whose 'Verb List Compilations: Actions to Relate to Oneself (1967-1968) I have borrowed to further instill the essence of this critical performative analogy that is drawing.

to roll to crease to fold to store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to support to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to cover to wrap to dig to tie to bind to weave to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic of inertia of ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of of frictioto stretch to bounce to symmetry

to roll to crease to fold to store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to support to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to
Amy Stacey Curtis 617 Charcoal and Graphite on Paper

scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to cover to wrap to dig to tie to bind to weave to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic of inertia of
ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of symmetry of friction to stretch to bounce to erase to spray to systematize to refer to force of mapping of location of context of time of carbonization to continue to roll to crease to fold to store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to support to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to


Gosia Wlodarczak Skin of the Wall Helen Maxwell Gallery, Canberra, Australia 2006

cover to wrap to dig to tie to bind to weave
to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic of inertia of ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of symmetry of friction to stretch to bounce to erase to spray to systematize to refer to force of mapping of location of context of time of carbonization to continue to roll to crease to fold to store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to support to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to cover to wrap to dig to tie to bind to weave to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic


Gosia Wlodarczak


of inertia of ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of symmetry of friction to stretch to bounce to erase to spray to systematize to refer to force of mapping of location of context of time of carbonization to continue
to roll to crease to fold to store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to supp
ort to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to cover to wrap to dig to tie to bind to weave to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic of inertia of ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of symmetry of friction to stretch to bounce to erase to spray to systematize to refer to force of mapping of location of context of time of carbonization to continue to roll to crease to fold to store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to support to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of Rebecca




Salter Untitled EE20 Mixed Media on Linen 204



grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to cover to wrap to dig to
tie to bind to weave to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic of inertia of ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of symmetry of friction to stretch to bounce to erase to spray to systematize to refer to force of mapping of location of context of time of carbonization to continue to roll to crease to fold to store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to support to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to cover to wrap to dig to tie to bind to weave to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic of inertia of ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of


Fiona Robinson Circular Walk Pencil on Paper 2007



symmetry of friction to stretch to bounce to erase to spray to systematize to refer to force of mapping of location of context of time of carbonization to continue
to roll to crease to fold to store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to support to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to cover to wrap to dig to tie to bind to weave to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic of inertia of ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of symmetry of friction to stretch to bounce to erase to spray to systematize to refer to force of mapping of location of context of time of carbonization to continueto roll to crease to fold to






















Rebecca Salter DD28 Mixed Media on Linen 2003


store to bend to shorten to twist to dapple to crumple to shave to tear to chip to split to

cut to sever to drop to remove to simplify to differ to disarrange to open to mix to splash to knot to spill to droop to flow to curve to lift to inlay to impress to fire to flood to smear to rotate to swirl to support to hook to suspend to spread to hang to collect of tension of gravity of entropy of nature of grouping of layering of felting to grasp to tighten to bundle to heap to gather to scatter to arrange to repair to discard to pair to distribute to surfelt to compliment to enclose to surround to encircle to hole to cover to wrap to dig to tie to bind to weave to join to match to laminate to bond to hinge to mark to expand to dilute to light to modulate to distill to waves of electromagnetic of inertia of ionization of polarization of refraction of tides of reflection of equilibrium of symmetry of friction to stretch to bounce to erase to spray to systematize to refer to force of mapping of location of context of time of carbonization to continue









Anna Hepler Fall, Scatter, Float Tape and Thread 2006


Collective of intellect, consciousness, and physicality this is important and interesting work that
explores and pushes the boundaries of our mind's processes.


Richard Serra Verb List Compilations: Actions to Relate to Oneself (1967-1968)

Thanks, everyone.