Saturday, 29 May 2010

Mark Harrington at Edward Cella

Mark Harrington an abstract painter from Los Angeles, opens at Edward Cella.

Mark Harrington Untitled Acrylic on Canvas

This man loves the horizontal division of the canvas with a colour change here and there. (Don't be surprised if the vertical asserts its radical self sometime.) It is hard, really hard to discover, invent, construct, reveal - new form. To reinvent form or structure requires new sensibilities, often a product of one's time. As a simple example the circle, square and triangle are all essential so to present these in a new way would depend on how they are drawn and presented, with what they are made, how they are coloured, how they are combined. With this is mind please take a look at Nick de Serra's beautiful progress from Mondrian.

SY8 Drawing on Fabriano Paper 
Nicholas De Serra

Yves Klein at the Hirshhorn

In his review of the Yves Klein exhibition at The Hirshorn Blake Gopnik of The Washington Post  presents an interesting opinion that Klein's work illustrates the tragedy of material existence. Well he puts it differently but he considers that Klein's work doesn't have a transcendent quality and the sensations generated by it confirm the materiality of the world, which in turn make it, and therefore I suppose us tragic.

Sol Le Witt at Mass MOCA

This major exhibition opened in 2008 and will be on show for 25 years. Sol Le Witt worked with Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut which then was undertaken by The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, in North Adams. It is a considerable undertaking to create these large wall drawings and is an amazing commitment to Mr Le Witt. The Drawing retrospective website has video, essays, photographs catalogue PDf and relevant links.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Abstract Vision Now: Ian Davenport, Mark Francis, Peter Halley and Dan Walsh

Peter Halley

Making waves to the east is a reductive art exhibition in Moscow' as Russia promotes itself as a contemporary art capital, catching up with Western capitals exploring minimalist paintings. These painters, two Americans and two Brits, are diverse in their approach but fit well into the 'Concrete' art term.

From Art+Art Gallery Press Release: 'Art + Art Gallery is pleased to announce the group exhibition Abstract Vision 2010. Presenting the work of Peter Halley, Ian Davenport, Mark Francis and Dan Walsh, Abstract Vision 2010 brings together four international stars of Contemporary abstract

Ian Davenport

'The visual dialect of these works can be seen as a shared pursuit toward a universal
language. In the élan of technological progress and interconnectivity that exists on a fixed
point of this earth, a language is spoken and understood by means of formalism and

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Amy Sillman in New York causing concern

Here is an article from the New York Times describing the debate that Amy Sillman has provoked. It is a shame but I get the sense she is becoming defensive and in doing so undermining her/the position. But to get a flavour of the problem she has highlighted and one that APE has acknowledged needs attention, here is a quote from the article by Karen Rosenberg: " In 2010 the art world doesn’t quite know how to talk about gestural-abstract painting." Come on Amy. Undercover Painter's hosting a video tour of the exhibition by James Kalm.

Amy Sillman
Walt Whitman, 2010 c/o Sikkema Jenkins

Rothko at The Garage Centre- Russia

Dasha Zhukova, Roman Abramovich's (Owner of Chelsea Football Club (hurray a link to a football club even if it is Chelsea!)) 28 year old girlfriend founded The Iris Foundation and established The Garage in Moscow. This large art's venue is showing the Rothko paintings that were bought for $310 as a result of the Merkin/Madoff fraud. This is the first show at the Garage. [гараж - Russian Abstract Painters Association x ? !]
As part of the programme tomorrow Anatoly Osmolovsky will present a talk on 'American Reductionism: Pollock, Newman, Rothko.' Here is the blurb describing the subject and intent of the talk.

"During the middle of the 20th century, the birth of abstract expressionism in New York provided the world with a new visual vocabulary and new school of thought, which has influenced artists for generations to come. This incredible shift moved the focus in contemporary art from Paris to NY, but it is an area, which has not been fully explored in Russia until recently. Theoretician and artist Anatoly Osmolovsly will shed light on how understanding abstract expressionism will help us explain many of the developments in contemporary art today."

There is abundant irony in the mechanics of the art world with the presentation of this exhibition. Here at APE we wonder what Rothko would have made of the history of acquisition of these works given his expressed views of wealthy materialism and here are his works being presented with funds from a Russian oligarch. His work already has had the infamous insider dealing of his estate to mock his intentions. Oh how the world has changed, Rothko, a Latvian ( previously within Russia) émigré to the USA was once upon a time presented as part of the CIA's cultural cold war against the political realism of Russia. And a mild ironic topping to this layer cake, Irving Sandler, the self-confessed one time sceptic of Rothko's is the Rothko authority contributing to the catalogue and programme.

It will be fascinating to learn how the Russian critics and public respond. I trust the paintings.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Post Script re: Don Peebles

Stuck, 2010 by Angela De La Cruz Photo: Andy Keats/Courtesy Camden Arts

I couldn't resist this quick addition given the current Turner Prize nominations which includes Angela de la Cruz.

Untitled A4 Don Peebles 1984 

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Suse Bauer - Hamburg

Gallerie Conradi in Hamburg is showing European hard-edged abstraction from Suse Bauer. There is a distinct difference from that currently taking place in America. There is a awkwardness and tension in Bauer's work that is sharp and urban. This unsettled quality connects with Germany in the 1920's and is confirmed by the wonderful photograph of her in front of her paintings reminding me of Otto Dix's painting of Sylvia Von Harden.  There is an angular affinity with the poetry of Tomma Abts but the Suse Bauer's language is more diagrammatic and surreal. The forms are constructed off balance but are countered and move from flat to perspective shapes. Are those Pancho Villa's legs?

First announcing the symbolic guidance for the organization of the world
Öl auf Papier
290 x 145 cm Photo: Harald Popp 

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Don Peebles obit and Morey de Morand at Poussin

I have never heard of Don Clendon Peebles, a New Zealand painter who died recently but his obituary in the Guardian gave the impression of a delightful committed artist and I look forward to learning more about his work. The writer of the obit, Robert Macdonald made an observation about Peebles' career - "Peebles suffered from the critical view that his art was too international in flavour..." This is in contrast to the ambitions of so many academic critics and artists today who frequently express their desire for, and ambition to create work that is universal which in itself appears contrary to the returned trend for the 'local identity' that is being sought in other sectors. On looking around for a Peebles' image this one struck a chord!

 Untitled 2 drawing on fibre paper
Don Peebles

 Camp homemade ink on paper Peter Dickinson

The Poussin Gallery specializes in abstract art and mostly presents artists born in the 40's and 50's. They have a strong identity and approach showing such notables as Alan Gouk, John Hoyland, John Maclean and Paul Tonkin.  In their own words "Poussin Gallery is primarily concerned with the furtherance and promotion of abstract visual art, of a kind which demonstrates an understanding of its links to art history, without resort to nostalgia or mannerism." Their latest exhibition is by C Moray de Morand

Moving On C. Morey de Morand  2010
acrylic on canvas