Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Abstract Expressionist New York - MOMA

'Painting' De Kooning 1948


Drawn entirely from the Museum’s vast holdings, Abstract Expressionist New York underscores the achievements of a generation that catapulted New York City to the center of the international art world during the 1950s, and left as its legacy some of the twentieth century’s greatest masterpieces. Galleries on the fourth floor present Abstract Expressionist paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, films, and archival materials in a display subtitled The Big Picture, marking the first time in the history of the new Museum building that a full floor has been devoted to a single theme. Jed Perl, a significant contributor to Modern Painters ( Monet, Derain, Poussin), isn't impressed with the curation and hang. He obviously admires the work, which he no doubt knows intimately, but feels the exhibition doesn't reflect the nature of the school or the city being presented.  Here is his article in The New Republic.

Carmen Herrera interview with Hans Oberist

Avila 1974 Carmen Herrera

Phillips De Pury art dealers and auctioneers have in there latest catalogue an interview with Carmen Herrera. It is accessible on line here. Herrera acknowledges the influence of Russian artists and the acceptance she found as a woman artist in Paris, in Europe. Curiously she seems to contradict herself when she states that "artist's should be like children -  seen not heard, they never say intelligent things."(telling of her generation and environment), that they shouldn't philosophise and then declares how her admiration for Barnett Newman is partly informed by his voiced intelligence. "Barnett Newman was the most intelligent person I ever heard talk about art". To be fair though I  think she is just advocating painting over talking as is evident in her anecdote that describes how she came to 'depuration'.  Hans Oberist draws out her ideas about 'models' and whether there is politics in her work. He asks about Cuba, colours, architecture, and finally whether there is spirituality in her work. They are coming out of the woodwork. The publication also includes an article on Francis Alÿs and an interview with Carlos Amorales.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Independent Eye Yale Centre for British Art

This Autumn the Yale Center for British Art will launch its 2010–11 season with an exhibition of major works by postwar British artists who came to maturity in the 1960s. Opening September 16th, The Independent Eye: Contemporary British Art from the Collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie will feature thirty-six paintings and fourteen works on paper by Patrick Caulfield, John Walker, R. B. Kitaj, Howard Hodgkin, and Ian Stephenson, in addition to paintings by John Hoyland, England’s foremost abstract painter, all drawn from the collection of Samuel and Gabrielle Lurie.


 Organized by the Yale Center for British Art, the exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book with essays by leading critics and writers on contemporary British art, including Mel Gooding, Paul Moorhouse, John McEwen, Chris Yetton, and Jo Applin, and a tribute to John Hoyland by Sir Anthony Caro.
The Independent Eye marks the first museum exhibition of selected works from the Lurie collection of British art, which will be gifted to the Yale Center for British Art. The exhibition will bring to the forefront British artists who have produced provocative work over long and consistently prolific careers. On view will be Caulfield’s seminal painting, Wine Bar (1983); two transcendental and viewer-envelopingDioramas by Stephenson, dating from 1967; Walker’s monumental tributes to old master painting, realized through energized, tactile, abstract shapes; and a number of major works by Hoyland. 



Karen Wilkin in the New York Journal writes "The result is an exhilarating, sharply focused, idiosyncratic survey, a deep but selective core sampling of the generation of British artists whose exuberant art seems to defy their youthful experience of World War II and the deprivations of the postwar period." 


Look out for my interview with John Hoyland due out in the next edition of Turps Banana.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Ian McKeever at the RA's artists' laboratory



The Laboratory at The Royal Academy's Weston rooms an initiative that enables academicians to experiment. Familiar names get a chance to present other, lesser known aspects of their work. The current 'scientist' is Ian Mc Keever  who is exhibiting his photographs alongside his large paintings. McKeever made the work after he moved from London to Hartgrove in Dorset. The photographs appear as documentary sketches for outlines, compositions and a general play of light. The paintings are ethereal tissue like cells with amorphous layers.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Post War Abstract Painting from Europe and South America, 1945-1970 @ Austin/Desmond. London

The significance of abstract painting from South America and its association with European abstraction is being explored in a show at Austin/Desmond Fine Art, London

Max Bill, Josef Albers, Victor Vasarely, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Judith Lauand, Lothar Charoux, Geraldo de Barros, Anthony Hill, Kenneth and Mary Martin

RAUL LOZZA (Argentina, 1911-2008) No.278 1950

The title Abstraction-Creation refers to the European abstract art movement of the same name founded by Theo van Doesburg in Paris in 1931. This exhibition includes both Geometric Abstraction, Concrete Art and Constructivist art including the British artists Anthony Hill and Kenneth and Mary Martin. Although many of the artists in this exhibition moved away from Van Doesburg’s notion of Geometric Abstraction, they all championed a purely non-representational abstract approach to painting and sculpture. These painters were searching for the absolute and the struggle for pure meaning...

This exhibition is in association with Arevalo Arte, Miami, USA. A variety of works, ranging from three dimensional sculptures, to paintings, photography, collage, works on paper and journals will be on display.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be available

'What is abstraction and why do we need it?'-Sean Scully talks candidly to Jonathan Jones

I went to an illuminating talk at Tate Britain a few years ago where he talked very honestly about his life and paintings with Tim Marlow. In this recent interview he talks candidly about how important England is to him, spirituality, the 'Wall of Light' painting and about the 'moral force of abstraction...' we hope you find it interesting. I think it's a little gem.

Sean Scully  'Wall of Light'  108 x 120 cm

Click here for Sean Scully interview on video with Jonathan Jones the Guardian Newspaper, 14th June 2010.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Martin Barré (1924-1993) Galerie Nathalie Obadia

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is currently exhibiting work by Martin Barré.  An artist that is surely of significance to the current reductionists but the difference is that there is protest in Martin Barré that has informed the materials and the style not just an adoption of a cool, simple aesthetic.



Earlier this year the Christies auctioneer's had a sale of  Martin Barré's work and their description in the catalogue gives a good sense of his work:

"An extremely discreet painter, Martin Barré worked tirelessly throughout his life to conceal the artist behind the creative act and he was very economical with the resources he used. For titles, for instance, his works bear impersonal series of numbers and letters. This makes it difficult to identify in the painter a particular intention, plan or ambition: the painting does not refer to anything, it is its own referent. Halfway between geometric abstraction and lyrical abstraction, Martin Barré's work is now considered to be a pioneer of minimal art in France.

His early works, produced using a knife, demonstrate great mastery of composition and a clear sense of colour. 56-80-P is symbolic of this period: the space of the canvass, cleverly worked into a series of rectangular blocks of colour and geometrical breaks, effects a skilful unbalance through which a powerful tension is expressed between form and colour and emptiness and fullness. Later, gradually reducing his palette to monochrome, Martin Barré escaped from the orthogonal restrictions of the canvass in which he had previously been confined, as if the work now extended out of its frame. The works from 1966 and 1967 presented here are the expression of this new approach.

Produced using spray paint, both works (lots 29 and 30) reveal traces of a foamy, vaporous black, as if expanding over the flat surface of the canvass. Black on white: the shape erupts from the canvass in a very simple but incredibly striking way, never allowing itself to be confined: it is fleeting, it passes through without stopping, it is moving, whether embodied in the dynamic flight of an arrow (67-F-12) or penetrating the space from the edge of the canvass, before shooting out the other side (67-Z-21). Barré's artistic act is eminently political, influenced by the graffiti painted with spray cans during the Algerian war. But above all because it makes a radical distinction between the work and its author, the spray can carries out the artist's work: the painter remains at a distance from the canvass, there is no longer a brush, no longer a knife, nothing to provide physical continuity between him and his medium. The artistic act therefore becomes purely independent, referring to nothing other than itself, in other words its own movement and its own vibration."




Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Jaroslaw Flicinski Talk @ Arnolfini, Bristol

The contemporary Polish artist Jaroslaw Flicinski, known for his wall installation paintings, is giving a talk at 6PM on Wednesday 27th October at Arnolfini.

Jaroslaw Flicinski, Better Tomorrow, 2010, Museum Sztuki, Lodz.
Image courtesy of Museum Szuki, Poland. Photo (c) M. Cholewinski



Originally trained as an architect and later turning to painting when studying at Academy of Fine Arts in Gadansk. with references to a variety of painting styles, especially Hard Edge Painting, but with a playful Post Modernist twist. The artist will be talking about his new commission for Ashton Park School in Bristol.

£6.00/£4.50 Conc/Free for UWE stafff and students with ID

Check out Flicinski's website here.

Wei Ligang at The Contrasts Gallery, Shanghai


Wei Ligang was born in Datong, Shanxi Provence. A child prodigy in mathematics, Wei entered the prestigious Nankai University in Tianjin at the age of 17. While pursuing his mathematics degree Wei became engaged in calligraphy, studied under the renowned Li Henian. In 1988, He dedicated himself to his medium and in the late 90’s moved to Beijing to concentrate on and further develop his art. Wei Ligang was included in 'New Ink Painting 'show at Carlton Hobbs in London earlier this year where the work promoted was more Miro with its black trailing lines and filled in loops than the orientally influenced Motherwell! 


Here is an extract from an interview with Wei Ligang by Xiaoxiao Yan for Artslant'China doesn't really have its own abstract art. Mostly people just follow fashion and don't even have their own judgment — they merely throw some folk symbols into their oil paintings.
So how do you understand the idea of abstract art in China?
Well, for example, Western people have already done Abstract Expressionism. But calligraphy offers Chinese artists a different kind of visual system that offers many possibilities for establishing our own kind of Eastern abstract art. This isn't just about symbols, it goes back to something deeper. Nowadays, the students at the Central Academy of Fine Arts start their training by copying realistic, naturalist sketches. Their starting point is the making of an image, and only later do they move to more expressive styling, and non-concrete things. Conversely, if the Chinese character is the object you are copying for practice, well, that's already something abstract, isn't it? And you work from this point of origin toward an abstract system. Moreover, In abstract art, the lines play a huge role. All Western masters go back to the line for their expression - Chagall, Picasso. Pollock goes without saying. When it comes to the use of lines, who has more authority than the Chinese calligraphic masters? Unlike traditional oil painting, the lines in calligraphy are extremely subtle. A brush dipped in liquid can make a very long line, and xuan paper's expressive capacity is also great - oil painting just cannot compare.' 

I like what Wei says about line but I think he can't have seen enough, or the best of oil paintings, if he thinks oils can't match inks for subtlety.


Pearl Lam's Contrasts Gallery 



Richard Lin at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan

One is everything. 50 Years of work by Richard Lin.

Having recently presented an exhibition of Joseph Albers the Koahsiung Museum is currently showing a collection of Richard Lin's work. He is represented by Offer Waterman and Co .

Richard Lin - b.1933

Painter and designer in metal and plastic, working in a Minimalist style, born in Formosa, Taiwan. For a time he workedas Lin Show Yu. Studied at Millfield School, Somerset. In the mid-1950s studied architecture for four years at Regent St Polytechnic. Had first of a series of one-man shows in 1959 at Gimpel Fils, then began to show internationally in the Netherlands, America, Germany and elsewhere, winning several prizes. Was taken up by Marlborough Fine Art. Tate Gallery, Arts Council, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and many overseas galleries hold his work. Lived for a time in Aberystwyth, Wales.


His wall pieces seem to connect with the Donald Judd American influence but his drawings and more painterly work point back to Chinese, Taiwanese ink drawings.