Friday, 30 December 2011

John Chamberlain, American abstract sculptor and painter, dies..

John Chamberlain 'Kora', metal, 1963 (c) Tate Modern
There's an interesting little obituary on the life of John Chamberlain in the the Huffpost, check it out here. Here is a great little book where Chamberlain discusses his work with Hans Ulrich Obrist. They've got a couple of nice works at the Tate Modern, it may not be the MOMA, but hey, we Brits liked him too..

'The Indiscipline of Painting: International Abstraction..', moves, 2012

If you missed the big exhibition The Indiscipline of Painting: International Abstraction from the 1960s to Now at Tate St.Ives, where an attempt to survey abstraction in postmodern times, then you have the opportunity to see it at the Mead Gallery at Warwick Art Centre from 14th January to 10th March. This was an interesting exhibition at Tate St.Ives and it was a big exhibition that relied on more that just pulling out some of the old paintings in the Tate storage facilities, but actually borrowing works from further afield. 
Francis Baudevin print, for 'Indiscipline of Painting' (win a print here)
Hopefully it will give the future curators working at or with Tate St.Ives, the confidence to push for more interesting works and gain more support or funding to in creating a popular show and enticing art lovers down to the Cornish peninsula.

Though some of the work had a lightness that I found frustrating when seeing the works in such a confined space, perhaps it says more about the 'postmodern' times than specific artists approach, there still remained a slickness and Minimalist aesthetic throughout that makes you feel that abstraction is just about decoration, I felt it wasn't historically accurate, there are none of the 'big British heavies', or any of the later works by the St.Ives artists like Heron, Scott, Barns-Graham etc, that held on to abstraction through the sixties and seventies and were recognized more internationally than in Britain during this time, or any of the hard-edge painters in London at the time such as, Denny, Hoyland, or the later works of Gillain Ayres, Mali Morris etc. but some inclusions by artsist that have little to do with abstraction or have played a minimal part in its history. Still, it was an interesting show and worth seeing, and we bigged it up in a post back in October (see here). 
Mali Morris, 'Plural on Red' 2002
Here's the press release: 'The Indiscipline of Painting' is an international group exhibition including works by forty-nine artists from the 1960s to now. Selected by British painter Daniel Sturgis, it considers how the languages of abstraction have remained urgent, relevant and critical as they have been revisited and reinvented by subsequent generations of artists over the last 50 years. It goes on to demonstrate the way in which the history and legacy of abstract painting continues to inspire artists working today.

The contemporary position of abstract painting is problematic. It can be seen to be synonymous with a modernist moment that has long since passed, and an ideology which led the medium to stagnate in self-reflexivity and ideas of historical progression.The Indiscipline of Painting challenges such assumptions. It reveals how painting’s modernist histories, languages and positions have continued to provoke ongoing dialogues with contemporary practitioners, even as painting’s decline and death has been routinely and erroneously declared.

The show brings together works by British, American and European artists made over the last five decades and features major new commissions and loans. It includes important works by Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Gerhard Richter and Bridget Riley alongside other lesser known artists such as Tomma Abts, Martin Barré, Mary Heilmann and Jeremy Moon.'

The painter and curator, Daniel Sturgis is presenting a lecture on the exhibition on Tuesday 31st January in the Conference Room at 6.30 PM, click here for more details.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

'Eye to Eye', Joseph Marioni, The Phillips Collection, Washington DC, USA

An often side-lined American abstract artist currently showing at The Phillips Collection is Joseph Marioni. The lush surfaces of his paintings explore the visceral quality of paint on canvas. He has a similarity to the Minimalist works of Brice Marden in the seventies, which the MOMA has a good collection of. He has had two interesting shows in 2011, namely at that great French exhibition space Espace de la Concret  and BAM/PFA at University of California,  Berkeley, entitled Abstract Now and Then, they also have an interesting exhibition in 2012 of Abstract Expressionism from their collection, click here for details. Worth checking out, exhibition ends on 29th January, 2012.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

New abstract paintings of Carmen Herrera, Lisson Gallery, London in 2012

An exhibition of the artist Carmen Herrara is taking place at the Lisson Gallery, London from 1st February - 3rd March 2012. 

Carmen Herrera, 'Red with White Triangle' (1961), Acrylic on canvas, 
48 x 66 inches, Private Collection, New York, (This work is probably not going to be in the show)

I had the opportunity some years ago to visit the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, Cuba and see for myself the modernist paintings that echoed the major avant-garde movements taking place in Europe and America through the Twentieth Century. Even though the artists were cut off politically and culturally after the revolution, there was evidence of a rich engagement with their practice and an independent spirit and passion for painting.

Herrara, who was born in 1915, came out of that international experimental and Romantic ideal forged in the 1940's by many painters and shows an influence from Barnett Newman (listen to MOMA 'Vir Hiroicus Sublimis' multi-media description here) and Abstract Expressionism developed  through her subsequent travels in America, where she settled in New York since 1954) and Europe (living in France for a while) and a unique and passionate response to abstraction through her reductive abstract paintings. Through time she refined her focus, playing with symmetry and asymmetry, flatness and depth, illusion and the physicality of painting. The Ikon Gallery, Birmingham held a large scale retrospective of her work in 2009. This new exhibition at Lisson should be a very exciting example of her recent developments.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Helen Frankenthaler, radical abstract painter..

Helen Frankenthaler (c) ArtStory
Thanks, Peter for your post on the sad death of Helen Freankenthaler, she was the last of the Abstract Expressionists and a good friend of our John Hoyland. Her work, along with Joan Mitchell, has been redefined in recent years and we have a much greater understanding of their contribution to the lasting legacy of that great American abstract movement some sixty years ago. It was her revolutionary staining technique that Frankenthaler and her contemporaries Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland, also known as 'Post Painterly Abstraction' shall be remembered for.

I first came across her when at art school during the presentation of the art documentary 'Painters Painting' by Emile de Antonio (see above, scoll along to 2:25). I was first struck by her elegance and articulate nature which is captured in this little clip from the fifties. This work below is her most renowned piece from 1952, which explores her staining technique.

Helen Frankenthaler, 'Mountains and Sea', oil on canvas, 1952

Helen Frankenthaler 1928 - 2011 I recently discovered that some friends of mine spent time with Helen Frankenthaler in New York and they described her as elegant, charming, witty and modest. This could be a description of her work and a suitable elegy.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Ellsworth Kelly at LACMA and new Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles, USA

A new retrospective exhibition of Ellsworth Kelly, the master of geometric and Minimalist abstraction, is to take place at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (BCAM, Level 2) from January 22 – April 22, 2012.

Ellsworth Kelly, Colors on a Grid, 1976, lithograph on 350-gram Arches 88 paper, 48 ¼ x 48 ¼ inches (122.6 x
122.6 cm), edition of 46, © Ellsworth Kelly and Tyler Graphics, Ltd.
From the press: 'Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings is the first retrospective examination of Kelly’s exceedingly prolific print practice since 1988. The exhibition includes over 100 prints, the majority from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation, and five paintings.  The exhibition is organized thematically in order to explore Kelly’s mastery of key formal motifs: grids, contrast and curves. In the words of catalogue raisonné author Richard Axsom, Kelly’s prints “exchange the totemic presence, the tangible physicality and public assertiveness of the paintings and sculptures for the qualities no less genuine in registering Kelly’s vision: intimacy, delicacy, and in nearly immaterial veils of shape and color, an unmatched ethereality.” '

There will also be an exhibition at the new Matthew Marks Gallery that represents him in Los Angeles to accompany the retrospective. 

Friday, 23 December 2011

Victor Pasmore: From Construction to Spraypaint, New Art Centre, Wiltshire, England

Installation view, Victor Pasmore, (c) New Art Centre 
Victor Pasmore: From Constructions to Spraypaint. An often neglected British abstract artist of the the post-war years, Pasmore played a significant role in modernising British art education and was an influential teacher at Newcastle School of Art, with Richard Hamilton and Ian Stephenson. His late works are becoming more known and understood for their innovative use of spraypaint and the poetic use of line. This exhibition champions his last great abstract works that reflect his early interest in landscape and a very British sense of colour, also showing his three dimensional constructions. This exhibition is on until 12th January, also Roche Court Sculpture Park/New Art Centre is a unique and funky place to visit with much to offer the art lover on a cold Winter's day..

Installation view, Victor Pasmore, (c) New Art Centre

From Press Release: 'Victor Pasmore: From Constructions to Spray Paint, brings together key pieces from the most important decades of Pasmore's career. His constructed reliefs from the 1960s are amongst his most familiar geometric works in which Pasmore combined ideas of growth and harmony in three dimensions. These will be shown with essentially two-dimensional works combining fine lines and broader bands of colour. In later years, Pasmore returned to a more poetic style of painting, in which colour and organic forms dominated and his subsequent use of spray paint gave an immediate rhythm and movement, which replaced the rigour of his more static compositions.'

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Peter Krauskopf, new abstract paintings at Walter Storms Galerie, Munich

Exhibition installation at Walter Storms Gallery

We like the new paintings of Peter Krauskopf at Walter Storms Gallery, he develops a style of paintings that builds over time, creating a surface of over-painting, the gallery states: 'These are concretions of a time history: On homogeneous smooth surfaces which consist either of polished, complex previously discarded images or monochrome underpainting, Krauskopf takes a single image making procedure. He pushes with a knife or a brush, a broad even coverage over an unprecedented imagination. Thus, a symbiosis occurs between a picture of the past and its completion in the present.' These are exciting paintings moving abstraction on, yet acknowledging the developments of postmodern abstraction. There is a new monograph on the artist, Peter Krauskopf, 'Block', with texts by Ulrich Bischoff and Julia Franck.

Peter Krauskopf (born 1966) graduated in painting at theAcademy of Visual Arts in Leipzig in 1997 as a master class of Prof. Arno Rink. Since then his work in numerous institutional solo exhibitions were on display. Peter Krauskopf's work is represented in numerous public collections, including in the Print Room and the Galerie NeueMeister, Dresden, the Germanic National Museum, Nuremberg, Berlin Gallery and the Paul-Loebe House for members of the Bundestag, Berlin.

Peter Krauskopf, 'Haus' oil on canvas, 2011

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Rachel Howard, 'Folie a Deux' abstractions at Blain/Southern, London

Rachel Howard 'Regulus', 2011 (Detail), acrylic, house hold gloss and oil on canvas
The exhibition of paintings 'Folie A Deux' at Blain/Southern is until 22nd December. I know Rachel is part of the London scene, well known for hanging out with Mr.Hirst and being a kind of gothic girl with a Francis Bacon vibe and married to the Director of OtherCriteria, but we won't hold that against her. This is an interesting painting, for me she does have her moments when her she focuses on abstraction. But I think she gets distracted at being a kind of naughty British Cecily Brown with her suggestive figures, these leave me cold. Blain/Southern explore some interesting childhood ideas in their press release:

'Howard grew up on a farm in County Durham and attended a Quaker school, the questions that unsettled her childhood and troubled her in adolescence (“If God made me, then who made God?”) remain anchored in her work. “I am petrified of death,” she explains, “I can accept that I will rot and putrefy, but it’s the idea that I will no longer love, paint or think that chills me”. Rachel Howard does not believe in God. But she believes in life – in living, and she believes in art – in painting. It is this faith that shines through her work, and imbues her art with a quality that Joachim Pissarro has declared “sublime” according to Kant’s Critique of Judgement: “The sublime is to be found in an object even devoid of form, so far as it immediately involves, or else by its presence, provokes, a representation of limitlessness, yet with a super-added thought of its totality.”  Howard’s work is total and limitless in its refined glossy abstraction: it allows us to grasp a part of human existence that can not be seen but only felt.' ..and this is an interesting painting also, reminds me of the last Rothko paintings where they just empty out their life..these are real suicide paintings, he was found dead in his studio weeks later.
Rachel Howard 'Suicide Painting 4', 2007, household gloss and acrylic on canvas

Mark Rothko 'Black on Gray' 1969

Monday, 5 December 2011

Discussion by Gerhard Richter with Nick Serota and by Adrian Searle on the painting processes in Richter's paintings...

there are two fascinating documentary video's here: An interesting little video by Adrian Searle where he discusses (click here) Gerhard Richter at Tate, London (with sound effects..) also there is an intimate discussion bty Richter with Tate director Nicholas Serota on painting and his life etc, well worth exploring, click here

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Abstraction and Metamodernism, a way forward?..

Is there a way forward for abstraction through the 'metamodernist' position of Luke Turner based upon and with reference to the notion of Metamodernism as described by Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in 'Notes on metamodernism' (Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2, 2010) or do we not need to define such a standpoint through manifestos anymore?..Abstraktion would like to hear your ideas?... 

Metamodernism Manifesto/ Luke Turner

1.We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

2. We must liberate ourselves from the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child.

3. Movement shall henceforth be enabled by way of an oscillation between positions, with diametrically opposed ideas operating like the pulsating polarities of some colossal electric machine, propelling the world into action.

4. We acknowledge the limitations inherent to all movement and experience, and the futility of any attempt to transcend the boundaries set forth therein. The essential incompleteness of a system should necessitate an adherence, not in order to achieve a given end or be slaves to its course, but rather perchance to glimpse by proxy some hidden exteriority. Existence is enriched if we set about our task as if those limits might be exceeded, for such action unfolds the world.

5. All things are caught up within the irrevocable slide towards a state of maximum entropic dissemblance. Artistic creation is contingent upon the origination or revelation of difference therein. Affect at its zenith is the unmediated experience of difference in itself. It must be art’s role to explore the promise of its own paradoxical ambition by coaxing excess towards presence.

6. The present is a symptom of the twin birth of immediacy and obsolescence. The new technology enables the simultaneous experience and enactment of events from a multiplicity of positions. Far from signalling its demise, these emergent networks facilitate the democratisation of history, illuminating the forking paths along which its grand narratives may navigate the here and now.

7. Just as science strives for poetic elegance, artists might assume a quest for truth. All information is grounds for knowledge, whether empirical or aphoristic, no matter its truth-value. We should embrace the scientific-poetic synthesis and informed naivety of a magical realism. Erroneousness breeds sense.

8. We propose a pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage. Thus,metamodernism shall be defined as the mercurial condition that lies betweenbeyond and in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and fragmentary positions. We must go forth and oscillate.

Monday, 21 November 2011

New forms of abstraction 'Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany' Saatchi HQ, London

Isa Genzken 'Geschwister' 2004, plastic, lacquer, mirror foil, glass, metal, wood, fabric 220 x 60 x 100 cm
An alternative to the Gerhard Richter show at Tate Modern is this one at Saatchi's Chelsea HQ entitled: 'Gesamtkunstwerk: New Art from Germany' from 18th November - 30th April 2012, read the Financial Times review. Following the interesting Abstract America exhibition last year, here is one that explores cross-media abstraction in Germany. I like these works by the artist (and ex-wife of Richter) Isa Gentzen..

Isa Gentzen, 'Kinder Filmen I' 2005, Mirror, metal, adhesive tape, magazine and book pages, stamps acrylic, lacquer, spray paint. 280 x 100 cm each panel (Wall Installation of Four Parts

The art of the 24 artists from or based in Germany presented here provokes a re-assessment of the 19th-century ideal of the 'Gesamtkunstwerk', which can be translated as a total, universal art work, or a synthesis of different art forms into one all-embracing unique genre, especially sculpture.

Thomas Kieswetter, 'Barriere' 2010, Sheet metal, steel 
'Many of these works ask us to think about the boundaries of art, our perception of it, its cultural specificity and its relationship to other disciplines. Running through the works is another, unconscious, quasi-Gesamtkunstwerk: the baggage of post-war German visual culture. If the work of these 24 artists points to a new kind of 'Gesamtkunstwerk' it is one in which high and low culture, the avant-garde and the historical, the everyday and everything in between can co-exist in a body of works which add up to much more than the sum of their parts.'

These artists including Josephine Meckseper, Markus Selg, Thomas Zipp, Max Frisinger, Gert and Uwe Tobias are in dialogue with previous generations of German artists, such as Joseph Beuys, Martin Kippenberger and Gerhard Richter. 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Albert Oehlen, Thomas Dane Gallery, 'Paintings on the Move' London..

Albert Oehlen (c) The artist and Thomas Dane Gallery

One of the finest painters working with abstraction, Albert Oehlenis currently showing subtle works in an exhibition at the Thomas Dane Gallery, London until 19th November 2011. 
'Albert Oehlen - amongst the pre-eminent painters of his generation - pushes the boundaries of his medium to straining point, continuously challenging the canons of painting with a wry humour and brazen originality. The New Yorker Magazine has referred to him as 'the most resourceful painter alive'. This body of work - using charcoal and acrylic on canvas -restricts itself to black and white - and is closely related to his most recent forays into large-scale drawing. 

Born in Krefeld, Germany in 1954, Albert Oehlen lives and works principally in Switzerland and is professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His international exhibitions include retrospective exhibitions at the The Whitechapel, London and Arnolfini Bristol (2006), Miami MOCA (2005), solo shows at the Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nurenberg (2005) Secession, Vienna (2004), Musée Cantonnal de Lausanne (2004), Musée d'Art Contemporain de Strasbourg (2002), Kestner-Gesellschaft, Hanover (2001) and the Kunsthalle Basel (1997).'
Installation view, Albert Oehlen (c) The artist and Thomas Dane Gallery

Monday, 31 October 2011

Matt Connors, ' hundred rubles..', Dusseldorf, Germany

Matt Connors, 'Slow Return' 2010
Some interesting ideas raised at the recent abstractions of Matt Connors exhibition in Germany at Kunsthalle Dusseldorf until 20th November. 'At a time in which the undetermined and personal nature of abstraction is no longer a given, or as Hamza Walker asks, “once abstraction has acquired legibility, is there such a thing as abstract painting?”...'

Matt Connors, 'Red'  oil on canvas, 2010
Matt Connors’ pictures address the 'objectness of painting and the slippage between abstraction and representation while at the same time negotiating the idiosyncrasies of individual vision and creativity'. His works have been seen in solo exhibitions at 'CANADA' in New York, 'The Breeder' in Athens and in the fall will be the subject of an upcoming solo exhibition at Lutgen Miejar in Berlin...

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Gerhard Richter, Marion Goodman Gallery, Paris

Um, yes sorry, it's Gerhard Ricter again...this time in Paris at Marion Goodman..

New works, installation view
'The first series of paintings, Perizade (2010), was created by pouring liquid paint freely on glass plates. Here the material of the paint is present and the forms undulate, providing a contrast to the big digital prints entitled Strip (2011), which are composed of a rigorous system of parallel lines. Nevertheless, the point of departure for the Strip is a painting, created by the artist in 1990: Abstract Painting (724-4). With the help of software he divided this work vertically, first in 2, then in 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, and 4096. This process led to the creation of 8190 strips, all of the same height as the original painting. At each stage of division the strips got thinner. They are mirrored and repeated which results in patterns. The number of repetitions increases with each stage of division in order to make patterns of consistent size. These works exhibited here are unique prints chosen and combined from different strips. 
New small works, installation view
As Benjamin H.D. Buchloh writes: “The status of painting in these new works is figured as exceptionally fragile, yet it is powerfully formulated in its assimilation to its technological challenges, as though painting was once again on the wane under the impact of technological innovations. Yet in its application of almost Duchampian strategies of fusing technology and extremely refined critical pictorial reflection, Richter's astonishing new works open a new horizon of questions. These might concern the present functions of any pictorial project that does not want to operate in regression to painting's past, but that wants to confront the destruction of painterly experiences with the very practice of painting as radical opposition to technology's totalizing claims, and as manifest act of mourning the losses painting is served under the aegis of digital culture”.'

Friday, 21 October 2011

Sean Scully at the Kerlin Gallery

Here are a couple of the photographs taken by Nick Smith when I went to interview Sean Scully in Germany earlier this year. The painting behind Sean in the top photograph is titled "Put it Back" and belongs to Sean's son Oisin. The interview is in the current edition of Turps Banana along with Dan Coombs piece on Tomma Abts. You can download it from itunes here.
This one is just to prove that I was there!
Sean is currently showing work at the Kerlin Gallery in Dublin 6 October - 19 November. The exhibition includes these delightful works:

Full sized image

Cut Ground Blue Pink 2011 153 x 153
Full sized image
Wall of Light Grey White 2011 153 x 153

Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Indiscipline of Painting: International abstraction from the 1960's to now, Tate St.Ives, UK

Mary Heilmann 'Primalon Ballroom' 2002, Oil on canvas and wood, 50 x 40”, 
Kenny Schachter & Ilona Rich, ©Mary Heilmann
At last Tate St.Ives has a large international show and it's on abstraction. I go down there every year and I am always frustrated that it doesn't seem to get enough of the more sexy works in the Tate vaults. 'The Indiscipline of Painting' is an international group exhibition including works by forty-nine artists from the 1960s to now and this time they have been given some money and have got some excellent loaned works from diverse artists: Stella, Heilmann, Warhol, Dan Walsh, Gerhard Richter, Sherrie Levine, Katharina Grosse and Peter Halley and Tomma Abts to name a few. Here are a few words from the press release..
'The exhibition is selected by British painter Daniel Sturgis, it considers how the languages of abstraction have remained urgent, relevant and critical as they have been revisited and reinvented by subsequent generations of artists over the last 50 years. It goes on to demonstrate the way in which the history and legacy of abstract painting continues to inspire artists working today. The exhibition runs 8th October 2011 - 3rd  January 2012.
Andy Warhol, 'Eggs' 1982, acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, 228.6 x 177.8 cm,
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution:The Andy Warhol Foundation
 for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, NY & DACS, London

Friday, 7 October 2011

Ars Electronica and Cern need you - The Answers no longer compute.

A clip from an article in The Arts Newspaper “I consider Cern one of the most culturally significant places today,” says Ariane Koek, head of Cern’s arts programme. “It’s really breaking the boundaries of what we know about the world and how we understand it. It seemed to me that it also had the potential to be one of the most inspirational places on earth for artists.”
This sentiment is echoed at the centre where Koek experienced a “rabid hunger” from the scientists for artistic intervention. How­ever, the residency programme was funded externally by private donors because the contributions by Cern’s 20 European member states, which totalled almost €1bn last year, are earmarked for science and technology alone. Ars Electronica will sponsor the €10,000 stipend. Abstraktionists apply here Ars Electronica

This competition is open to all kinds of innovative concepts and ideas in the fields of art and technology.

Meng Tang UofM MFA Blog

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The subtle minimalism in the paintings of Markus Amm, David Kordansky Gallery, Culver City, CA

Found this interesting exhibition of abstract painting, this is the work of Markus Amm at David Kordansky Gallery. it is very subtle, have a look..
Markus Amm, David Kordansky Gallery, Gallery 2, Culver City
There seems like there is little going on here...I've been to Culver City, I don't remember there being much there, well now they have Markus Amm and the Kordansky Gallery! The show includes small, medium and large-scale works that fall into two broad categories: acrylic-and-gesso paintings on canvas, and oil paintings on gesso board.
'Amm utilizes the constituent elements of painting as the foundations for works that reassess the legacy of geometric abstraction. He assigns content-based value to what might be mistaken as purely formal practice, and shows how even the most basic, platonic shapes can be mined for connections to a complex contemporary world. In some cases, this means revisiting preconceived ideas about the relationship between image, material and support; in others, he shows how the conceptual envelopes in which painting is seen readily influence its composition. 
Markus Amm, 'Untitled', 2010, oil on gesso board, 13.7 x 11.8 inches (35 x 30 cm)
These monochromatic fields are divided by sharp lines; their brief moments of color separate the compositions into interlocking forms, provoking readings in which shapes fit into, surround, complete, or sit on top of each other. The lyrical quality of the work belies the fact that Amm applies the lines by using tape and acrylic spray paint. Relative speeds of painting and looking are played against one another, and the eye slows down in places where it is accustomed to speeding up.'

There is a subtle touch with these works, they are more than just minimalist explorations but interesting evocations in paint, do they explore emotion? who knows, does it matter, just great painting...

Monday, 26 September 2011

The team at CERN have apparently revealed that light travels slower than nutrinos and in doing so they appear to have completely challenged the description of nature that has been in place all my life. Einstein when he arrived at his theory of relativity declared that his work did not undermine the work of Newton's. It took 200 years for the mechanical theories to be superseded by special relativity. General relativity was published in 1916 and was based on the speed of light. Now 96 years later it has been suggested that this model doesn't stand up - is not true. So you can imagine how excited I was that science's certainty was possibly flawed. ( Regular followers will understand why this appeals despite being a fan) but here is a fascinating description by Ethan Siegel theoretical astrophysicist, of what the CERN experimenters are up to and a set of reasons why light may still be the fastest thing in the universe! No comparison to art at all.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Robert Motherwell at Bernard Jacobson, first 'Works on Paper' in the UK

Robert Motherwell, 'Red Open', 1980, Acrylic/charcoal on canvas, 35.6 x 45.7 cm
The significance of Robert Motherwell is well-known, he is very popular at Abstraktion for the diversity of his ideas in drawing, painting, collage. It is hard to believe that this is the first exhibition of his works on paper in the United Kingdom and well done Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 6 Cork Street, London. This show is open from 11 October to 26 November 2011.  

Robert Motherwell was a major figure in the and development of Abstract Expressionism and the youngest member of the ‘New York School’, a term he coined. I explored his use of Zen Buddhist ideas and iconography for my thesis and realsied how broad and deep his influence was on his time and since. Yet he remains the lesser known of the Abstract Expressionist movement.

Robert Motherwell 'Beside the Sea No. 45', 1967, Acrylic/ink on paper, 76.5 x 54.9 cm
'His career spanned five decades during which time he created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. A passionate advocate and articulate spokesman for Abstract Expressionism, he believed that ideas and emotions were best communicated through the bold forms and gestural lines of abstract art. This exhibition will include sixty works from the 'Lyric Suite', a group of works from the 'Beside the Sea' series and a selection of works based upon James Joyce’s 'Ulysses' as well as an abstract portrait of the poet. A further selection of works from the 1940s to the 1980s includes 'Elegy' and 'Je t’aime' as well as automatism drawings, work from the 'Drunk with Turpentine', 'Gesture' and the 'Open' series.

Bernard Jacobson Gallery held the first exhibition in Britain of Robert Motherwell’s 'Open' series in 2008, and in 2013 the gallery will hold an exhibition of the collages. In 2015, to coincide with Motherwell’s centenary of his birth, they will have a major exhibition of paintings.' Robert Motherwell we salute you...

Robert Motherwell, 'The Measure of Things,1979Oil on gesso panel, 17.8 x 33.6 cm

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Sean Scully interview and Turps Banana launch, Hoxton, London

I had the pleasure of interviewing Sean Scully in Germany earlier this year. You can read the interview in Turps Banana-Issue 10, UK painting magazine.. David Moxon and I attended the launch last night in Hoxton, London. With our wonderful hosts Marcus Harvey and Peter Ashton-Jones and with bar snacks at hand, we had a great evening. Abstraktion met the art historian Nicholas Usherwood from Abstract Critical and discussed, guess what, abstraction. Also present and engaging were David Ben White, Christopher P Wood, Garth Lewis, Gus Harvey, Jeffrey Dennis, Jasper Joffe, Clive Hodgson, Tim Renshaw amongst many others we didn't have the time to speak to...

Abstract Critical meets Abstraktion..

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Remembering Richard Hamilton and 'An Exhibit', 1957

The British artist Richard Hamilton  has died aged 89. Hamilton made his name in 1956 with the Independent Group exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery entitled 'This is Tomorrow' (re-exhibited earlier this year) with his now infamous collage 'Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?' and ushering in Pop Art. He also designed the 'white album' for The Beatles, documented the Rolling Stones drug bust with Robert Fraser and Mick Jagger in the the back of the police car in 'Swingeing London' and worked closely with Duchamp. But I want to explore his contribution  to abstraction in collaboration with Victor Pasmore entitled 'An Exhibit' from 1957.

Richard Hamilton (with Victor Pasmore), Exhibit 2,
installation view, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1959. Courtesy the artist
This has been re-made a number of times and filmed, especially at Generali Foundation in Austria. 'The premise of 'An Exhibit' was to show 'no objects, no ideas': a show that consisted of colourful panels loosely suspended in space so that visitors could amble freely between them. This formal decision to do without exhibits and make the display itself the subject of the show can be traced back to a series of attempts in modern art to expand painting into space, as in the case of El Lissitzky or Mondrian, or to elevate the display to the status of a subject in itself, as in the case of Frederick Kiesler or Herbert Bayer. 'An Exhibit' is relevant also as a form of interrogation of the institutional space and the roles played by authorship and the position of the beholder: composed of modular elements, the space enables forever different subjective experiences of spatiality as the visitors become authors who "conceive" the space in forever new ways. The translucent panels, finally, mark a play with the experience of transparency and opacity that is of decisive importance to the subject’s perceptions in a world defined by media.'

Re-exhibition, 'An Exhibit', Generali Foundation, Vienna, Austria
Check out the exhibition from earlier this year and all the other great art at the Generali Foundation in Vienna. Read Jonathan Jones comments in the Guardian. Another great artist from the 1960's dies, Richard Hamilton 1922-2011.