Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sol Le Witt, new Pace Gallery, Soho ,London

Sol Le Witt, 'Wall Drawing 343,
The new Pace Gallery in London's, that opened its doors in late 2011 has created an installation of an iconic Sol Le Witt wall drawing. The work, 'Wall Drawing 343', was first completed in 1980 and has been installed in private/public collections worldwide, including the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA). It will remain on permanent view at Pace London's Soho office. Abstraktion likes the Pace Gallery for its strong unending quality exhibitions of good modernists abstraction and hope its new UK gallery will continue this position..
For many Sol Le Witt isn't their 'cup of tea', for many he trivialized abstraction by breaking it down to just a formula. But we should look again at his contribution to the genre, as the Press Text states: 'he helped revolutionize the definition of art in the 1960s with his famous notion that "the idea becomes a machine that makes the art" ("Paragraphs on Conceptual Art," Artforum, 1967). Regarded as one of the leading proponents of Minimalism and Conceptual art, LeWitt achieved a major breakthrough in 1968 when he began executing large-scale drawings directly on the wall, using predetermined line-making procedures and materials normally associated with drawing or commercial art techniques. Working directly on the surface of a wall allowed LeWitt to achieve his objective of reinforcing flatness and making a work as two-dimensional as possible.'
Richard Wright, 'The Stairwell Project', 2010, Acrylic on wall, Dimensions variable
Permanent commission, Dean Gallery, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh
But I believe his work is still very relvant for the 21st Century, consider the work of Richard Wright at Gagosion Gallery who won the Turner Prize in the UK..see our post on him here back in 2009.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Jonathan Lasker @ Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France..

Jonathan Lasker 'The Commerce of Dreams' 2011
A new exhibition of the work of Jonathan Lasker is taking place at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Paris until 2nd February 2012. |Lasker always produces interesting ideas about painting and abstraction in particular, here is the Gallery text:

'Lasker developes a formal language. He treats the canvas as a zone where strokes of paint are superposed atop one another in a way that is tangible. The marks, often an assemblage of primary or secondary colours, are distinguished one from another through Lasker's bright, intense, and sharply contrasting colour choices. The colours create fluidity or, conversely, pathways that embed themselves physically into the material, with paint building up along the edges. This sense of impasto, or of fluidity, gives the impression of very different temporalities that in turn shape the way the tableau is interpreted. Lasker's compositions are controlled and structured; they oscillate between intuition and analysis. Lasker seeks a pictorial system that justifies itself. He brings the viewer to the brink of instant reflex, identifying with the image represented.'

Jonathan Lasker 'Common Sense' 2010
I like th titles of his works, always optimistic, like 'The Boundary of Luck' and 'Evidence', 'Life Without Thought', and 'Illusions of the Self'. there is always a distance between the viewer and the painting that leaves a 'coldness' or slickness to his work. yet he has a great visceral quality to the surfaces.. a kind of 21st century Abstract Expressionism..

Monday, 16 January 2012

Alice Browne/James Ferris, Limoncello Gallery, London

Alice Browne, 'Mammoth' oil on canvas, 2011
Limoncello is a funky East London, Hoxton actually, gallery with a roster of young artists, much of them exploring a loose, painterly abstraction in their work. Just as Alice Browne, who's work reminds me of Mali Morris and Roaul de Keyser, finishes her fascinating show of paintings, a painting show with a difference starts, see below..

James Ferris ’5050′ is comprised of 100 of the artist’s paintings made from 2008-2011. The paintings will be available to purchase by all, and will be sold for the amount of the order in which they are sold. The person first through the door at 6:30pm on the opening night can choose any painting and purchase it for £1, the second person to buy any painting will pay £2, up to the one hundredth person for £100. Upon purchase, the paintings will be deinstalled, titled, paid for, wrapped and taken there and then. 
The order of play:
1) View the work
2) Ask a gallery assistant at the desk to remove your painting*
3) The painting will be titled
4) An invoice and artist certificate will be printed
5) The invoice will be settled by cash or cheque
6) The work will be wrapped and handed to the viewer

*Only one painting per person. Open until Saturday 25th February 2012 at Limoncello Gallery
James Ferris gained his degree, BA in Philosophy/Fine Art from Reading University (2003), his MA Fine Art, Goldsmiths, London (2009). He has a forthcoming solo and group exhibitions include dienstgebaeude, Zurich (2012); ‘My Brother is a Hairy Man’ and George Polke, London (2011); ‘Young British Art’, Limoncello, London (2011); and ‘Let’s Be Civil’, And/Or, London (2011). He was selected for the exhibition at Jerwood Contemporary Arts exhibition in 2010.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Blue chip abstraction, Charlene Von Heyl, Tate Liverpool, 2012

Charline von Heyl
At last, an artist we have championed at Abstraktion for some time, Charline Von Heyl, gets the recognition of a big show in the UK at Tate Liverpool. She is a German artist, who came to prominance in the eighties, moved to New York in 1994, has three studios there (one of them in Marfa, Texas) and is, incidently, married to the artist Christopher Wool

Charline von Heyl
Von Heyl has the experimental approach without relying on digital images that set her apart from many of todays painters, especially in the UK, where there is, in my view, a lazy predominance in the use of the internet that remains in the final work. That is not to say she hasn't and doesn't use such imagery, but she goes beyond it, working through it, masking, layering, distorting, destroying the imagery, then rebuilding it. Why von Heyl is good, is because of her distinct depth of her working processes, through both drawing and studio practice often reminiscent of both Oehlen and Richter, yet still retaining a lightness to her work, sometimes verging on figuration, but giving us a rich expanded field of the possibilities of abstract painting.
Charline von Heyl 'Pink Vendetta' 2009 Acrylic & Oil on linen, 82 x 72 inches
Tate Liverpool Press Text: 'Distinctive, imaginative and always surprising, Charline von Heyl’s work offers a fresh and exciting approach to the world of abstract art. Von Heyl is at the forefront of a new generation of abstract painters who have rejected late modernism’s emphasis on a singular signature style. Charline von Heyl at Tate Liverpool will be the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK. Featuring forty two of her large canvasses and a number of unique works on paper, the exhibition explores von Heyl’s work from 1990-2011.'

Charline von Heyl is organised in collaboration with Kunsthalle Nuremberg, where the exhibition will be displayed from 11 July – 30 September 2012. See a great monograph of her work here.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Damien Hirst, 'The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011' Gagosian Gallery, London

DAMIEN HIRST, Levorphanol, 1995 Household gloss on canvas
27 x 27 inches  (68.6 x 68.6 cm) © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2011
'I was always a colorist, I’ve always had a phenomenal love of color… I mean, I just move color around on its own. So that’s where the spot paintings came from—to create that structure to do those colors, and do nothing 
I suddenly got what I wanted. It was just a way of pinning down the joy of color.' Damien Hirst

Gagosian Gallery, 'The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011' of Damien Hirst at Britannia Street gallery, London and worldwide. Like him or loath him, you can't ignore him, he reminds me of a character that's part Stella and Warhol combined in a Frankenstein hybrid, competing with Jeff Koons for popularity, like a child on sugar, he can't stop himself carving out a place in the British art scene.

Here is the Press Text from the well oiled Gagosian Gallery: 
'The exhibition will take place at once across all of Gagosian Gallery’s eleven locations in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong, opening worldwide on January 12, 2012. Most of the paintings are being lent by private individuals and public institutions, more than 150 different lenders from twenty countries. Conceived as a single exhibition in multiple locations, “The Complete Spot Paintings 1986–2011” makes use of this demographic fact to determine the content of each exhibition according to locality. 
Included in the exhibition are more than 300 paintings, from the first spot on board that Hirst created in 1986; to the smallest spot painting comprising half a spot and measuring 1 x 1/2 inch (1996); to a monumental work comprising only four spots, each 60 inches in diameter; and up to the most recent spot painting completed in 2011 containing 25,781 spots that are each 1 millimeter in diameter, with no single color ever repeated.'

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Tomory Dodge, Monica De Cardenas Gallery, St.Moritz, Switzerland, 2012

Tomory Dodge, 'Caisson' Oil on canvas, 2011
If you haven't yet had the chance to see the work of the American artist Tomory Dodge, then now is the time, especially if you are planning a trip to St.Moritz, his work is currently being shown at the Monica De Cardenas Gallery until 4th Febuary 2012.

As I plan a last look at Gerhard Richter: Panorama at Tate Modern tomorrow, before it ends, there is a similarity to both these artists works. Dodge creates great paintings and is, essentially, an Abstract Expressionist at heart, perhaps, because he is from Colorado we could refer to Jackson Pollock or Clyfford Still, for that large visceral exposure of the canvas to colour and gesture..As many of us attempt to push the boundaries of abstraction through painting, away from old Abstract Expressionist ideas, in a post-modern/post-theory attempt to add some kind of newness to our work; there is something to be said for keeping it simple, don't worry about context and theory, just do, allow the painting to just be a you get there dosen't matter, how you respond to the work is what counts and I respond to these works very positively.

'Tomory Dodge's canvases recall the sublime through an abstract and seductive use of color and movement. The compositional negotiation between beauty and destruction suggests the artist's preoccupation with catastrophe, rapture, transcendence, and rebirth. Looking at them feels like enjoying the calm before the storm.' Lauren O'Neill - Butler, Artforum 2008

Tomory Dodge, Installation view,  (c) Monica De Cardenas Gallery

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Abstract Possible: Symposium/exhibitions, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, January 2012

Tensta Konsthall’s new program launches in 2012 with the exhibitions Abstract Possible: The Stockholm Synergies and Bidoun Library on view beginning 12 January-22 April 2012
Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden

Doug Ashford, Claire Barclay, José León Cerrillo, Yto Barrada, Matias Faldbakken, Priscila Fernandes, Zachary Formwalt, Liam Gillick/Anton Vidokle, Goldin+Senneby, Wade Guyton, Iman Issa, Gunilla Klingberg, Dorit Margreiter, Åsa Norberg/Jennie Sundén, Mai-Thu Perret, Falke Pisano, Walid Raad, Emily Roysdon, Tommy Stöckel,

Tensta Konsthall: 12 January-22 April
Bukowskis: 27 January-12 February
Center for Fashion Studies, University of Stockholm: January 2012-December 2013

Press Text: 
'Abstract Possible; The Stockholm Synergies explores three prominent tendencies in contemporary art which are followed, examined and problematized: formal abstraction, economic abstraction and “strategies of withdrawal.” Formal abstraction encompasses painting, sculpture, installations and video that reflect abstract languages, especially geometric abstraction, which often recalls the classic avant-garde’s development of a novel visual expression. Economic abstraction concerns art and economy, taking up the genuine abstract value of money. “Withdrawal” refers to the wave of artists’ initiatives during the last 15 years that have deliberately not joined what we can call the “mainstream” in order to create a greater degree of self-determination for the artists. 

In correlation with Abstract Possible; The Stockholm Synergies, the report Contemporary Art and its Commercial Markets: A Report on Current Conditions and Scenarios for the Future is published by Sternberg Press. The report is edited by Olav Velthuis and Maria Lind and includes contributions by Stefano Baia-Curioni, Karen van den Berg/Ursula Pasero, Isabelle Graw, Goldin+Senneby, Noah Horowitz, Suhail Malik/Andrea Phillips, Alain Quemin and Olav Velthuis. Design by Metahaven. A symposium on the occasion of the report’s release will take place on Saturday 28.1. This report explores a number of interrelated institutional developments in the last couple of decades, which have had a significant impact on the way art is marketed and perceived by its audiences. For instance, the rise of the art fair, the internet and the increased competition of auction houses on the contemporary market both reflect and further propel the globalization and commercialization of the art world; the latter much to the dismay of numerous artists and critics who claim that commerce has an uneasy relationship with art production and perception.'

Tensta Konstall
Taxingegränd 10
163 64 Spanga
fon +46 8 36 07 63