Friday, 24 February 2012

'Dear Painter..', article on abstract painting, Frieze Magazine, London

Bernd Ribbeck,OHNE TITEL (Untitled), 2010, acrylic and pigment marker on MDF
'What does the term 'abstraction' mean to non-figurative painters working today? I spoke to five artists...' so starts an interesting article and interview by the American Curator Christopher Bedford, on the issues in abstract painting explored by Charline Von Heyl, Tomma Abts, Matt Connors, Tauba Auerbach, Bernd Ribbeck. (See our posts on Charlene Von Heyl, Tomma Abbts and Matt Connors last year.)

'I paint and paint and then destroy nine out of ten paintings. And I can't say what I'm editing for; I just know it when I see it.'  Tauba Auerbach

Read it here.
Charline von Heyl Hibiu Habibi, 2011, acrylic and charcoal on linen

Monday, 20 February 2012

Le Corbusier's 'Unite d'Habitation' fire, Marseilles, France was shocked to receive an email regarding the fire at Unité d’Habitation last week, we love inoovative and modernist works..
Le Corbusier, Unite d'Habitation, Marseille, France
Unité d’Habitation, masterpiece of the pioneer of modern architecture, Le Corbusier, suffered a blaze last week. Several apartments in the Marseille building, also known as La Cité Radieuse, were damaged when a fire broke out on 9 February, injuring seven people. A 2004 visit to Unité d’Habitation reignited my enthusiasm for architecture. It is a  conceptual tour de force coupled with a bravura display of craftsmanship. Conceived as a ‘city in the sky’, the building is set in parkland and contains apartments, shops, a hotel, a restaurant and rooftop kindergarten. Many of the details, from the huge almond-shaped pilotti (columns) to the beautiful door handles, are bespoke. The rich colour palette adds a luxurious quality to the interiors and creates an abstract composition out of the elevation.

Built between 1945 and 1952, the building proved hugely influential to architects struggling to re-house postwar Europe. The inferiority of much of what followed should not detract from the sheer quality of this landmark building, now a much sought-after Marseille address.
Fire at Unite d'Habitation, Marseille, France

by Guest Editor: Jason Daye

John Loker, 'Small is Beautiful' @ Flowers Gallery, London

'Small is Beautiful' exhibition of recent works by John Loker ast the Hackney based gallery exploring small print based paintings by this British artist with a distinct visceral quality.
John Loker 'Blank Itinery' mixed media, 2002
'I am initially drawn to the objects or elements used in the work by their power, function or beauty. There is always an underlying content that can be developed, like the icons on a computer; the small image is a surface sign for what is hidden beneath.'   John Loker

John Loker 'Texas 1/2/3, mixed media, 2011

'These thoughts and experiences are feeding the work, they excite me, generating the energy of it, but the working process is the real inventor and director of the work. Finding ways of manipulating surfaces e.g. folding and manipulating the paper surface to reveal the hidden, or finding ways to describe infinity whilst still preserving the integrity of the canvas or paper surface. There are limitless moves of a very physical and messy substance, paint. Instinct, contrivance, intellect and emotion are all contributors to the process.'   Notes on Work: John Loker 2005/10

'Masters of British Abstraction'@ Flowers Gallery, London

This show, at Flowers East, which has just come to an end, of post-war British artists working in abstraction was a great initiative by the gallery in promoting significant British artists and their diverse exploration of the medium, including Richard Smith, Bernard Cohen, John Hoyland, and Jack Smith, amongst others was very interesting. However, it shows that a larger analysis or survey of abstraction is needed. A few of these artsists, like Hoyland and Jack Smith have recently died, therefore an initiative by is being set up to archive, interview, document and champion the artists working in this genre, watch out for more information on this. 
Richard Smith 'Avesdisan ' oil on canvas, 2009
Cedric Christie 'Dancer' (Untitled) Painted aluminium, 2011,

Take a lookat the new exhibition of John Loker....

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Arne Quinze at Vicky David, Chelsea, NY

ARNE QUINZE Feb 2, 2012 - Mar 31, 2012 | Vicky David Gallery Arne Quinze draws with sticks on a huge scale. His show at the Vicky David gallery presents a selection of smaller works that hold together as sculpture, painting and drawing with the construction process being the link but also being the disruption. The press release tells of "pure beauty" - quite a claim.
Arne Quinze, Vicky David Gallery

Monday, 13 February 2012

Jorinde Voigt, drawings at Architectural Association, London

Jorinde Voigt in ‘Artitecture’ at the Architectural Association, Bedford Square, London. A group exhibition and series of talks at the Architectural Association until 11th Feb explore the relationship between art and architecture. Of particular interest to us at Abstraktion, is the work of the Berlin based artist, Jorinde Voigt, who employs line, symbols, text and colour to map events and data. The resulting works on paper are flowing, complex drawings, suggesting breakable codes.

Jorinde Voigt, '100 Views: Nächtliches Konzert (The Romance of the West Chamber; China, mid 19th Century) Countdown-Countup' Rotationsrichtung; Rotationsgeschwindigkeit/ Deklination; Umdrehungen/ Min, Woche, Quartal, Jahr, Berlin 2011, 114,5 x 185 cm, Farbiges Velin- & Ingrespapier, Beistift, Tinte auf Aquarellpapier, Unikat, Signiert (WV 2011-161)
Her work is reminiscent of the dense architectural mapping used to create an intermediary field for experimental ‘paper architecture’ at schools such as the Bartlett and the AA over the last 30 years. The rise to prominence of 3D computer modelling and rendering has somewhat substituted the use of an intricate drawing or map as an altered ground for architectural ideas in recent years. But the seductive quality of a well executed ‘event map’ remains.
Jorinde Voigt, '308 Views' works on paper, 2011
Although there has been a surprisingly limited crossover between this type of architectural representation and art, the work of Jorinde Voigt demonstrates that the ‘no mans land’ between the disciplines in fact provides fertile ground.

Guest Editor: Jason Daye

Abstraction in London, 'Means Without End', Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

The last few days of an interesting show at Pippy Houldsworth, exploring abstraction  in painting, entitled 'Means Without End' with the works of Ian Davenport, Daniel Sturgis, Mark Francis and DJ Simpson.

There is a talk: 'IN CONVERSATION - PAINTING' Richard Dyer with Mark Francis, Ian Davenport, DJ Simpson and Daniel Sturgis Wednesday 15 February 2012 6.30 pm drinks for 7 pm talk  at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery here. This is a focused approach to abstraction, exploring systems, appetterns and a reductive approach.

Mark Francis, 'Duality' 2011, acrylic on canvas, 214 x 153 cm, 84.3 x 60.2 in, H4932

DJ Simpson, 'Isovist', 2011, powder coated aluminium, 125 x 250 x 0.1 cm, H4908

Ian Davenport, 'Puddle Painting (Yellow, Lime Green, Study)' 2010 , acrylic paint on aluminium mounted on aluminium panel, 103 x 158 cm, 40.6 x 62.2 in, H4923

Daniel Sturgis, 'Oscillate Mildly' 2011, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 70 cm

Jean Dubuffet, fascinating legacy @ Pace Gallery, New York

An exhibition of Jean Dubuffet at Pace Gallery in New York can still teach us a few things about how to approach painting and abstraction. The Pace Gallery show: 'Jean Dubuffet: The Last Two Years' is on view at 510 West 25th Street to 10th March, 2012. Check out the Press Release pdf here.

Jean Dubuffet in his studio, c.1960's

“To see the last works, is to see all of Dubuffet, his theoriescontracted into an energetic force comprised of wild, fluid brushstrokes that appear as if they could escape from the confines of any boundaries imposed upon them.” Pace Curator, Harmony Murphy.

Dubuffet was one of the many diverse artists in Europe after WWII that championed 'other' art, that used, much like the Americans did through Abstract Expressionism, the idea of 'automatism' and Surrealism as a new approach to painting through Art Informel.
In 1983 Dubuffet unleashed an extended color palette across the canvas, removing the borders and a representational reference point. Nearly twenty works drawn from the final two bodies of work by the artist.
Jean Dubuffet 'Mele Moments' Acrylic and collage mounted on canvas, 1976
(c) The Pace Gallery
Dubbuffet was very significant in questioning how and why we look at art and painting in a formulaic way, he also champoined 'Outsider Art', checkout the Foundation Jean Dubuffet. He worked in abstraction as well as with a figurative, childlike motifs and often with a violent gestural mark-making, a broad legacy..
Jean Dubuffet 'Radieux météore' 1952
In a letter to the Pace dealer, Arne Glimcher, towards the end of his life, Dubuffet explained his conception for the painting:
'These paintings were intended to challenge the objective nature of being (être). The notion of being is presented here as relative rather than irrefutable: it is merely a projection of our minds, a whim of our thinking. The mind has the right to establish being wherever it cares to and for as long as it likes. There is no intrinsic difference between being and fantasy (fantasme); being is an attribute that the mind assigns to fantasy. One could apply the term ‘nihilism’ to this challenge of being, but it is reverse nihilism, since it confers the power of being on any fantasy whatsoever, given that being is a secretion of our minds. These paintings are an exercise for training the mind to deal with a being that it creates for itself rather than one imposed upon it.
The mind should get rid of the feeling that it alone must change while being cannot change; the mind will train itself to vary being rather than varying itself, the mind will train itself to move through a space in which being is variable and never anything but a hypothesis, the mind will practice using its ability to provide its own fulcrums wherever it wishes, it will learn to rely on illusion, to create the ground on which it walks. The mind will learn how to move through all the various degrees of being, and it will feel at ease when being is undependable, flicks on and off, remains potential, and sleeps or wakes at will. Being and thinking are one and the same.'
Jean Dubuffet 'Mire G 147 Kowloon' October 11 1983, acrylic on canvas-backed paper (c) Foundation Jean Dubuffet
'I have been painting for 40 years, I don't think it is good for my health.' Jean Dubuffet

Monday, 6 February 2012

Alberto Burri: 'Form and Matter', Estorick Collection, London

A big 'Abstraktion Welcome' to our new guest editor, Jason Daye:
Alberto Burri 'Sacking and Red' Oil and sacking cloth,1954
Unbelievably this is the first retrospective exhibition in the UK of Alberto Burri, entitled 'Form and Matter' it's being held at the Estorick Collection in leafy Canonbury Square, North London until 7th April 2012.

A huge influence on the Arte Povera movement and a proponent of Art Informel, Burri is best known for incorporating found materials such as hessian, charred wood, plastic and tar in his paintings of the early 1950s.  This rich celebration of texture was often juxtaposed with areas of vivid  red pigment, thought to have been a response to his experiences as a military physician during World War II. He also had a stronginfluence on British abstraction especially through arrtists such as Sandra Blow, see our earlier post.
He later developed a fascination with fissures, either in large cracked paintings he called Cretti, or in his Land Art Cretto over the earthquake-ravaged town of Gibellina.
Alburti Burri 'Red Plastic' Oil on canvas/mixed media, 1961
Burri’s work is essentially about the process of 'making painting' as a work. If that sounds too dry, the consequence of his process is raw beauty. Visit Estorick to worship at the altar of iconic mid-century abstraction.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Abstract group show including Imi Knoebel at Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne, Germany

Imi Knoebel, Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne
There is an interesting exhibition, until 17th March 2012, of diverse works at Galerie Christan Lethert. The sixth group show including paintings by all artists of the gallery taking place during the Cologne Contemporaries weekend. On the front wall of the last room is 'Weiss Schwarz' by Düsseldorf based artist Imi Knoebel. Contrary to his usually colourful acrylic works on aluminum, Knoebel here puts one white and one black triangle that together build a minimalist trapezium. (see below)
Imi Knoebel, Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne
Also take a gander at the other artists on show:

Imi Knoebel, Galerie Lethert, Cologne