October 25, 2018

Color Matters

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Galerie Richard
121 Orchard Street, LES/NYC.
I'll be at the opening from 5-8pm, hope to see you there!

Press Release below the fold.

Color Matters
October 26th-November 17th, 2018
Reception: 5-8pm, October 26, 2018


The exhibition titled "Color Matters" at Galerie Richard from October 26 to November 17 gathers seven painters: Koen Delaere, Dennis Hollingsworth, Kim Young-Hun, Jamie Martinez, Noriko Mizokawa and Joseph Nechvatal. The title is inspired by the Summer group show "Position Matters", curated by Saul Ostrow at Galerie Richard. "Color Matters" continues the investigation of major elements which define an artwork. Both exhibitions emphasize the diversity of artistic choices and the singularity of each artist.

At the entrance of the gallery there is a dialogue between the paintings of Kim Young-Hun and the paintings of Dennis Hollingsworth. These two painters have diametrically opposed attitudes about the third physical dimension of a painting. Kim Young-Hun's paintings combine a traditional Korean painting technique called Hyukpil, that uses a leather ink brush with contemporary post abstract painting language. The stripes are made mostly by one continuous brush stroke across the canvas, with the oil colors melting together and flowing like ink. By having just one layer of paint the artist keeps the trace of his trembling brush strokes while having the glossy shallow depth of a screen. At the opposite side, the paintings by Dennis Hollingsworth are also very distinctive as he directly sculpts the oil paint on the canvas, or on another support before placing it on the canvas. Both artists were born in between the analog generation and the digital generation. They are both using the two sets of colors from the analog and from the digital world. On a white background, the saturated pink and green are deliberately a visual colored signature of Kim's digital paintings. Nevertheless, we also find beautiful soft yellows, light blues, greys, and lavender, which seem more connected to nature. The palette of colors by Dennis Hollingsworth is already a little bit more classic as he works directly on the cotton canvas. He excels in the combinations of dark green and violets, a touch of white and colorful vibrant and saturated yellows. He combines both glossy and matte colors in his paintings.

The second space of the gallery hosts a close dialogue between Carl Fudge's new digital screen prints and Jamie Martinez's digital paintings. It is a fascinating confrontation between the square and the triangle.

Part of the Post Digital Painting's historical show at the Cranbrook Museum in 2002-3, Carl Fudge from his beginnings has digitally manipulated images in his paintings. It was a necessity for him to reexamine the meaning of a digital painting. He concluded that a digital image is defined by pixels. Recently he presented black paintings made with sandpaper of different shades, black and white woodcut prints and mostly black screen prints. For this group show he brought new colorful screen prints. Some screen prints seem similar at first glance but it is very interesting to notice the differences related to the shapes and rhythm of the composition. As well as the differences due to a slight difference of the color arrangement.

Born in Colombia and living in New York, Jamie Martinez is a digital painter who developed the concept of Triangulation. Triangulation is the formation of or division into triangles. His paintings are only composed of triangles. At the opposite of the square and the circle, the triangle takes an infinite variety of shapes. It always gets at least one diagonal, which brings dynamism. The triangle also suggests a perspective. The triangle is associated with the theory of fractals. His paintings can be seen as an accumulation of precious or semi-precious stones with different shades of colors due to reflections and transparencies. Therefore, Jamie Martinez's paintings are very complex. In his best works you can feel a sense of vertigo, which is the ultimate visual success of Baroque painting and architecture. As for color, the difference between the works of these two painters is the size of the range of colors. Carl Fudge uses a limited number of colors due to the print process, while Jamie Martinez takes advantage of the freedom of the paint technique.

The last room brings together three artists, Joseph Nechvatal, Noriko Mizokawa, and Koen Delaere. The room is perfectly balanced with four medium sized paintings by Joseph Nechvatal and by Noriko Mizokawa and three large paintings by Koen Delaere.
Joseph Nechvatal is a digital painter pioneer. His process of painting, where he implements a digital virus into an image of the body, has been described extensively in all his reviews and exhibition. The focus on his range of colors has never been the central point of his reviews. His signature range of colors is based on a light red and the colors associated such as: orange, pink, violet and brown. His palette relates to the colors of the human body, internal and external.

While visiting Europe he spent time in Italy and Greece where he enjoyed the washed-out colors of Antique mural paintings. With his washed-out colors, he puts in perspective the importance of a specific moment to the consideration of a testimony for a long period of time.

Delaere's paintings are the result of a physical and energetic interaction with the material: canvas, thick layers of paint, colors and textures. First the artist makes the geometrical deep layer of translucent paint lines on the white canvas. Then he lays the painting down diagonally on the floor and against the wall. Finally, he pours paint on the top and the paint spontaneously falls down from one line to another following the diagonal lines. He experiments with this process with a wide range of color combinations. The color combination is different every time, but they follow the same procedure. His palette of colors ranges from pastel colors to fluo colors which makes each work very unique.

Noriko Mizokawa is a Japanese painter who has established her reputation in Japan and France with paintings mixing calligraphic gestural abstraction with a figurative and elusive representation of female nudes. These new works presented for the first time worldwide. She draws first with her finger on her cell phone. This explains the range of colors as well as the verticality of their format. Then she spends a lot of time carefully painting them on canvas. The representation is similar: a large irregular oval shape, a long contortioned rounded shape with all of the rainbow colors is positioned in a large variety of positions, and red circled dots, which the artist added in order to add energy. If the enigmatic subject is similar the difference is made by the arrangement of colors. Her colors embrace bright to pastel and metallic colors and each painting has a unique unexpected and refined arrangement of colors.

Posted by Dennis at 8:51 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2018

For Your Consideration: Apprehensions

I found this video via a recent Quite Frankly podcast, an interesting look at what might be in store for us in the near future. Check it out.

Here's Keiichi Matsuda's website.

And this is a behind the scenes look at Matsuda and his process for creating the video:

What to make of this?

First, I'm impressed by Matsuda's skill set, I'd like to know more about the applications he needs to pull it off.

Secondly, as for the anticipated future, it reminds me of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. The set design for that movie was a landmark achievement in apprehending a potential future scenario. Snipping Wikipedia:

Ridley Scott credits Edward Hopper's painting Nighthawks and the French science fiction comics magazine Métal Hurlant, to which the artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud contributed, as stylistic mood sources.  He also drew on the landscape of "Hong Kong on a very bad day" and the industrial landscape of his one-time home in northeast England. The visual style of the movie is influenced by the work of futurist Italian architect Antonio Sant'Elia. Scott hired Syd Mead as his concept artist; like Scott, he was influenced by Métal Hurlant. Moebius was offered the opportunity to assist in the pre-production of Blade Runner, but he declined so that he could work on René Laloux's animated film Les Maîtres du temps - a decision that he later regretted. Production designer Lawrence G. Paull and art director David Snyder realized Scott's and Mead's sketches. Douglas Trumbull and Richard Yuricich supervised the special effects for the film, and Mark Stetson served as chief model maker."

As you might conclude as I did after reading this, that Scott's and Mead's achievement was a monumental synthesis of history and collaboration. While it is unfair to diminish Matsuda's feat by comparison -it is laudable after all to stand on the shoulders of giants -- Matsuda's contribution suggests a virtual version of Scott's 2019 Los Angeles (¡yes, 2019!) overlayed on Medellin, all that was imagined to be physically built is instead built via augmented reality... either by screen mounted contact lens or a method of projection onto the retina itself or if Elon Musk capricious imagination comes to fruition, some kind of direct merger with AI via a brain/mind/machine/software meld.

My third impression watching Matsuda's HYPER-REALITY, I thought that such a virtual environment would impoverish the real one. At the dawn of modernity, Chicago architect Louis Sullivan coined the famous phrase Form Follows Function. What I learned in architecture school was that Sullivan limited ornament only to the parts of the building where people would directly experience it. He set the stage for Adolph Loos to advocate the elimination of ornament altogether when he wrote Ornament and Crime. Curiously, the fulcrum of Loos' thesis was that (...snipping Wikipedia once again...)

Loos introduced a sense of the "immorality" of ornament, describing it as "degenerate", its suppression as necessary for regulating modern society. He took as one of his examples the tattooing of the "Papuan" and the intense surface decorations of the objects about him--Loos says that, in the eyes of western culture, the Papuan has not evolved to the moral and civilized circumstances of modern man, who, should he tattoo himself, would either be considered a criminal or a degenerate.
Well, that's mighty white of you, Adolf. I wonder what Loos would make of our contemporary condition, tattoos everywhere and soon, the whole world tattooed cybernetically? Does it necessarily follow that the physical world would be impoverished? Or would we live in a more streamlined form-follows-function aesthetically modern environment as we toggle online and offline? Either possibility finds me apprehensive, especially for the latter because it would render the development of architectural history at a standstill, the state in which I had found it as a student so many decades ago.

A fourth impression. Virtually annotating the world isn't the only possibility. The world could also be edited, parts of it erased, cloned, stamped, blurred in a live action version of Photoshop. We could each be living in our own best possible world, blissfully or tragically unaware of the best possible worlds of other people around us. Another kind of dystopia. A sugar coated one.

Posted by Dennis at 1:28 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2018

Legerdemain

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Legerdemain is quite a word. It seems at first blush, something to admire. And it is, sort of. Looking up its definition in the dictionary, legerdemain is the skillful use of one's hands when performing conjuring tricks. We rightly admire the magician only when we suspend disbelief. When we go wrong, we let ourselves fall under a spell, we believe that a rabbit is miraculously pulled from the hat. We are deceived.

The word jumped out at me when I read Kenny Schachter's recent column in ArtNet Magazine regarding the Banksy stunt. Here's the final paragraph:

In a realm as chockablock with legerdemain as the art world, what matters, at the end of the day, is the the audience enjoyed the show. With his star turn at Sotheby's, Banksy gave us all a command performance.

I'm posting this because a week ago, I wrote a note about the Banksy action. And then I sat on it to see how it would age.

A note on the Banksy stunt.

What happened wasn't destruction. What happened was a theater of destruction. The piece was modified, not destroyed. Banksy probably was aware that the immediate systemic market value of art is driven by notoriety. The value of the Mona Lisa was supercharged by the news of its theft. Guernica is certainly a masterpiece (although recently, I had a conversation with a friend who questioned this assumption), but its topicality in the midst of WWII and its sympathetic instrumentalization as anti-war propaganda is in the driver's seat of its valuation. Watching the PBS program Antiques Road Show recently, I marveled at remarkable works of art and craft whose valuations were a pittance, contrary to the expenditure of creativity, imagination and soul in their making. Other objects were assigned astronomical valuations simply because they were Pop culture talismans, forever dependent on the whim of contemporary valuation.

Shock is no longer new. This, is the riddle of our time. Artists should attend to that reality.

What does transgression serve? This question opens a way to distinguish its various forms. It can either serve art intrinsically, it can serve the game (when art = money), or it can simply serve itself. Is art simply a stunt? Banksy was canny, shrewd in matters of business and marketing. He staged a theater of transgression, carefully calibrated to play within the acceptable domain of the collectable artifact. He didn't dissolve the piece in a pool of acid. It didn't combust in the pyrotechnics of flash paper. What was placed before the auction house was a work in progress, a performance to an audience who are disposed to delight in dramas of disobedience. He made something calculated to be notorious and thus to increase its value, which it did double by some estimates. The system of art (and some call it an industry, a term that should be abhorrent) begs to be hustled.

Banksy cited in his Instagram, one of Picasso's famous quotes "The urge to destroy is also the creative urge". Indeed, transgression is the wheelhouse of art. The progression of art history is the generational succession that questioned cultural inheritance and remade art to suit the contemporary milieu. Like the solvent and binder of painting, art proceeds in sequences of dissolving and uniting in turn. The big question today is whether art history exists. Or better formulated, can it... should it... exist after Fukuyama wrote The End of History and the Last Man?

The continuing revolution of modernity addicts us to the frisson of transgression and beguiles us to forget the need to resolve -if even for a fleeting moment- the chaos and snap art into a new gestalt. But what if an artist includes the marketplace into their creative realm? Did Banksy undertake a critique and resolution? Did he outperform Koons? Did he exceed Rauschenberg's erased de Kooning?

I think the ultimate question is whether it is actually more than mere novelty. What if Banksy is striving to be more than the outlaw graffiti tagger, an identity that has rusted quite a bit since its birth in the 70's. He clearly wants to be a rogue agent in the art marketplace, a tagger in the auction house. What if he is instead an in-law of the market, an engineer of a gamed system? Can one be both?

What about art? Is the Bansky action an evolution in art history?

Does art history even exist?

Kenny Schachter and much of our art world seems to be amused by the sleight of hand in the gamed system. Whether they are seeing a staged act or a miracle of transgression is a distinction that remains to be seen.

Posted by Dennis at 1:08 PM | Comments (1)

Review Panel

Last night, ArtCritical's Review Panel convened for the '18 Fall season premier at the Brooklyn Library Dwek Center. ArtCritical editor David Cohen moderated a panel including Laila Pedro, Barry Schwabsky and Roberta Smith.

It was a very interesting line up in terms of both guest critics and subject exhibitions. Smith was sparky, Schwabsky erudite and Pedro enlightening. The discussion led off with Morimura and Pope L and as usual, the first two shows up to bat tends to dilate in the evening. The second pair of Bowling and Heyl ended with a very sharp critical parsing.

Quick links:
Frank Bowling: Make It New

Charline von Heyl: New Work

Yasumasa Morimura: In the Room of Art History

Pope.L: One thing after another (part two)

I took notes...

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Posted by Dennis at 8:25 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2018

Brooklyn Rail: Tell Me Something Good

Last night, the Brooklyn Rail presented a panel discussion led by Jared Earnest, including Dana Schutz, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Matvey Levenstein and introduced by Phong Bui. They were asked to present images of their works and another artist's work of their selection. Discussion was freewheeling, jumping off this starting point and moving to ideas about utopia, social media, where meaning resides, what they thought of NYC today and what has become of our much enlarged, engorged art world.

Here are my two cents about meaning in art. It has two manifestations. First, in the studio, it has to be acute, driven by the artist's feeling, imagination, experience, awareness of the currents of art history and the coordinates aligning with the materials at hand. Second, after it leaves the studio, art is charged with meaning in terms of its carrying capacity. It matters less as time passes what the intentions of the making of art was than the ability of successive generations to discover their own meaning within it.

I took notes.

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Posted by Dennis at 1:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 6, 2018

Instagram Reviews

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Katherine Bradford @canada.nyc First thought: Guston. Legs, shoes, fat brushes not particularly loaded... palettes smaller than canvases. Color? Probably like me, all are eligible, not a selected few. Painting, then a start-over wash, re-attack. Next room: Bonnard! But the color fusions came to mind, not good for KB. 90 degree turn, Guston again! But now I think of PG's neuroticism and how it worked for him. Not so much for KB. She seems more Buddhist, like her shoulder pour in the other room. And then I remembered that that painting made me think of the salt-sprinkled-off-the-elbow restaurant guy on the internet. Not KB's fault, but still...

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Urs Fisher's "Play" @gagosian Chelsea. At first, my interest was to figure out the programming and try to act against it... or at least to get the chairs to respond and follow me around in a herd. Limited success. Then I noticed the room in the corner and the warning flashing at the threshold, a mainframe and lithium charging stations are not eligible for close inspection. Well, society allows magicians to conceal their methods after all. Bonus point: note the list of well over fifty people required to pull this off. I wonder about the budget?

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Posted by Dennis at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

Not an X-Ray

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Above and below, art work in travel frames.

Stray thoughts (September 10, 2018):

Regarding my recent work, three names come to mind...

Robert Ryman
Sol LeWitt
Frank Stella

A Fulfillment of an incomplete project:
Robert Ryman: the totality of a painting is a candidate for plastic expression from the nail attachment in the wall to the licks of paint on the surface of the support.

The Grand Impasse, or the Problem of Successful Culmination:
Sol LeWitt: the terminal phase of art as a set of instructions... the singularity of conceptual means... back away from the event horizon

A Refusal:
Frank Stella.
There are 2 Stellas...
- early rule based execution based on the traditional pattern of drawing first, color infill second
- The shapely Stella, based on his "Working Space" manifesto
The problem with his Working Space agenda is that it first valorizes traditional depiction by making literal (physical) pictorial space. He fulfills painting with sculpture.

Another Reversal:
Georges Bataille: Acephale (the cut in collage leading to dismemberment and beheading), base materialism and indulgence as an antidote to war.

Yet Another Reversal:
1968. "Beneath the beach, the paving stones." Seven years later, my ship was picking up refugees in the South China Sea)

Flipping an Agenda:
Supports / Surfaces
Instead of the "painting undone" (title of the ArtCritical article), consider painting redone... instead of painting deconstructed, consider painting reconstructed.

A Defiant Refusal:
Clement Greenberg: I refute his mandate of flatness. Did he unwittingly set the table for Sol LeWitt's infinitely flat set of art-as-instructions?

The disembodiment if art, of painting. Descartes, and the stubborn mind/body split. Schizoid. Echoes of Duchamp's "...retinal art", merely an eye. Instead, visual processing starts in the retina, the brain is co-extensive in the body, a nervous system in its' entirety, inseparable. Entanglement, a condition to be appreciated.

That Seminal Moment:
On Goya's "Saturn Eating his Children".
What of my first revelation at age thirteen, standing before this painting in the Prado?Call this a dilation, moments when art expanded massively in my attention and the rest of the world fell away... my most impactful dilation since there were several precursors.

I remember the marvel of Goya's visionary spell. Soothsayer. I remember puzzling over why the disturbing subject matter captured my attention. I worried oh so faintly that it could apply to my family (it did indeed). Later, I realized that this mythic theme could also anticipate the closing moments of twentieth century art history.

I remember most of all, the facture. Painting is entanglement and contingency. I think now of the sculpture Laocoön and the entangling serpent/sea monster (the prevention of fore knowledge? WTFBBQ? Doesn't this run interference with the visionary aspect?). Like the Ecstasy of St. Theresa, where pain and ecstasy co-mingle.

(Saturn's headless child at the moment depicted by Goya: the image of Mason & Bataille's Acephale?)

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Posted by Dennis at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

Galerie Richard

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I just shook hands with Jean-Luc Richard, owner of Galerie Richard in LES/NYC and Paris. We are planning shows in both spaces next year. More information coming soon...
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Posted by Dennis at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

Ahora

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Posted by Dennis at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)