February 24, 2020

Opening This Week in New York City: PRADO, POST PRADO

Galerie Richard, 121 Orchard Street, LES, NYC, 10002.
February 26 - Aril 4, 2020.
Opening Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 6-8pm.


Prado, Post-Prado

In the Spring and early Fall of 2019, I painted a series of paintings which commemorated the fifty year anniversary of the moment I decided to become an artist. In 1969, I was thirteen years old and my family was traveling to Australia via Europe, the Mideast , India, Thailand and the Philippines. I was born in Madrid and although I am half Anglo and half Malaysian, Spain had always held my imagination in thrall. During that voyage, we lingered in Madrid and it was then that I had visited the Prado for the first time. Prior to that moment, I was already in love with art, copiously drawing and copying from the illustrations of the history books that I could find. Finally, I could see the works that I had only known in reproduction. It was at that moment, when I stood in front of Goya's "Saturn Devouring his Children", that I was subsumed in something like a mystical experience. This was the exact moment in which I had realized and determined my destiny.

Approaching the works in commemoration, I wanted to simplify the palette of colors in order to make vivid the embodiment of the physical form of impasto paint that had animated my life project as a painter for the past 24 years. Painting in monochrome achieved this goal. Laying a thick bed of paint onto the surface of the canvas and moving my handmade tools into it became something more like drawing in paint. Of course, the subjects were selections from the Prado's collection that I had remembered from that visit fifty years ago. For several years up until that point, I was relying on masking to increase the intensity of the form of physical paint that I was painting with. I wanted to dial down the reliance on masking but not eliminate it altogether. The solution at that time was to mask a framing fringe at the edges of the paintings. The undulations recalled for me the architectural classicism of the Prado, something like an entablature, a fine nod as far as I was concerned.

While I felt that I could do these commemorative paintings for the remainder of my life, the limitations of the Prado's finite collection and the problem of the maudlin inevitably would present itself. I felt compelled to simultaneously close out that project and extend it onwards. It was last summer when I was painting an element of that series, a black painting employing the subject of Ribera's "Jacob's Dream" that I was gifted with a germ of a realization of how I this project could find its' permutation. There, in that particular painting and subject, was na detail of vegetation that held out a tantalizing promise of how to continue on past the commemorative series. Later, another flash of intuition led me to altering the form of the usual rectilinear format of the canvas as a means of performing the framing function of the mask. I had concluded that the hexagon was the simplest extension beyond the rectangular format that holds a rich set of allusions, all good and fascinating.

Color and Form. Color is both downplayed in interaction and celebrated solo. Using these means, the physical vocabulary set of forms that I have coined can take center stage. The form of the canvas, itself a sign, urging us to see painting anew. A spotlight of raking light on a solitary performer singing an aria. An echo of a moment a half century ago.

Posted by Dennis at 7:35 PM | Comments (0)

Details, details...


Posted by Dennis at 7:30 PM | Comments (0)

there are depths and depths despite that


there are depths and depths despite that

69" x 60"
Oil on Canvas


Posted by Dennis at 5:14 PM | Comments (0)

the circumstances of ones existence


the circumstances of ones existence

69" x 60"
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel


Posted by Dennis at 5:12 PM | Comments (0)

You are what you eat


You are what you eat
48" x 36"
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel


Posted by Dennis at 5:08 PM | Comments (0)

inexplicably and involuntarily


inexplicably and involuntarily"
69" x 60"
Oil on Canvas over Wood Panel


Posted by Dennis at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2020

Opening Next Week in New York City: PRADO, POST PRADO


Posted by Dennis at 8:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2020

Review Panel

Review Panel convened this week with artcritical editor and host David Cohen. Invitee critics were Ariella Budick, Noah Dillon and Laila Pedro and they discussed the following exhibitions:

Gabriele Evertz: Exaltation at Minus Space, DUMBO/Brooklyn

Susan Rothenberg at Speroni Westwater, in the Bowery, NYC

Michael St. John, Democracy Portraits at Team Gallery and Ashes/Ashes in the LES, NYC

Dan Walsh at Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea, NYC

A general, if rushed summary: they found Evertz' paintings too dense, Rothenberg weirded them out with a painting of a woman and a title referencing Shubert, St. John's serial paintings didn't seduce them and Walsh didn't engage them.

To expand my initial impressions, we have latter day versions of Pop, Op, the Transvanguardia and Minimalism. Each artist endowed these legacy movements in art history with their own personal interpretations, to be sure... but I was left wondering if this is all there is, recycling and very little surprise. Of course, all of these artists came of age within the eras tagged, so in a redeemable universe, a kind G-d would let them off with time served. But this is the art world after all, and the G-d therein is terrible, vengeful and merciless.

Therefore, thoughts arose whether these artists have added anything worthy of attention to the chapters of history that borne them:
Did Evertz' stripes say anything that Vasarely didn't?
Ditto Rothenberg regarding Neo-Expressionism?
Ditto St. John regarding Warhol and Rosenstein?
Ditto Walsh and Minimalism.
My second thoughts:
Yes, but not enough.
Not at all.
Yes, actually.

Evertz' paintings promised science but didn't deliver. Rothenberg's paintings were so sloppy and careless that I was tempted to return the favor. St. John prompted a comparison to On Karawa, his stabilized format and impulse of the calendar... but I also thought that we in the audience were in Plato's famous Cave, prisoners subjected to flickering shadows. Finally, I rather liked Walsh's expansive Minimalism, his movement of the dial away from the off (reductive) position. I was impressed and I identified with his variable and very independent systems that were very stable and sound within each work. Respect.

I took notes:




Posted by Dennis at 9:47 PM | Comments (0)