Ragen Moss, Senior Lender (with Mezzanine Lender, with Heart), 2019, acrylic, polyethylene, aluminum and breathing hardware, 53x30x22 inches (courtesy the artisan and Bridget Donahue)
The appellation absorption is ambiguous and shifting; its acceptation can alter according to context, acquaintance and time. It can be problematic, too, as labelling a assignment as abstruse anon pits it adjoin that which is representational. Some ability altercate that all art is abstruse aback whatever its subject, the assignment is consistently at a abolish from the “real world,” hence, an absorption of reality. For the account of this article, the appellation “abstraction” is meant to call a blazon of art whose axial aim is not to re-present some aspect of the actual apple in aesthetic terms. While the artists discussed actuality may absolutely advertence perceived phenomena, the people, places and/or things that they advertence are altered/synthesized/reduced—abstracted—to the point area the what becomes accessory to the works’ all-embracing academic qualities like color, line, shape, texture, etc.
In contempo years, there has been amazing upswell of analytical and bazaar absorption focused on abreast allegorical painting. This assignment makes use of the animal anatomy in a absolute way, by depicting representations of bodies alignment from the hyperrealistic to the heavily stylized. The about-face to apologue came on the heels of a decade of absorption that culminated in what some accept accounted “zombie formalism:” a access of absorption that appears about automated in its analytical or consecutive approach. But the blazon of absorption discussed actuality is of addition sort. This blazon of absorption emphasizes the animal duke and bears all the signs of the artists’ assurance with their materials. In some ways, this blazon of abstruse painting has its foundations in mid-century abstraction, and the artists discussed actuality anniversary appoint with the history of absorption directly, if in capricious degrees.
Chris Martin, Sphinx, oil on canvas, 16 x 14 ¼ inches (courtesy the artisan and Anton Kern Gallery)
An archetype of this affectionate of hard-won, advisedly appropriate absorption is Chris Martin. For decades, Martin has been a affectionate of indie hero for painters. His cannibal cast of adroit abstraction, his acute surfaces and the abstracted affection of his paintings accept fabricated him a all-over basic in the New York art apple aback the aboriginal 1980s. When Martin abutting the abiding of artists at Anton Kern, it signaled his ascendance from underground painting hero to an accustomed artist. The contempo exhibition of Martin’s assignment at Kern highlights small-scale paintings from 1979-94: a determinative aeon for the artisan during which he developed his own claimed dictionary of forms and his acutely formed yet fresh, aesthetic surfaces. Booty Sphinx (1986), for example, which suggests a four-legged anatomy evocative of the titular creature. As in abundant of Martin’s work, the final angel has a affection of authoritativeness and is bargain to its essence.
Ragen Moss: 8 Animals at Bridget Donahue, accession appearance (courtesy the artisan and Bridget Donahue)
The appellation “eccentric abstraction” was coined by art historian and analyzer Lucy Lippard in 1966 to call assignment that “evokes the gendered anatomy through an accent on action and materials.” With their breast-like protrusions and cushion shapes, the transparent, sculptural works of Ragen Moss on appearance at Bridget Donahue bell with Lippard’s term, admitting they complicate what a “gendered body” could mean. Upon entering the gallery’s additional attic Bowery space, one is confronted by Moss’ annular balloon-like works abeyant from the ceiling. These objects, while actualization lightweight, command a faculty of gravitas in the room. In some instances, argument appears on the surfaces of the objects. In others, collapsed areas of blush are printed on the acrylic surfaces as in Senior Lender (with Mezzanine Lender, with Heart) (2019). Moss’ sculptures alternate the amoebic and the bogus as the printed acrylic recalls commercially printed appurtenances and the heart-shaped forms arresting aural the anatomy allude to a animal chest cavity. Moss makes use of the best basal appearance of sculpture: space, light, the body, and has reconfigured these elements in assignment that is beginning and new while harkening aback to history.
Joanne Greenbaum: I’m Doing My Face in Magic Marker at Rachel Uffner, accession view, 2019 (courtesy the artisan and Rachel Uffner)
Just as Moss’ works booty an anarchistic form, Joanne Greenbaum makes her attack into application bottle as a average in her contempo abandoned at Rachel Uffner to aggrandize the ambit of painting. In the aboriginal allowance of the gallery, a alternative of kiln-formed bottle paintings are displayed on attenuated ledges lining the arcade walls. These slick, ablaze tablet-like works are commutual with a alternative of Greenbaum’s large, agitated abstruse paintings in which ablaze swathes of apace activated acrylic accommodated child-like scribbles of red and pink. The exhibition’s title, “I’m Doing My Face in Magic Marker,” alludes to a faculty of comedy and atrocity which are axiomatic in the freewheeling mark authoritative and blissful blush combinations that breathing Greenbaum’s work. Like Martin, a faculty of absurdity and analysis pervades Greenbaum’s practice. Perhaps it is this faculty of abandon that can accomplish absorption so seductive. Area apologue has the abeyant to aback absolute social, biographical and political commentary, abstruse art tends to be added akin in nature. In added words, the works actuality accessible up a ample acreage of achievability for estimation and accord the eyewitness bureau to draw parallels amid the assignment and the apple according to their own acquaintance and cultural references. Likewise, abstruse painting and carve abide the apple in a altered way. With their academic elements demography centermost date (compared to say, anecdotal or the affinity of a figure) absorption calls absorption to itself as an absolute affair rather than a depiction, which alters the means in which one interacts and receives the work.
Erika Ranee, Mothership, 2019, acrylic, shellac, aerosol acrylic and cardboard collage on canvas, 30h x 40w in. (courtesy the artisan and Freight Volume)
At Freight Volume, painter Erika Ranee presents a new anatomy of gestural abstractions in which a cacophony of painterly techniques bang into blithely active paintings. Axial to Ranee’s action is the deployment of drips, stains and close layers of colorant which are frequently accumulated with collage and added abundant passages. Despite the countless colors and textures in Ranee’s work, she manages to cautiously align and choreograph her mark authoritative to actualize a faculty of harmony. Like the above artists, Ranee’s paintings command one’s absorption primarily through the activity of activity that seems to afford alternating from the surface. While activity ability assume an ambiguous metric for discussing art, it has article to do with the artists’ concrete assurance with their abstracts and the means in which that accord is transmitted aback to the viewer. Because apparent images are added or beneath removed from the equation, the animal anatomy is adumbrated through the accomplish and procedures fabricated apparent in the assignment itself. In this way, absorption can lay bald age-old aspects of the artist’s attitude and acquaintance in means not about afforded the allegorical artisan who needs to argue with the specific needs inherent to representation.
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By comparison, Kenyan-born Michael Armitage, an artisan I admire, whose paintings, on base East African case cloth, are acutely aggressive by late-19th-century art, is fabricated to attending ardent and conventional. Yes, artists accept been accomplishing agnate things for decades (Picasso, Bacon, Guston), but, somehow, ...
Curator Suzanne Weaver knows that bodies sometimes attempt with abstruse art. “We all do,” she said. “Because, what is it? What does it represent? Area is the content? But as we go through this, you’ll acquisition out there’s a lot of content.” “This” is ...