Sunday, February 27, 2011

found: Jerry Saltz on George Condo

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"Condo is a zombie -- a very limited, ironic, art-about-art artist whose work sounds the same visually derivative, technically generic notes over and over again. He provides almost no internal or psychic depth, instead giving people a sense of being in on some art-world in-jokes about style, tradition, kitsch and appropriation."

"he is simply deft and dexterous, aping R. Crumb and Philip Guston without any of the gutsiness or exposed inner life of these artists. Mainly you get the same fiendish figures in various styles. Condo does have a feel for grotesque in human physiognomy. I often find myself at cocktail parties, fantasizing that the person I’m talking to is some sort of Condo monster. Yet because Condo’s monsters turn into a cast of characters, they are defanged. Any idea of the grotesque is replaced by burlesque and shtick."

"Condo’s is well-done work for a time still jittery about painting, weaned on idiotic ideas that it’s somehow suspect, that it can only be good if it makes jokes or comments about itself. This sort of deconstructionism has been done to death, and is so familiar and enfeebled that it can barely lift the gun to its own head. At his best, Condo is not much more than Koons-lite, a safe Schnabel, a more ingratiating Richard Prince."

(read more)

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

found essay:

AN ART THAT EATS ITS OWN HEAD: Painting in the Age of the Image
by Barry Schwabsky, 2005

excerpts:

"Painters like Doig, Marlene Dumas or Luc Tuymans – to name three of the most influential artists at work today – make work that is entirely permeated by a photographic reality, that is, a reality composed of detachable appearances; yet in contrast to Richter or Morley, they feel no need to represent the ‘look’ of the photograph. The painting remains painterly. To say that contemporary painters treat reality as an aggregate of images, in Bergson’s phrase, is not to say that they paint it with neutrality, or with pure aesthetic distance, or without commitment. On the contrary, their engagement with the image is precisely that, a form of engagement, and inevitably conveys an emotional stance, whether it be the piss-taking disdain typical of Tuymans’ saturnine gloom, the airy bemusement that emanates from Sophie von Hellerman’s paintings, Ian Monroe’s sense of claustrophobia, or Cecily Brown’s frenetic urgency. The effects are often uncomfortable. Wangechi mutu’s images are images of the body, but always awkward and resistant, while Dexter Dalwood’s are spaces, plausible enough to draw one in but too disjointed to actually inhabit. Much of this work has a syncretic quality that could not have existed without the example of modernist collage, but by folding its disjunctive effect back into paint — an actual heterogeneity of materials is exceptional here..."

"This fascination with craft has the same source as the more widespread attraction to painterliness, among today’s younger painters, as opposed to the seamless surface of photorealism: not an overturning of hierarchies between high and low cultures, but a more fundamental concern with a physical involvement in the image. For although it was photography that taught us the modern idea of the image, it is painting that allows us to internalise it. It’s a question of touching and being touched. The photograph may have been touched by the light of its object, but the sense of contact is entirely subsumed in the seamlessness of the photograph’s surface. Painters like Dumas and Tuymans, and so many others who freely interpret photographic imagery, are attempting neither to disguise its photographic basis in order to retain an aesthetic effect, nor to reproduce the appearance of the photograph in order to neutralise it. Their strategy is not essentially different from that of colleagues who may not directly use photographs in the work process but who nevertheless treat the world they paint as wholly image. The surface of painting, then, is for current painting something that partakes neither of the homogeneity of the photographic emulsion nor the heterogeneity of collage. It is a place where both differences and similarities are consumed. In a way, Schutz’s painting Face Eater (2004), can be taken as a paradigmatic painting of the moment. With its evident allusions to Picasso and Bacon, it clearly signals its art-historical allegiances, but the painting wears its citations lightly – the paintings of the two modern masters, and notably those of Bacon which are themselves based on photographic vision, are simply part of Schutz’s image-world. It is hilarious and terrifying at once. A head tries to swallow itself and in the process it does not disappear, but the senses become confused: the mouth sees by consuming the organs of vision, the eyes feast on their own imminent consumption. Is this an emblem of the artist’s solipsism? Not necessarily. The painting declares itself to be – borrowing a resonant phrase from the literary theorist Stanley Fish – a self-consuming artefact, but does consumption really take place? Not really. Instead, we are shown a commotion of the senses that seems as pleasurably seductive as it may be neurotic. To look at it is practically to feel one’s own teeth start reaching up to bite the upper lip. It’s an image about interiorising as image even oneself. And in that image, touching reality."

(read more)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

found: more Varda Caivano

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FINALLY! Some critical writing on Kim Dorland's paintings, particularly their intense superficiality:

"The tendencies of the primitive, the naïve and the sentimental are all mixed up explicitly with the tropes of Tom Thompson in Kim Dorland's show Nocturne with its very overt references to the myths of Thompson and the primitive cult in Canadian modernism. Gone is the anti-social vision that underwrote it though. Instead, it is a deconstruction by glamour, kind of a David LaChappelle take on Thompson, that launches an attack in the name of a greater kind of superficiality. Thompson, Canadian art's sacred cow, used to have his own little ramshackle cabin in Toronto to duplicate his experience in the mythical North. It was his own little tourist portal, rather like Dr. Who's Tardis, that allowed him to stay in character all the time. In Dorland, rather than a cabin, you get a tree house as the portal to imaginary innocence."

"There's a remarkable thinness to Dorland's paintings; a kind of anorexia wherein the paint is vomited out onto the viewer. Their much lauded painterly density is both reference to and extension of this. It isn't flatness that is accented in the pictures, it's the illusion of depth, a depth which is constantly reinforced by superimposition. But what is all this depth? It's the distance between the wall and the world which it depicts. The processional march that happens between them. This distance is filled up with an attractive texture and a vibrating colour. This colour made all the more intense by being placed in the context of such opaquely layered paint."

(read more)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

found: the mega-close-up viewing options rampant on http://www.googleartproject.com



Sunday, February 06, 2011

found: Gregor Warzecha, Johannes Jacob Scheuchzer, Tjorg Douglas Beer

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found: Yanagawa Shigenobu, Zin Taylor, unknown

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

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Jill Bennett writes in Empathic Vision: Affect, Trauma, and Contemporary Art that "It is always easy for art and for audiences of art to take the moral line - to feel sympathy and compassion, to use art to confirm us in our humanitarian role", then warns us "that identifications are not always the result of moral choices. And more than this, that there is an ethical imperative to think beyond the moral role, because as Nietzsche puts it: "[People] confound themselves with their role; they become victims of their own 'good performance'; they themselves have forgotten how much accidents, moods, and caprice disposed of them when the question of their 'vocation' was decided - and how many other roles they might have been able to play; for now it is too late...the role has actually become character; and art, nature."

(More info on Jill Bennett)

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

found: Jutta Koether, John Pestoni, Phoebe Unwin

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