Searching for true Four Corners and love

Added: Keana Arrieta - Date: 31.10.2021 06:03 - Views: 42126 - Clicks: 2672

Issue Issue Management by IssueM. Painting has died and been resurrected several times in recent decades. Some would say it remains as manifold and imaginative as ever. In order to take its pulse, Image asked four painters to reflect on the work of any of their contemporaries who interest them. They paint in a variety of styles and differ in their level of engagement with art theory. Yet without prompting, all four suggested that they regard authenticity of statement as the most valuable—if not also the most elusive—quality in contemporary painting: They share a concern for the integrity of the painting as the arena where material meets meaning.

Our thanks to James Romaine for organizing this symposium. When you become a painter, you take on two simultaneous tasks: establishing problems, and addressing them within the work. Whether it was plumbing or surgery, all you had to do was figure out the answers to the set of problems belonging to your discipline. Then you just plugged in the formula and your problems were fixed.

Painting, I thought, was a better challenge, because with painting you had to invent not only the solution, but the problem as well. Looking back, I could smack my earlier self for his arrogance and presumption. Lately, Searching for true Four Corners and love lot of painters seem to be addressing a similar set of problems.

A new wave of artists are once again taking on the problems of society by addressing beauty, decay and destruction. I sense that the image is generally under attack, or at least being forced into major changes. This proliferation of images has taken its toll on the dear old picture. While most of us would be devastated if we lost our laptops or our hard drives failed before we could back up our photos, the sheer volume in something of a devaluing of the individual snapshot.

If you have fifteen thousand pictures in your iPhoto library, the value of each is less than if you had only fifty or a hundred. In galleries and museums in recent months, the result of this photographic devaluing is a declining of pictorial representations and an increase in abstract compositions of varying degree.

I recently had the privilege of seeing the inaugural show at the new building for the New Museum in New York, titled Unmonumental. The name is appropriate. My first impression was of the low-quality materials used by nearly every artist. Despite the dumpster-dive quality of the media, much if not most of the work addressed decidedly formal issues of beauty and composition. Much of the work was beautiful even while obviously and self-consciously consisting of trash.

Plate Mark Bradford. Helter Skelter I, Mixed-media collage on canvas. The show featured collage, but the parallel to painting is easily made; indeed many of the so-called collages could fit within a broad definition of painting.

It involves multiple layers of paper, posters, and magazine advertisements, but also contains areas of painted abstraction and imagery—calling to mind Robert Rauschenberg or Jean-Michel Basquiat. Throughout the show, imagery was appropriated from magazines, newspapers, and posters. When imagery was needed, it was usually borrowed from another context instead of being hand-drawn or painted.

Images and photographs became another medium, like paint, to be manipulated and applied at will. Pictures were valued here for their parts, which were pulled out and combined with others to form new images. The artists seemed not to need to create new images, content to draw from the pool of pre-existing ones. The lack of pictorial representation in paint was amplified by the physical and self-conscious nature of the work. Though the materials are garbage, the effect is strangely beautiful.

The observation must be made that reconstituting detritus into paintings is not new. Indeed, it owes a huge debt to the pioneers who gave it legitimacy in the contemporary art world—most notably Robert Rauschenberg. The presence of painting as material in the exhibition was easy to find. You could see it on cardboard, discarded wood, Styrofoam, and magazines. Robert Ryman.

Searching for true Four Corners and love

Untitled, Oil on unstretched linen. Frank Y. Larkin and Mr. Gerrit Lansing Funds. A handful of new artists, however, are working through the problems of an unmonumental ethos with notable aplomb. Though many established artists, from Rauschenberg and Johns to Sarah Sze and Jessica Stockholder, can claim to have influenced the trend for banal materials, assemblage, and the junk aesthetic, I want to highlight three young and emerging painters: John Bauer, Jered Sprecher, and Mike Cloud.

Each approaches the problems of material, self-consciousness, and beauty in a unique way. Bauer, who is originally from southern California, is a New York artist recently relocated to LA, whose striking, monochromatic paintings have recently received acclaim. His bombastic black and white Searching for true Four Corners and love call to mind punk rock or Japanese noise music. Chernobyl is a silver and black cacophony of spray marks, direct marks, serially repeated marks, splatters, bitmapped lines, and a digital grid [see Plate 14].

His material may be that of a more conventional painter, but his imagery boasts layers of scrawls, drips, and throw-away marks. Standing in front of it, you cannot escape the sense of a chaotic and destructive space created by the painting techniques and their combinations. The spaces Bauer creates may hint at empirical black-and-white realities, but they are resolved in the chaotic working out of beautiful and complex silvers and grays.

John Bauer. Chernobyl, Oil and mixed-media on linen. Collection: Saatchi Gallery, London. Jered Sprecher is based in Knoxville, where he teaches at the University of Tennessee. Through his paintings, Sprecher captures and explores particular moments in his cultural environment. His works may draw from the myriad images he gathers—or the precise structures of crystals—but in all cases they demonstrate an acute awareness of their own materials while referencing though not depicting specific imagery.

Of the three artists, he comes nearest to using actual imagery, yet for the most part his paintings would rather evoke than declare. To look at his work is to get a sense of things, rather than having things explained to you. His acute selection of references to beauty and perfection in diamonds and digital technology is balanced by the looseness of his brushstrokes and the beautifully awkward mixing of his color palette.

Redux is a monumental vortex that recalls both A Space Odyssey and fake plastic jewelry [see Plate 15]. Jered Sprecher. Redux, Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Jeff Bailey Gallery. Mike Cloud takes a self-conscious awareness of materials to another level, leaving the structures and edges of his paintings exposed. Where Bauer and Sprecher use implied imagery and paint itself as a vehicle for dialogue, Cloud expands the conversation to the very frame and canvas.

He sometimes goes so far as to build objects namely toys onto their surfaces.

Searching for true Four Corners and love

These three artists walk a fine line between the gimmicky and the sublime, but feats this daring deserve all the more glory. The three seem to acknowledge the effects of entropy while resolving their compositions with simple beauty.

Searching for true Four Corners and love

So what? Is there any ificance to the trash aesthetic?

Searching for true Four Corners and love

I would argue that this unmonumental work reflects attitudes that underlie American culture at large. Today the sense that there is beauty nearly everywhere in the world, even among our refuse, seems painfully balanced by the sense that we humans have nearly succeeded in destroying it all.

Searching for true Four Corners and love Searching for true Four Corners and love

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