Helen Frankenthaler once said, “I don’t start with a color order but find the color as I go. I’d rather risk an ugly surprise then rely on things I know I can do.”
Likewise, we get the sense that LA based artist Caitlin Lonegan’s process is similar. Her color palette (collected here) meditates on the bravery of a spontaneous stark of brightness erupting from the murk. Yet, there is also an overall resonating calm sense of vibrancy that is truly understated, not forced.
As viewers, we can’t help but embrace the comfort and excitement of well laid paint in seemingly simplistic guttural compositions.
Hold on to your eyeballs, Matthew Zefeldt‘s paintings just might wipe them out. Matthew’s enormous paintings seem to use every possible color and it’s obvious that he doesn’t just “like color”– he loves it, and is really good at it. Using color to give control thick, abstract figures form and depth, and flattening his pedestals, Zefeldt’s paintings are a new and wonderful take on impasto abstraction, so thick that some of them look more like a gum wall than a painting. His work is also great because he uses his goopy application to show what portrait paintings really are–paint! But instead of taking a cynical approach to the problem–”oh no, how could we be attaching so much significance and power to these things that are really just a bunch of paint”–his view seems more enthusiastic, as if to say, “yes, this is a bunch of paint–that’s why they’re the best!” I can’t wait to see more. If you want to see some in person, he has a piece hanging until the 10th in a FFDG Gallery group show The Diamond Seaalong with curiot and lots of other young up and comers. If you’re not in the bay area, you can see more of his work after the jump.
Eric Sall‘s paintings wild little worlds. Their use of graphic lines and bold colors invites you in with the fleeting impression of cartoon familiarity, but the second you come get into them you’re taken on a whirlwind tour of psychedelic movement and color. Sall’s paintings are a perfect mix of unreal, drug-induced, semi-spiritual visions with just enough familiar shapes and lines to keep you looking for something you know is there, like an epiphanic episode where you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what this life changing realization is that just came to you. As you’ll see after the jump, his installation style reminds me a lot of how Ed Templeton hangs his photography, but more so. If you have time, you should take the next fifteen minutes to really get lost in these.
Natalie Frank‘s paintings are worlds in which both form and formality have been melted away. Faces have been disintegrated into their constituent parts, held together by goopy swathes of color; subjects are diving into free love, violent and vulnerable states. One thing you might notice when looking at her work is that however distended every other part of a body may be, at least one eye is always in sharp focus. This may or may not have to do with the fact that until this last summer, Natalie could only receive optical sensation from her left eye, causing her to see a two dimensional world. How you theorize about that information in relation her work is up to you, but if you want to do it in person, she has a show up at Fredericks & Freiser until November 3. Check it out!
Steven Yazzie is a Native American (Navajo Nation) artist who lives in Arizona. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps before pursuing painting through residency at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and is currently pursuing his BFA in painting from the University of Arizona. Although this review focuses exclusively on Yazzi’s Coyote Series, he has an extensive body of work that ranges between abstraction and surrealism, incorporating an interest in pattern, shape, the Southwestern landscape, and Navajo culture and history.
Yazzi’s paintings question the relationship between man and nature, and between interior and exterior spaces. Elements of the wilderness and the playful trickster Coyote are placed alongside modern, minimalist domestic spaces; several paintings even reference the ultimate minimalist establishments – the gallery space – drawing from principles (if not necessarily the practice) of Institutional Critique.
Looking closer, all of his interiors are symbolically suggestive of their original elements – an animal printed ottoman, stone colored couch, grassy rug, unprocessed lumber table, and landscape paintings adorning the walls all mimic the desert landscape to which they are adjacent; the coyote must still feel somewhat at home within these fused environments.
Among his many achievements, Yazzi has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; National Museum of the American Indian, New York, NY; the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe, NM. Phoenix Art Museum, Tucson Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson Museum of Art, and the Museum of Northern Arizona and has been featured in the 2011 West issue of New American Paintings.
New York artist Bill Durgin’s photographs reflect a fascination with the body as form. The complex figurations, undulating arrangements of flesh, as the body seems to collapse onto it self, image an almost abstracted figure lacking appendages and hair. The physical structure becomes not just a shell, but a moving sculpture of skin, muscle, fat, and bone.
The gesture within each photograph is created through exploring his own physical limitations and collaborative improvisation with dancers and performers. Often Durgin will come up with a pose and demonstrate it and then ask the model to repeat or respond to it. Each pose transmogrifies the figure towards abstraction; exaggerating or diminishing the skeletal structure until it approaches an amorphic form. Durgin wants the bodies to be recognized as bodies, but also to be detached from common perceptions of the figure. Bound within each singular view, the uncanny figures convey the body as both abject and marvelous.
I’m loving this scanographic imagery by Portland based artist, Brandon F. Wilson. While Wilson does not explain his specific process on his website, I like to imagine the artist running through vast landscapes in Oregon, with a large scanner, to create these distorted images. More after the jump!