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Museum Hours

February 5, 2014

Museum Hours

‘When a Vienna museum guard befriends an enigmatic visitor, the grand Kunsthistorisches Art Museum becomes a mysterious crossroads which sparks explorations of their lives, the city, and the ways artworks reflect and shape the world.’

I highly recommend the film Museum Hours (2012), directed by Jem Cohen, with footage of the way we look at, visit and relate to paintings ( and the city) from the past in the present.

Posted by Madeleine Moore

800px-Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_Hunters_in_the_Snow_(Winter)_-_Google_Art_Project

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Hunters in the Snow (Winter)

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Neo mannerism?

January 30, 2014

The theme of November’s MFA Painting seminar was Jerry Saltz’s article on neo-mannerism, Art’s Insidious New Cliché, published in http://www.vulture.com .

Read the text here.

Saltz berates artists for producing an ‘ever-expanding assembly of anaemically boring artistic clichés squeezing the life out of the art world right now.’

The question for us was, is this the case? If so, is Salz’s argument limited to New York? As one of the comments on his post states, ‘maybe you are not looking in the right place.’

In reference to painting, Saltz states, ‘Nowadays we see endless arrays of decorous, medium-sized, handsome, harmless paintings. It’s rendered mainly in black, white, gray or, more recently, violet or blue. Much of it entails transfer techniques, silkscreening, stencilling, assemblage, collage, a little spray painting or scraping and the like. There might be some smooshy blocks of colour or stripes or other obvious open-form abstraction or geometric motif.’ He then goes on to say that much of the current work references mostly male painters like Albert Oehlen, Christopher Wool, Michael Krebber, Wade Guyton, Laura Owens and Sergej Jensen.

Here is a summary of the arguments that were made ‘for’ and ‘against’ Jerry in our seminar. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the painting department or of everyone at the seminar.

FOR

In support of Jerry’s argument, we looked at a painting by Chantal Joffe, ‘Walking’ which was described as ‘dispassionate,’ in comparison to Maria Lassnig’s work. We looked at Sarah Faux, Patrick Brennan and Zachary Keeting.

Image

Chantal Joffe, Walking Woman, 2004, oil on board

Albert Oehlen Piece 2003 oil on canvas

Albert Oehlen
Piece
2003
oil on canvas

Sarah Faux Crawling Man 2012 oil and spray paint on canvas

Sarah Faux
Crawling Man
2012
oil and spray paint on canvas

 

Patrick Brennan Flow and Fade 2011 mixed media on canvas

Patrick Brennan
Flow and Fade
2011
mixed media on canvas

 

 

Zachary Keeting January (3) 2013  acrylic on canvas

Zachary Keeting
January (3)
2013
acrylic on canvas

 

Another group of works were shown: Luc Tuymans, Daniel Richter, Damien Hirst, and Thomas Hirschorn. The argument around these works is that they were ‘cynical.’ For example, that Tuymans seeming ability to paint any historical figure, here Condoleezza Rice, in monochromatic tones has become a mannerism.

Luc Tuymans, The Secretary of State, 2005, oil on canvas

Luc Tuymans, The Secretary of State, 2005, oil on canvas

Thomas Hirschorn

Thomas Hirschorn

We looked at the blog  structureandimagery.blogspot.ie, a contemporary art blog by Paul Behnke, which showed images of recent shows in Lower Manhattan and it was proposed that from the work shown, Saltz did have a valid criticism to make of current shows in New York.

AGAINST

Against Saltz’s argument, we looked at Scott Stack, Richard Roth and Tomma Abts, all influenced by artists such as Christopher Wool, mentioned in the article, but not falling into any neo-mannerist cliché, it was suggested. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, seen in this year’s Turner Prize, was also cited as an artist whose work, at least, challenged the viewer’s assumptions about what contemporary figure painting could be.

Christopher Wool Untitled 2010 screen printing ink and enamel paint on paper

Christopher Wool
Untitled
2010
screen printing ink and enamel paint on paper

Scot Stack City of the Future 2011 oil paint on canvas

Scot Stack
City of the Future
2011
oil paint on canvas

Richard Roth  Shandy 2010 acrylic on MDF

Richard Roth
Shandy
2010
acrylic on MDF

Richard Roth  As Is 2011 acrylic on birch plywood

Richard Roth
As Is
2011
acrylic on birch plywood

Tomma Abts, Zebe, 2010, acrylic and oil on canvas

Tomma Abts, Zebe, 2010, acrylic and oil on canvas

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

Chris Martin’s work has many influences from music, literature and film. He paints large-scale canvases and ‘paints on records, slices of white bread, pillows, aluminium foil, and uses copious amounts of glitter- materials that seem immune to artspeak’. In a recent interview by Ross Simonini, he was asked, “What’s your definition of ‘bad’ or ‘unsuccessful’?”

CM: ‘Well, that’s a wonderful question, because as an artist it’s very interesting sometimes to say, I’ll try to make a bad one. And often the kind of energy around the bad one is actually great.’

Chris Martin at Mitchell-Innes and Nash Gallery

Chris Martin at Mitchell-Innes and Nash Gallery

We also showed a group of works from the ‘Invisible- Art about the unseen, 1957-2012’ exhibition that was held at the Hayward Galley in 2012. The works were Jeppe Hein’s Invisible Labyrinth, Yves Klein, in the void room, 1961, Tom Friedman, 1000 hours, and Tino Seghal. The argument here was that if mannerism was a result of too much, an excess, then these works would offer some relief. They are visually low-key works, which invoke invisibility to underscore and direct our attention towards the unwritten rules that shape our understanding of art. A contrast to Jerry’s ‘post- formalist formal arrangements of clunky stuff, sticks, planks, bent metal, wood boxes, fabric old furniture, concrete things and whatnot leaned, stacked, piled or dispersed around a clean white gallery.’

Yves Klein in the Void Room (Raum der Leere). 1961

Yves Klein in the Void Room (Raum der Leere). 1961

 Tom Friedman. 1000hrs. 1992

Tom Friedman. 1000hrs. 1992

 Jeppe Hein, Invisible Labyrinth 2005

Jeppe Hein, Invisible Labyrinth 2005

Tino Sehgal

Jerry mentions Bjarne Melgaard at the beginning of the article and we examined his work. He works, sometimes collaboratively, on large-scale expressionistic paintings. His works are said to be created from ‘authentic impulses.’

Bjarne Melgaard and Erik Di Bella

Bjarne Melgaard and Erik Di Bella

Bjarne Melgaard and Ruben Lopez

Bjarne Melgaard and Ruben Lopez

We also looked at images from NCAD Painting department recent graduate, Sam Keogh,’s 2013 show at the Kerlin Gallery, Dublin, ‘Mop.’ The exhibition takes its premise from the character of Oscar the Grouch in the children’s television series Sesame Street, a character who collected dirty, messy and useless objects and whose presence in the programmes was to teach children to tolerate non-normative behaviours. The show consists of a vinyl floor covering, printed from Keogh’s drawings spliced together, spread across the entire floor of the gallery, on which are placed an array of images, sculptures and found objects. Although the presentation of the show ticks several of Saltz’s boxes, the way forms merge in and out of the background of the floor covering, and the way the viewer discovers the show over time and spends time with it and on it, the subtlety of the shifts in scale and consideration of detail and materials , all counteract Jerry’s argument.

Sam Keogh, Mop, 2013

Sam Keogh, Mop, 2013

Sam Keogh, Mop, 2013

Sam Keogh, Mop, 2013

Posted by Madeleine Moore

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Freight and Baggage

November 17, 2013
Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, 1656
Diego Velazquez, Las Meninas, 1656
John Currin, The Old Fence, 1999

John Currin, The Old Fence, 1999

‘Freight and Baggage’ was the theme for October’s MFA Painting seminar, looking at tradition and weight within painting. Students and staff contributed a range of references. Subsequently concentrated discussion followed beginning with old masters through to modernism and contemporary work. A brief outline of the discussion and selection of the images are above and below.

The discussion began with Michel Foucault’s opening chapter of The Order of Things (1966), an analysis of Las Meninas by Diego Velazquez, where the viewer is implicated as subject; an example of representation declaring the importance of the central figure; the significance of the mirror  central within the painting. The materiality and physical scale of the painting were also discussed and reference was made to Picasso’s multiple versions of Las Meninas.

In the more recent,  John Currin’s ‘The Old Fence’, we see evidence of multiple layers,  referring back to the history of painting.

Politics and painting featured with Jacques Louis David, Death of Marat. T.J Clark described it as the first modernist painting for “the way it took the stuff of politics as its material, and did not transmute it”.

Jacques Louis David, Death of Marat, 1793

Jacques Louis David, Death of Marat, 1793

Caspar David Friedrich, The Monk By The Sea, 1808-1810.

Caspar David Friedrich, The Monk By The Sea, 1808-1810.

The endurance of painting was highlighted. Rothko’s later works appear cloudy and luminous sharing similar overlaps in materiality and atmosphere evident within the Caspar David Friedrich painting. How do we inhabit a space of a painting and how do you inhabit a space in which you place a figure? Painting as a window was considered; ‘The Monk By The Sea’ is a representation of meditation; the Rothko’s, a space for contemplation.

The frescoes of Piero della Francesca have similar materiality to the Friedrich painting; the gaps, cracks and missing faces are part of the way we see the images.

Piero dela Francesa. Exaltation of the Cross from The Legend of The True Cross

Piero della Francesa. Exaltation of the Cross from The Legend of The True Cross

Merlin James, Viaduct, 2007, acrylic on canvas.

Merlin James, Viaduct, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 34×41 cms.

Expanding upon the weight and baggage of paintings history, the idea of paintings inherited marks began with a painting by Merlin James. Viaduct appears as speedily painted subject matter, although his paintings are often worked on for long periods. Within contemporary painting, whether representation, figuration or abstraction, the point was made that a brush mark is difficult to do. Further discussion developed with Picasso in the seminar and the development of Cubism and its legacy.

Picasso, Les-Demoiselles-dAvignon, 1907, 8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm)

Picasso, Les-Demoiselles-dAvignon, 1907, 8′ x 7′ 8″ (243.9 x 233.7 cm)

Anselm Kiefer,

Anselm Kiefer, Untitled, 2006, Charcoal, chairs, branches, and plaster on canvas, 280×570 cms.

With Kiefer, reference was made to German history and the Holocaust; to the history of weight and guilt. Freight was discussed as a notion to carry within painting, as paintings project. Objects hang onto Kiefer’s paintings without making the canvas sag. The more weight added to the painting, the freight becomes analogous. Reference was made to Günter Grass.

Hard edged painting relating to the weight of mid century abstraction was prompted by Frank Stella with Jens Wolf. Wolf uses readymade colours, found on packaging within his paintings. Speculating if this is attempting to undermine the monumentalism of mid-century American Modernism: “How do you deal with debt? Is this a tribute to Stella or is it getting him off your back?”

Frank Stella,

Frank Stella,

jens_wolf_ag01

Jens Wolf,

Julian Antonisz (Antoniszczak)

Julian Antonisz (Antoniszczak)

The sculpture in Eric Fischl’s painting ‘The Sheer Weight of History’ is by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1620, Sleeping Hermaphroditus. The boy under the sculpture doesn’t know how to react with it; he brings something past into the contemporary.

Laura Healy. Painting- Freight and Baggage

Matthias Weischer, Corner, 2005

Matthias Weischer, Corner, 2005, 40×30 cms.

Komar and Melamid, Americas Most Wanted Painting.

Komar and Melamid, Americas Most Wanted Painting.

‘America’s most wanted painting’  reflected the question often asked of painters is “So do you do landscapes or portraits?” implying that if you don’t do either ‘what you do mustn’t be any good’.

Robert Irwin,  Who's afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue, 2006

Robert Irwin, Who’s afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue, 2006

Irwin has often said he wished to paint a painting ‘that didn’t begin and end at the edge’, producing perceptual experiences as opposed to images observed by the viewer. Further to Newman, who sought to make work free of subject matter, reducing composition, Irwin carries these ideas and thinking within his installations, in this case deliberately citing Newman’s title Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue. Doug Wheeler also works with the medium of perception and experience, using volume, space and light. Thinking Freight and Baggage within painting, Wheeler’s  ‘Untitled’  also recalls Albers and ‘Homage to The Square’.

Doug  Wheeler,

Doug Wheeler,

Posted by Kristina Huxley and Robert Armstrong

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Sean Molloy

November 5, 2013
Sean Molloy, Philip’s Head XIII, 2013, oil, beeswax and enamel on panel, 20.5x28.7 cms

Sean Molloy, Philip’s Head XIII, 2013, oil, beeswax and enamel on panel, 20.5×28.7 cms

Sean Molloy’s paintings reference artists such as Velasquez, Dutch Masters, and 19th and 20th century figurative painters. His knowledge of the painting canon is extended by his interest in photography and reproduction. Sean was long-listed for the 2013 Saatchi New Sensations Award following his exciting MFA presentation at NCAD earlier this year.

“I suppose when I think about 19th century painting I think of it in terms of its relationship to the invention of photography.  Painting suffered a sort of usurpation by the new invention, but what I find interesting is the reciprocal exchange between the ancient practice of painting and the subsequent responses by early portrait photographers to mimic certain aspects of the works of the old masters”.

The quote above is from an interview with Sean Molloy on Trebuchet. He is currently showing in Lacuna at Taylor Gallery, Dublin and other images can be found on his website.

Sean Molloy

Sean Molloy, Auratype V, 2012, watercolour and enamel on panel, 16 cm diameter

Posted by Robert Armstrong

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Burns and Noonan

October 25, 2013
Peter Burns, Crossroads, 2013

Peter Burns, Crossroads, 2013

Peter Burns and Mary Noonan both graduated in MFA at NCAD in 2009. Their exhibition at the Claremorris Gallery, County Mayo (until November 15) features works that conjure up a world both literally and metaphorically ‘beyond the pale’. Burns explores classical mythology and literary themes and Noonan delves deep into Irish folklore. View more images at the gallery website and read the accompanying essay by Gallery Director Rosemarie Noone here.

Mary Noonan, A Somewhat Unusual Sight, 2013

Mary Noonan, A Somewhat Unusual Sight, 2013

Posted by Robert Armstrong

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Outside In

October 24, 2013
Frank Walter,Woman and Giant Bird, oil on photographic paper
25.2 x 20.2 cm

Frank Walter, Woman and Giant Bird, oil on photographic paper
, 25.2 x 20.2 cm

Interest in outsider art is reflected in current and recent shows world-wide. Forrest Bess (see earlier painttube post here) is subject of a retrospective at the Hammer Museum, Frank Walter showed recently at Douglas Hyde Gallery Dublin, and two outsider artists are included in this years Carnegie International.

Like Bess, the Antiguan artist Frank Walter, lived in isolation and followed a deeply personal vision. The small DHG show, presented with the support and assistance of Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, made a big impression. The works appear to be the result of an urgent and intuitive need to communicate, and were popular with painters, I think, because they avoid mannerism and cleverality.

Frank Walter,Woman and Giant Bird, oil on photographic paper
25.2 x 20.2 cm

Frank Walter, Woman and Giant Bird, oil on photographic paper, 
25.2 x 20.2 cm

The 2013 Carnegie International features work by Guo Fengyi and Joseph Yoakum. Click on the names to go directly to their pages on Carnegie website. The image at bottom is from the Frieze Art Fair via Long March Space.

Joseph Yoakum, Bay of Fundy near Midleton Nova Scotia, 1966, pencil and ballpoint pen on paper, 18x24 in

Joseph Yoakum, Bay of Fundy near Midleton Nova Scotia, 1966, pencil and ballpoint pen on paper, 18×24 in

Joseph Yoakum, The Cyclone that Struck Susanville California in Year of 1903, 1970, pencil, ballpoint and felt pens on paper, 12x9 in.

Joseph Yoakum, The Cyclone that Struck Susanville California in Year of 1903, 1970, pencil, ballpoint and felt pens on paper, 12×9 in.

Guo Fengyi, detail of Huaxu Family, 1996, colored ink on rice paper, 244 1⁄8 x 27 9⁄16 in. (620 x 70 cm)

Guo Fengyi, detail of Huaxu Family, 1996, colored ink on rice paper, 244 1⁄8 x 27 9⁄16 in. (620 x 70 cm)

Guo Fengyi

Guo Fengyi, Avalokiteshvara, 68.2 x 189 cm. 

Posted by Robert Armstrong

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The Battle of Faith and Doubt

October 23, 2013

Image

    Still by Justine Frischmann 2013 in oil, acrylic on wood panel. Image source here.

The Battle of Faith and Doubt is the title of a recent exhibition of paintings by Justine Frischmann, an English artist and musician, at Unspeakable Projects in San Francisco:

‘Frischmann’s work oscillates between chaos and composition to explore states of impermanence and flux. Made in short, intense sessions over an eighteen month period, the paintings refigure the throw-away aesthetics of punk into luminous, gestural washes. The show takes its title from the earliest painting in the series–a monochrome mixed media composition whose black expanse resists reproduction and is difficult to light, fully legible only when viewed obliquely. This preoccupation with light obscured and revealed is central to the work which portrays a constant interplay between struggle and stillness, cancellation and reconstruction.

The show’s core dichotomy is expressed in a range of formal oppositions, mixing traditional high-value methods like layered oils with throw-away contemporary materials–fluorescent spray paint, panel board, cheap plastic tarps. In neon fluoro sprays on panel wiped out by pale scumbles in oil, Frischmann performs a kind of reverse vandalism. Throughout, the works enact competing impulses of creation and destruction, looking for sources of redemption in landscapes of doubt…’

There is also an interesting conversation with Frischmann at Eclectic magazine here

Posted by Kristina Huxley

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