an Interview with Ross Bleckner
Ross Bleckner admits that the idea of beauty has always been a personal fascination, and the result of his compelling interest is the production of bodies of work that aspire towards and achieve the condition of the radiant and the sublime. At the core of his expression is a profound affirmation of the human spirit, and one of its deepest manifestations is a spiritual dimension that has little to do with conventional religiosity and everything to do with an unwavering humanist epistemology. His most recent exhibition, “Ross Bleckner: Pharmaceutria” at Petzel in New York, included 15 paintings, all large oils on linen, that, taken together, are a measure of where he sees himself and the medium that has been his primary focus from the time he left CalArts with his MFA in hand in 1973 and returned to New York. Keep Reading
The Various Arts of Wangechi Mutu
A successful collage is synthetic, its disparate component parts adhering as a rational whole. It would be impossible to imagine any other configuration of its diverse elements, recombinant and now perfect. Wangechi Mutu’s luscious, fantastical, multivalent, clamouring collage works hang together as intense composites— evidence of mind wrestling with matter. Prodigious, complex visual presentations, what they are not is static or fixed. Not one is a lullaby to sleep by. Keep Reading
Winnipeg painter Eric Allan Cameron is making a big statement in a small way. He is producing a body of oil paintings on canvas paper, the largest of which is 20 x 15 cm and the smallest is 9.5 x 7 cm, on the subject of landscape, camping and fishing. The large painting shows a minimal landscape in which a fluctuating black horizon line stretches from one side of the composition to the other, while the water and sky are indicated through delicate blends of red and green. The small painting, which is Cameron’s favourite in the series, shows a float plane, so tiny the pontoons are only a suggestion in the water, viewed head-on. Both these paintings, and all the others in the series so far, are painted and then sanded down, sometimes as many as four times. Keep Reading
“I was thinking about the idea of how to build a more monstrous monster,” says Cindy Phenix, a Quebec-born artist who now lives in Chicago. In her most recent paintings she has concentrated on ways to picture these meta-figures performing acts of ambiguous purpose and meaning. About Birds, Blue and Strangers, 2019, shows a pair of women either caring for or conflicting with one another. The figure on the left wears blue pants, turquoise eye shadow and a slash of rouge across her cheek that looks more like blood than blush. Keep Reading
The Druze artist Fatma Shanan has carpeted the world. Or less ambitiously, she has made a world for herself out of the carpet. Her strategy for the last decade has been to find a way to make the carpet a metonym for her own body and being. A common and revered domestic object, the carpet has been dislocated from its conventional context and made into a vehicle for introducing the tension among individual identity, the difficulty of achieving it and the necessary collective identity in Druze and Israeli culture. Keep Reading
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