Monday, October 26, 2009

Julian Stanczak, Recent Work, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Ohio, September 12, 2009-January 10, 2011

Click here for Julian Stanczak
Click here for MCAC, including artcast with Julian Stanczak

Julian Stanczak’s art does not echo the natural world.
It does not detail visual experiences. His art does what art
is supposed to do, it amplifies life’s experiences.

"The art of Julian Stanczak is an exploration of what it is to see. It is a journey into the miracle of sight and an amplification of discoveries in that journey. Julian Stanczak has through more than five decades of uninterrupted work shown us that his understanding of color has no peer. The depth of his knowledge, the remarkable keenness of his vision together with flawless execution has brought about the most significant art since the American Abstract Artists movement of a half century ago."

Louis Zona, Youngstown Museum of American Art

Languages of Futurism, Martin Bropius Bau, Berlin, Germany, October 2, 2009-January 11, 2010

Giacomo Balla, 1911

Tim Stapel, Parrotta Contemporary Art, Stuttgart, Germany, October 23-November 27, 2009

Click here for Parotta Contemporary Art

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jan Kopfleisch, Kaleidoscop, Kunssteverein Woflenbüttel, Wolfenbüttel, Germany, September 6-October 11, 2009

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Gilbert Hsiao, Gallery Sonja Roesch, Houston, TX, September 12-October 31, 2009

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Click here for Gallery Sonja Roesch

Gilbert Hsiao’s work explores the mechanics of visual perception. The viewer perceives oscillation through the illusion of a continuous wave produced by the physiological experience of space and movement. Meticulously layered stripes in tightly woven structures create a musical rhythm and repose.

To determine the final form of the work, Hsiao considers the shape and the proportions of the painting’s support as a method of organizing pictorial space. The result is a continuously moving surface, which is reinforced through the shape of the painting. Metallic and fluorescent paint is applied with a vintage compressor less sprayer, creating a textured surface that makes these paintings an absorbing experience whether viewed close up or from a distance.

(from the press release of the exhibtion)

Light and Movement Portrayed: A Tribute to the Art of Anthony Poon, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, August 22-October 25, 2009

Playing With Color and Movement


Published: September 8, 2009
SINGAPORE — “Everything can be simplified in the basic shapes of lines and angles,” Anthony Poon once said. That spirit of experimentation, characteristic of the abstract art movement in the 1960s and 1970s, is highlighted in a major retrospective of the work of the late Singaporean artist. The show explores how Poon methodically developed his style, eventually finding a distinctive voice with relief painting.

“Light and Movement Portrayed: A Tribute to the Art of Anthony Poon,” which runs until Oct. 25 at the Singapore Art Museum, features works representing the artist’s different phases, from his formative years painting in an Abstract Expressionism style to his embrace of Optical Art, subsequent innovations in relief painting and final venture into sculptural works.

While earlier Singaporean artists had generally adhered to the renditions or representations of the physical world in their paintings, Poon pushed for the use of abstraction and is generally regarded as a forerunner of the modernist art movement in Singapore, said Kwok Kian Chow, director of the National Art Gallery in Singapore (set to open in 2013) and the former director of the Singapore Art Museum.

Born in 1945, Poon studied at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts between 1961 and 1964, and his early works, like “Fishing Village” (1966), show the influence of Cheong Soo Pieng, one of Singapore’s pioneer modern painters and one of his teachers at the academy.

“You can see this in the elongation of the necks and limbs, this is classic Soo Pieng, as well as the subject matter, a fishing village,” said Ong Zhen Min, the curator of exhibition.

However, the semi-abstract “Jobless Son” (1966), with its vibrant hues of blue and graduation of greens, already hints at the young artist’s interest in color.

In 1967, Poon went to Britain to further his studies. Amid the vibrant London art scene of the 1960s, which was then breaking away from Abstract Expressionism and experimenting with the styles and movements that responded to it, his eyes opened up to a new world of theories. These ranged from Geometric Abstraction and Hard-Edge painting, in which abrupt transitions are made between areas of different colors; to Color Field, where solid colors are spread to create a flat plane with no brushstrokes; and finally, to Optical Art.

By the time Poon returned to Singapore in 1971, his practice had changed profoundly to embrace this new form. This is most evident in the first series after his return, the Kite Series. Here he used “shaped canvas” — a term describing supports that departed from the traditional rectangular format and emphasized the work as an object. In these paintings, the artist took an almost mathematical approach, first using graph paper to ensure the complete symmetry of the repeated, precisely arranged shapes that would create an optical effect of moving patterns. “He was very clear-cut in what he wanted and had very set ideas about what the perfect ratio should be,” Ms. Ong said, adding that Poon’s undulating repetitions somewhat recall the work of modular constructivist sculptors like Erwin Hauer and Norman Carlberg.

“Many artists at the time were interested in seeing if they could match technological development with the art world,” she said. “They were quite inspired by whatever technological innovations were happening. In the case of Anthony Poon, you can see this in his Colour Frequency Wave Series, which started in the late ’70s and explored the curvilinear form of a frequency wave.”

Throughout his Wave series, Poon strictly adhered to the systematic use of colors — titling his works using the codes of paint color charts (e.g. CR for cadmium red). This makes the technical aspects of his practice a key point in the interpretation and appreciation of his works, Ms. Ong said.

In 1983, Poon won a local art competition with one of his Wave paintings, helping to raise his profile and make him a sought-after artist for public commissions.

A large part of the retrospective focuses on the artist’s three-dimensional Wave relief series, which he started in the mid-’80s. Here Poon created a sculptural effect of sinuous wave patterns by using aluminum strips under the stretched canvas. If a viewer is standing at a distance and directly in front of the painting, it looks two dimensional, but if the viewer moves from one side to the other, the metal strips that push the canvas forward transform it into an attractive sculpture. The artist reinforced the 3-D image with painted shadow effects, but the paint is so evenly applied it looks as if it has been air-sprayed.

“He actually never told anyone how he managed to create the 3-D effect; it was a trade secret for a very long time,” said Ms. Ong. Poon’s wife and daughter agreed to explain the technique for the purposes of the exhibition.

From the three-dimensional relief Wave series, it was a natural progression for the artist to move on to metal sculpture, and from the early 1990s until his death in 2006 he mainly focused on that medium, creating numerous, giant twirls of steel, inspired by the movement of dance and ribbons. Interestingly, his late sculptures show a newfound texture, which Ms. Ong suggested indicates that “he was trying to go full circle, as he’d started with brush strokes and that was a way of putting them back in.”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Douglas Melini, It Flows Over Us Without Meaning, Minus Space, Brooklyn, New York, October 24-December 25, 2009

Matthew Deleget: Where did the paintings in your exhibition at MINUS SPACE begin?

Douglas Melini: Well, you were actually involved in the dawn of the new work. As you know during the summer of 2007, I had just finished preparing work for your exhibition Machine Learning and as fate would have it, my studio flooded, destroying close to a year’s worth of paintings, most of which were set for your exhibition. For me it was a pretty traumatic event. You know, it’s one of those things that can result in a number of outcomes. One can retreat and become very angry or negative, maybe even bitter over something like this, or one can engage with it and make sense of the situation, create meaning out of it. And for me, my studio practice is way too valuable to let this type of event take me in any direction other than forward.

For years I’ve been interested in folk arts and crafts, and it’s played a significant role in my painting practice in some form or another for the last 12 years. When I began to think about making new paintings after the flood, I began to consider the idea of a talisman and how it might function in relationship to painting. At the time I wasn’t quite sure how it would function, but I knew that I was headed in that direction. Shortly after I finished the earliest versions of the paintings, I visited a friend down in North Carolina in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I saw many barns in the countryside dotted with large geometric images and they actually looked close to the images that I was painting. Neither of us was sure exactly what these images on the barns represented, but I remembered the hex signs that the Pennsylvania Dutch had used as protective symbols for they’re barns and figured that they were being used in a similar way.

My studio practice has always been about letting personal events and experiences filter into my work in one way or another and I liked the idea of an abstract painting having talismanic powers. I know that the idea of a painting as a talisman may seem like a leap of faith or something, but making paintings requires a belief in something that’s not necessarily tangible. One has to have faith in the practice, a kind of focus or trust in the act of painting, hoping that it will all eventually lead somewhere. To be truthful things were happening in a very organic way and I was just trying to pay attention to everything. It all seemed to make sense to me. I guess that’s how the paintings for MINUS SPACE began.

Click here or the rest of this interview at Minus Space