Tuesday, April 11, 2006

gallery recap

There's never enough time get out to museums and galleries on a regular basis between my painting and trying to pay my bills. But I did manage to get out of the studio this last week and figure I'll give a report.

Generally I am a very selfish viewer of art. I want to see things that inspire my own work, and write off the irrelevent. Which is why I feel compelled to write notes because it makes me articulate better what I have seen and what I think about it. Otherwise I would be speedwalking through galleries and not taking the time to appreciate things I see.

Amy Wheeler/"Pretty Vacant" thru 4/22
Shoshana Wayne Gallery

From a distance I was drawn to her work. But as I got close I personally felt some of them were underworked. She uses a lot of thin washes of paint in the background with vines and leaves painted over it with carefully placed brush strokes. (couldn't pull images from the site but you can see them if you click the link.) Some used airbrush, and were more worked, others were on the minimal side. I loved the color and the composition and the design quality. I have a personal preference of being able to see layers of paint and a hint at its history and development beneath. Which may be why I felt they were underworked. I had an art teacher tell me once that a person will spend as much time looking at a painting as you spend making it. And I felt this comment was somehow relavent here.

I also felt there was an emphasis more on positive space-- painting the vines/leaves on the background instead of painting the background around the contour of the vines-- or working back and forth between the two. My painter instinct would be to work this way. Or to very pointedly avoid it.

The one painting that stood out the most was called "Silver" which I liked because the contrast between the marks of the plant and the airbrushed shadow and the paint in the background. I also liked the nuetral color ones in the smaller room, especially the way the airbrushed white plays in it.

Rosamund Felson
A Play on Action: 5 Los Angeles Artists Consider Feminism, thru 4/15

The artist that caught my eye here was Corrina Peipon. One piece, "Things" specifically caught my eye. It was simply sheets of white paper with type written phrases on them-- all realating to possessions. (Stupid me did not transcribe the text as I wish I had.) I am not sure of the background of this piece-- whether the words were written by her or taken from another source as I know another piece of hers there was.

But the reason this piece struck me-- well, to go into the background of why it did-- I have been obsessing over art containing text. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing, though often it is not incorporated well. And I don't know if it is just me noticing it more lately or it has been popping up more often, but from my perspective it seems to be spreading like a disease. Okay, so that conjures up too negative an image I admit. (I should add I've been obsessing with it because text has been popping up in some of my own work too.) When text is done wrong in 2D art it's like the artist is hitting the viewer over the head with a bat.

But what really caught my eye in Corrina Peipon's piece is that it is entirely text and simple paper, type-writer text phrase on each page, hung on a wall. And it comes across as sort of a poem-- and the content of the text carries it-- not blatently trumpeting some message oriented meaning. But much more subtle. And this led me to thinking that it is interesting to just exhibit a poem on the wall, plain and simple. Text as art. That got me thinking, well to compare this to shift within the poetry world to read/perform the work aloud which-- in my limited historical knowledge of the genre-- was a 20th century change. But to hang up plain text flirts with the different modes of experiencing art.

I'm sure I will be stewing over this idea for a while.

I still have 2 more shows I want to write about, but it's getting late and so I will have to pick this up again later. Especially because one of them will probably generate notes the length of a novel and when I'm home I prefer to be painting than writing about painting (ah, priorities!)

I'll just end with the question that is on my mind tonight as I write this:

What role can text play in 2D art? What makes it work?

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