patternsthatconnect

abstract art, a systems view

Posts Tagged ‘James Kalm

James Kalm Reviews New Work by Brice Marden

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I have posted before about James Kalm’s YouTube reviews of art shows in New York. Here he is in his characteristic style, whispering about the art so as not to disturb anyone, only to be disturbed himself, by a mobile phone. It’s not unlike an old Dom Joly sketch. I have often wanted to attend a gallery show with video camera running just to see whether I could pull it off like James Kalm does. Well, in the closing frames of this one he is thwarted. Nevertheless, he succeeds in questioning the ‘control’ of the gallery by simply quoting them, at the same time as finding a way around their prohibition.

Returning to a material and motif the artists used several years ago, most of these works are fabricated using small slabs of marble as grounds. Incorporating the swirling veins of black crystal silicate that naturally appear in the marble, the artist then “assists” these forms with hard edge lines and geometric bands and blocks of color to create paintings at once modern and ancient. Also includes views of paintings on canvas and a interrupted attempt to record “Ru Ware Project”, a multi-panel painting that Marden has worked on for six years.

Written by Andy Parkinson

June 25, 2012 at 8:00 am

The Music of Painting

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There is an impression that results from a particular juxtaposition of colours, lights and shades: what one might call the music of painting

Eugene Delacroix

… is quoted in the frontispiece of  Peter Vergo’s book The Music of Painting, first published in 2010 and just out in paperback.

 

according to Charles Darwent, Art Quarterly, it’s “a must-have for anyone interested in why modernism looks (and sounds) as it does”

good job I have it then! It was a birthday present, and I have just started reading it.

The front cover shows a reproduction of Theo van Doesburg’s Rhythm of a Russian Dance,1918. Music and dance have an obvious connection with each other and a less obvious one with painting. I have blogged about it before in relation to Mondrian, whose work also features in the book, in a chapter entitled Art, Jazz and Silence. I am also reminded of another book  Music and Modern Art, edited by James Leggio, and containing a chapter by Harry Cooper called Popular Models: Fox-Trot and Jazz Band in Mondrian’s Abstraction.

In a recent Rough Cuts video, James Kalm reviews the Stanley Whitney exhibition Left to Right, at Team Gallery (some great pics here ) saying of Whitney  “His approach to color and rhythm are akin to the spontaneous riffs of great jazz solos”.

In Blogland, Scott Van Holzen’s blog  art in music is dedicated to paintings based on musical themes and Ruth Gray, tells of how listening to some old records, she feels inspired to paint the colours she hears. I guess that making a connection between visual, auditory and kinaesthetic arts is almost bound to get somewhat synaesthetic.

James Kalm: an egg floating in the middle of a doily!

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I love James Kalm’s Rough Cuts videos on YouTube. He takes his bike and visits New York galleries with his camera and gets videoing. We get pictures and commentary in slightly hushed voice, with little asides like “there’s such and such” when we see someone, and we get information about the New York art scene and some thoughts about the paintings. Often you can hear the rustling of paper as he looks up the title in the gallery notes. When I go to galleries I get my camera out like it’s a crime and discretely take a photo, usually discovering to my surprise that it is actually OK to do so. James Kalm just marches in says “hi” to whoever is in there and takes us along with him via the magic of video.

His new one is Terry Winters: Cricket Music and Tessellation Figures at Matthew Marks. I like the self-portrait reflection we get when he photographs the signage through the gallery window. I was unfamiliar with Terry Winters’ work and there was no chance I would have been going over to NY to see the show (unless NY stood for North Yorkshire, then I would certainly have gone) so it works as a good introduction. Kalm’s commentary ranges from the banal “I kind of  like what he is doing here”, to the factual “tessellation figure 9”, to the hilarious “it almost gets figurative…it’s almost like an egg floating in the middle of a doily”.

Terry Winters has been a respected presence on the New York painting scene for decades now. His latest show ” Cricket Music and Tessellation Figures” is the first major presentation of new works since 2008. These pictures reveal a poetic application of the geometric concept of a gridded plane, it permutations through knotting and folding and the fragmentation of image and its re-composition.

Written by Andy Parkinson

April 24, 2012 at 7:45 am

Moira Dryer

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Terry Greene recently drew my attention to an open letter from David Rhodes to Philip Guston. Then I saw this other letter from Rhodes to an artist whose work I have been getting to know recently: Moira Dryer. His letter at brooklynrail.org tells of a visit to Carol Szymanski and Barry Schwabsky in New York, seeing a small gouache by Dryer (photo) and being impressed by it. He comments on her approach to painting, about her influence on abstraction and regrets her passing (she died in 1992, when she was only 34 years old). He seems to agree with a comment I found by Bob Nickas that “she managed to make abstraction feel vital again” at a time when it no longer seemed as urgent or vibrant as it once did.

Here’s a picture I took of her wonderful painting entitled The Vanishing Self Portrait. I have written about it before, when I compared it to two other “abstract portraits”.

Moira Dryer, Vanishing Self Portrait,

I wondered if there were any of her paintings in UK collections, and so far I haven’t been able to find any (please let me know in ‘comments’ if you come across one). Instead I found this video at Rough Cuts of a painting show at Harris Lieberman N.Y. where we get to see one of Dryer’s paintings (at 2.50 and between 6.38 and 7.07 mins). In his commentary, James Kalm doesn’t tell us if it has a title. He does bring our attention to the handles attached to the sides and says that’s common for Dryer. Like the tree stump in the one above, they emphasise the support. With the tree stump I feel reminded of the connection to nature, there’s no getting away from it even in abstraction. With the handles, it is more the process of painting Vs utility that I connect to: was the stretcher held by the handles and tilted to control the flow of wet paint? I doubt it, but I like that the artwork gets me guessing about that.

For Dryer, painting is theatre, performance, and in both these paintings it seems appropriate to be thinking about how they were made. In The Vanishing Self Portrait the brush strokes, (or possibly erasure strokes) look gestural, I imagine the artist extending her arm from one end of the canvas to the other. Then I realise that it’s probably too wide to have been made that way. But here I am, considering the making of it and speculating about the details of that performance, whilst clearly seeing its results directly in front of me.

Written by Andy Parkinson

April 13, 2012 at 9:00 am