Awash in Color: More Friends of Mr. Biv

Click here for "No Chromophobia."

So a friend e-mailed me the other day to ask, "Who is this Mr. Biv?" If anyone is similarly confounded, think back to third grade. It's the mnemonic used to help you remember the spectrum. Remember?

Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Indigo Violet

Since we're discussing Roy (and in the interest of equal representaton, it could just as easily have been Rona, you know), I'd like to show the work of a few more of his friends. Most of these folks I know, a few others I don't. I'm motivated strictly by the chromatic intelligence of their work. For some of these artists, color is not necessarily the dominant element, it's the geometry. But we don't have to take sides, as color and composition are perfect complements.


Julie Karabenick, Composition 71, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches

I curated Julie's work into Luxe, Calme et Volupte last year at the Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta. I'm impressed with the intellectual rigor and physical demands of her work. On such a pristine surface, there's no going back and painting over. Decisions made are decisions maintained. This is a breakthrough painting, because there's now a figure-ground relationship in the work, and the color has a chance to interact with the viewer's eye from various points in a visually dimensional space. Julie is the editor of Geoform. You can see her work there, or on her own website, Karabenick-Art.


Marcia Hafif,TGGT 12: (Red-Gold, Violet), 22 x 22", oil on Canvas, 2006. Image from the Marcia Hafif website

I've seen her work in person here and there over the years--Larry Becker in Philadelphia, the now-closed Baumgartner Gallery in Chelsea, and a few months ago at a gallery showing at Pulse in New York. Though relatively small--modestly proportioned easel size work--each painting has a huge presence. Her newer work is divided vertically, each section containing a different hue. Considering what she said about painting in 1990, her more current work is positively image laden:

"Having taken into consideration years ago the consensus decision of the art world that painting was no longer acceptable as an art form, it seemed necessary to move my awareness to a second level. Accepting the idea that one could no longer paint in good faith, I thought it would be possible to paint on another level, one providing a certain distance, in order to look at the paint rather than at its subject. It would be possible to paint "as if" one were painting, using the materials and techniques of painting, but without referring to a separate subject. This thinking led me to monochrome. Thus I do not paint with the intention of making a painting as such, but I work from the outside of painting using traditional methods and materials to discover a new image. " (Why Paint: Marcia Hafif from the catalog Marcia Hafif: Red Paintings, Verlag der Galerie Conrads, Neuss 1990 ).

In this relatively newer work, the vertical created by the abutting of two colors creates an image--a "painting as such"--but it does so on Hafif's terms.


Chris Ashley, Cluny, 2008, HTML image

Chris works in a unique way, creating "drawings" directly on his computer screen using HTML code. They could easily be called "paintings," but I'm using his preferred word. The work is created using, I think, numbers that translate into blocks of color, so it's keystrokes rather than brush strokes that make the work. Lately, the work has made the leap off the screen and into a printed image, which makes me call them "paintings," but I suppose technically that would make them prints. In this new incarnation the saturated color on creamy paper has the look and visual feel of super-saturated gouache on watercolor paper. Visit his website, Look See, to see much more.

BTW, Chris wrote about my work in his blog a couple of years ago. Then I curated him into my Luxe, Calme et Volupte show. (You see how my blog world has very few degrees of separation; but then, that's true for the entire art world, where three degrees will probably take you back to the Cave Painters). In the fall we're going to be in a show called "Calculated Color," curated by the painter Jane Lincoln, at the Higgins Gallery on Cape Cod. Oh, and we're both part of the Geoform.project, along with Lyda Ray, below. Full disclaimer, yo.


John Tallman, Color Stack, 2007, polyurethane resin, 1o x 10 inch diameter

Tallman is a painter and sculptor for whom materiality is essential. Indeed, you can't disentangle the painter from the sculptor any more than you can disentangle the color from the form. Visit his website and his Color Chunks blog to see what I mean. I don't know him, but when I found his blog I felt an instant affinity for what he's doing.


Bill Gusky, Crush, 2007, enamel on urethane, 21 x 19 inches

I didn't know Bill until we we showed together in the Blogger Show, organized by John Morris, in the East Village last fall. That's when I saw this painting and purchased it for my collection. (More no degrees.) I've still not actually met him, so I don't actually know him, but I feel as if I do, partly because I wake up to his painting every morning and partly because I read his blog, Artblog Comments, regularly. Anyway, I like the way Bill combines color and form and material. See more at Bill


Lynda Ray, Float Copper, encaustic on panel, 14 x 18 inches

I was introduced to Lynda's work when I was looking at images for my book, the The Art of Encaustic Painting. Her slides vibrated right out of the envelope. Like John Tallman and Bill Gusky, above, Lynda mixes color, form (via sensuously slathered paint) and materiality--and she maintains a geometric sensibility as well. See more on Lynda Ray

I suppose "Friends of Mr. Biv" will become a recurring feature on this blog. Stay tuned.

1 comment:

anne mcgovern said...

Here's looking forward to more "Friends of Mr. Biv." I can't get enough of this blog!