Acute Conditions

Sharon Butler, Color Study 9, 2008, oil on cardboard, 11 x 17 inches
Talk about synergy: I'd been planning a series about painting in which angular geometry predominates . My clever title: Angles in America. Then the venerable Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago mounted a show on the same theme with that same name.

Time for a retitle. So what do I remember from geometry class? Um, well, nothing. But I do remember the words: scalene, isoceles, hypotenuse. Try to make a blog title from those! Wait, acute. That's the wedge-of-cheese angle. Acute will work as a title, even if some of the angles are not literally within the parameters of the definition. Hey, this is an art blog--not a theorem.

I want to start the series with three artists whose work I like a lot: Sharon Butler, above, my co-conspirator in Art Bloggers At (which may or may not have a November gathering); Joanne Freeman, who has a show up now at Lohin Geduld Gallery; and Nancy White, whose work I previously showed in my report on Calculated Color. I selected these three because while I like their work individually, I also find some interesting connections among them.

Joanne Freeman, Caprice, 2008, oil and wax on shaped panel, 35 x 17 inches

Nancy White, 3-DP #11, 2007, gesso on paper, 4 x 6.25 x 1.25 inches

Each painter combines sharp angles with curvilinear elements, so that depending on how you look at the work, you may see it as soft or sharp. Both Freeman and White are working with dimensional shape--White with shadows that become a mutable and evanescent part of the work--Butler with a shaped background set into a rectangular format.

In the works I have selected above, there's a related palette, particularly the predominant yellow and, within that, in the angles of the yellows themselves. But the scale is different. White's wall-mounted construction would fit into the space circumscribed by Butler's biomorphic gray ground; Freeman's painting is easel size. The surfaces are different, too: Butler's has a nice, light-handed "brushiness;" White's are smooth. Freeman's surface, worked with oil and wax, appears to have been palette-knifed on, and there's a satisfying dialog here between the tooth of the canvas and the butteriness of the paint, and then between the materiality of the surface and the preciseness of the composition.

Here's one more from each artist:

Joanne Freeman, Negotiable Pink, 2008, oil and wax on panel, 42 x 45 inches

Sharon Butler, Siding, 2008 oil study on wood, 9.75 x 12 inches

Nancy White, 3-DP #9, 2007, gesso on paper, 4 x 3.5 x 2.5 inches

Over time, I expect to show the work of Chris Duncan (up now at Jeff Bailey Gallery); Mary Heilmann, up now at Zwirner and Wirth, and soon at the New Museum; Ann Pibal, Paul Pagk, Sarah Morris and others.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for a report on Material Color. I'm driving to the Hunterdon Art Museum on Sunday, October 5, for the opening--did I mention my own paintings are in the show?--and will post shortly thereafter.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lovely colours....I really like the geometrics ^..^ Graeme Outerbridge