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Jennifer Reeves: Ramis Barquet Gallery, NY, Mar. 31 — May 7, 2011

Posted on 30. Apr, 2011 by in Art Reviews

The Day I Forgot To Be A Zombie, 2011

The Day I Forgot To Be A Zombie, 2011

You wonder if artist Jennifer Reeves was the kind of kid who stuck her bubblegum on the bedpost before she went to sleep.  Her work has that kind of touch and incongruity.  With her found-in-the-garage frames and clumps of this and that her art looks like it’s constructed out of stuff left behind in the studio after the painters went home for the night.  Her pictures are elfin magic playing out inscrutable stories that defy logical reading for those who prefer to take in art while awake.  These are twilight places where a sagging cloud of grey paint tugs along a zombie creature – or what is it really?  In Butterfly Bomb a tight formation of cream and white blops assemble on the surface like a marching band waiting for an assignment.   In Lion’s Mane an encrusted wire arcs out from the frame and returns into the paint surface like an idea that cannot escape.

Her painted constructions have an aching sensibility —  a poetry of restraint.  Reeves applies her dabs of paint and strips of material like a mother putting a bandaid on a scrapped knee. It doesn’t go just any old place. It goes where the hurt is.


Picasso Guitar Series at MoMA

Posted on 26. Apr, 2011 by in Mike's Art Blog

Picasso's Guitars at MoMa

Picasso's Guitars at MoMa

What is so staggering about Picasso’s Guitar Series (1912-1914) is what you recognize. Everything is there.  A pure white square detached from its cubist mooring and floating off towards Malevich.  A string casting shadow from cardboard (Richard Tuttle). The daily newspaper as worthy material (de Kooning, Rauschenberg, Warhol).

Picasso is no longer riffing on known forms — the Greeks, the Africans and everyone in between — he has been given the key to an unknown room.  Handed the magician’s wand, discovering an entirely new set of forms.   One torqued guitar neck looks like a Frank Gehry building.  What is amazing is that his paper constructions have the monumentality of a Greek column and the nonchalance of an origami bird. They are absolute and fleeting: simultaneously.  What alchemy is allowing him to juggle both sensibilities at the same time?  The “drawings” are rabbit fast.  The paintings are tortoise slow.  On paper the charcoal line zips.  On canvas the line creeps.  Incrustations build.  With the addition of grit mixed into the pigment one soft pink passage looks like sandpaper.  This is Beauty that would take the skin off your lips if you kissed it.

I felt a faint sorrow that Picasso would never again have all these ideas flooding out at once.  At the same time, I admired him for leaving this room, alive.  The work is so generous.  He is giving everyone presents.  There was enough there from 1912 through ‘14 to keep an entire century of artists busy.

Oh, and he even seems to scoop Duchamp.  One playful drawing is hidden between two sheets of paper.  A light shining through it reveals a leering smile.  What do you think, Marcel?



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