dayoutlast is a record of my direct engagement with mostly contemporary art, mostly Los Angelean.

As this blog has evolved since its 2010 inception, so has my perspective. What I once perceived as central within the investigation was what was central, literally, within the photographic frame that I shared here. While still an important consideration, such thinking has also given way to more peripheral considerations, ones also accompanied occasionally by text (written manifestation of thought) and the oscillations between them. What's missing here are larger unknowns surrounding issues of presentation and representation; the amount of time and space it actually takes to accomplish such first-hand observations; and the quandaries between documentation and interpretation.

Despite my attempt to communicate here with image and text what is essential in some respect about the artwork, neither representation should ever be considered a substitution for the primary viewing experience. Of course, occasionally there are exceptions.

Most of the time, these posts are merely remnants---residual fragments---from my last day out.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

John Williams @ Richard Telles Fine Art

Harmonica,  2013
oil on canvas
70 x 74 inches

U-Shapes,  2013
oil on canvas
40 x 36 inches

Blue Painting,  2013
oil on canvas
115 x 92 inches

What keeps these paintings from being Ab Ex renditions (rehash)? Color, concept, and scale. Then Richter? (Color cacophony and smear). Then Now? White field. Web. Black. White. Cartoon. 

With an attitude of forgiveness and a welcoming spirit of historical revision, I continue to ponder the significance of these paintings.  My initial thought continues to be why I am being asking to think, once again, in 2014 about performativity and painting, a history, at least in Western art historical terms that begins with Jackson Pollock about seventy years ago. Of course, we could also consider the general movement of Gutai, a Japanese tradition of “action” painting most recently celebrated at the Guggenheim museum.

If the first run (let’s say between the late forties and the late fifties) had to do, crudely, with the aftermath of World War II (a sprawling globe devastated by the actions of a few), then I suppose I can also wonder about the aftermath of interconnectivity via internets now. This brings me to the suite of John Williams paintings recently displayed at Richard Telles. Whereas the earlier version of action painting called into question the very essence of being and materiality against a malleable surface (layer upon layer upon layer ad nauseum), William’s paintings operate with a kind of thinness that never leaves the initial ground too far away. They are, in fact, much lighter, and I can’t help but wonder in another way humorous and lyrical because of this. Certainly, what I know of the artist and the process for making these, I can at least suggest such conflations of light and lightness of being.  However, because I am not privy to the process in the direct viewing of this work, I can only speak to what is in front of me, as I can archaeologically unpack this visual record. And I can’t… So, I revert to stylistic variations of historical predecessors (Pollock, Shiraga, Kazuo, Sasburo et al and contemporaries (Butzer, Reafsnyder et al) who continue to shove paint in our faces and ask us to think about it. While it’s often a pleasure to contemplate paint for its own sake and what it can do as a result of an artist’s hand (and body), I don’t sense a conscience with work like this, that is to say what exactly I am supposed to think about. Certain details (fragments of each one) head this direction.