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.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Jay DeFeo "Paintings on Paper 1986-1987" @ Marc Selwyn

Untitled (Samurai Series), 1986
Acrylic on paper
49 7/8 x 38 1/8 inches

Samurai No. 8, 1987
Tempera, pastel and charcoal on rag board
42 x 64 inches

Untitled (Samurai series), 1986
Acrylic, oil pastel and oil with collage on paper

As can often be the case with art-viewing, it's interesting to go from one show to the next and think about how they are linked together. In this instance, I had just seen Michael Heizer at Gagosian (see here).  Obviously, DeFeo's expressionistic brushwork aligns formerly with the Heizer paintings, though they take shape, literally, in slightly different ways.  Heizer's shaped canvases literalize a sculptural tendency while the DeFeo's work within the more traditional rectangle of painting.   Known to lay it on thick, it's interesting for these De Feo's to be much thinner. I suppose it's due partly to the fact that they are on paper and not another stronger support, perhaps the way a multi-ton Heizer stone would be propped by the architecture.  Both are weighty. (The DeFeo painting below titled The Jewel (1959) from the LACMA collection, incidentally was the first painting I ever hurt my back on as an art handler many years ago).

Indeed, both artists seemed to have lightened up over the years. One can't help but think in the DeFeo about internal light sources with the contrasting black and white producing such an illusion, and the tinted palettes in some of the Heizer's seems to work similarly.  

Faceting and angles persist in both bodies of work, one in varying degrees by natural stone, shaped canvases and simplified, hard-edged presentation, the other in the painted slashes like those of a Samurai action.  So, nature process, body, and metaphor go hand in hand with both of these exhibitions.  That said, one seems content with a kind of contained, pictorial concern; the other with how the pictorial is an immersive experience on account of its interaction and contingency with the architecture, the site, within which it is contained.  Perhaps a larger question could be about the persistence of such art-making strategies or at least the current display of such artifacts, ones that speak to the lifting forces of nature over long periods of time.

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