From my desk on the Upper West Side and my little gallery in the northern Catskills I am finding and seeing works of art and meeting wonderful artists. Presented here a group of three, a painter from the West coast, a painter from Brooklyn and a sculptor from Belgium.
James, Mark and John–how Biblical a list is that?–came to my attention via the internet that relatively new democratic and non-alcoholic and smoke free space. This new place is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 52 weeks a year. My routine is to hunker down with coffee and the laptop and my two canine pals: Sherman and Teddy on the sofa. They snooze while I surf. Going through the pages of Facebook is like walking through a maze or being in a treasure hunt because you never know who or what you will find and where it might lead.
A stock broker would put these on a buy list, so do I. And like a good broker who knows his company’s values and direction Ido the same research about the works that I find and then I have to see the works in real life. In the end nothing has really changed other than information is available in large quants but it requires a good eye to separate out what one finds and what one rejects.
Living and working in Brooklyn Greco is a native of Long Island. I was introduced to the work a few short weeks ago and then arranged a studio visit. to see the works first hand. At first I was taken with the palette of pinks, grays and yellows. Next his compositions reminded me of the work of the English painter Frank Auerbach , an abstract painter in his own right, but someone also engaged with the visible world.
I was also struck by the conflict evidenced in the paintings a struggle or tug of war between an underlying structure that is in juxtaposition to areas of pure paint and energy.
Greco is looking at and thinking about the larger history of painting. The colors could be those used by Sienese painters in the 13th century and the squarish format reminds one of the expansive and explosive canvases of such painters as Michael Goldberg and Alfred Leslie.
But unlike these older Ab Ex painters Greco is engaged with creating within each painting as place to be a place where something is happening in both the space and the light. There is a diligence to his work and to his commitment to the painting as a means of not merely a practice but as a means to communicate with the viewer, stories, episodes or a fragment of a conversation that one might catch walking down the street.
Mark is based in Oakland, California. His paintings have a very spontaneous and very sophisticated character about them. He mostly paints monochromatically that is solid fields of red, black or white, ( a recent painting was dedicated to both Ellsworth Kelly and Ad Reinhardt ) The paint is applied in single or multiple layers with thick brushes or knives. The surface general dense and opaque, the sweep of a line or twist of the brush gives each its own character so that no two are alike but each a paradigm for specific gesture or movement or motion. Petersen’s paintings are generally modest in scale but still visually powerful.
One Arrangement from 2013 reproduced here. Other pictures singular as either strong rectangular or square compositions. More than minimal the feeling of each is that of an event like the vapor trail of a jet plane racing through the sky, or the traces of movement and motion on the ground.
On a recent trip to New York City he and I visited the Pierre Soulage show and he saw a kindred spirit in the French painter’s grand black canvases of thick paint and rigorous gesture.
John Van Oers
This Belgian sculptor is fascinated , as am I, with architecture and industrial structures. His sculptures are wood, bronze, metal and even clay. He builds on a very intimate and small scale structures that represent aspects and fragments of architecture and in some instances tableaus in which architectural elements are staged as if characters in a play. He builds using clusters of painted and un painted wood. The shapes and forms of the wood are style to replicate the simple lines and modern look of mid century architecture.
Some are portable as is Model Kit ( U.L. #02) others are site specific and altered and changed as they are installed and re-installed depending on the exhibition space.
Though I couldn’t fly to Belgium for a studio visit, John sent works to me which in the end I purchased.