His imagery is concerned with strange growth patterns, with odd cellular structures metastasizing, imparting an ominous sense of alien substances spreading like the plague. Above all, though, it is his aesthetic impact that feels diseaselike. His giddy surfaces are icky, sickly, and yet addictive.
As a painter, Courbet ravishes a nude in the same manner as he would a tree or a trout: for the visual evidence of its expressive physicality.
For an abstract painter of her generation, the older distinctions between figurative and abstract art, or between politically critical art and the consumer products of mass culture cease to have much importance. Perhaps that is why her essentially cheerful art shows no signs of th angst which inspired so many of the pioneering Abstract Expressionists.
Like Henry Darger, Ku refers to a mindset populated by children who undermine confidence in the world as it is. She presents disturbing tableaux, meditations on transgressions that make no sense, that seem to come out of nowhere.
McCarthy’s chimerical hybrid creations are sphinx-like. Mysterious and inscrutable, their individual characteristics undermine any symbolic reading. They are rooted in the real world, but also convey a complete sense of otherness.
The effect of scale, however, is to demand an attention the unglamorous, prosaic images might not otherwise command, to make moral, political claims for the importance of their subjects — in the senses both of the socially marginalized people and the issues raised.
In Luc Tuymans, you are never allowed to forget that the source is banal and secondary. Painterliness underscores alienation rather than ameliorating it.
Lewis’s unfailingly authoritative skill for painting real, rich and crystalline light, joined to his muscular composition, is the key to his power and success.
March 14, 2008 at the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts, New York Svetlana Alpers, Phong Bui and Linda Nochlin joined David Cohen to review Silvia Bächli at Peter Freeman, Inc., Michal Rovner at PaceWildenstein, Catherine Sullivan at Metro Pictures, Jeff Wall at Marian Goodman Gallery, and Dan Walsh at Paula Cooper Gallery.
Given Huang’s indirectness, we experience the scene as if imbued with symbolist forms, which reveal their meaning only fleetingly. Yet the painting does not feel deliberately obscure, but rather poses the question, How much must be revealed before the images makes narrative sense?