Downes paintings reflect a unique combination of aggressive conception and passive elaboration. Fervent perceptions of space enliven their broad outlines; details follow, filling in the story of each site exactly “as is.” Colors add atmosphere and light.
Too often group exhibitions, especially those that mix together young artists and famous figures, fail to reveal elective affinities. This tight small show, however, revealed that these nine very different looking works of art all shared a genuine concern with successive approximation. And in doing that, it also displayed the totally unexpected relationship of these contemporary works of art with the traditions of old master painting.
Despite different approaches towards scale, texture and color, a common attitude pervades each artist’s style that isolates a cool tension between involvedness and restraint.
Francis Picabia and Dada in Paris by George Baker and I Am a Beautiful Monster: Poetry, Prose, and Provocation by Francis Picabia
Their biomorphic qualities are undermined by the fabrication process, but this increases the sense of otherness they generate. They suggest imaginary beings that are not the product of fantasy, but rather of imaginative speculation on the real but unknown.
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA 152 North Central Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90013 October 29, 2007–February 11, 2008 The late 20th century art world had a bad conscience about high art which was vilified as serious, profound, mysterious, spiritual, elitist, pretentious, outmoded and labor-intensive. This led to infatuation with popular culture (silly, superficial, obvious, materialistic,…