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.
Seeing Double is packed with elaborations of his trademark idiom: imagery transmogrified
Physical gesture means the artist’s hand is present yet transcended: there is no question that the arcs or circles are handmade, but an unforced, lyrical all-overness creates a cosmic, suprapersonal sense of order and well-being.
There is a pervasive ambivalence in Katy Grannan’s portraits: the gaze that returns the viewer’s is a mix of coyness and exhibitionism. The images themselves oscillate between similar extremes, building a visceral sense of the present through precision while succumbing to a remoteness that results from theatricality.
However raw and rude his torn, scorched and crudely sewn-together burlaps, his molten plastics, or his randomly cracked ceramics might have been, he was a consummate aesthete, incapable — seemingly — of inelegance. In the case of Italian artists, the national stereotype happens to be true — they have a Midas touch with beauty, even when they are attempting to convey poverty, trauma or angst.
Burri is famous for the poverty of his means and the richness of his results.
Merlin James and Thomas Demand might seem as different as two contemporary artists can be. But a coincidence of means begs a comparison between shows of overtly contrastive mood and art-world temper. For both artists make their final images from models of their own making.
Where Yasinsky accesses early girlhood through dolls and dinky illustration technique, McQuilkin seems dedicated to a perpetual state of teenage angst. The specific identification of both with early cinema relates to a broader trend in feminist-influenced art.
These hefty yet open-form, emphatic yet enigmatic assemblages of prefabricated, found, and adapted components show a youthful, spry, curiosity-filled artist at the top of his game.
R.B. Kitaj’s work broke a modernist taboo – before it became fashionable to do so – by being unabashedly literary. Hilton Kramer once complained that his paintings were “littered with ideas.” But as referential as he could be, Kitaj was always a consummately visual artist.