Neo Rauch is a prodigious talent. His canvases are lush with painterly dexterity, compelling characterization, and compositional intrigue. But, as with Walton Ford’s animal portraits, there is more about these costume dramas that transports viewers back to the amalgamated past they never knew — the very definition of nostalgia — than truly puts them in touch with a sense of being here and now.
Even an astute connoisseur would be hard pressed to locate specific Nozkowskian tropes. There are some recurring motifs, but internal scale, texture, and mood present themselves in different coordinates. This is the more remarkable because Mr. Nozkowski’s modus operandi is so prescribed in terms of scale, medium, taste, and authentic touch.
The experience in this richly diverse exhibition is not of transition so much as consolidation: the new works, whether big loopy abstractions in fat confident brushstrokes or weirdo figuration, seem legitimate outgrowths of the precious, tight, miniaturist Siena of old.
Regardless of the medium he works in, Johns’s busy, agile yet weirdly reticent hand presents an oxymoronic mix of attributes, being at once tentative and emphatic.
In Luc Tuymans, you are never allowed to forget that the source is banal and secondary. Painterliness underscores alienation rather than ameliorating it.
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.