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.
Uncovering a sense of presence through an implied absence, these drawings and paintings explore a peculiar, discontinuous narrative.
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.
His new show opens Thursday, October 30
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.
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?