Wu Jian’an’s Image Confrontation

Wu Jian’an, 36 Color Balls (X), 2018. Watercolor on paper, 53 x 52 cm (20 3/4 x 20 1/2 in). Courtesy of the artist and Chambers Fine Art ©Wu Jian’an.

In Wu Jian’an’s art forms and concepts, there are visual tricks, reflections on the polymorphism of cultural heritage, and manifestations of humanity and divinity. Chambers Fine Art is now featuring Wu’s recent works. His representative series, 500 Brushstrokes, is rife with randomness and has some characteristics of action painting. Much of this lies in the fact that Wu places no restrictions on his objects, and the materials they use, such as brushes, colors, and paper, or even whether they draw delicately. 500 Brushstrokes thus have a strong conceptual nature, meaning that each stroke represents a person, an individual, which has a more distinct meaning in China with a large population. Different people create brushstrokes that, whether consciously or unconsciously, bear their own imprints—bold, elegant, or discreet. Yet to make them a work of art, the artist’s aesthetic sense is essential. Wu reads such random acts and intentionally reassembles and collages them, which also speaks to the appeal of art.

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Whose Stripe Is It, Anyway?

Astrid Dick, “Paris Bleu” (2021–22), oil on canvas, 80 x 70 inches

I never know when I might see a painting that makes me want to look again, look longer, and think harder about what is in front of me. Recently, I gave a reading at M. David & Co., a Brooklyn gallery run by the artist Michael David. At the reading, each poet stood in front of a large painting made of two different-sized canvases abutted together that hung alone on a recessed wall. Even though someone always seemed to be standing in front of the painting, I was struck by what I saw. After the reading, as people were hanging out, drinking wine, and talking, David introduced me to the artist, Astrid Dick, whose work was included in the two-person exhibition with Erika Ranee Painting Paintings: A Leap of Fate at M. David & Co. (October 28–December 11, 2022). When I talked to Dick about the painting, I learned that a critic had told her that she could not paint stripes because Sean Scully and Frank Stella had already painted them. This struck me as one of those patently foolish statements — like “painting is dead” — that still circulates in the art world.

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Interview with Monika Gloviczki

Dr. Monika L. Gloviczki was born in Poland. She studied medicine in Warsaw and in Paris, at the Faculty of Medicine – CHU Necker-Enfants Malades, where she earned her MD and PhD title.


In 2007, she moved to the United States and joined Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, where she worked until 2013.
Gloviczki’s artistic education begun at an early age with her father, Stanislaw Kazmierczyk, a Polish artist painter and illustrator, who taught her basics of drawings, gouache, and oil painting. She also followed classes of drawings and paintings in Warsaw and later in Paris, at the Ateliers du Carrousel du Louvre. In the US she attended a two-year colourists’ school class. Since 2013, Monika Gloviczki has been a recognized painter, exhibiting regularly. She has had 33 group exhibitions, most in the US but also in France, Italy, and Azerbaijan. Among the shows the most important to be mentioned are the annual exhibitions at “Agora Gallery” in New York, NY, from 2016 to present; three exhibitions at M.A.D.S. Art Gallery in Milano, Italy in 2021; the “Art 3F” Art fair in Paris from 2018 to 2020 and the “19th Salon International d’Art Contemporain” in Paris, in 2016. Her works belong to private and public collections in the US and in France.

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Tjebbe Beekman: Symbiosis

Ira, 2020. Acrylic, sand, and plaster on canvas mounted to wood panels, 32 1/2 x 25 3/8 inches each. Courtesy the artist and GRIMM, Amsterdam and New York.

In conversing with the Dutch painter Tjebbe Beekman about his upcoming exhibition at Grimm, it seemed to me that it mattered as an introduction to his work:
He says he has spent “the last 25 years, just about, in dirty rooms with loud music on,” and how that “impacts what he does just as surely as the political climate” and his actual living place,
The studio where I work now is around 160 square meters. The studio is for an artist [painter] like me of course one of the most sacred and important places there is, at the border of Amsterdam in a nature park overlooking a lake and we live on a houseboat in the center of the city.

I’ve divided the place into a dirty room (very much the studio cell that is exemplary for an artist studio only now with a lake view) and a clean room where I can finish the paintings in a more home-like or gallery-like atmosphere where we grow plants, I have my record collection and book collection to choose from, and we built in a kitchen and shower, etc.

So different from his studio in Berlin, “overlooking the biggest prison for political opponents in Berlin GDR time.” And the light in Berlin had been so different:

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James Siena’s Radical Abstraction

James Siena, “Trectiuff” (2020), acrylic and graphite on linen, 75 x 120 inches (all images courtesy Miles McEnergy Gallery)

Drawing a line is central to James Siena’s painting practice. The lines are repeated according to a pre-established set of rules, or what the artist calls a “visual algorithm.” This is how he described the impetus to work this way in a lecture he gave at Youngstown State University in 2018: “At a certain point I wanted to make drawings and works that act as machines. The way they act as machines is you have to find your way into them and find your way out of them. As you undo the making of them they come to life.” Siena’s description reminds me of Raymond Queneau, co-founder of Oulipo, a group dedicated to writing under structural constraints, who described fellow oulipians as “rats who build the labyrinth from which they will try to escape.”

Working this way Siena seems never to have stepped into the same machine twice. Between 2005, when I first wrote about his work, and the present, he has made optically vibrant geometric abstractions; evoked different human orifices; depicted angry old men made entirely of wrinkles (imagine conceptual mystic Sol LeWitt meets Mad magazine’s’ Basil Wolverton), some of whom were masturbating; suggested visual mazes and topographical maps; and seemingly become a painting machine run amok, both repeating and mis-recognizing a lost original.

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Robert C. Morgan: The Loggia Paintings: Early and Recent Work at The Scully Tomasko Foundation

Robert C. Morgan. Courtesy of the artist.

Formalist painting most frequently hinges on a construct of empiricism which holds that geometric forms, line, and color, ordered in harmony are sufficient content such that form is synonymous with the content of the work. This line of reasoning positions formalism within the discourse of modernism and this, as the artist has said “raises the question as to the role of formalism after post modernism” (1).

The intellectual rigor that distinguishes the paintings of Robert C. Morgan from conventional formalist work, lies in its conceptual underpinning. The reaction of natural light and its relationship to the internal components is the basis of the function of Morgan’s work. Morgan’s paintings are intimate in scale and at first glance seem to be situated with in the discourse of formalism. The fifteen paintings from the Loggia Series of 2019, are primarily square, painted in a limited pallet of pure colors rendering geometric forms, are constructed entirely of straight lines and right angles. The series seem to be executed in a systemic manner. The curator Lawrence Alloway described systemic painting by saying “form becomes meaningful, not because of ingenuity or surprise, but because of repetition and extension.

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Anish Kapoor – The Vantablack Feud

Anish Kapoor – Cloud Gate is the centerpiece of AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park in Chicago. Image credit: Mariano Mantel

It’s not often that colors are at the heart of controversies, however famous Indian-born British artist, Anish Kapoor managed to do exactly that. His studio purchased the exclusive rights to the artistic use of Surrey NanoSystem’s “blackest black”, Vantablack coating. It’s safe to say the art world did not sit idly by. At the heart of the feud is the notion of exclusivity, and not necessarily exclusivity in appearance, but specifically the exclusivity of a color. So who is Anish Kapoor and what happened?

Born in Mumbai in 1954, Anish Kapoor is a British sculptor known for his use of abstract forms, and his love for rich colors and polished surfaces. Upon leaving school, Kapoor spent a few years on a Kibbutz in Israel, where he decided to stay and train to become an engineer. Within 6 months, the realization that life as an engineer wasn’t for him had dawned and he decided to pursue a career in art, in London instead. After completing his studies in art, the young artist returned to his native India for a visit. On this trip, he gained a new perspective on the country, finding a new appreciation for its colors, shapes and textures.

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Dean Fleming Paints the Fourth Dimension

Dean Fleming, “Orange Line” (1964), gouache on paper, 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches

I first learned about Dean Fleming when I got the catalogue for the exhibition Reimagining Space: The Park Place Gallery Group in 1960s New York, which was shown at the Blanton Museum in Austin (September 28, 2008–January 18, 2009) and curated by Linda Dalrymple Henderson. My interest in this group of painters and sculptors, and their preoccupation with space and the “fourth dimension” (which, according to the press release, means “a dimension beyond height, length and width”) has increased over the years, as I have learned and written about the work of Leo Valledor, Robert Grosvenor, David Novros, and Mark di Suvero — who were among the original 10 members (evenly split between painters and sculptors) of this cooperative gallery — and their collective concerns. Since then my interest in Fleming has grown.

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Vibrant Abstractions

What defines a ‘Bauhaus photograph’? In The Spirit of the Bauhaus (Thames & Hudson, 2018), curator Louise Curtis writes that, in the early-to-mid-1920s, cameras were used “to uncover previously unimagined scales and forms of reality.” One of the most famous pioneers of this approach was László Moholy-Nagy (1895-1946), interested in abstraction, space and the possibilities of the lens. “He insisted above all upon its capacity to extend human vision beyond standard habits of perception,” says Curtis.

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‘Beyond the Visible,’ a Documentary Illuminating the Life and Work of Hilma af Klint, Is Free to Stream

Released in 2020, an acclaimed documentary serves as a corrective to the art historical record. Beyond the Visible spotlights the life and work of the pioneering Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944), an obscure figure during her lifetime whose colorful abstract works predate those of famed male artists like Vasily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian. Directed by Halina Dyrschka, the feature-length documentary centers on af Klint’s groundbreaking practice and the spiritual, scientific, and natural phenomena that inspired her work.

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