~CARROLL DUNHAM … last few days . .
I’m glad everybody is talking about this show – no matter what side of the line “of taste’ they fall on. it was very definitely – one of the most interesting & controversial shows of last year . . . Carroll Dunham’s work sure evokes strong feelings, one way or the other.
him and CATTELAN !!
art world roommates. just joking, NOT !!
I used to dismiss his work completely myself, mostly as being too street-image derived – but I sure got a big eyeball awakening this time around. a 360 switch like that – is always . . . something to rejoice in.
the show is closing this weekend, in fact – this Sat Jan 19, is the last day to catch it – so, don’t blink.
CARROLL DUNHAM / NOV 29, 2012 – JAN 19, 2013
GLADSTONE GALLERY – CHELSEA, NYC
so you got that this was . . . LENA, right ?
the big tattoo, abstracted, apparently Ferdinand the Bull in real life, you go girl !! on her right shoulder is the . . on-the-money give-away.
really, it’s impossible to talk about this show without noting the damn straight unbelievable shooting star success and TALENT of LENA DUNHAM, the artist’s daughter – 26.
esp when you see just how formidable CARROLL DUNHAM is in person, check out those opening pix . . .
let’s face it. c’mon . . be honest. most artist offspring don’t come even a half-candle flicker close to their famous parents – in reality, or in in real talent. but this shooting star off-spring is beyond the beyond . . lumpy body and all.
awkwardness and all. yes, she carved out her ‘space’ – just like these paintings – carve out, hers and . . . theirs.
and omg, what’s with that ‘tickling’ tree fern – to the left. is that a funny metaphor or what.
sense of humor, seems to run in the family.
and yes, all of the above: that’s some of the things that really helped me turn onto this work.
the fact that they are such strict, even severe graphic and highly abstracted … portraits – that took off & flew – of course being the most heartfelt.
. . . as opposed to the ‘realist’ photographic genre – for example.
it’s intensely interesting to contemplate – that out of all this ‘reduced’ abstraction – we got served the real deal. the inner soul, we glimpsed her, Lena’s fantastic journey . . . from her father’s eyes.
CARROLL DUNHAM is reporting on the take-off, her far-out and far-flung foray into the BIG unknowing – as she makes her ‘dive’ into the primal pool – of life. of success, of being . . .
and this is before the 2 Golden Globes.
But hey, her mother, always knew it / ‘Tiny Furniture’ . . .
but I also revered, emotion aside – how ALL the paintings . . . could always break down into smaller elements, of design, of pure graphics, and yet also of … of Feeling, yes: capital F.
elements . . . that could fly on their own. play for play’s sake, alone.
you know – it’s called the art dance. and yeah in a way these hyper contemporary paintings reminded me of you know . . . the Bathers, Cezanne, and the Dancers, Mattise.
in that as a whole, and in their parts – that were just as bold and strident and expressive – as the old masters, it’s called composition, fluid.
severe artistic intelligence, dudes.
and while we are it. NO – THESE paintings are NOT about the NUDE . . . DUDE !!
they are about sexuality, and sensuality. and therein lies the (conceptual) prize !!
just as Lena, herself – is not about the beauty of the erotic form, let alone a new expose on the ‘nude’, god, how boring. . . but the beauty of the talent and mind that inhabit, and animate that very human esp twenty-something universe (!!).
so are these paintings finding a new way to map: erotic.
though we SURE could do without that recent god-awful INTERVIEW airbrushed faux glam cover – leave her alone already. just look at the trail of real life pix she has traced, and in such a short time. what a sweet, yet utterly compelling real-life/real-time fast forward trail of real girl – images, or what.
but whether Lena, and I’m thinking this is her youngest sister Grace (/) or no – there is an excitement and boldness to this work, that can only be amplified by the shared father/daughter gene pool . . . (!!)
but, there is also … a special craftsmanship, a unique vision, a bold flat-out vision here, apart from the specific subject matter, though they work to each others benefit no doubt, that attacks you as soon as you enter the show, and does not let go.
and this NOT something to sneer at, it is something to take in … with eyes wide open.
‘taste’, paste. forget trivializing the show – it’s way too awesome, strictly from a formal point of view, if nothing else.
this small square of detail, also points up the richness & originality, the vibrancy of the images, their ‘play’, their give-and-take plasticity – it is never-ending. and breaks down – big time. wonderful.
their consistency, the consistency in the paintings tone and graphics – is also, a very striking factor. add to this: the big gesture of boldness, and bright bold color PALETTE – and Knock-out.
how can a-n-y-b-o-d-y – miss this ?
Light. incandescent light – lives in these here, hard-won abstract/proto-representational battle zones . . .
the scale . . . was pretty on-spot too. not too large, no too small. right on.
it’s also interesting to note how the dates of this particular painting (2006-2012) allude to their slow evolution . . .
and . . . just how ‘dynamic’ as in kinetic . . these paintings are … for being such severe graphic renditions. how much joy and play, play and joy vibrate against the stern compositional head-space and actual plastic – boundaries.
and esp so, since so much of this past year has leaned up against: graphic design.
portraits aside, even the landscape elements – threw me up against the wall . . . I surrender to your magic.
compacted, carved, painted, primordial, poetic . . . static, and kinetic – all at the same time.
the last-word deal with these works is, bottom-line you could cut a one foot square from anyone one of these paintings – and have yourself – a feast . . .
down with the mundane – and up with . . . visceral expression.
PHOTOS & COMMENTARY: NANCY SMITH