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Ripe and juicy as still life


  1. So good to be reading you again!
    I’m trying to get my mind around your dichotomy of subject matter and execution. The examples you offer don’t clarify it for me. Marilyn Minter and Juhn Currin are so strongly figurative that their subject matter is clearest in communication– and they would seem a strange fit for a show by this title. Ripe and juicy, yes, but contemporary still life? All your other examples are subject matter based as well. Who are some that really would enrich the execution side of this concept?
    I guess you can broaden the term “still life” into a general stew (which doesn’t seem especially useful), but when I hear the phrase I think “table”… a small corner of the world brought into arranged concert for study. Many times, frankly, I’m uninterested in the genre, so one of the things I enjoyed so much about this group of artists was that they interpret that slow study in a way that stirs my blood (a shame that you missed Zack’s piece, for this reason… it is a sloooooow study…). Eric Elliott’s summoning of form from middle matter and Linda Hutchins’ encasement of a withering specimen are terrific, but I also really enjoyed the way Christian Van Minnen’s earthy surfaces glinting with careful light-distinction are rudely interrupted by chintzy flat noises. It’s a conscious sabotage of his own ability to paint like an old master, and I find that fascinating. Steve Levin’s curio cabinets are made from a loose categorization that is amplified by the tidy shallow space that they occupy. I found them more personal than sterile.
    My main desire for the show was a greater branching from painting.

  2. Regina,
    It’s worth a return visit with an appointment to see Zack Bent’s video installation! If that’s not possible, may I describe the work to you, and tell you why it’s the most extraordinary work I’ve seen all year?
    A jar of molten lard sits on a table, cooling from liquid to solid over the course of half an hour. It’s simultaneously mundane and beautiful as it slowly changes from clear/transparent to milky/opaque. The video is projected onto a white panel that is framed and hangs on the wall, a stand-in for both a painting and a video monitor whose image quality is different from either a monitor’s transmitted light, or a projection’s typically larger size.
    I could go on about more of Zack’s specific choices (lighting, color, sound …), but the bottom line is the work transcends them all. It’s drop-dead gorgeous, subtle, and smart on multiple levels. I hope you get to see it!
    – Linda

  3. p.s. I appreciate the “every hair counted” reference. Thanks!
    – Linda

  4. Oh the tyranny of quick posts. I came out like a snortin’ bull intent on a few phrases in your review. Forgive my punchy tone.

  5. Hi Gala. If I had to apologize for every bull snort, I’d need a form letter for all the sorry. Nothing to forgive; I appreciate your vigor. Regina

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