Thoughts from my studio about artwork; new pieces as well as those things that have have remained hidden in my flat file...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Last week of Arts Council at GRACE, response to review of this show

I know its been quiet around here, I've been working lots of day jobs and been busy with several studio visits from collectors and interested parties (thank you very much).
Kevin Mellema of the Falls Church News Press wrote and interesting review of the show. Please read it here. Some of my patrons and friends thought it was a pretty negative review and wanted to know what I thought about it (some thought I should totally be offended). I will quote the portion about my work below in orange text and then respond (black text)

"First place this year was John Adams' oil and acrylic abstract painting on birch panel titled "Specific Gravity." This, like virtually all of Adams' paintings, features his signature series of horizontal lines. In this case, they are small ridges running across the work, against which Adams has toweled an expansive smear of paint. The overall effect is akin to breaking waves over a series of underwater sandbars."
My thoughts: Ok, no problem, sounds like he is describing the work pretty well, although some thought that he was making a stab at me with the "like virtually all of Adams' paintings" comment, but naa, I don't think so.

I'm not a big fan of this series, though this execution seems more acceptable to my eye than the works last seen at Arlington Arts Center last year. Still, I prefer the fine-lined works that he showed at Fisher Gallery in Georgetown several years ago. Those paintings, with their magically disappearing horizontal lines, had a playful intelligence that seems lacking in these later efforts. The newer works seem thuggishly heavy-handed by comparison. I'm beginning to get the sense that he may be working towards a point where he can capture the engaging magic of the older works with a less fussy technique.

"Ok, so he doesn't like this series, thats ok, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I'm really glad this guy (who I don't know) has been to most of my solo/small group shows over the past few years. Although I find it interesting that what he calls "thuggishly heavy-handed" Michael O'Sullivan of the Washington Post called "muscular, yet lyrical" when he reviewed my AAC solo show last spring. Yeah, the work is supposed to be more abrupt,drastic or dramatic,maybe even more violent, its no accident. Although how can a "thuggishly heavy-handed" technique be more "fussy" than the pieces I used to make with the perfectly distributed? Trust me, from the guy who makes the stuff, the older work was much more fussy. I didn't quite get that...

"Mind you, I am in no way panning Adams' work. His large scale site specific graphite drawing on the 12th floor at this year's Artomatic was quite nice. That work had a lyrically playful sense of motion about it that was engaging and quite pleasing."

Hey - see what I mean, he goes to see it all. By all means I think its a good review, whether you agree with it or not. What are your thoughts? Have you seen the show? If not - you better go before Sunday!! Thanks again Kevin, keep it up!

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