Fresh Paint
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Actual Paintings at Gescheidle
Bet you thought I forgot all about finishing up my writeup of the West Loop Gate gallery scene. But not.

So. Continuing up the stairs from Peter Miller we have Gary Edward Blum and Erling Sjovold at gescheidle. Sjovold is a um... traditional painter, or rather a painter using traditional techniques of oil painting, traditional subject matter, but ends up with something utterly his own, and memorable. I believe I could describe some of these from memory, but you're in luck, since I did get a few pix:

They remind me of the very very minor Old Masters Italianate still life paintings in the back of a Christie's auction catalog -- the "Follower of..." ones, with descriptions like, "Flowers in a sculpted urn on a pedestal with a shell, a porcelain bowl and a cup, melons, grapes and other flowers strewn on a ledge in a landscape." They're quite nice, and I covet them.

Blum, on the other hand, is almost self-consciously a contemporary non-objective painter. His paintings teach us about how they are made, and how to make a painting. The largest in this series are generally divided into 3 regions: a section where the problem he sets out to solve is resolved, a section where the colors are mixed and tried out, and an empty area separating them. At least this is how I read these works. In one group he seems to be working with the colors that go into producing a super-realist drawing of a curved branch, including the illusionist rendering of the scotch tape holding the branch to the canvas. Below it are paint blotches, the blotches quite carefully rendered as well. Very interesting. The branch appears in other works, more abstracted, gestural, etc.

My favorite is the largest, however, as he presents various trials to get the exact color blue he wants, which then opens up into a heaven of blue. He does a similar thing with ochre colors. They become a text for how an artist approaches color.

Less successful, I think, though smaller, more affordable and decorative, are the few works on paper he presented.

They're only up a few more days, but the gallery always has good stuff. Next up is Judith Raphael, Deborah Boardman, and Heather Cox, which should be an excellent show. Gescheidle's old space was so cramped, it will be nice to see some really big work by these gallery artists.

We will now cross the street and do a quick walkthru of Bodybuilder and Sportsman, and Wendy Cooper. Ignore Rhona Hoffman. I don't get what she's been showing the past few months.

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