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Saul, Brown, and Shaw: Invoking creative craftsmanship over formulaic novelty

In LA Weekly, Doug Harvey reports that curating isn�t always as easy as it looks. “It�s rare to find a group of concurrent solo projects that genuinely complement one another � just because two artists happen to use images of trees or refer to cartography or have Photoshop doesn�t necessarily mean their work will have anything more than a superficial verbal resemblance. Museums regularly stumble over this sort of literalism in spite of their long-term scheduling and art-historical resources, and commercial gallerists � with their relatively fast turnover and propensity for attention-grabbing sound bites � are particularly prone. Which is why, when a triple whammy like the current lineup at Patrick Painter crops up, it�s worth looking a little deeper. On the surface, Jim Shaw, Peter Saul and Glenn Brown seem like an almost arbitrary selection from the gallery�s stable � artists from three distinct generations, two of whom work at opposite ends of the U.S., while the third hails from another continent altogether. L.A.-based Shaw works promiscuously across the media spectrum, from highly rendered figuration to abstract video, while recently ensconced Manhattanite Saul is strictly a painter�s painter. Londoner Brown is also an old-school painter as far as materials go, but his near-obsessive appropriationism (which landed him in legal hot water with one of the science-fiction illustrators from whom he cribbed) lies at the opposite pole from Saul�s seething pop expressionism.

“The relentless nudging open of the parameters of prejudice in the human visual realm is the common thread that connects Saul, Shaw and Brown � though the concept is too corny for words. As Modernism invoked the power of creative novelty over formulaic craftsmanship, so these artists � and so many others � invoke creative craftsmanship over formulaic novelty, not because it corrects the balance of the art-historical moment, and not because it deprivileges the intellectual faculty in favor of the other, disparaged senses � but simply because it�s the wrong thing to do. ” Read more.

“Peter Saul: Five New Pictures,” and “Glenn Brown: Editions and A Unique Sculpture,” Patrick Painter Inc., Santa Monica, CA. Through Jan. 10.
Jim Shaw: Extraordinary Rendition,” Patrick Painter Inc., Los Angeles, CA Through Jan. 10.

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