In The Columbus Dispatch, Christopher A. Yates acknowledges galleries and museums that display work by celebrities is nothing new–artists such as Tony Bennett, Pierce Brosnan, Paul McCartney and John Mellencamp come to mind. But he wonders whether we would look at their work if it bore a different signature. In the case of Rolling Stones’s Ronnie Wood, who is exhibiting more than 50 paintings at The Butler Institute of American Art, the answer is clearly no. “Before his music career took off, he studied painting at Ealing Art College in London. Always drawing and painting, he produced art between tours and while on the road. Most of the works in the show document his life as a musician. Others depict fellow celebrities and people admired by Wood. Some paintings, including “Rhino,” were produced to raise money for charities that support endangered species. Wood has ability, but his work is unresolved and scattered. Most of it is illustrative – straight from concert photos. Works such as Rolling Stones, 2009, are awkward attempts to capture the energy of what happens onstage. Passages in the painting allow line to emphasize form and space, but that success is negated by awkward color combinations and unintentional spatial ambiguities….The best works in the show are in a series of untitled mixed-media figure drawings. Many seem to be drawn from life, allowing a rich sensitivity to shape and structure.” Note: Freddie Mercury and Pete Townsend also studied at Ealing College of Art.
“Ronnie Wood: Spend or Expend,” The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH. Through Nov. 21, 2010.