Paintings of a certain size (and depth)

Josh Smith, Untitled, 2010, oil on canvas, 60 x 48″

“Untitled (Painting),” an excellent exhibition on view at Luhring Augustine through February 5, features large abstract paintings that are engagingly conceptual but, at the same time, uniquely process driven. Josh Smith, whose conceptual conceits often overpower aesthetic engagement, may be starting to believe in the process of painting. I’m looking forward to his solo show in February.

Other artists in the exhibition include Tauba Auerbach, Bernard Frize, Wade Guyton, Albert Oehlen, Josh Smith, Daan van Golden, Charline von Heyl, Christopher Wool, Heimo Zobernig. Here is a little info I gathered about each artist’s process and ideas.

Heimo Zobernig, Ohne Titel, 2007, acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4″

“Zobernig’s practice is arguably best considered as one that ‘view[s] the great modernist project as in a perpetually unfinished state’ (David Pestorius in his essay Due Process). For why else would an artist since 2000 produce grid paintings, often in a diamond format, if not to bring to bear the ghosts of Piet Mondrian and Blinky Palermo? But unlike Modernism’s adversity to discourse, Zobernig’s process embraces, in an almost theosophical sense, the spiritual use of the straight line, playfully building on historical moments and revealing an intuitive approach that upon first glance may appear at odds with the coolly grid-like system. Zobernig’s process is a completely subjective one in which the artist is opening up and questioning our historical legacy and its conflicts, such as the real vs. the symbolic or the secular vs. the spiritual.”(via

Installation view.
Tauba Auerbach, “Untitled (Fold),” 2011, acrylic paint on canvas, 60 x 48″

Tauba Auerbach�s elegant, methodical compositions deconstruct the conventional ways visual and perceptual information is conveyed….Auerbach manipulates large pieces of raw canvas into various configurations through folding or rolling. She then lays the canvas out flat and paints its surface with an industrial spray gun aimed at different angles to achieve a trompe l�oeil effect. By creating an object in which two supposedly discrete states�flatness and three dimensionality�are merged, Auerbach confronts the limitations between these states, revealing an ambiguity that is often overlooked.” (via)

Charline von Heyl, “Doublebeast,” 2010, acrylic, oil and charcoal on canvas, 82 x 78″

“Charline von Heyl has described as a reason to paint the desire to invent an image that has not yet been seen and cannot be named. Her approach towards the canvas is often paradoxical: deep flat space, vivid dead color or static and frozen gestures are combined with opposing speeds.” (via)

Daan Van Golden, “Celuy qui fut pris I/IV,” 2007, oil on canvas, 78 3/4 x 49 1/4″

“The Dutch artist Daan van Golden locates both his life and his art between two quotations: �Youth is an art�, (Oscar Wilde) and �Dying is an art� (Sylvia Plath). Although at first sight paradoxical, the statements are actually two sides of the same coin. Originality is not an artistic quality. What we learn from Van Golden�s work is that critical observation is as good, if not better, than the pretension of invention. One tale Van Golden likes to tell is the story of an emperor who commissioned a mural from two separate groups of Greek and Chinese artists. So that both teams couldn�t see the work of the other, a temporary wall was built to divide the room in two. When both murals were finished and the partition came down, the emperor saw that the Greeks had merely polished their wall so that it gently mirrored the Chinese painting.” (via)

Bernard Frize, “Fabia,” 2007, acrylic on canvas, 86 5/8 x 70 7/8″


Installation view.
Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2010, silkscreen ink on linen, 126 x 96″

“….Begins silkscreened flower paintings 1993 Meets Michel Majerus 1994 Makes road-signs for Martin Kippenberger’s Museum of Modern Art Syros 1994 New York Knicks lose to Houston Rockets in Game 7 NBA Finals 1995 Organizes retrospective of the New Cinema late 70’s New York underground Super-8 films 1995 First spray-paintings 1995 Kids 1996 East Village studio severely damaged in building fire leaving Wool without a working space for 8 months artist’s insurance photos become portfolio Incident on 9th Street 1997 Marries painter Charline von Heyl…”(via)

Installation view.

Albert Oehlen, Untitled, 2005, acrylic and oil on canvas, 110 1/4 x 133 7/8″
“Albert Oehlen was born in Krefeld, Germany in 1954. Oehlens early years were marked by many collaborations including Werner B�ttner, Georg Herold and most notably Martin Kippenberger. In 1988 Oehlen and Kippenberger lived together in Spain for a year and during this time Oehlen dedicated himself completely to abstract painting. Throughout his career Albert Oehlen has redefined the boundaries of both figurative and abstract painting by continuously expanding the definition of what makes a painting formally successful.” (via)
Installation view.

Bernard Frize, “Roc,” 2010, acrylic and resin on canvas, each of two panels: 180 x 220 cm

“In his thirty year career, Mr. Frize has explored many unusual and rigorously controlled techniques for the creation of his paintings. The works are so complex, they nearly all require the aid of assistants or a mechanical touch. The results of his intensive processes yield beautifully patterned paintings, sure to mesmerize anyone who looks upon them. Brilliant colors mix delicately, following the grids laid out in Mr. Frize�s preparation. The collision of the paint�s fluid freedom with the strict structure that the paint occupies, makes for a truly unexpected juxtaposition, a most regimented incarnation of post-painterly abstraction. Like jazz, these paintings are neither completely constrained nor absolutely liberal, instead they occupy an intoxicating state of �in-between.” (via)

Heimo Zobernig, Ohne Titel, 2009, oil and acrylic on canvas, 78 3/4 x 78 3/4″

Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2007, Epson UltraChrome inkjet on linen, 84 x 69″

“Made with an Epson large format printer these works are printed on pre-primed linen intended for oil painting and not inkjet printing. As such, the images, marks, and letters Guyton continues to employ are absorbed into the porous material and disperse the ink rather than allowing it, as in his previous works, to “sit on the surface.” …By repetitively overprinting, an unexpected painterly process developed. As each piece is created, they transcribe a visual record of the printer’s actions: the trace of movement of the print heads, the varying states of their clogged-ness, the track marks of the wheels on wet ink all mixed with the scratches and smears on the paintings from being dragged across the floor to be fed back again into the printer.” (via)

Untitled (Painting),” Luhring Augustine, New York, NY. Through February 5, 2011.

Related posts:
Who is Charline von Heyl?
NY Times Art in Review: Art Green and Josh Smith
Everybody hearts painting, 4eva
Ann Craven speaks in Cambridge


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