Over 13 years ago, Two Coats of Paint noted Elizabeth Gourlay’s exhibition of abstract paintings in Chester, Connecticut. On the occasion of her outstanding solo exhibition of paintings and collages at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Two Coats took the opportunity to catch up with her.
Self-taught artists and art history
Contributed by David Carrier / “Gatecrashers: The Rise of the Self-Taught Artist in America” at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art focuses on the pre-Clement Greenberg American art world – before Abstract Expressionism had triumphed, before the high-pressure commercial gallery system had been established, before American painters self-consciously sought to extend the traditions of European modernism, before they assumed the burden of building on Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Cubism. Yet it’s important not to exaggerate that admitted hinge-point in art history. In the 1930s, prominent art dealers like Sidney Janis championed some of the outsider cadre as heartily as he would young Abstract Expressionists, and New York galleries hung their work as well as that of future American art stars they would later fete.
Lucian Freud, authentic modernist
Contributed by David Carrier / The National Gallery’s retrospective celebrating the centenary of Lucian Freud’s birth is first exhibition of his work in a museum of historical art. Freud himself was very familiar with The National Gallery. As the catalogue says, he thought of it “as a doctor to whom, as an artist, one turned for help.” With more than 60 paintings on display, we get a full picture of his career.
When an artist becomes a community: The life and work of Benjamin Wigfall
Contributed by Laurie Fendrich / Understanding the work of the mostly overlooked artist Benjamin Wigfall (1930–2017) requires looking at far more than the art. Over the course of his lifetime he made numerous paintings, assemblages, collages, and prints, a number of which are on display in the large, thoughtfully curated survey exhibition “Ben Wigfall & Communications Village” at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz.
Fran Shalom: Finding weight and presence (with humor)
Contributed by Sharon Butler / I went to visit Fran Shalom’s studio in Jersey City on the occasion of her first solo museum show, “Duck/Rabbit” at the Hunterdon in Clinton, New Jersey. Continuing a conversation we’d started at “Groping For the Elephant,” Shalom’s 2021 solo show at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Chelsea., we discussed surface, shape, ambiguity, and the confidence painters develop over time. “Duck/Rabbit” was curated by Mary Birmingham and opens on October 2.
Dana Sherwood’s wildness and domesticity
Contributed by Kari Adelaide / Dana Sherwood’s exhibition “Animal Appetites and Other Encounters in Wildness,” on view at the Florence Griswold Museum, embraces domesticity and wildness, method and chaos, human and animal, the ordinary and the magic. Captured in night-vision infrared, Sherwood’s work turns on her appreciation of nature and fantasy alike and her generosity towards the fauna we live with.
Philip Guston’s existential ferocity
Contributed by Laurie Fendrich / The revised exhibition, at the Museum of fine Arts in Boston, with 73 paintings and 23 drawings, is a team effort mounted by the museum’s two curators, two guest curators, various museum staff and educators, the critic Homi Bhabha, and a trauma counselor who crafted a statement about “emotional preparedness” for the show. It begins: “The content of this exhibition is challenging. The Museum offers these words in a spirit of care and invitation.” Midway through the exhibition, visitors who find the material too disturbing can leave through a special exit before they encounter particularly vivid Klan imagery.
Sensing Joan Mitchell
Contributed by Barry Nemett / With squiggly marks and brilliant colors bringing the bucolic outdoors indoors, the exhibit Joan Mitchell is a sensual delight. What a treat to feel, smell, and hear the French countryside’s springtime breezes and see its glorious summer’s colors in Baltimore.
The Whitney Biennial: On the heels of trauma
Contributed by Laurie Fendrich / While an artist friend and I were having dinner together after seeing the Whitney Biennial, she suddenly said” “Art is a cult.” For a second, I thought she was joking – I mean, art is truth and goodness, cults are lies and wickedness. Then I realized how much sense it made.
Armin Kunz: Presentism and art history
Contributed by Armin Kunz / �Can we ever look at Titian�s paintings the same way again?� asked Holland Cotter when he reviewed the reunion of the master�s Poesie paintings at Boston�s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for the New York Times back in August 2021. The show, which was on view […]