Contributed by Sharon Butler and Jonathan Stevenson / Rebecca Morris, a masterly abstract painter who could do pretty if she wanted to, insists that when a painting starts to look beautiful she catches herself on and pivots to more discomfiting territory. That kind of grim integrity and its visual realization has an austere appeal, but there’s no need right now to get into the niceties of infinite regress or meta paradox. Judging by her solo show at Bortolami, parsimoniously titled “#31” after the number of solo shows she has presented during her career, Morris does consciously resist the pursuit of visual beauty and representation. The large-scale oil-and-spray-paint works are all untitled, distinguished only by parenthetical number indicating the year and the order in which the paintings were made. Each canvas is replete with vivid color and divergent shapes but embodies an irresolute and disconsolate state of play. This could ramify for a given viewer in any number of ways – though not, presumably, as lovely.
Tag: Bortolami Gallery
Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Robert Bordo’s gently enveloping solo exhibition “Paint World,” now on view at Bortolami, is comprehensively seductive and sly, staking a claim to the attention of both the dreamer and the realist. Ultimately, he favors the latter. His subject is this rock we all live on. In depicting it impressionistically, from lunar vantage with small, nuanced brushstrokes, he achieves a paradoxically clued-up serenity of pastoral detachment and soft focus – not unlike that of, say, Monet’s waterlilies or, more abstractly, Günther Förg’s patches and crosshatches. But in literally facing the world, as it were, he also directly confronts its profound challenges and emphatically declines to turn his back on them. Thematically, then, this series escalates the existential worry of his earlier “Windshield” and “Crack-up” paintings – presumably planted in part by Guston, with whom Bordo studied – to global scale.
Contributed by Marjorie Welish / There’s formalism and then there is formalism. In his solo show at Bortolami Gallery, Morgan Fisher excels at both. He is faithful to the modernist credo of line, plane, and color synthesized through composition. But he is also intent on making his work serve logical propositions generated from the practice of painting itself. This conceptual formalism is his domain, and it rewards close attention. Fitful likes and dislikes begone!