Art Lies, Volume 47, Summer 2005 Page: 16
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Ingrid Calame, g-kgg-kooo-kggkooo-kggkoo, 2003
Enamel on aluminum
48 x48 inches
Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York
figurative painting along with its tendency to commodify history and
style. In contrast to the desperately naive gestures of the Neo-expres-
sionists, Richter's painting served as a judicious model of the impos-
sibility of authentic painterly expression.' Buchloh's cooption of
Richter for the anti-painting, conceptual avant-garde formed the sub-
text of his interview with the artist in 1986. Commended by Buchloh
for his cynical depreciation of painting, Richter adamantly disagreed.
"I see there neither tricks, nor cynicism...I know for a fact that paint-
ing is not ineffectual." When Buchloh interpreted Richter's paintings as
knowing illustrations of the bankruptcy of representation and abstrac-
tion, Richter countered with an affirmation of their capacity for expres-
sion and the communication of content. Incredulous, Richter asked the
critic, "You don't really believe that just the dumb showing of brush-
strokes, of the rhetoric of painting and its elements, could accomplish
something, say something, express some kind of yearning?" 8 The con-
flict reveals Buchloh's futile attempt to characterize Richter as smarter
than he wants to be.
Richter's work did much to blur the divide between abstract and
figurative painting. Subsequently embracing both modes are art-
ists such as Laura Owens, whose early paintings revisited the aban-
doned project of '60s stain painting. Likewise thinly and inelegantly
painted, her figurative works depict dreamy land- or skyscapes and
evocative fairy-tale creatures. The shapes in Inka Essenhigh's paint-
ings have similarly evolved from amorphous anime-inspired forms
to highly modeled, obviously anthropomorphic figures. The spills,
stains, blobs and drips of richly hued, non-referential color in the
works of Monique Prieto, Ingrid Calame and Aaron Parazette remain
more rigorously abstract. Even the recent incorporation of text by
Parazette and Prieto does not affect the abstract nature of their
paintings. The words serve as "dumb" structures on which to hang
sensual manipulations of color and surface.
One of the great surprises of the 1990s was the frequent inclu-
sion of works by Owens, Essenhigh, Prieto, Calame, Parazette and
other abstract artists with the non-abstract paintings of artists such
16 ARTL!ES Summer 2005
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Bryant, John & Gupta, Anjali. Art Lies, Volume 47, Summer 2005, periodical, 2005; Houston, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth228012/m1/18/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .