The Gesture Is Enigma; Regardless of Certainty
Written by: Efrem Zelony-Mindell

I don’t always know what I’m doing in Chelsea, wandering aimlessly, praying that the travel fare won’t turn out to be a waste. The reward is often a surprise.

Accident and unconscious are not new ideas but since Jackson Pollock, the breath of the gesture has matured, if not completely changed, in many regards. Andrea Rosen Gallery has mounted a show that deals directly with the issues of modern abstraction and gesture. Martin Barré, David Ostrowski, Julian Schnabel, and Reena Spaulings are breaking rules and questioning ideas dealing with the relationship between pictorial plane and object. These artists come from different walks of life and vary in age and it is rewarding to see how their works play off one another.


Right Hand Side: Martin Barré                                       Center: David Ostrowski                                     Right Hand Side: Martin Barré


It’s a worry that viewers of this show may start to think artistry is bullshit. Which is fine. You can think that. It is important though to point out that the point of a show is to be educated as much as it is about being entertained. After all that’s why it’s called “show.” Give ’em the old razzle-dazzle.


Julian Schnabel


I’ll be honest; objecting about the work in this show Enigmas is pretty easy. I mean, there are stained tablecloths from “important” dinner parties that Reena Spaulings has stretched around stretcher bars. Characteristic traits of the artists aside, spending time with the works, it becomes evident that they are in conversation. It is clear that they do not simply stand-alone. They shout to each other in absurdity, it’s a pissing contest between old and new. Abstraction is reaching beyond, becoming performance as much as visual and aesthetic.


Reena Spaulings


Perhaps most rewarding about these pictures are their use of material pushing beyond conceptions of the artist in studio, paint brush in hand and oil paint squeezed out in perfect globs. Here inkjet printed canvas meets spirals of applied spray paint. Folds in the canvases cloth meet with wine stains. Spray paint meets with globed acrylics and lacquers, surface forms from pooling areas and there are elements of collage. It’s easy to wonder if they are meant to be read as windows or reflect on them as objects. Regardless of certainty, the images certainly are an enigma, a journey, urging the viewer to allow them to be beyond convention.


Efrem Zelony-Mindell is an artist who lives in New York. For more of his work click here …

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