Matisse Etc. (part 2)

(Amy Feldman, Stanley Whitney, Bernard Piffaretti, Laura Owens, Michael Krebber, Matt Connors, Rebecca Morris, Patricia Treib, Lori Ellison, Franklin Evans)

How is it that someone who dreamed of “an art of balance, of purity, of serenity, devoid of troubling and depressing subject matter” became a source of relentless innovation and provided a map for the deconstruction (with Supports/Surfaces, Pattern & Decoration and artists as diverse as Simon Hantaï, Al Loving and Jessica Stockholder) of the very medium through which he hoped to achieve serenity? French scholar Rémi Labrusse has described Matisse’s “radical decoration” as the result of his staged confrontation between Western mimesis and Eastern decoration. Clement Greenberg, who dreamed of an avant-garde pastoral, attributed Matisse’s impact to “the paint, the disinterested paint.”

Over the last year or so a lot of the painting I’ve been most struck by has pursued some kind of “radical decoration,”  engaged with “disinterested paint” or both. In some cases (Lori Ellison, Franklin Evans), Matisse has clearly been on the artist’s mind, in others there is no explicit referencing but plenty of affinities. Then, there is the case of Michael Krebber, whose desultory marks could be read as a cruel parody of Matissean nonchalance. As I suggested some years ago in my articles on provisionality in painting, the casual touch of much contemporary art recuperates the economy of gesture pioneered by Matisse, but there are other paths that connect his work to the present, exemplified here by Evans’s multi-medium installation at Ameringer McEnery Yohe earlier this year in which the legacy of Matisse (and a lot else) was filtered through an array of idiosyncratic information systems.

View of Amy Feldman's 2014 show at Blackston Gallery, New York.

View of Amy Feldman’s 2014 show at Blackston Gallery, New York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View of Stanley Whitney's 2013 show at Team Gallery, New York.

View of Stanley Whitney’s 2013 show at Team Gallery, New York.

View of Bernard Piffaretti exhibition at Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris, 2014.

View of Bernard Piffaretti exhibition at Galerie Frank Elbaz, Paris, 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Painting by Laura Owens in "Loveless" at Green Naftali, New York, 2014.

Painting by Laura Owens in “Loveless” at Green Naftali, New York, 2014.

 

 

Michael Krebber, MP-KREBM-00068-A-072, 2014, acrylic on linen, 160 by 120 centimeters.

Michael Krebber, MP-KREBM-00068-A-072, 2014, acrylic on linen, 160 by 120 centimeters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Connors, Second Witches Hat, acrylic on canvas, 2014. Courtesy Canada Gallery, New York.

Matt Connors, Second Witches Hat, acrylic on canvas, 2014. Courtesy Canada Gallery, New York.

 

Rebecca Morris, Untitled (# 15-13), 2013. Oil on canvas, 119 by 97 inches, Courtesy Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin. Photograph by Lee Thompson.

Rebecca Morris, Untitled (# 15-13), 2013. Oil on canvas, 119 by 97 inches, Courtesy Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago and Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin. Photograph by Lee Thompson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patricia Treib, Simultaneous Icon, 2012, oil on canvas, 66 by 50 inches. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy, New York.

Patricia Treib, Simultaneous Icon, 2012, oil on canvas, 66 by 50 inches. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy, New York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lori Ellison

Lori Ellison, Groovy Grove, 2014, ink on paper. Courtesy the artist and McKenzie Fine Art, New York.

View of Franklin Evans’s exhibition “paintingassupermodel” at Ameriger McEnery Yohe, New York, 2014.