Tagged: oil

michael rey

Rey calls them “ibjects” – hybrids, that is, between images and objects. Their oil-painted surfaces give the sense that they are “of” extant things in the world, the way images are, but their semi-industrial shapes suggest that they themselves have been pulled out of our normal object-world. You could call them “imaginary ready-mades” –  The idea that they are imaginary and contingent is reinforced by their extreme fragility: their oil paint is applied on top of a soft and fleshy layer of plasticine.

Michael Rey

Rey Install View

Rey White

allison schulnik

the first year we launched GRAPHITE, one of the successful artist submissions was work by emerging artist Allison Schulnik — already known for her directorial efforts with band Grizzly Bear in their video Ready, Able. her pieces were incredibly animated with their layers of impasto.

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john williams



john williams3

John Williams' Untitled, an Abstract Painting in My Home
By Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer
"In the tradition of abstract expressionism, which rejected representing actual objects in favor of an energetic investigation of painting's basic materials, the painting[s] show the accumulated evidence of the artist's body in motion. Recording Williams' gestures as painterly thrashings, the work is a precise complement to his memorable live performances, in which he constantly arranged and rearranged a sprawling set of props and overhead projections.
[His works are big] and crammed full of colorful and layered activity that conveys the speed of Williams' brush. Flat, graphic shapes abut muddied smears and mottled textures. Arcing strokes mark the compasslike reach of the artist's wrist while contrasting with more detailed areas of gridded pattern.
While there are some bulging globs of paint on the surface, it's the overlapping actions that really give the picture an illusion of dizzying depth. With intertwining lines curving, streaking and corkscrewing all over, this is an emphatically active, nearly explosive painting, which promises to activate even further with prolonged, daily viewing."

liat yossifor








Sharon Sharón Zoldan

guided a 30 person tour through her space a couple months back. she was preparing for a soon-to-be sold out show in new york. so much paint. i could swim in her paint.

images photographed by daniel rolnik and asuka hisa

La Venere d’Urbino: Vice o Virtù

“There she has a right to lie, for she is a work of art, and Art has its privileges.”

-Mark Twain[1]

TITIAN, Venus of Urbino, 1538, Oil on canvas, 119 x 165 cm, Uffizi, Florence

We still know too little about the way in which paintings were actually discussed in the sixteenth century. As such, modern interpretation remains inherently ambiguous. Our modes of response and analysis create a critical debate over ways of perceiving and understanding the imagery of the past. Tantalizingly enigmatic is the Venetian painter Tiziano Vecellio, better known as Titian. In a work of overt sensuality, he masterfully flaunts his virtuosity of technique. In focus, Director of Warburg Institute in London, Charles Hope and Columbia University Art History Professor David Rosand take opposing stances in clarifying the meaning behind Titian’s natural nude. Regardless, Titian’s mysterious Venus of Urbino, 1537-1538, triumphantly hails his artistic genius.

A fair, polished, delicate young woman poses; her identity poses the entire interpretive challenge. “Is this ‘Venus’ in fact a Venus? Or is she one of the celebrated courtesans of Venice, or merely a common whore?”[2] Her elusive identity makes it difficult to locate the picture within a certain genre. “How indeed, are we to read this picture? How should we respond to this image of the female body?”[3] Critics do not readily agree on who or what is being depicted.

The factual history of the painting is simple and straightforward. Almost a quarter of a century later, Titian recalls his Giorgionesque intervention; he awakens and domesticates Giorgione’s dreaming pastoral deity.[4] “Brought indoors, this nude stresses less her classical poetic degree than her contemporary social function. Her blatant address to the viewer, inviting by sight as well as touch,” complicates our analyses.[5] Her elegant example of visual contrapposto alludes to the classic venus pudica, however, here, she does not cover her breasts, and the contraction of the fingers of the left hand suggest that, rather than covering her genitalia, she is masturbating. Nevertheless, the genre remains essentially aristocratic and courtly in taste, with somewhat erotic mythical decoration.

First mention of the work is found in a letter, written by its patron, sent from Mantua on March 9, 1538. The patron, Duke of Urbino Guidobaldo della Rovere, refers to her as “la donna nuda.” Considering her title, it is in fact odd that he neglects to call her a “Venere.[6] Although, apparently, at the time, an unidentified nude woman was oftentimes unthinkingly referred to as a Venus.[7] Regardless, the Duke was eager to take possession of the painting when it was still in the artist’s studio. Short of funds, however, he feared sale of the piece to another client. Ironically, had the Venus been specifically commissioned for the duke, it appears unlikely that he would have doubted its eventual ownership. Guidobaldo’s marriage took place four years prior, so, assuming the piece is a marriage tribute seems unconvincing and improbable.

David Rosand’s “So-and-so reclining on her couch” approaches the work as a simple, relatively straightforward depiction of a “woman in her fairest aspect:” a model of domestic virtue.[8] He legitimizes her identification as a protectress of marital love by reading the perpetually blooming myrtle plant in the background as an attribute of the goddess. He also considers the sleeping dog a symbol of marriage fidelity in its trusting nature. Still, addressing Venus as the utmost allegory of marriage love and domesticity, would be a blatant avoidance of her stark nakedness and the all too obvious focal point…

Charles Hope’s “Problems of Interpretation in Titian’s Erotic Paintings” sides with the analysis of the figure as an erotic portrait under a “rather unconvincing mythological guise.”[9] He goes so far as to suggest that this painting may have acted as a ‘pin up,’ acting as little more than a sex object. As a seemingly epithalamic scene, the Venus has no obvious attributes which would associate her with the goddess of love. To him, she is simply an example of Venetian erotica, not a representation of Venus at all.[10]  Sanctioned by prestige and the classical tradition, the painting was able to acquire the status of high art, masquerading under the alibi of a classical subject.[11]

A perfect distribution of space, a full and ringing harmony of tints, an atmosphere both warm and mellow, the Venus of Urbino is a quintessential example of Titian’s ability. In my opinion, Hope’s argument is more tenable in that it is less easy to accept that the woman is Venus. To me, she seems merely a woman on a bed with a little dog beside her. Perhaps she is a courtesan, perhaps the mistress of the patron, but it is the attitude of her hand that marks the piece as far too suggestive for any Renaissance standard. In any case, whatever the source of the pose, it is hard to escape the girl’s sexual invitation, which, to me, has nothing to do with matrimony or chastity. Just the same, “the Venus of Urbino is no Venus.”[12]

[1] David Rosand, Titian’s ‘Venus of Urbino,’ “So-and-so reclining on her couch,” in Art History 106C: Painting in Renaissance Venice Reader, ed. Daniel Maze (Cambridge, 1997), 38.

[2] Rosand, 39.

[3] Rosand, 39.

[4] Rosand, 43.

[5] Rosand, 43-44.

[6] Charles Hope, Tiziano e Venezia, Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Venezia, “Problems of Interpretation in Titian’s Erotic Paintings,” in Art History 106C: Painting in Renaissance Venice Reader, ed. Daniel Maze (1976), 119.

[7] Hope, 119.

[8] Rosand 39.

[9] Hope, 119.

[10] Hope, 118.

[11] Hope, 124.

[12] Rosand, 42.


vincent van gogh / crab on its back / 1889

when i was young, i remember seeing this painting in an exhibition somewhere in l.a. the colors really caught my eye. a fairly childish way to pick out a piece. all the same, i examined it with great scrutiny. the thick, thick paint. the energy in the brushstrokes. i undoubtedly had no idea how to verbalize these thoughts at the time, but i liked it, and it left an impression on me. years later, i discussed the work with my mother. i vividly remembered it. it seems to be one of the first significant interactions i had had with a work of art. i described it to her. “that’s sad,” she said. “what do you mean? why?” “because a crab on its back cannot get back up on its own.” the crab was painted in 1889; van gogh admitted himself to a psychiatric center that same year.