Comments on: Amy Sillman: Either Or And Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: Ashley West Tue, 08 Oct 2013 19:11:00 +0000 I’m not altogether sure about the cynical tone of this article, but I did find the work in this show disappointing. Myself and Stephen Buckeridge visited the show with a sincere anticipation of being at least a little uplifted, inspired even, by an artist who gives a nod to a number of painters we also respect, while at the same time challenging abstraction in a playful way and exploring the hybrid. As soon as I walked in to the show my anticipation went flat – the work was flat, lacking a certain aliveness that is apparent on the screen. I wanted to enjoy the work, but couldn’t get past the indecisiveness and lack of rigour. Two of the more overtly abstract paintings (one of which is No.2 in the slide show accompanying this essay) were hung as a pair – both were, to my mind, formally indecisive and unresolved – like a first draft, where you unpack a bunch of issues, but it gets you started, to be followed one would hope by a real engagement with those problems. These paintings looked too easy, superficial, as if nothing has been learnt from those who have gone before us (maybe why they were hung together – to make up for their inadequacies) – I assumed these were old paintings but in fact they were recent. I could get no idea from these paintings what Amy was interested in. She has said ‘there isn’t enough funny art’ – well these were a joke, but I have to say, not very good jokes. No.4 in the slide show was reminiscent of a lot of British Abstraction associated with St.Ives, but without the authenticity. Maybe ‘aping’ or ‘clowning’is a part of what she is after, maybe it’s ‘ironic’, but it seems to me to represent a sad example of painting today, rather than the serious engagement I was hoping for. Even the yellow painting ‘Duel’ which seemed to have a quirky charm and did have more going for it, appeared in the context of the show as something of a one-off gimmick. Maybe if I had done my homework better I would have known what to expect. It just seems a shame that this kind of stuff is getting promoted when hard grafting painters are neglected, but maybe ‘hard graft’ is simply going out of fashion – on the part of artist, observer and gallerist. I hope I’m not being cynical too.