Abstract Critical

Painterly Pasted Pictures

Written by Sam Cornish

Installation view, works by Frank Stella. Image courtesy of Freedman Art

Installation view of Painterly Pasted Pictures, works by Frank Stella. Courtesy Freedman Art

More collage! At Freedman Art in New York E.A Carmean, Jr has organised an exhibition of ‘painterly’ approaches to the medium (is collage a ‘medium’? – perhaps a technique, or an attitude?). Amongst the artists included are Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Al Leslie, Robert Motherwell, Anne Ryan, Kurt Schwitters, Frank Stella, Jack Youngerman, Susan Roth, Esteban Vicente and Adja Junkers. Many of the names are familiar though Susan Roth was new to me. A quick googling didn’t throw up an enourmous amount. However there are a few images here, and a 2001 article by John Link it which he discusses Roth’s ‘toughness’. I would certainly like to see them in the flesh.

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), Untitled (Bob's B'D), 1988, Solvent transfer and collage on paper, 5 5/8 x 4 5/8 inches, 14.3 x 11.7 cm. Courtesy Freedman Art

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), Untitled (Bob’s B’D), 1988, Solvent transfer and collage on paper, 5 5/8 x 4 5/8 inches, 14.3 x 11.7 cm. Courtesy Freedman Art

From the exhibition press-release: “Painterly Pasted Pictures focuses on a broad and major change in the collage medium beginning in the later 1940s. Earlier collages, starting with the very first cubist compositions of a century ago, had mostly used paper shapes cut into forms with crisp profiles, perhaps most familiarly defined by the color elements found in Henri Matisse’s decoupages of the late 1940s. To be sure, some key exceptions took place earlier, including the richly textured collages made in the 1920s by Kurt Schwitters, and those made with torn, or even crumpled, paper introduced in the 1930s by Jean Arp.

Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) Untitled, 1960. Oil and torn paper collage on paperboard, 39 1/2 x 26 inches. Image: FreedmanArt

Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) Untitled, 1960. Oil and torn paper collage on paperboard, 39 1/2 x 26 inches. Courtesy Freedman Art

Beginning in the later 1940s in New York, the Abstract Expressionist’s paintings—and those of other contemporaneous artists—became more loosely constructed with bold brushstrokes in fluid gestures. So too, echoing this stylistic change, their new collages began to employ papers (and sometimes other materials), often in complex, counterpointed layers assembled of papers with torn or ragged edges. Other collages of this time used crisply cut shapes set into contrasting painted gestures, or melded torn papers and gestural abstractions in other media. Finally, a few works set “painterly” elements within contrasting situations.”

Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), Cafetiere Filtres, 1963, Oil and pasted papers on paperboard, 39 1/4 x 26 3/4 inches, 99.7 x 67.9 cm. Courtesy Freedman Art.

Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), Cafetiere Filtres, 1963, Oil and pasted papers on paperboard, 39 1/4 x 26 3/4 inches, 99.7 x 67.9 cm. Courtesy Freedman Art.

The exhibition has been reviewed by Piri Halasz in From the Mayor’s Doorstep and Brendon Dooley in The New Criterion. For those of you in New York it runs until the 18th of May. More information (and installation views) here.

 

  1. Darryl Hughto said…

    Dear Mr. Cornish, I’m sorry you haven’t encountered my wife’s work til now. The Link article was written intitialy in the late 80′s. This set of photos on Flickr represents work Link was writting about. I realize jpegs on a computer screen are a poor substitute for seeing, so if you are ever in the neighborhood call and stop by the studio for a look see. The studio is northern NY near Syracuse. Thanks for the review and the mention. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhughto/sets/72157622678492109/

  2. Robin Greenwood said…

    Nice (for it’s time) pink Motherwell…

    But that big thing in the first photograph by the artist we no longer mention doesn’t look very pasted or painterly. And only a very short step indeed to the utterly despicable Peter Halley. Who, by the way, is by no definition that I can comprehend an abstract painter.

    • Darryl Hughto said…

      I MENTION Stella and his work as remaining among the leaders in abstract art and expression today. The late 60′s work is by all means pasted. Its surface is felt and other sheet goods and or paint on differing planes. Each color is on a different level from the others. Yes, he was bold to use dayglo and not worry about longevity, let the buyer beware, but he’s far more than Halley. Your venom seems to come from something more than just the photos or mention of this “unmentionable”. What’s your beef?
      I personally have come a ways since first seeing these Stellas displayed at Larry Ruben Gallery in New York in the late sixties. At the time I liked the paintings but thought he had copped out by using less than permanent materials. You can’t stand the test of time if you don’t last in time I felt. Now I feel his oeuvre is big enough that if some series are ephemeral, there will still be plenty of the conventional to substantiate his place in late 20th early 21st century visual art thought and expression.
      I’m guessing I wouldn’t recognize your definition of abstract painting. By the context of your use, it would seem to you anything ‘other than’ is just doomed to banality.