Wednesday, August 5, 2015

MODERN SUMMER: ABEX+: Review by Polly Guerin

Paul Jenkins' Phenomena Cry of the Peacock
One of my cultural finds this summer is the Jenn Singer Gallery, a boutique bijoux of a small space, masterminded by the petite gallery owner Jenn Singer. The gallery may be modest but it offers art on a grand scale---works on canvas and paper by some of today's most Influential Abstract Expressionists--hand picked from an important private collection in New York City. The gallery is located in New York City's historic Gramercy Park neighborhood, 72 Irving Place. The ongoing current exhibit opened in July and runs through August 28, 2015.
    Bright raw colors, rough edges and spontaneity define the paintings on view by established artists including Paul Jenkins, Syd Solomon, Robert Natkin and Stanley William Hayter. These artists are seasoned poets of the brush---with a focus on pieces from the 1970s and 80s, by postwar modern artists working at the height of their careers. All of the artists represented at the Jenn Singer Gallery have enjoyed prominent exhibition histories and their works are held in the permanent collections of top institutions including MoMA, the Guggenheim, The Whitney and the Tate.
     Paul Jenkins had a personal relationship with color and its purity, and was recognized as one of the leaders of the American Abstract Expressionist movement. Jenkins was known as a pioneer in uniting the concepts of color-field painting and action painting. His strong abstracts soar to heights of inspiration and resonate with hidden messages. Defined by the viewer Phenomena, for example, provides endless wonderment..Jenkins once proclaimed, "I paint what God is to me." In his paintings Jenkins flows, pulls, and pushes "pure color" to create almost celestial imagery on his paper and canvases. Two of his watercolors and oil on canvas are on view. Pictured here: Phenomena Cry of the Peacock, 1972. Watercolor on paper.
"Untitled"by Robert Natkin
      In an "Untitled" painting by Robert Natkin, a work from his Field Mouse series ca. 1970--- the mood is lightened and yet its compelling interaction of textures, patterns and space.grips our senses to look deeper into depths of its meaning,  and revel in the seemingly never ending tranquility of merging soft colors and shapes. Pictured here: Untitled oil on canvas.
    The series was inspired by an Ezra Pound translation of a Chinese poem, (below) which Natkin referred to as a "sweeping landscape of emotion.
And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life goes by
Like a field mouse,
Running through the grass not touching.
     Natkin once said, "I want the eye of the viewer never to tire, never to cease."
Syd Solomon;s Baytop, 1980
     Syd Solomon's direction cast his creativity to the sea, earth and sky as inspiration for his often-explosive action paintings. Soloman gained notoriety in the 1960s, and pictured here is Baytop, oil and acrylic on canvas 1980.
      It is interest to note that another artist represented here, Stanley William Hayter's roots in printmaking and Surrealism were a formative influence on Pollock and other abstract expressionists via his printmaking studio, Atelier 17, where he taught Pollock and other well know artists including Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall, Jacques Lipchitz and Alberto Giacometti. In his work on canvas "Curtain," the artist plays with his love of color, abstraction and the fascination with waves.
   For additional images, information contact the gallery: Summer hours: Monday-Friday: 11am-6pm. Saturday by appointment only. T. 917.722.6119.
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