story telling

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i’m working on a series of group exhibitions. the art will be paintings or drawings on paper. and narrative — not illustrative — the stories are original to the artists. the narratives are personal, intimate, and coded. the artists have developed personal visual vocabularies that allow them to express stories that are open-ended and can be interpreted in many ways, possibly posing more questions than giving answers. the work is lyrical.

shahzia sikander “plush blush 12” (2003) gouache and ink on hand clay-coated paper, 15 x 11 1/2 inches

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like all of the work that i’m interested in, these pieces are beautifully executed. the “craft” seduces you. next you’re bewildered by the story — the piece is purposeful — the message is puzzling. you can look and look and there’s always something new to discover. your interpretation of the work changes over the course of time. the imagery gets lodged deep in your psyche and repeatedly re-surfaces. as your life experience changes, so does your understanding of the art. that, in fact, defines what i think good art is.

chris ballantyne “untitled (stair)” (2007) acrylic on paper, 14 x 20 inches

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crystal liu “nature’s betrayal (and i told her)” (2007) ink, watercolor, gouache and collage on paper, 21 x 21 inches

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some of the work is obsessive. frequently i find work that’s a product of a focused, intense, often laborious process to be inward-looking, sincere and original. the key is that the work transcend navel-gazing and touch themes that are meaningful beyond a specific individual experience, culture or time.

rachell sumpter “the gleaners” 2007 gouache and pastel on paper, 11 1/2 x 18 inches

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why works on paper? the subject matter of this work is personal, and internal. works on paper often feel very intimate. as if (and it’s sometimes the case), the artist stopped in the middle of a thought or experience and recorded their emotional place on paper. the creative process seems less planned, less edited, more raw, spontaneous and honest.

yuka yamaguchi “park – debut” (2007) colored pencil on paper, 14×11 inches

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the first exhibition in this series will open in new york the 10th of april. it’ll be called “100 stories” and focus on the work of crystal liu. we’ll show a group of her photographs, as well as a group of her ink, water color and collaged drawings.

crystal liu “the sea (say that you know)” 2008 gouache and ink and collage on paper, 27×27 inches

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at the same time, we’ll show a group of ruth marten’s drawings made on found 18th century engravings. rachell sumpter’s gouache and pastel drawings and yuka yamaguchi’s colored pencil drawings.

yuka yamaguchi “koinobore” (2007) colored pencil on paper, 14×11 inches

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by showing works in series, the artists can play with themes and explore issues more fully. it also gives a viewer a better opportunity to “decipher” the work.

the second exhibition will be in san francisco in september of 2008. i’m interested in suggestions for that show. have you seen an artist’s work that fits? do you make work that does what i’m describing? let me know… i’m looking for suggestions.

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