February 28, 2008

The backstory: Poons and Taylor

In the NYSun, Stephen Maine writes that the absence of an artistic vanguard makes everything old new again. "Among the wildly disparate features of today's art-world landscape, two modes of pictorial thought with venerable lineages have recently re-emerged: materials-oriented abstract painting, and a linear approach to the investigation of the third dimension that may conveniently be referred to as 'drawing in space.' Shedding light on the respective histories of these trends are the current and altogether absorbing exhibitions of encrusted, cascading paint events by Larry Poons, from the 1970s, and playful tinkerings with line, both flat and not, from the second half of the 1980s by Al Taylor.

"Mr. Poons's 1970s work is both hip to history and thrillingly go-for-broke. The artist took advantage of the fast-drying property of acrylic paint to pile it on and let it flow. He would line his studio walls with a roll of cotton duck, prop it out from the wall a bit with a few boards, climb a ladder, and start pouring. After the paint dried and the dust settled, the artist cropped and stretched sections. This brilliant, deceptively simple approach was in tune with (primarily sculptural) materials-based Process Art, simultaneously mindful and skeptical of the autographic mark of Abstract Expressionism.....The Al Taylor show adds another chapter to the unfolding backstory of 'drawing in space.' Taylor, who died far too young in 1999, insisted that his objects be seen not as sculpture but as logical extensions of his work on paper. Twenty examples of those are on view, including two resounding 'Wire Instrument' drawings (both 1990) in ink wash and crayon, as well as 'Untitled (Pet Stain Removal Device)' (1989/1991), which serves as proxy for Taylor's perpetual fascination with puddles and pools — a found, involuntary form of drawing educed from the vagaries of the household." Read more.

"Al Taylor," Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY. Through March 2.
"Larry Poons: Throw, Pour, Drip, Spill & Splash," Jacobson Howard, New York, NY. Closed this week.
Related posts: NYTimes Art in Review: Martin, Bradford, Poons
Larry Poons exuberance
Saltz: Old is gold

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