October 17, 2009

Danny Simmons: Twisted looping lines and amped-up color schemes


Danny Simmons, "Broken and Now Through," 2007, mixed media on canvas, 30 x 30"

Ben Genocchio reports in the NY Times that Danny Simmons's 15-year retrospective of abstract gestural paintings at the Spanierman Gallery in East Hampton shakes up the staid east end. "Simmons works in a mixture of formal styles derived from the early 20th-century Cuban Surrealist Wilfredo Lam, contemporary African art and various tribal artifacts from around the world. The paintings in this show, pulsing and occasionally brash, are very different from the usual polished but staid art that you see hanging in galleries in the Hamptons. They shake things up.... Totemic, mythic imagery abounds, giving the best of the paintings visual force and a disquieting strangeness. Whimsy is also prevalent, be it in the artist’s twisted looping lines or amped-up color schemes.

"The exhibition has its weaknesses, which are sometimes glaringly apparent. One is the inclusion of many unimpressive paintings, including all of those in the downstairs space, which do little to advance the artist’s reputation; another is that Mr. Simmons still seems to be struggling with the legacy of Mr. Lam. There are works here that look too much like an undigested homage to the Cuban master, rather than a new development. Mr. Simmons still needs to find his own voice."

"Danny Simmons: From There to Here," Spanierman Gallery, East Hampton, NY. Through Nov. 23, 2009.

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