Jean Paul Riopelle (1923-2002), “Untitled,” circa 1967, oil on canvas, 10 1/2 x 7 1/2″
In the 1950s, while the NYC Abstract Expressionists approached painting like a theoretical chess game, often reducing their investigations to a single trope (Pollock–spatter, Rothko–Sfumato, etc.), painters in France continued to explore the possibilities, rather than the limitations, inherent in the medium. French painters worked within painting’s traditional boundaries, but investigated its rich complexity. “Le Tableau,” a show organized by artist and critic Joe Fyfe, attempts to uncover the influence these painters had on contemporary practice, with a particular focus on the contribution of French abstraction from the post-war era. Created by both French and American painters, the selectted work places an emphasis on materiality and structure.
According to Roberta Smith, the show is a good reminder that quality is as much a matter of authenticity as invention. ‘What counts is the impact of the individual work on the individual viewer, and the way painting echoes through painting. There’s plenty impact and echoing here. A tiny clogged canvas by Jean-Paul Riopelle from 1967 could easily have been painted by Louise Fishman, whose more expansive work hangs opposite. Between them a large fluttery work by Daniel Hesidence contradicts the compression of its opposite number: Jean Fautrier’s small slab of white paint tinted pale red on green. The sparse, tilelike geometry of a 2009 work by Bernard Piffaretti parses the voluptuous blues and greens of a 1977 canvas by Joan Mitchell. Adjacent paintings by Richard Aldrich and Juan Uslé sparkle on the subject of bare canvas, hard edges and green. Works by Merlin James, John Zurier, Katy Moran, Sarah Rapson and Jean François Maurige are among several others that reward close attention.”
Daniel Hesidence, Untitled ( Autumn Buffalo ),” 2009, 0il on canvas, 102 x 138″
Jean Fautrier (1898 – 1964), Terre D’Espagnet,” 1956, oil on canvas, 8 3/4 x 10 3/4″
Miquel Mont, “Pore XXXIV,” 2007, acrylic on plywood, 76 3/4 x 47 1/4 x 2 1/2″
Jonathan Lasker, “Lessons in Reality,”2010, oil on canvasboard, 12 x 16”
Bernard Piffaretti, “Untitled,” 2009, acrylic on canvas, 118 x 71″
“Le Tableau: French Abstraction and Its Affinities,” Cheim & Read, New York, NY. Through Sept. 3, 2010. (Make sure to check out C&R’s excellent website for the show.)
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