February 2, 2011

Alan Uglow dies of lung cancer

Alan Uglow, "Hanging Standard # 4 (Green Gold)," 2006, acrylic on cotton, 48 x 60"

Alan Uglow, Untitled, 2008, acrylic on fiberglass, 45 x 60"

Alan Uglow, "Standard # 2 (Red Oxide)," 2002, acrylic on cotton

Installation shot, 2006, Galerie Nordenhake in Berlin

Roberta Smith reports in the NY Times: "Alan Uglow, an abstract painter of light-filled geometries whose expansive fields, bordered with notched lines, reflected in part his passion for soccer, died on Jan. 20 in Manhattan, where he lived. He was 69. The cause was complications of lung cancer, said his wife, Elena Alexander. Mr. Uglow was what is often called a painter’s painter, respected within the art world’s precincts but not well known beyond them."

From the Galerie Nordenhake web page for Uglow:
"One major influence for Uglow's paintings comes from his lifelong fascination with football. It led to sculptures and photographs related to the spatial structure of the stadium, like his constructions "Sudcurve" (1993) or "Coach's Bench" (1997/98). On a few occasions this type of work has been exhibited together with a roaring soundtrack recorded in the stands of a crowded football stadium. But there are also clear links between the beautiful game and his paintings, for example in the stripes of his 1992 work "Stadium II" that evoke the white marking lines on the football field.

"He is interested in paintings ability to be timeless - there is no difference between a recent stadium painting and an early one. His paintings are pristine but do not lose their touch with reality. Their seriality and uniformity does in fact relate to the ordinary and the mundane, and also the choice of titles and colours point in this direction. Hotels and football stadiums are generic in their functions and general layout, colours chosen might relate to the colour of a passing car or to be taken off a colour chart. His spare, elegantly proportioned abstractions are not strictly minimal or formal, they do misbehave and are not painted with proclaimed primary colours such as in the recent work "Hanging Standard # 2 (Blue)" where white fields are bisected by light blue iridescent bands. In Uglow's practice the exploration of the essentials of painting is not an end in itself but a means to generate the sense of discovery and psychological confrontation. "

Related articles:
2010 Joan Waltemath review of Uglow's work in The Brooklyn Rail
1991 Uglow interview with Alain Kirili in Bomb


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