Since the early days of Color Field painting, working on unprimed canvas or linen has given the impression of a certain unfinished immediacy--more like the page of a sketchbook than a finished painting. At Frieze this weekend, unprimed materials (or the look of unprimed materials) were well represented, suggesting that painters are still interested in a new realism that subtly fuses the sculptor's attention to objecthood and materiality with two-dimensional shape and image.
Dan Colen, presents bootprints on unprimed canvas.Constructed from a wide range of found textiles, Jensen’s paintings recall elements of classic modern abstraction. The linens, silks, cashmeres, burlaps, wools and canvases that he employs have all been exposed to a range of conditions, activities and owners, and Jensen—who once described his work as “painting without paint”—often adopts as pictorial elements the traces of wear and prior use that mark his fabrics. He stretches, glues, and sews them onto or into one another, sometimes treating these found supports with bleach, dyes, diamond dust, or other substances to make the final work. Combining the purposeful with the accidental, Jensen’s work gives shape to recent reconsiderations of modernism’s utopias; his paintings remind us that those myths survive today only as style.
Rachel Harrison's installation includes spray painted Adirondack chairs and a few bolts of folded canvas. Pretty funny take on the ongoing sculpture/painting dialogue. That's a big Jacqueline Humphries silver painting in the background.
This small 2013 piece by Lesley Vance may look like it's made on unprimed canvas, but actually it's linen painted a canvas-like color. When artists start painting primed linen to look like unprimed canvas I have to conclude that the irresolute look of unprimed canvas is unquestionably having its moment. Perhaps the growing presence of this type of work at Frieze is a signal that dealers and collectors are finally warming to elements of provisional painting and casualist abstraction.
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