Today Chris R and I did the Chelsea Trudge. We saw a lot of stuff, and Jennifer Coates at Feigen Contemporary. I stood in front of this painting for like, ten minutes. Or fifteen.
I take small comfort from the fact that Internet digitization mauls her work as badly as it does mine; I wish I could adequately describe to you the subtlety of the color treatment, the transitions, the exquisite detail set off by scrumptious, sweeping color fields, the way the surface is glass-smooth in places and built up in humps in places where, on this screen, it just looks white. Particularly the fact that when you stand in front of it, an inaudible symphony tinkles in the ether all around you.
I stole this detail shot of the above painting from another guy's blog--I hope he will forgive me. The images on Feigen were disgracefully dim.
Lots of times, when I go gallery-hopping, I see plenty of Neat Stuff. I see things that make me laugh, make me groan, make me turn away in depression and disgust. Sometimes I see things I adore, like the Tara Donovan show at Pace Wildenstein, but that have little or no direct relevance to what I'm trying to do in my own work. As much as I enjoyed Tara's twenty-by-twenty-foot topographical landscape made entirely with plastic cups, I could not apply any of her methodologies to my painting-in-progress, except in a very abstract and indirect way.
And folks, I have looked long and hard at a LOT of painting. At this point, I pass by a Van Gogh at the Met and my mental painting-schemata is so highly developed that I can pretty much take in the whole thing in about eight seconds. So that when I say that I stood in front of Jennifer's painting for many, many minutes, this is not idle praise.
In fact, I'm going to have to reconsider my entire way of working after seeing this show. I admit it frankly--she's doing what I'm doing, only much, much better. And in ACRYLIC on CANVAS.
Time to turn some paintings wall-wards for the nonce, and ponder.