MADRID.- The Galeria Marlborough Madrid
announced an exhibition of 27 American artists working in painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media, titled EAGLES. This exhibition has been curated by Marlborough Chelsea, New York.
Comprising both established and emerging artists, EAGLES is a cross-section of dynamic and impactful work that is garnering both critical attention and broad popular appeal in the U.S. There is something distinctly American about the works included, which unifies these selections in unexpected ways and curious configurations. The scale and power of Abstract Expressionism, the topicality and social critique of Pop, the rigor and surfaces of Minimalism, the edgy wit of appropriation, and even a tendency toward the talismanic imagery of the American West are all present.They indicate both a thematic continuum of elegance and grit and a willingness to buck a trendthat has kept the United States at the forefront of artistic production for so many years.
Dan Colens ravaged surfaces take a painterly approach while tending to avoid the simple application of paint. Instead, canvases are walked on, abused, stressed, strewn with garbage, and still come off as pure New York School. While both are electrifying, Jacqueline Humphriess bold canvas makes effective use of the gestural, and stands in contrast to Xylor Janes precise and programmatic application of paint. Marfa resident Jeff Elrod stakes out a digital terrain, transferring drawings made on a computer to Texas-sized abstractions, while fellow Texan, Mark Flood expertly walks the tightrope between satire and pure beauty with his lacy compositions.Chris Martin,combines the rough application of newsprint with the refinement of oil paint, while Matthew Chambers toys with the proximity of pure abstraction and stylized, often hilarious figuration.
Mike Bouchets paintings of hybridized movie posters point to the schizophrenia inducing speed and multiplicity of todays media while acknowledging the manipulative conventions of color and composition of the Hollywood dream machine. Working in Los Angeles, Drew Heitzler takes on the iconic Warholian banana and unlocks further meaning from the fruit, while another Angeleno, Amanda Ross-Ho, turns inward conducting an archeology of the self, manifesting a personal history.
Rashaad Newsomes collage works find a common thread between Hip Hop and Old World heraldry, while Sara Vanderbeek reminds us of the satisfying sympathies of sculpture and photography. Marianne Vitale conjures sleek and pictorial geometry from reclaimed wood, and Andrew Kuo pays his respects to the transcendent rigors of geometric abstraction and combines them with poignant text-based confessionals. Similarly, the seriousness of Ahmed Alsoudanis message is cloaked in delightfully jumbled compositions.
Wes Langs paintings happen where Native American and outlaw biker imagery intersect with Basquiatsimprovisatory stream-of-consciousness. Langs friend and counterbalance Eddie Martinez wrangles a loose iconography that can encompass both the martial beak of an Eagle and the wistful Western atmosphere of Arthur Dove.Ari Marcopoulosseductively grainy photograph of a coyote conjures a lean-and-mean American mythology, while hinting at Joseph Beuys. Also in this territory, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowes mind-altering concoctions of late 1960s imagery and filmic disorientation manage to mingle strategies of abstraction and direct hits of realist legibility.
The works of sculpture included in the exhibition indicate a similarly eclectic set of influences and concerns. Frank Bensons ceramic and stone arrangements, made in Marfa, Texas, can be seen asan all-natural riff on Donald Judd, and Matt Johnsons carved, nesting walnuts and cast plastic Breadface suggest a wry take on folk art. Ara Dymond utilizes furniture design methods, pure formal obsession and a dose of the absurd, effectively complicating his references into a multivalent intersection of high/low influences. Of all of these sculptors, none is as all-American in his subject matter as Robert Lazzarini whose digitally distorted work takes on the gritty iconography of cigarettes, guns, skulls and neon.
Especially heartening for the continued excellence of American contemporary art are the youngest artists in the exhibition. This generation has learned by example from those who came before them, as well as ignoring many of the strictures and conventions. Colin Snapps large C-prints flirt with abstraction while maintaining a decidedly naturalistic presence, and characterized by an attempt to distill the photographic practice outside of the mechanics of the camera, Sam Falls poured pigments on humble fabric utilize simple gestures to concentrated effect. Artists such as Daniel Turner and Davina Semo take their materials directly from the urban environs: concrete, diamond plate steel and glass meet smears of black, evoking both dirty streets and godfather Frank Stella. These artists remind us that history and influence are ever-present, but not shackles to bind us.