NEW YORK.-Lori Bookstein Fine Art presents Aristodimos Kaldis: Four Major Works, 1956 1977, comprised of four important landscape canvases which make manifest the Greek American artist's unique conflation of geographic and representational specificity with Abstract Expressionistic energy.
Painted with Kaldis' brilliant palette and vigorous brushwork, the works in the show undermine our Western formulations of "rational" perspective, relying instead on color and the vertical structure of the picture plane to produce sensations of space and depth. In the earliest work exhibited, "Study for Panhellenic Landscape" from 1956, only rare spots of canvas are left unpainted; some twenty years later, with "Four Elements of Nature," an entire vista is carved out of the white ground, creating space which is infinitely penetrating and simultaneously as flat as the wall behind it.
Running throughout nearly all of Kaldis' oeuvre is the incarnation of place the artist by no means required an actual physical locale, but vibrant memories of his native Greece are perhaps the true subject of all his painting. Regardless of Kaldis' purported source, Martica Sawin has written, what "inevitably appeared was the coastal landscape of his childhood. Even when given another label, 'Cagnes sur Mer' or 'Sandwich, Cape Cod,' an Aegean light and structure pervade the paintings."
Aristodimos Kaldis [1899-1979] was born in the port town of Atarneus, Turkey, and spent his childhood in Greece. He immigrated to the United States in 1917, and moved to New York City in 1930. His position as a writer and administrator for the Mural Division of the Federal Art Project brought him into contact with leading members of the New York School, including Diego Rivera, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning. In 1941 Kaldis had his first one-man show at the Artists' Gallery; that same year, he had the distinction of becoming the first living American painter to be accessioned by the Barnes Foundation collection.
Kaldis was a regular visitor to the Eighth Street Artists Club's Friday evening gatherings, where his lectures were legendary, and in 1956, his inclusion in the Poindexter Gallery's exhibition, "The Thirties" placed his work alongside paintings by Davis, Graham, Gorky, Kline, de Kooning, Pollock, Reinhardt and Rothko, among others. In 1975, and again in 1977, Kaldis was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to paint American landscapes. When asked why the artist had been granted this honor twice, Robert Motherwell, chair of the committee, replied, "Simply because he is one of the greatest living painters."
On view in Gallery II, A Life in Art: Fifty Years of Collecting presents work selected from the holdings of a lifelong New York City collector, and celebrates a philosophy of acquiring art which is at once as eclectic as it is personal. Assembled over the last five decades by its owner for sheer pleasure, the collection eschews all regard for name recognition or investment, and is united instead by its aesthetic integrity. What appears to be a fixation on particular artists is a personal journey; a collector's in-depth exploration of those whose sensibilities have been a continuing source of inspiration and intrigue. Freed from the constraints of any single movement, period, or medium, the collection includes an array of work on paper, small oils, and textiles by many Outsider and anonymous artists, in addition to various utilitarian or decorative objects. Artists in the collection include Walter Anderson, Aaron Birnbaum, Edward Patrick Byrne, James Castle, Minnie Evans, Kaffe Fassett , Shirley Goldfarb, Morris Graves, Matthew Jacobs, Elaine Komorowski, Robert Kulicke, Justin McCarthy, Edmund Monsiel, Ray Parker, Pablo Picasso, Charles Rain, Ole Torson, Bill Traylor, Acharya Vyakul and Helen Miranda Wilson.