“Intimacy in Discourse: Unreasonable Sized Paintings,” curated by acclaimed artist and co-founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of The Brooklyn Rail and Rail Edition, Phong Bui, opens on Saturday, November 21. Showing at SVA Chelsea Gallery, “Intimacy in Discourse: Unreasonable Sized Paintings” refers to the work of painters who, during occasional unpremeditated episodes, feel compelled to make paintings that are neither specific studies of larger or smaller paintings nor parts of particular ongoing series, but rather the byproduct of pure pleasure or the release of spontaneous thoughts that need to be concretized without limitations. Part one of the exhibition, “Intimacy in Discourse: Reasonable Sized Paintings,” is currently on view at Mana Contemporary.
According to Bui, both curatorial ideas were inspired by Jackson Pollock’s admiration for Albert Pinkham Ryder, whose modestly sized paintings—such as “Moonlight Marine” (1870 – 90), which measures 11 1/2 x 12″—evoke monumental scale and immensity of space, while Pollock’s larger canvases attain a sense of intimacy. Such a subtle perception of how scale mediates our responses to images like these subsequently prompted Thomas Nozkowski’s term “reasonable-size paintings,” which describes his two standard sizes, 16 x 20″ and 22 x 28″, within which he has consistently worked since the early 1970s.
Participating artists in “Unreasonable Sized Paintings” include Michael Berryhill, Sebastian Black, Katherine Bradford, Lois Dodd, Louise Fishman, Ron Gorchov, Joanne Greenbaum, Nora Griffin, EJ Hauser, Sanya Kantarovsky, Alex Katz, James English Leary, Matvey Levenstein, Dean Levin, Margrit Lewczuk, Chris Martin, Loren Munk, Catherine Murphy, Aliza Nisenbaum, Joanna Pousette-Dart, Ellen Phelan, Tal R, Neo Rauch, Julia Rommel, Cordy Ryman, Julia Schmidt, Juan Ulsé, Don Voisine, Merrill Wagner, Roger White, Terry Winters and Lisa Yuskavage.
“Reasonable Sized Paintings” features works from Joshua Abelow, Peter Acheson, Etel Adnan, Ellen Altfest, Tom Burckhardt, Rackstraw Downes, Helmut Federle, Robert Feintuch, Mark Greenwold, Josephine Halvorson, Merlin James, Bill Jensen, Katy Moran, Thomas Nozkowski, Ann Pibal, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, James Siena and Robert Storr.
A reception for “Unreasonable Sized Paintings” will be held on Saturday, November 21, 5:00 – 7:00pm at SVA Chelsea Gallery, 601 West 26th Street, 15th floor. Both exhibitions are presented in collaboration with the Rail Curatorial Projects and will be on view through December 22. For more information about Phong Bui and “Intimacy in Discourse: Reasonable Sized and Unreasonable Sized Paintings,” click here.
Images from top down: Cordy Ryman, Fondue, 2012. Acrylic, shellac, pencil, spray paint on wood. 25 1/2 by 25 1/2 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Zürcher Gallery, NYC. Ellen Phelan, Audubon (Cactus, Wrends, and Prickly Pear), 2006. Oil on linen. 20 x 30 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Joel Shapiro.