apexart :: Raphael Rubinstein :: Colorflex

curated by Raphael Rubinstein

At the height of an art of "identity politics," this show brings together eight abstract painters who, carrying on the precedent of the likes of Beckmann, de Kooning, Bonnard and Joan Mitchell, revel in color and form for its phenomological, emotional and formal reverberations.

May 29 - June 28, 1997

291 Church St. New York, NY 10013

Artists: Norman Bluhm, Richmond Burton, Jan Frank, Shirley Jaffe, Jessica Stockholder, George Sugarman, and Holly Zausner

Rubinstein brochure

download pdf of exhibition brochure

This Show. . .

is for anyone who has ever stood in front of a painting by Bonnard and had to take a deep breath

sticks its head into the chaotic laboratory designated for inventing things the mind doesn’t yet know

is about bending, tensing, moving and choreographed torsion

is about the mutual desires of painting and sculpture

is for celebrating the elasticity of the erotic body

could have been called “On the Passage of a Few People Through the Outer Limits of Henri Matisse”

opened in a season when abstract painting appeared to be giving a lot of people the willies; it was the time of Documenta X and the 1997 Whitney Biennial

is about irregular contour, repeated or reinvented gesture and architectonic complexity

tells a history, if anyone is interested, a history not yet found in the official version

would have liked to include a 14th-century altarpiece by Pietro Lorenzetti and Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film Pierrot le Fou

is for those who believe that art can still profitably concern itself with the pliability of color and form, and also for those who don’t

is for Max Beckmann, who said “Everything intellectual and transcendent is joined together in painting by the uninterrupted labor of the eyes”

is for Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell

is dedicated to the proposition that abstract painting and sculpture can continue to thrive only by achieving new degrees of suppleness

remembers Philip Guston, who said, “Looking at this painting, Clark Coolidge, a poet who lives about 30 miles away, said that it looked as if an invisible presence had been there, but had left these objects and gone somewhere else. I like that kind of reaction, compared with reactions like ‘The green works, the blue doesn't work.’”

owes a debt to Merleau-Ponty, who wrote “To learn to see colors is to acquire a certain style of seeing, a new use of one’s own body; it is to enrich and recast the body image.”

owes Merleau-Ponty a greater debt for writing, “It is by lending his body to the world that the artist changes the world into paintings. To understand these transubstantiations we must go back to the working, actual body -- not the body as a chunk of space or a bundle of functions but that body which is an intertwining of vision and movement.”

is about using knowledge instead of displaying it

is for the artists in this show

is a wager on the outcome of bringing together, for the first time, two generations of artists whose oldest and youngest representatives are separated by almost 50 years

is for philosophers who like to dance

is for the incomparable Malcolm de Chazal, who wrote “Sepa- rated in the world of things, colors have group sex on the retina. Think of it this way: if there were no light, nothing could
exist; hence, everything is ‘sex.’ What painting actually amounts to is the fashioning of the picture surface into a second retina so that the intercourse of the colors might be doubly visible to the eye’s beholding.”

Raphael Rubinstein
© 1997