John Yau

Post image for Greg Smith’s Amazing Eleven-Minute Road Trip

From Ulysses and Arjuna to Sir Galahad, Fletcher Christian and his fellow mutineers, Jack Kerouac and, more recently, Greg Smith, the quest (or road trip) for redemption, transformation, utopia, or just some very good peach-and-banana ice cream is a theme that spans world culture, from great literature to bad movies, with lots of stops in-between.

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Post image for The Beauty of Howardena Pindell’s Rage

As much as Howardena Pindell’s unstretched paintings and drawings share something with the Pattern and Decoration movement, or with monochromatic abstraction, color field painting, all-over painting, fiber art, the counting work of Roman Opalka, and the spot paintings of Larry Poons, what elevates them above all of these aesthetic and stylistic connections is her subtle infusion of a deep and palpable rage.

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Post image for Julian Schnabel’s Formula for Greatness

Since Julian Schnabel first gained attention with his broken plate paintings in the 1980s, he has been predisposed to working on found surfaces – animal skins, velvet, corduroy, sail cloth, tarpaulins, canvas flooring from boxing rings, wallpaper, navigation maps, flags, Kabuki theater backdrops, and photosensitive canvases – which help disguise the fact that he can’t draw in paint and doesn’t really have much feel for paint’s potentiality.

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Post image for For Peter Dreher, Every Day Is a Good Day

Peter Dreher was born in Mannheim, Germany, in 1932, the same year as his fellow countryman, Gerhard Richter. Like Richter, Dreher was an adolescent by the war’s end, an inheritor of an unwanted legacy, which haunts his work to this day. At the same time, Dreher might be seen as the antithesis of Richter, who began his career painting in a photorealist style, though this doesn’t tell the whole story.

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Post image for Weekend Studio Visit: Leslie Baum in Logan Square, Chicago

CHICAGO –– I first saw Leslie Baum’s work in a sprawling group show, My Crippled Friend, at the Canzani Center Gallery (October 11, 2013–January 10, 2014), the main exhibition space of Columbus College of Art and Design (Columbus, Ohio).

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Post image for Late Bloomer: Philip Hanson’s Recent Paintings

Initially I was skeptical, but Philip Hanson’s three paintings on the fourth floor of the Whitney Biennial got me to look and think again. The twelve paintings in his exhibition, I am a child of the Light, student of the Dark, at Corbett vs. Dempsey (March 21–April 19, 2014) convinced me.

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Post image for Joanne Greenbaum’s Beautiful Monsters

Joanne Greenbaum is hellbent on making each painting different from the ones preceding it. This was immediately evident when I walked into her first exhibition with Rachel Uffner Gallery, where she is inaugurating the gallery’s new large space with eight large paintings, all 90 x 80 inches.

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Post image for Gary Stephan Talks to Rene Magritte and Kazimir Malevich

On the face of it, Gary Stephan’s paintings seem straightforward and austere. Done in acrylic, their viscosities of paint, range from striated, semi-transparent brushstrokes laid down with the same consistency as they span the canvas, to watery, semi-transparent irregular shapes, to solid geometric planes of color – virtuosity in plain sight.

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Post image for Andreas Slominski’s Wonderfully Ugly Handbags

Andreas Slominski’s exhibition at Metro Pictures, which closes today, is the perfect riposte to those enthralled with the expensive baubles of Jeff Koons, or with designer fashions, reality TV, and the gaseous personalities populating these self-inflated, narcissistic times.

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Post image for Jasper Johns’s Reinvention of an Old and Familiar Subject

Regrets — the collective title of Jasper Johns’s most recent series of paintings, drawings, and prints — is currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (March 15–September 1, 2014). The inspiration for the series was a ripped, crumpled and stained photograph of Lucian Freud perched on the edge of an iron bed, one leg tucked under the other, with his hand clutching his hair as he looks down and away.

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