Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Empire of Dirt.


After seeing Nicole Eisenman's swath of a show on Saturday night, a breather was in order. Sunday afternoon, Nacho Labás' paintings at Outrageous Look in Williamsburg were just the palette cleansers I needed. While Eisenman's rumble celebrates paint, Labás ignores it. Both approaches make me happy, but Labás' work feels more like home.


Maybe it's the Pittsburgh in me, but I yearn for the rust. I can't help myself, and Labás delivers the decay and the beauty therein. The artist uses mixed media to create portraits of things falling apart. I have to say that the more abstract works are my favorite. The exhibition brings to mind the deserted and bleeding walls of industry in Pittsburgh or North Philly, while often referencing the oxidation paintings of Andy Warhol and William Anastasi.


I could stare at these controlled accidents for hours. While they accept the beauty of the present there's a sadness around what they've left behind, what they once were. That gives them a feeling of slow but palpable movement, like visual drones. Corrosion is both subtraction and addition. So, while there's a tension in these paintings that simulates dying buildings, in the end they mirror our own disappearing bodies. Hurt.

6 comments:

Joe said...

I have to second your comment about how you could stare at these for hours...I love these paintings! They're soul-cleansing...

Outrageous Look said...

Brent! What a beautiful piece on Nacho -- I am sure his heart is warmed so far from home -- and to be mentioned right after Nicole, who is one of the Gallery's all time favortie artists and an all around super person -- it's really made my day.

I'm so glad that you're as inspired by this work as I was one year ago when Nacho and I began planning to ship this whole crazy enterprise over here from Barcelona -- he made the paintings in his studio for the show in ten months working like 14 hours a day -- it's been a long road.

All the Best!
Brook Bartlett
Outrageous Look

Anonymous said...

why is Nicole Eisenman even in this blog entry? and why need a cleansing after her show? what's your point?

Heart As Arena said...
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Heart As Arena said...
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Heart As Arena said...

anon,

Nicole Eisenman is in this entry because I saw her show the night before and it was in my head. The juxtaposition of shows in said head was interesting to me (Lotsa paint/No paint), and that's why it appeared here.

And to be clear, I said that Labas' paintings were "just the palette cleansers I needed" Before that I referred to Eisenman's "swath of a show", implying that it cut a relatively wide path. Palate cleansers aren't for getting rid of something distasteful that might be lingering. They're a culinary breather of sorts.

After the massive massiveness of the night before I was ready for a breather. That is very much NOT a complaint about Eisenman's show. If anything, it's a compliment.