Japan, 19th C.
This piece reminds me of when the Merchandise Mart simultaneously hosted fairs in both antiques and contemporary art. These days, there is no good reason for Art Expo to include a gallery of historic Asian collectables. Apparently, somebody knows somebody.
However.... this piece offers a happy contrast to the bulk of what the other galleries have on display. Contemporary art either offers a puzzle, or it screams " Woo-Hoo !Look at me! Look at me!"
As a traditional expression of a spiritual practice that had been in Japan for a thousand yeas, there is nothing puzzling about this image, nor anything innovative in its forms or materials.
Something much more important is at stake.
Better examples of Buddhist sculpture can quickly be found -- but maybe not from the 19th C.
Another anomaly in this show is Nicholas Africano whose work has been shown by at least two different galleries every year for at least a decade.
Apparently, there remains a good market for his peaceful, moody, decorative kind of classical sculpture cast in glass.
Alfred Leslie, 1960
Art Expo always offers many examples of mid-20th C. ABX painting.
Many of them seem to record the dynamics of a struggling human life - as well as dynamic designs and beautiful areas of color.
Last year, the art fair had examples of Leslie's later figurative work - which I also liked.
I'm guessing that he left abstraction when it stopped being essential to him. Good for him!
There's never much contemporary figurative work at these art fairs - but here's a nice one from a young British painter who paints the human figure as if it were an apple in a still life.
Here's a fragment of a wall size piece done by a young Columbian painter just out of art school.
It offers endless visual variety -- and occasional fragments of text that advocate the legalization of drugs.
Jim Dine, 2015
I'm not a fan of Pop Art.
But Jim Dine is one helluva ABX painter as he turns 80.
BTW - it turns out that he's from Cincinnati -- and we both went to the same high school.
Hah! Here's a life-size depiction of people at an art fair
Here's my own version -- with yet one more fair-goer in the foreground to the left.
I feel her sculpture was joke-art, but this earlier painting by Eva Hesse is quite expressive.
Gertrude Abercrombie, 1946
This is an early work by a painter who has never disappointed me. The gallerista told me that the young Edward Gorey met and greatly admired her. That's not surprising, is it ?
Here's a young painter from small-town Minnesota who consistently blows me away. He just got an MFA last year
I wonder how far his human figures will ever emerge from his bodacious designs. On the internet, you can find examples of his figurative illustrations for children's books.
If he could draw a more naturalistic figure, he could compete with the great Italian Mannerists like Pontormo.
John Little, 1960
Here's another great ABX painter that Thomas McCormick has brought back for an encore
This wall sized piece feels like an epic.
Franz Kline, Study for 9th Street, 1951
Franz Kline insisted that he was not influenced by the tradition of Asian calligraphy, even though he's doing much the same thing as he designs a balanced component that will then be expressed as gesture.
The tragedy of the contemporary artworld is that it will not allow this practice to be developed as a tradition.
Kurt Lewy, 1959
Here's a Belgian abstract painter that McCormick has brought in.
It looks like the floor plan for an inescapable maze.
Like the stone Buddha at the top of this post, here's a painting that's less concerned with attracting attention than in holding it.
This sculptor does not specialize in animals -- but he's very good with reptiles.
This piece reminds me of Albert Laessle's turtle
that I saw at the Met last year.
This young Canadian painter makes me feel the heat and smell the smoke in this remote, backwoods location. This painting is not about scenery - it's about experience.
Here's another painting about experiencing a place - -- though, in this case it's at the center rather than the periphery of our civilization.
This is Fifth Avenue, New York -- right outside the Met on a rainy day.
I don't really like belly aches -- but looking at one is not so painful.
Not many paintings take nausea as their subject matter.
Sam Francis, 1965
As I've read, there was a period in this artist's career when he left large unpainted areas of white in the center of his canvas. As if he were drawing aside the colorful curtains on a stage for which there was no performance.
I've always liked his paintings, which are as much about landscape as they are about paint.
He's another artist who was shown by two different galleries at the show.
Tam Van Tran
The viewer seems to be looking up from the basement of a building that's just been blown up.
I've craved more pool scenes like this ever since I saw one by David Hockney
Werner Drewes, 1939
This painting, by a renowned teacher of abstract painting, has a rather dry, academic feeling to it.
But that, too, is part of life -- and I tend to feel good whenever an attractive young woman is not fully clothed.
David Park, 1957
Here are some naked young dudes who also appear to be doing nothing more than posing in the studio - and I like that too.
Tragically, this was done near the end of the artist's brief life.
This is the sort of thing that I expect to see at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art here in Chicago.
The artist was Latvian via Southern California.
This Chinese painter has regretfully taken her colorful, stringy shapes off the canvas and begun installing them around the gallery.
Judith Goodwin, 1960
Here's another survivor from that second wave of abstract expressionists.
If you want to feel struggle and antgst -- she's got it.
Judith Goodwin, 1982
Her life feels more comfortable now -- but I still feel the edges of anxiety.
Emelio Vedova, 1962
This is the European version of ABX
This looks like the map of a large, posh resort.
The artist must have moved into a happier place