Friday, March 30, 2012

modART Show

John Borys - Dancer
My art critic repost of a show in October 2011

modArt Show packs in the abstract art at illume GALLERIE. Take it from me, abstractart is hard, incredibly difficult, if you want to make successful work that is meaningfuland beautiful without treading old ground or being plain decorative. There seems tobe a fine line from what is successful abstract art and art work that falls flat.

The modArt Show has a nice grouping of successful works by artists Marilyn Biles, John Borys,
r mateo diago, Frankie Garcia, John Knott, Bonny Leibowitz, Carmen Menza, Michelle de Metz, Christina Neuser, Gary Perrone, Nan Phillips, Steve Prachyl, Elle Schuster, Jerry Skibell and Ron Radwanski. With such a wide range of abstract work, I guess the best way to understand these artists is to start to make categories for their type of art. I will organize the artists in categories of Object Abstraction, Color Field Abstraction, and Conceptual Abstraction.

Object Abstraction is the type of abstract art that implies a reference to an object or idea of an object. Nan Phillips’ abstract sculptures play with defined lines and geometry. John Borys uses lines to flow through the image. He skillfully leads the viewer around his image while shifting color and design. Borys makes paintings, but the work feels that it could be about drawing and the process of drawing. Frankie Carcia’s work reminds me of the Amon Carter Museum show I saw of Fort Worth modern artists during the late 20th century. He is really taking those ideas and running with them.

Steve Prachyl’s brushed metal looks like futuristic landscapes of line and space. The simulated folds and shapes are memorizing. Jerry Skibell’s art looks like an arrangement of undefined objects with a great deal of individual character or personality. I just find Skibell’s work fun, but complex. Ron Radwanski’s overlapping lines are completely stylin’ with glow and effects that make his work the most object of the Object Abstractionist. Radwanski has a kind of elegance and finesse that is rare for an abstract artist.

Color Field Abstraction is where the paint is the focus of the painting and the colors and textures are often emphasized. Both Michelle de Metz and Carmen Menza exemplify the emphasis on texture like an emotional expression of the post-war abstract artists. Marilyn Biles is the most classical Color Field artists in the show. The paint seems to have flowed on naturally and with great skill of color and composition. Christina Neuser’s cloudy, spiritual paintings are both Object and Color Field. Maybe a little more Color Field, but it seems she has achieved that “in between space” that every artist craves, because the artist has a great many more questions in their work than answers.

Conceptual Abstraction is art that plays out the philosophical questions or ideas of art while remaining ambiguous in meaning or structure. Elle Schuster makes glowing crystal jewelry that feels like a High Modern sculptural piece. R Mateo Diago seems to channel the Conceptual Artists of the 1960’s and 70’s, but he has a Graphic Design clean approach that gives the work a very approachable feel. You want to read his little messages. His roots in Conceptual Art run deep through his past work. You can see his investigation of ideas has been a life-long
pursuit. John Knott also plays in the object realm, but the ideas are completely abstract.
The objects have a sweat taste of shock, in the great tradition of art that challenging everything you know, like the 1914 DADAs.

I would have liked to also review Color Field artist Bonny Leibowitz and Conceptual Abstract artist Gary Perrone here, but since I have already given them glowing reviews for their work in other shows, I will give these other artists a little equal time. Catch the show, which runs through October 28th, with all these wonderful artists at illume GALLERIE and sees what makes a mod.Artist.
For more pictures of the show go to

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