Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wild Beasts

Ryan Schneider - Siren Island
My art review repost of a show in Austin Texas in October 2011

It takes a lot of hubris to name your art exhibition "Wild Beasts." Champion Gallery is challenging art history giants with this title and so, I was expecting an epic tragedy of a show. Turns out the show comes off with some wonderfully untamed color and expressive brushstrokes.

Artists Ryan Schneider, Daniel Heidkamp, Shara Hughes, Joshua Abelow, and Ezra Johnson make a good attempt to measure up to the greats like Henri Matisse or André Derain. 110 years later, I am happy to see artists still channeling the Fauvist art and yet still have something relevant to say to contemporary concerns.

Ryan Schneider paintings bombard you with patterns and shapes that make up the whole of the image. The colors and composition seem more informed by the computer enerated images of a 1991 VGA monitor. Every shape and image feels stylized and the colors are dynamic, while feeling like the 256 color palate of those old monitors. I also see some David Bates style sneaking in to the paintings.

Daniel Heidkamp is more loose and thick with his paintings. Patterns are formed by the thick application of paint and the colors was expressively bright, however, I just keep looking back at those thick swirls of paint that make up so much movement and shape. You can just get lost in this style of painting. Heidkamp focus is on the figure as portrait. He builds up his surface to make cartoon like depiction of people.

Shara Hughes uses an almost informal cubist approach to building a composition. I love the extreme busyness of the highly patterned work. You can find all kinds of hidden treasures in each corner of the works. Hughes shifts the need for a central object as our focus, by using of pure chaos as a guiding rule. These paintings read like a captured moment in the post apocalyptic world.

I can see how in color and spirit the “Wild Beasts,” do seem to return in these
contemporary artists’ work. But the benefit all that history between the Fauvist and this show has had a great impact on all these artists to make their work far more than just artists repeating the past Masters. Check out their show that runs until October 8.

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