Monday, March 31, 2014

THEO WUJCIK


“Time Square” 90x78” acrylic on canvas


ModernDallas.net re-post of my article

I have resisted writing about Theo Wujcik work, up at Galleri Urbane, because I had such a visceral rejection of his paintings when I walked in the door. I thought to myself, here is yet another re-fried Pop artist. However, there is nothing re-hashed, but rather Wujcik has rubbed shoulder to shoulder with the best of them for many years. My first reaction, began to crumble under the weight of information I learn about his body of work and my continued observation of his work

I also started to understand his work as satirical in nature. These paintings are not an artist's sad hero worshiping musings. And much like a grenade joke, it took time to detonate his intentions to me. At the time, I wanted to leave immediately, but something compelled me to stick around and figure out what I was missing. I talked to others that instantly liked the works, but I had seen so many artists attempt to just repeat images of big names like Warhol and Rosenquist, that I wanted to be cautious not to fall for an artist saying nothing new. Clearly, Wujcik is breaking down the hero status of these Pop artists by creating portraits of them or just their type of artwork. What is funny is that Wujcik uses all the tricks to pretend to glorify his victims, while still remaining quite respectful of their accomplishments.

The large scale of his canvas mirrors a kind of heroic era style of painting. Altoon and Rosenquist look a bit comical without their shirts. Koon’s face reminds me of Alex Katz’s washed out, dead skin portrait paintings. It would seem, each painting is a kind of over the top play on each artists’ art. Wujcik attempts to return us to the idea that Art is not such a serious matter and the way we value our top tier artists is really somewhat arbitrary. The title of the show “Blue Chip,” is poking fun at an art industry term that distinguishes one group of artists over another.

It is true that Wujcik’s pedigree is impressive. His work is in several important museum collections and he has shown with several historically significant artists, but none of that matters if the work doesn’t accomplish conveying a strong idea, which I think he has done masterfully. Though he applies some subterfuge, deconstructing the power structures is really his game. By picking on individual artists, Wujcik is planting visual bombs to help bring down the entire art value system. With such ambition, I am sure Wujcik realizes the tragic futility of attempting to topple such a massive system as the art world. But gestures like the Wujcik’s show at Galleri Urbane could be the spark that helps shake things up. “Blue Chip,” will be up through April 1st.

ModernDallas.net for more images

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