Primitive Prime Time

Anna Zorina
May 27, 2014 8:44PM

The exhibition Primitive – Prime Time celebrates an exuberantly intuitive artistic vision.  On display is an honest and offbeat perspective into raw creative process.  Although the range of artworks depicts a unique consciousness, this sensibility is shared amongst four artists from four different countries.  The works are subjective yet speak of a universal need for an individual to communicate freely.

Through exploring the use of varied media, each artist creates an inherent flow and rhythm. The vibrating tension that pulses throughout exhibition is a product of the artists’ compulsive mark-making. The relationships between texture and color are achieved through various methods of exerting authentic expressive power. 

The paintings of Russian artist Alexander Kaletski, feature a support comprised of burlap, often woven into a mesh.  The roughness, like an elaborate gesture, interacts with the thin washes, thick glossy swathes or lush drips of the overlying paint. The neutral brown tone of the fabric remains visible and is offset by bright bold hues to create a playful tension.  Kaletski renders a wide range of characters, from the marginalized to the rich and powerful.  The primitive style of expression within each figure allows for a vibrant personality to shine.  Although warped or exaggerated, the figures exude grace, joy and comedy without a sense of ridicule.

The aesthetic of this show, stripped down to essential formal elements, sparks a dynamic of vitality and spontaneity. The characteristics are manifestations of a carefree mindset that portray a childlike quality.  This element is evident in the works of American painter, Jay Stuckey in a way that is reminiscent of class time doodles.  The imagery elaborates on the tumultuous scenarios of the artist’s lucid state of mind and is activated by energetic quick swipes of paint and scribbled lines.  Scraps of paper that include notes or images peek through these marks.  These allusions to the real world are seemingly caught up in the whirlwind of paint.  The worlds that Stuckey creates are chaotic yet remain appealing due to the essence of harmony established between the artist and his media. Stuckey explores and pushes the boundaries of formal dynamics and in doing so, displays an intuitive mastery of the fundamental nature of his craft. 

The distillation of composition within the works throughout the exhibition displays an essence of humanity in such a way that it is universally applicable.  The imagery does not deny social conditions but through abstraction communicates within a universal trans-historical context. Hans Scheib masterfully instills the wood or bronze with strong spirit and dignity. The representations seem to be unaffected by the limits of civilization thus alluding to a lifestyle of innocence and uncorrupted spirit.  Their amoral existence is guided by sensations and instincts, while self-consciousness maintains passivity. This view into the lives of “the other” offers an enthralling perspective into an independent way of life, one of natural honesty and simplicity. Scheib’s sculptures depict figures of genuine power and strange beauty that embody a sense of mystery with which the viewer is compelled to empathize. 

The push away from realism highlights the energy and enthusiasm that ignores the need for conceptualization.  Instead, painter Micha Patiniott creates narratives that remain open ended.  This allows for the viewers to make their own personal connections from the playful and humorously absurd imagery.  The enigmatic mix of contrasting themes, such as intention and passivity, results in unlimited interpretations.  Although distorted or surreal, the paintings maintain a sense of familiarity.

Primitive - Prime Time is an exhibition of timeless art. These works created without the aid of technology and within the primitive realm maintain the full validity today that was established at the time of their creation. All successfully convey the humanistic qualities of imperfection and self-expression. The works also share an artist’s same initial intention to explore the limits of their media while creating something fresh and unique.  Overall, these works are universally relevant due to their force of pure emotion and skill. 

Anna Zorina