Bill Jensen’s Latest “Transgressions” at Cheim & Read
THE ARMITAGE GONE DANCE EXQUISITE CORPSE PROJECT
More than 180 internationally recognized visual artists, architects, designers and photographers participated in the Armitage Gone! Dance Exquisite Corpse Project, beginning in 2011. The artists created one hundred and thirty nine artworks to benefit Armitage Gone! Dance, an internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company under the direction of renowned choreographer Karole Armitage. Using the 1920's surrealist parlor game "cadavre exquise," a drawing that combines words and/or images by multiple artists on one sheet of paper, the project celebrates the theme of chance encounters, surprise and radical juxtaposition. Each artist adds to the composition, in sequence, without seeing the contribution of the previous person. The chance juxtaposition of images and styles results in a work that is both unexpected and amusing. Each drawing is a combination of the work of three or four artists.
The Exquisite Corpse project is a way for a wide range of artists to express their support for Armitage’s work and also a way for her to acknowledge artists who have played such a large role in her career. The project also highlights the “performative” aspect of art-making by demonstrating that drawing, performance art, and dance all have in common spontaneity and an unpredictable nature. The evanescent quality of dance is mirrored in the surprising juxtapositions of the Exquisite Corpse.
Considered a third generation Abstract Expressionist painter, Bill Jensen made canvasses, often inspired by Chinese poetry and Buddhism, that sought to ignite areas of psyche and memory and create powerful emotional connections. Albert Pinkham Ryder, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and Clyfford Still are all touchstones for Jensen’s vigorous, landscape-like abstractions, where shape, line, and intense color follow unpredictable yet harmonious paths. Unlike many of the painters of his generation, Jensen has not developed and maintained a signature style, but prefers to let the process of making each piece determine the direction of the image. 'Change is good for art but hard on the artist," he says. "I feel that serious artists go into the studio day after day and let the art slowly take them, sometimes kicking and screaming, into new territories."
American, b. 1945, Minneapolis, Minnesota, based in New York, New York
In masterfully executing her narrative scenes in a realist style, Delia Brown places content over formal considerations. In the tradition of 19th-century genre paintings, Brown raises class issues and related concerns that dominate the political discourse in difficult economic times. Yet, a soft beauty characterizes her depictions of the upper class carrying out their privileged lives—cruising on yachts, drinking champagne in pools overlooking the ocean, posing in their luxurious homes beside recognizable works of art—rendering them more a documentation of the way certain people live rather than judgments on their character. "My paintings are so much about living a fantasy life—not necessarily one you actually aspire to because it's out of line with your ethics—but one that's alluring on other levels," she explains.
American, b. 1969, Berkeley, California, based in Los Angeles, California
Using his subconscious as material, Matt Mullican often creates his artworks before an audience while under hypnosis, resulting in a unique hybrid of performance art and drawing. Part schematic, part cosmological chart, Mullican’s ordered, symmetrical works belie an enormously ambitious artistic aim, to contain and make sense of the universe. Characterized by rough geometric patterns and the artist’s elongated, looping script, Mullican’s spontaneous diagrams and writings on walls and canvas offer free access to the artist’s psyche.
American, b. 1951, Santa Monica, California, based in New York, NY; Berlin, Germany