George rush march 2 - march 27, 2011
george rush march 2 - march 27, 2011
GalleRy DirectoRs David Eichholtz & Richard Barger
130 Lincoln Avenue, Suite D, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | p (505) 983-9555 | f (505) 983-1284 www.DavidRichardContemporary.com | info@DavidRichardContemporary.com
Front Cover: 505pm 2011, 30" x 24" Oil on canvass 2
PREVIOUS PAGE: 5pm 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
right DETAIL: 5Pm 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
BACK COVER: 630pm 2011, 36" x 33" Oil on canvas
Published on the occasion of the exhibition, “George Rush”, March 2 - 27, 2011.
© 2011 David Richard Contemporary, LLC
time, Narrative, Style, and Time by Roger White
For his untitled show at David Richard Contemporary, George Rush presents a cycle of large paintings showing the same view: a room, two chairs, a table with various objects placed on it, and a view of tree branches outside a wall of windows. In addition, a group of smaller paintings reproduce details of the larger, creating a set of variation on the same image with a consistent internal scale (e.g., a carton of milk is the same size in both a smaller and a larger canvas). The first thing that strikes us is time. The large paintings are titled in 3-hour increments, describing a 12-hour span between 5 am and 5 pm, and are arranged in the gallery according to this chronology. So, we’re given the choice to experience the show clockwise, as it were, or to wander through the installation on our own route, experiencing the works’ timeline out of order. The passage of time is represented in two ways within the paintings. First, they depict changing light conditions during the day, through a shift in palette from one painting to the next. We notice this most readily in the scene through the window. At 5 A.M., branches and sky are given in shades of the same murky blue-gray; by 8, the sky is lightening considerably from below the window and a rosy pink delineates one set of branches. 11 brings us
closest to naturalism, with the typical bright blues, dark browns, and lemon yellows of traditional American landscape painting; by 5 P.M., both trees and sky have bled into ominous orang-
es and saturated reds. This chromatic shift is picked up in the duller, darker colors making up the backlit interior of the painted room, though it takes the eye a while longer to notice these smaller adjustments. If the paintings presented only this view out the window, we might take them for an example of stylized observational painting, like Monet’s serial images of the façade of Rouen cathedral. But as the daily drama of the changing heavens occurs in the background, smaller indications of time’s march take place indoors. In addition to the atmospheric changes, the paintings also show discrepancies in
Detail: 11am 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
the position of objects within the static scene: a chair is turned away from its partner at 11 A.M. and righted by 2 P.M.; a candlestick migrates around the center of the table; three cans of beer have been spread out at 5 A.M., collected into a group at 8, and replaced by a carton of milk at 11.
that we’re seeing the painter’s house, his desk, his table, lamp, glass of water, and so on. This is not only because we often also see Porter himself, and his family, show up in his paintings—a possibility that Rush has so far avoided. A certain quality of the lived-in is present in Porter’s pictures and absent from these, which seem constructed rather This movement of objects implies a than observed. mover: who is rearranging the furniture? What is being spoken into the This naturally leads us to the idea of microcassette recorder we see on the narrative, and more specifically to its table during the working hours of 11 – subset, fiction. The paintings don’t ap5? Did a second person join the first pear autobiographical (chairs and a tabetween 8 and 11, moving the second ble belonging to George Rush) nor do chair out of position for a better view they seem to refer to any specific realof the morning sky? Who’s been drink- world referent (chairs and a table being all the beer? longing to John Updike, for example) or even to an identifiable category of dwelling (a typical upper-class home in Connecticut in the 1980s, for another example). Elements in the paintings exist, qua signs, between the generic and the particular, offering us plenty of opportunities for speculation (as to the who, what, when, where, and why of the pictures), but not lending themselves to any conclusions. We could say here that George Rush is like the author of the scene, but its narrator and characters are undetermined.
We notice that the answer to the last question isn’t—as it would be in most realistic depictions of domestic rooms without figures in them—“the painter.” When we look at Fairfield Porter’s paintings of interiors (which similarly present the world in a simplified, almost abstracting manner), we’re aware
For a literary parallel, Alain RobbeGrillet comes to mind. In his spare, clinical fictions of the 1950s and his later theoretical writings on the topic of the “New Novel,” the French author proposed a literature of discrete objects and formal experimentation. In it, traditional components of the novel (plot, character, psychology) would
DETAIL: 8Am 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
be articulated through the methodical description of places and things. In La Jealousie, the story of an extramarital affair on a colonial estate is related almost exclusively through a fragmentary phenomenology of the house and its environs: shadows of trees and beams move across a veranda, indicating time; the number of place settings at a table tell us which characters have been present in a scene. Rush’s reduction of the world into objects is less ruthless than this—though no less self-conscious—and the mood of these paintings is less coldly alienating than Robbe-Grillet’s expert dissections of everyday life. Nevertheless, the suspiciously tidy representation of domestic sprawl begins to seem like a set of clues, hinting at identity, action, and emotion, but never quite spelling any of it out. We’re left to meditate on the things in the paintings and the way they’re painted—on their style, in other words. Take the table and chairs: they look modern, mid-century, like the grid of windows behind them. Research reveals that they’re Jean Prouvé’s Gueridon table and Standard chairs, designed in 1930s and ‘40s by the French architect as inexpensive, prefabricated furniture for public housing and universities. Both have acquired a devoted collector base among design connoisseurs, and have been remade in less expensive form for a contemporary market. A candlestick (the only object always present on the table) is similarly ambiguous between a Chippendale
original and any number of reproductions. (With the design objects in these paintings, it’s difficult to tell if we’re looking at originals, expensive copies, or inexpensive copies; this stymies one attempt to think about who exactly lives in this house.) The milk seems straightforward enough—except that the iconic, quart-sized paper carton has all but disappeared from production, replaced by TetraPaks and plastics. The microcassette recorder, too, is recognizable only because it is slightly outdated: at odds with the sense of presentness evoked by the paintings’ titles.
These objects—along with the floors, windowpanes, and trees—are painted in the same simplified manner, which gives the viewer enough details for the purpose of recognition, but not enough for us to fixate on. As with their sense of time, the view out the window is most revelatory of these paintings’ particular system of style. Two or three layers of branches (which could correspond to trees silhouetted
against the sky, shadows cast onto the window itself, or even reflections of another scene through a window behind the viewer) seem to overlap—an effect of transparency created through carefully mixed, opaque oil paint. Though the shifts in color, alignment, and scale of the branches signals the movement of the sun throughout the day, on renewed inspection these changes correspond more closely to the color adjustment, layering, magnification, and cropping possibilities of Photoshop: the shifting view through the window can be seen as much as a set of formal variations as a representation of time. The paintings therefore have a collagelike structure, in two senses. The arrangement of objects within them can be read (in the semi-fictional world the paintings create) as a collection of disparate things from different places and times. And at the level of the artist’s process, the paintings seem to be made by combining elements with different sources—photographic, manipulated, observed, imagined—into single pictures. Against this collagist tendency, we could pit the artist’s attempt to present an internally consistent world, one that respects the tenets of empirical painting and delivers the convincing, mimetic effect of realism: to place the viewer in the here and now of the painting. The act of painting folds these differences into a unified representation of a time and place, which nevertheless preserves the traces of its construction.
Here, we would seem to encounter a contradiction—a naturalistic picture that reveals its own artificiality—which has been central to the discourse of the visual arts since René Magritte, and politicized since the birth of postmodernism. But I would argue that Rush’s paintings have little to do with the critique of representation. Rather, the artist seems to propose that the ambiguities created by the paintings (their parafictionality, interpretive openness, stylistic surfeit, and unstable sense of time and place) constitute something like the human condition, in the painter’s own corner of the world: being here, now, means never quite being sure where or when you are, or if you’re there at all. High on the list of feelings that the artist is exploring, in the most traditional way, is this slight feeling of unreality.
458am 2011, 22" x 20" Oil on canvas
5am 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
656am 2011, 22" x 20" Oil on canvas
8am 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
917am 2011, 34" x 30" Oil on canvas
11am 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
1243pm 2011, 30" x 28" Oil on canvas
105pm 2011, 22" x 20" Oil on canvas
2pm 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
327pm 2011, 22" x 20" Oil on canvas
5pm 2011, 54" x 50" Oil on canvas
505pm 2011, 30" x 24" Oil on canvas
GEORGE RUSH Born 1970, Syracuse NY Lives and works in Columbus, Ohio Education 1998 Master of Fine Arts, Columbia University, School of the Arts, New York, NY 1992 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD (cum laude) 1991 AICA New York Studio Program, New York, NY One Person Exhibitions 2011 David Richard Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM 2007 Recent Work, Lemberg Gallery, Ferndale MI 2004 I Huset I Skoven Ved Soen, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, Denmark The Black Glass and Other Paintings, Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami, FL 2003 These Days, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, NY 2002 New Works, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, Denmark 2001 New Paintings, Galeria Javier Lopez, Madrid, Spain Three Paintings, Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami, FL Selected Group Exhibitions 2011 Concrete Island, Kate Werble Gallery, NY Through the Looking Glass, Hopkins Gallery, Ohio Sate University, Columbus, OH 2010 Framework, David Richard Contemporary, Santa Fe, NM Exquisite Corpse Project, Gasser Grunert Gallery, New York 2009 The Audio Show, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York 2008 Blue Smoke, Brittle Leaves: Alex Kwartler, George Rush, Kate Shepherd, Center Gallery at Fordham University, New York George Rush, Greg Kwaitek, Janet Sawyer, Washington Art Association, Washington Depot, CT 2007 Counterparts: Contemporary Painters and Their Influences, Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, Virginia Beach, VA (catalog) Neo-Noir, Howard House, Seattle, WA (curated by Cameron Martin) The Price of Nothing: Luxury After the Real Estate Show (curated by Jason Murison), Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Gallery, New York 2006 Artist-in-Residence Biannual, Ewing Gallery, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (catalog) 2005 Breaking Ground, Horticultural Society of New York, New York, NY 2004 Emoticons, Guild and Greyshkul, New York, NY (curated by Kevin Zucker) Stay Inside, Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (curated by Jay Davis) COLOR, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, Denmark 2003 Escape From New York, New Jersey Center for the Arts, Summit, NJ (curated by Jason Murison; catalog) Vassar Art Faculty Exhibition, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY Nature Boy, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York, NY (organized by Doug Wada) The Burnt Orange Heresy, Space 101, Brooklyn, NY 2002 Artforum Berlin, Galerie Mikael Andersen Artbasel, Miami, Galeria Javier Lopez Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami, FL 2001 Shadow Play, The Microsoft Art Collection, Redmond, WA Faculty Exhibition I, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York, NY 2000 Luggage, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Germany (curated by Matthew Brannon) Viewing @, PPOW, New York, NY (curated by Jason Murison) Hex Enduction Hour by The Fall, Team Gallery, New York, NY (curated by Bob Nickas)
Awards 2010 2006 2004
Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant Artist-Residence, University of Tennessee, Knoxville New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Painting
Bibliography Holland Cotter, The Price of Nothing: Luxury After the Real Estate Show, New York Times, October 19, 2007 Regina Hackett, Look what we've done to this planet: 'NeoNoir' Explores Our Impact, Seattle Post- Intelligencer August 23, 2007 Thomas Lawson, Some Thoughts on the Practice of Painting, Counterparts, catalog essay, 2007 Joe Fyfe, Artist-in-Residence Biannual, catalog essay, 2005 Antonio Nieto and Jean-Francois Jaussaud, Artistâ€™s Retreat, Elle Decoration, (UK edition), April, 2005 Cameron Martin, Interior, Exterior, Portrait, Still-Life, Landscape, Open City #19, 2004 Christopher Knight, Around the Galleries, The Los Angeles Times, July 9, 2004 Dan Bischoff, From the Boroughs to the â€˜burbs, The Star Ledger, September 5, 2003 Jason Murison, Escape From New York, catalog essay, 2003 Ol Norlyng, USA Refinement, Berligske Tidende, Friday, May 31, 2002, Bettina Funcke, Charley Magazine 01, 2002 Mariano Navarro, George Rush at Galeria Javier Lopez, El Mundo, 17-23 October 2001 Oscar Alonso Molina, George Rush at Galeria Javier Lopez, Arte y Parte No. 35, 2001 Celia Sredni de Birbragher, Microsoft Art Collection, ArtNexus, No. 41, Volume 3, 2001 Alfredo Triff, Miami New Times, April 26- May 2, 2001 Teaching 2010-present Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, Assistant Professor 2004-2010 Yale University School of Art, Lecturer Painting/Printmaking, Fall 2006-spring 2009, Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies 2009-2010 Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI, Instructor in Drawing 2005 University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, Artist in Residence, 2002-2005 Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, Instructor of Drawing and Painting, 2001-2002 Columbia University School of the Arts, NY, Adjunct Assistant Professor Conferences/Curatorial Projects 2009 32 Edgewood Gallery, Yale School of Art; Exhibition Curator, Panel organizer: Infinitesimal Eternity; Images Made in the Face of Spectacle (catalog) 2007 College Art Association Conference, New York; Paper: The Multi-Faceted Life and Art of Fairfield Porter Yale School of Art, New Haven; Panel organizer: Unrealism: Anna Conway, Miranda Lichtenstein, Tony Matelli, Alexi Worth Visiting Artist Lectures 2009 Massachusetts College of Art, Visiting Artist, MFA Program Rhode island School of Design, Foundations Department Guest Critic 2007 Rhode island School of Design, Foundations Department Guest Critic 2006 Cranbrook Academy of Art, Department of Painting 2005 Cranbrook Academy of Art, Department of Painting 2003 University of New Orleans, MFA Program 2002 University of Madison, Wisconsin, MFA Program 2001 Maryland Institute, College of Art, Senior Project Guest Critic
ISBN 978-0-9827872-8-1 Price $15.00
130 Lincoln Avenue, Suite D, Santa Fe, NM 87501 | p (505) 983-9555 | f (505) 983-1284 www.DavidRichardContemporary.com | info@DavidRichardContemporary.com
George Rush stages for the viewer a twelve-hour period from 5 am to 5 pm in a cycle of paintings showing the same view of a room with two ch...