Page 1

Ronnie Wood

Spend or Expend


Rolling Stones, 2009, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 inches, Courtesy of the artist

On the Cover: Ronnie Wood at work in his studio.


Ronnie Wood Spend or Expend

The Butler Institute of American Art Youngstown, Ohio

September 21 through November 21, 2010 Director’s Introduction by Louis A. Zona Catalogue Essay by David L. Shirey 1


2


Director’s Introduction

louis a. zona

T

alent is a most mysterious gift. It is distributed unequally, for sure. And rarely do we find artists whose talents are multi-tiered. Ronnie Wood has been so blessed. His musical accomplishments have been more than celebrated; his talents as a visual artist deserve an equally distinguished level of recognition. What strikes one immediately in examining his artistic output is the remarkable range of his abilities. He seems to move effortlessly between media and genres and is as much at home in executing large canvases as in creating pen and ink illustrations or etchings. Great artists through time have had the ability to move in many directions; Picasso and Matisse certainly come to mind. In America, Drawing Study for Commission for Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2003-4 Jasper Johns’s mastery of encaustic and traditional Sir Pencil on paper, 15.75 x 11.5 inches painting media is rivaled only by his excellence as a Courtesy of the artist graphic artist. Comparatively speaking, one cannot help but be impressed by Ronnie Wood’s competency in diverse and technically complex visual arts disciplines. His eagerness to tackle a multitude of media and approaches in order to satisfy the requirements of his vision speaks to the seriousness of his purpose and to the height of his achievement. Great artists from Rembrandt to Matisse have emphasized the importance of drawing. Drawing places emphasis upon the most elemental of the visual elements, the line. Drawing exposes talent. We see in the drawings of Ronnie Wood a remarkable strength of observation and the discipline and skills necessary to capture the essence of his subject in line. Included in the exhibition is a pencil drawing of Kate Moss, which truly defines the artist’s ability as a draughtsman. This is an

3


amazingly simple pencil study, but one that shows off his understanding of line’s ability to tell a complete story despite the absence of color and scale. But drawing is also the very foundation of painting and the heart and soul of printmaking. Excellence in drawing rewards the painter and is revealed strongly in all of the graphic arts. Wood understands this, and thus can be seen his emphasis upon linear qualities in virtually all that he does. One of the artist’s most distinguished works is a 2001 oil on canvas of a seated Mohammed Ali. Titled Ali with Stick, the work is a virtual clinic on the implementation of line as a key component of painting. In this work, line not only defines the form of the boxer’s body but also serves to embellish the work. In examining the dark form of Ali’s suit, we see how Wood has filled the darkened areas with a myriad of lines which both animate the painting and give life to the subject. This is an artist who knows what he is doing. Few artists in history have been able to move from the canvas to pen and ink illustration. Certainly Daumier comes to mind. Ronnie Wood’s pen and ink cartoons and illustrations are brilliant on many levels. They clearly demonstrate the sophistication and versatility of his drawing talent while revealing a richly inventive mind. These extraordinarily accomplished pen and inks are every bit as engaging and imaginative as anything produced in this genre. The series which he calls A Variety of Annoyances are both intelligently conceived and skillfully executed. They offer a broad and revealing look into Wood’s creative reservoir. Beggars Banquet is an oil on canvas which speaks not only of Ronnie Wood’s gifts as a painter as revealed in the handling of the medium, but also of his ability to organize space, or what has come to be known as “form”. The work with its numerous figures, animals, furnishings and objects is brought to life through the artist’s use of a baroque-like light, varied textures which play off of one another, and a thoughtful and clever placement of elements. The table provides a strong horizontal presence balanced brilliantly by a slightly off-center fireplace with a large obscured painting atop of it. Despite the activity contained in the painting with figures and animals apparently in motion, the painting is nonetheless well ordered and resolved. A strength in all his work appears to be in the resolution of the visual elements of line, shape, color and texture. Everything relates and is ordered.

4


Beggars Banquet, 1989, Oil on canvas, 72 x 96 inches, Private collection

5


8

One of the artist’s most distinguished works is a 2001 oil on canvas of a seated Mohammed Ali. Titled Ali with Stick, the work is a virtual clinic on the implementation of line as a key component of painting. In this work, line not only defines the form of the boxer’s body but also serves to embellish the work. In examining the dark form of Ali’s suit, we see how Wood has filled the darkened areas with a myriad of lines which both animate the painting and give life to the subject. This is an artist who knows what he is doing. — L.A.Z.

8 6


Ali with Stick, 2001, Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches, Private collection

7


A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974, Pen and ink on paper, 13.5 x 9.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist

8


Even in the portraiture, as in the marvelously painted canvas of Charlie Watts, we see that understanding of what to emphasize and what not. The positioning of hands, the placement of folds in the clothing, the tight and thoughtful color range and the painterly nature of his application of the medium all work toward his obvious accomplishment as a portrait painter. He is a most versatile talent who deserves to be recognized among the elite. The Butler Institute of American Art is indeed honored to host this very special exhibtion of the work of this most extraordinary artist. We are especially grateful to Ronnie Wood, not only for his wonderful and brilliant talents, but also for his willingness to share them with us.

Charlie Watts II, 1989, Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches, Private collection

Louis A. Zona is Executive Director of The Butler Institute of American Art, and is a professor of art history at Youngstown State University (Ohio). He is the author of numerous articles on 20th century art, and a major contributor to Masterworks from The Butler Institute of American Art (2010).

9


10


Catalogue Essay

David L. Shirey

I

t would require some cosmopoietic creator to upstage the Rolling Stones. For decades they have occupied the musical empyrean, shaking the world with their sonorous supremacy and their refulgent theatrical spectacularity. Essaying to best them at what they do best would be a fatuous exercise in toplofty otherworldliness. And yet in his own idiosyncratic way, one of their own, a Rolling Stone, has done just that. The guitarist Ron Wood has managed to upstage Mick, Keith, Charlie and even himself without intentionally setting out to accomplish such a Sisyphean aim. Yet what could he do to relegate to downstage a group that has endowed with another dimension and meaning a proverbial expression we employ to describe those who lead unsettled, vagabond lives? He has painted and penned, chronicled and configured his fellow musicians and demonstrated with the unassailable authority of his art that his pictorial vision triumphs over the incandescent celebrity and the venerable fame of the group. No one can deny that the rocker-adulators, the gawkers of glamorati and the other diverse votaries of this Parnassian musical group will experience a frisson of recognition in the pigmental presence of their idols. Yet, if these same people possess an appreciation for the pulse and passion of art, its nonpareil magic and mystery, and its ability to thrust us into another sphere of experience, they will find themselves more transported by the ascendancy of the work than by the identity of those the art represents. From this restricted point of view, one could say that Mr. Wood is a visual artist who plays a brilliant guitar rather than a guitarist who makes remarkable art. Known to himself and only to

11


a few others, he was a visual artist in his earliest years and, subsequently, in later years, became known to the rest of the world as an iconic musician. There are lessons to be learned here. They are, among others, that those gifted with an irrepressible urgency to seek expression may do so in multifarious modes and that the rest of us should recoil from pigeonholing, stereotyping, and delimiting those modes of expression. In point of fact, Wood articulates a prolificity of modes of expression in his images. They emblematize a virtuosic persuasion and versatility of temperaments, stylistic preferences and narrative interpretations. He is deft at a diversity of media, proves an adroitness at a panoply of subject matter and as well as with chromatic schemes. He can adapt his sight to the grander issues as well as the more intimate ones with the same sensitive dexterity. In some examples Wood achieves a maximum of expression with a minimum of means through a legerdemain. They are quicksilver lines that subliminally suggest rather than blatantly declare. They give vivid life to a fugitive gesture, an impromptu movement or an ephemeral occurrence. With a filigree swiftness and an acrobatic legerity, his lines are the vectors that propel our eyes through the unanticipated spaces and improvised events of the pictures. More like jazz than rock, these dynamic endeavors smack of riffing spontaneity, of unrehearsed immediacy. In others, a profusion of linear maneuvers, scumblings, stipplings and crosshatchings and color strategies engender a panorama of experiences and expressions. They can be capriciously caricatural in some instances and in other instances more spiritually, more soulfully charged. There are startling images that can uncannily lead us to believe that we are unsuspecting accomplices in their creation. Ambiguously defined, seeming to emerge from an undifferentiated matrix, they appear to be in a formative state. They entreat us to help them realize their full carnal embodiment. It is almost as if there is an invocation to assist them in a transfiguration from a dematerialized state to a materialized one.

12


Wood is a magisterial master at manipulating our mindset. In the crafty collusion between artist and observer, the artist, with the wizardry of an alchemist, can here make us giggle or guffaw through the grotesqueries of facial distortions. And there can make us relive through a saturnine darkness more somber moments. The images of his fellow musicians and himself elicit the direct strength of live performances. One could say that both the musicians and their instruments appear to be animated as if they were performing for us as we are looking at them and that they are producing for us personally phantom sounds enveloped in the paint itself. And the same could be said for his representations of dancers who enlist us in the immediate buoyancy of the ballet as well as in its elegance, grace and athleticism.

Keith and Mick on Stage, 1989, Oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches, Private collection

Wood’s vigorous elaboration of his pictorial surfaces transmutes those surfaces into compelling spatial environments. It also suggests that other emotional, psychological and mystical environments exist within and beyond them. Enhancing them is an inflected light used to incisive dramatic effect and highlighted against a tapestry of shadows. Suggested superimpositions of images summon thoughts of figural displacement. The artist also manifests an esteem for the collateral components of the picture – for example, the background, the lateral areas and details. This esteem invests these areas with as much visual significance as it invests foreground and the central figures. It might be said that his is a democratic esthetic in which all parts play egalitarian and equitable roles. 13


8

Even if we were not aware of the artist’s musicianship, we would intuit the incontrovertible beat of his images. He has rhythm in his blood and it reverberates in every cadenced gesture of the brush and in every stroke of the pen. He complements and contrasts chromatic harmonies, interspersing the assonant and the dissonant, coalescing the comforts of his harmonies and the shrillness of his discords. – D.L.S.

8 14


Perhaps the temptation to draw parallels between Mr. Wood’s visual art and his musical art would best be avoided. But a refutation of these creative parallels would be farcical and would not nullify them. Even if we were not aware of the artist’s musicianship, we would intuit the incontrovertible beat of his images. He has rhythm in his blood and it reverberates in every cadenced gesture of the brush and in every stroke of the pen. He complements and contrasts chromatic harmonies, interspersing the assonant and the dissonant, coalescing the comforts of his harmonies and the shrillness of his discords. While first and foremost paying homage to his own creative sensibility and objectives, the painter pays coincidental homage to a rich anthology of artists of the past, often amalgamating a kaleidoscopic palette of different stylistic bents within the same work. In his trenchant caricatures of human foibles and frailties, he tangentially enunciates an ancestral affiliation with masters of the send-up, such as Nast and Daumier. And in this alluring network of lines – pounding, somersaulting, perforating, looping, darting and languishing – he asserts a link to Matisse. The chromosomal connection to Caravaggio is heralded in the luminously radiant figures aborning from tenebrous opacities, akin to hallowed aureoles suddenly fashioned out of the darkness of shadows. Their faces, deeply furrowed with blackened striations, project the somber power of a gorgoneion, an ancient countenance with the apotropaic property to ward off evil. Ron Wood must be a force of nature. A sexagenarian into his seventh decade, he betrays no signs of slowing down. In possession of what must be an inexhaustible source of herculean energy and an unfathomable depth of creative élan vital, he seems to share with art the essence of art itself – a chimerical promise of immortality, but a promise nonetheless.

A former foreign correspondent, critic, and editor with Newsweek magazine, and a critic and cultural writer for The New York Times, David L. Shirey, NMS, is Chair of the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has written for numerous publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Il Mesaggero (Rome), Corriere della Sera (Milan), and Le Monde (Paris). He has been the recipient of mulitple awards for his distinguished criticism and cultural writing.

15


EXHIBITION LISTING

Beggars Banquet, 1989 Oil on canvas 72 x 96 inches, Private collection

Charlie Watts II, 1989 Oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches, Private collection

Keith and Mick on Stage, 1989 Oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches, Private collection

Keith Richards II, 1989 Oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches, Private collection

16


EXHIBITION LISTING

Mick Jagger II, 1989 Oil on canvas 60 x 48 inches, Private collection

Keith III, 2007 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 72 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Self Portrait I, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 72 x 48 inches, Private collection

Mick on Stage, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 72 x 48 inches, Private collection

17


EXHIBITION LISTING

Rolling Stones, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 72 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Charlie with Drums, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 36 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Mick with Harmonica, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 36 x 48 inches, Private collection

Study of Mick, 2003 Oil on canvas 16 x 12 inches, Private collection

18


EXHIBITION LISTING

Pegasus, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 107.75 x 71.75 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Rhino, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 107.25 x 72 inches, Courtesy of the artist

De Niro, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 36 x 48 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Jack Nicholson, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 36 inches, Courtesy of the artist

19


EXHIBITION LISTING

Jeff Beck, 2004 Oil on canvas 50 x 38.5 inches, Private collection

Jimmy and Me at the Scene Club NY, 2005 Oil on canvas 42.5 x 31.5 inches, Private collection

Slash, 2009 Acrylic on canvas 48 x 36 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Sabre Tooth Tiger, 1995 Acrylic on canvas 36 x 48 inches, Courtesy of the artist

20


EXHIBITION LISTING

Ali with Stick, 2001 Oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches, Private collection

Sandymount Earl (Horse Study), 2007-8 Mixed media on canvas 36 x 48 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Muhammad Ali, 2001 Oil on canvas 48 x 36 inches, Private collection

Ireland, 2008 Oil on canvas 45 x 57.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist

21


EXHIBITION LISTING

Ballet I, 2004 Oil on canvas 72 x 60 inches, Private collection

Ballet II, 2004 Oil on canvas 60 x 72 inches, Private collection

Ballet III, 2004 Oil on canvas 72 x 60 inches, Private collection

Sandymount, Ireland, 2008 Acrylic on canvas 39.5 x 48.75 inches, Private collection

22


EXHIBITION LISTING

Untitled I, 2008 Mixed media on paper 29 x 39 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Untitled II, 2008 Mixed media on paper 29 x 13 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Untitled IV, 2008 Mixed media on paper 39 x 29 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Untitled III, 2008 Mixed media on paper 39 x 29 inches, Courtesy of the artist

23


EXHIBITION LISTING

Ballet Study, 2007 Mixed media on paper 41 x 47 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Study of Mick, 2007 Mixed media on paper 42.75 x 28.5 inches, Collection of Michael Kaplan

Study of Keith, 2007 Mixed media on paper 42.25 x 28.5 inches, Collection of Michael Kaplan

24


EXHIBITION LISTING

Study of Bernard Fowler, 1989 Pencil on paper 20 x 16 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Study of Keith, 1990 Pencil on paper 14 x 12.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Study for Self Portrait, 1975 Mixed media on paper 23 x 18 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Study of Rod Stewart, 1975 Mixed media on paper 22.5 x 20 inches, Courtesy of the artist

25


EXHIBITION LISTING

Caricature, 2007 Pen and ink on paper, 11.5 x 16.5 inches On loan from Skip and Cathy Eckenrod

Caricature, 2007 Pen and ink on paper, 11.5 x 16.5 inches On loan from Skip and Cathy Eckenrod

Caricature, 2007 Pen and ink on paper, 11.5 x 16.5 inches On loan from Skip and Cathy Eckenrod

Caricature, 2007 Pen and ink on paper, 11.5 x 16.5 inches On loan from Skip and Cathy Eckenrod

26


EXHIBITION LISTING

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 13.75 x 20 inches, Courtesy of the artist

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 15 x 16.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 13.5 x 9.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 8 x 8.75 inches, Courtesy of the artist

27


EXHIBITION LISTING

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 11 x 8.25 inches, Courtesy of the artist

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 16.5 x23.25 inches, Courtesy of the artist

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 9 x 6.75 inches, Courtesy of the artist

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 16.5 x 23.25 inches, Courtesy of the artist

28


EXHIBITION LISTING

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 12.75 x 9.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist

A Variety of Annoyances, ca. 1974 Pen and ink on paper 11.5 x 8.25 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Drawing Study for Commission for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2003-4 Pencil on paper 15.75 x 11.5 inches, Courtesy of the artist

Drawing Study for Commission for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2003-4 Pencil on paper, 15.75 x 11.5 inches Courtesy of the artist

29


EXHIBITION LISTING

Drawing Study for Commission for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2003-4 Pencil on paper, 15.75 x 11.5 inches Courtesy of the artist

Drawing Study for Commission for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2003-4 Pencil on paper, 15.75 x 11.5 inches Courtesy of the artist

Drawing Study for Commission for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2003-4 Pencil on paper, 15.75 x 11.5 inches Courtesy of the artist

Drawing Study for Commission for Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, 2003-4 Pencil on paper, 15.75 x 11.5 inches Courtesy of the artist

30


Caricature, 2007, Pen and ink on paper, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, On loan from Skip and Cathy Eckenrod (Ronnie Wood as matriarch of the family)

31


Rhino, 2009, Acrylic on canvas, 107.25 x 72 inches, Courtesy of the artist

32


Untitled IV, 2008, Mixed media on paper, 39 x 29 inches, Courtesy of the artist

33


Ronnie Wood

biography

R

onnie Wood was born in 1947 in Middlesex, England, into a musical and artistic family. Before beginning his musical career he received formal art training at Ealing College of Art, London. Throughout the years the artist and the musician have been inseparable. As his musical career progressed, Ronnie continued his passion for painting and drawing; his subjects ranging from band members and musicians he admired, knew and sometimes played with, to family and close friends - and, of course, the self-portrait. It is as natural to find him with a pencil as with a guitar, drawing portraits of contemporaries and finding inspiration from his musical influences. In America in the early 1980s, Ronnie produced his first prints - three woodcuts and a series of monotypes. At that time he was not yet an experienced printmaker, and it was with great enthusiasm that he seized upon the opportunity in 1987 to spend several months working in a professional printmaking studio in England. Since then he has devoted a considerable amount of time to printmaking, producing a number of images using various techniques - etching, drypoint, screenprint and woodcut. Over the years Ronnie Wood’s work has been widely exhibited. In 1996, he had a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in North and South America, in the Far East and throughout Europe.

34


Self Portrait, 2010 Intaglio with chine collĂŠ, Edition of 60, AP 10, PP 5 Khadi handmade paper laid onto Somerset Textured 300 gsm Plate: 12.5 x 9 inches Published by The Butler Institute of American Art

35


Š 2010 The Butler Institute of American Art Youngstown, Ohio All Rights Reserved ISBN: 978-1-882790-616

Images Š Ronnie Wood This exhibition and catalogue are made possible in part by; The Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau, City Printing Company, Stifel Nicolaus, Atty. Michael Morely, Mahoning Valley Imaging, Rudinec & Associates, Y-103 FM and WFMJ-TV 21.

Designed by Ken Kimerer Printed by City Printing Company, Youngstown, Ohio

36


Study of Mick, 2003, Oil on canvas, 16 x 12 inches, Private collection

Back Cover: Self Portrait I, 2009, Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 48 inches, Private collection


THE BUTLER INSTITUTE OF AMERICAN ART 524 Wick Avenue • Youngstown, Ohio 44502 www.butlerart.com

Spend or Expend  

The Butler Institute of American Art show catalogue for Ronnie Wood

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you