Friday, September 15, 2006

Gallery Night in Chelsea

Two years ago I got my first taste of the New York art world. On a September Thursday night I decided to go to the opening of a show I had been wanting to see. What I experienced that night was something I had never in my life seen or felt. The art world here in NYC puts on the best shows in the fall, and every Thursday night many galleries have opening receptions for the artists they are showing. Opening night becomes like a block party and crowds of people with plastic cups of wine walk the streets of Chelsea (gallery neighborhood) going from one gallery to another.
Last night I wanted to experience it again! I met up with friends on 25th St. and 10th Ave. to check out the openings and drink some free wine! We went to Cheim & Read where the mood was a little uptight since this is a high end gallery, therefore the place was full of socialites, collectors and fashionistas. You could spot the artists in one hot second since they were the only ones not wearing the usual black New York uniform. Although I like people watching I did not stay too long since the art on the walls was not my type. It was all too gimmicky! We ended up at Stux Gallery just down the street. From outside I saw large colorful canvases with textural elements. We decided to go in and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was floored! Immediately I fell in love with these paintings by artist Kuno Gonschior. Being in front of these large paintings was like being on a high and I could not get enough of it. I thought the work was amazing and full of beauty. Created by delicately placing blobs of acrylic paint these abstraction come to life. I fell in love with the way the artist left many areas of the raw linen support exposed, incorporating the natural color of the material to the overall scheme.
When I saw the paintings from outside I thought they were layers of colored paper, but I was wrong. The only way to describe the texture of these paintings is that it looked like layers of rose petals, as my friend David put it. Rose petals or paint, the vibrancy of the colors was undeniable. Much of my admiration for Mr. Kuno Gonschior comes from the fact that he has decided to maintain a high aesthetic level. This kind of commitment to the beautiful now in days deserves a standing ovation since most of the art that's turn out is about ideas and agendas. Art no longer is about the object hanging on the wall, but about the issues of a certain group.
Being a young artist, and perhaps a bit jaded, seeing this kind of painting during this time period seems baffling. Who makes this kind of work anymore? No one my age that's for sure! Mr. Gonschior is a German artist who has been an active artist since the 1960's. This explains it all. Most artists from his generation are still creating beautiful work of art that speaks to the soul.
The concern of this work, which is based on the Color Field tradition, is about the connection between the artist and material. This exhibition is a testament that formalist painting can still be emotional and meaningful. Purity in art still exists in the work of artists like Mr. Gonschior, Helen Frankenthaler, Jules Olitsky, Sean Scully, and Pat Lipsky to name a few.
It didn't take long for me to become inspired by these paintings, and at the same time leaving me nostalgic about my past large abstractions. This kind of painting holds a very special place in my little artist heart, and some day soon I'll pick up where I left off. For now I sit back and enjoy the work of great artists like Mr. Gonschior.
I had to get a close up of the paint layers, too bad the color came out too yellow. But you can get the idea. This show is the reason whey I keep going back to the galleries of Chelsea; when I least expect it I always find something worth seeing and rewarding.


Coco said...

I like his painting very much. I totally agree with you about current trend. It is very sad that well crafted simply beautiful work are often not regarded, these days.

I have not done much painting last couple of month, but I am going to pick up a brush next week.
C x

Luis Colan said...

Hi Coco,
Yes, it's sad but what can we do. Good thing is that there are a number of poeple out there who still want to see high quality art. Have fun painting next week...good luck!


Mauricio said...

Hola Luis,

Solo una pasada para ver las novedades, una linda semana para ti.


Luis Colan said...

Hola Mauricio, a sido una semana llena de tragines para mi!