Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Figure Painting: Leland Bell at NYSS and Christina Quarles at Hauser & Wirth

Leland Bell at NewYork Studio School in Paint, Precision, and Placement: a series of self portraits and multifigure paintings.

Rigorously observed, yet concise, Bell's geometric planes are completely satisfying.

He's using the classic palette of transparent red oxide, cold black, and zinc white to build warm and cool neutrals.

The results are different every time as he wrings all he can from the limited palette.
We begin to know the artist by his revelatory self-portraits.

Beautiful tonal range. The butterfly's path is traced in both gesture and cloth.

The doubling of a curtain, the interlocking shapes.

Somewhere between Balthus, Helion, and Wesley,
Not to mention Poussin.
For all the reduction, there's still a lot of paint going on.
Third version of an urban couple and their cat.


Sweet, early Bell in hallway.

Christina Quarles, in her exhibition "In 24 days Tha Sun'll Set at 7pm" at Hauser & Wirth. The solidity of geometric planes gives way to gestures amidst swaths of empty canvas.

Pleasing depth to the large canvas, about 3 inches, at least 2.5.

Surroundings have more physicality than the figures.
Opticality as well.

Washes, solid areas, differing systems, coming out of drawing.

The feeling state enters: rather than the eye-to-eye confrontation with the self, bodies act quickly, sometimes furtively or restlessly, within delineated patterns. The patterns organize what's going on.

Details contain memories.
LA architecture: patios, bright color, and various applications recalling the PoMo architecture of the late 1980s, like the Memphis Group in watercolor. 


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