Blue, James Graham & Sons, New York, NY



Daniel Levine, Untitled #2, 2001
Oil on cotton, 16 x 15 3/4 inches

June 16 – August 28, 2009

“Blue, here is a shell for you…Inside you’ll hear a sigh.” –Joni Mitchell, 1971

James Graham & Sons presents Blue, a group painting exhibition curated by John Zinsser. The exhibition will include the work of: Richmond Burton, Rudolf de Crignis, Joe Fyfe, Wayne Gonzales, James Hyde, Daniel Levine, Nancy Lorenz, Olivier Mosset, James Nares, R.H. Quaytman, Kate Shepherd, Amy Sillman, Kimber Smith, Philip Taaffe, and Dan Walsh.

As much as the color blue is purely color, chroma, it has also been considered as an emotional state. This exhibition uses a single color, blue, as a common theme to examine the practices of a contemporary generation of formalist painters. While the methodologies embraced are pluralistic, ranging from photographic image-based to straight monochrome, a larger trajectory is shared.

Historical works by Kimber Smith, Olivier Mosset, Philip Taaffe and Rudolf De Crignis frame the show. Smith’s underconsidered late canvases break open the ground between geometric abstraction and color field. Mosset’s approach to the monochrome has long been startlingly literal, radical as it moves painting toward form alone. Taaffe uses appropriation to “rupture” preconceived notions of originality. While De Crignis’s transparent layerings of color create perceptual atmospheric space out of material experience.

Richmond Burton, Joe Fyfe, Daniel Levine, James Nares, Amy Sillman and Dan Walsh all work predominantly abstractly, referencing well-known iconic sources through unorthodox and newly exploratory means.

Wayne Gonzales, James Hyde, Nancy Lorenz, R.H. Quaytman and Kate Shepherd employ recognizable imagery—from figuration, to architecture, to landscape—with objectified distance. These artists weigh limited color and material veracity against more traditional illusionistic readings.

Most of the artists included were growing up in the 1970s, and started out painting at the beginning of the end: the end of Abstract Expressionism, the end of Pop and the end of Minimalism. They share this common lineage, and have used its influence toward directed personal ends. In this show, a viewer will discover shared impulses, philosophies and a larger sense of purpose. The strongest connection to be found, however, may be the affect of mood.