Marc Van Cauwenbergh: Loose Formations
Kathleen Cullen Gallery, September 4 – October 18, 2008
For over two decades, Marc Van Cauwenbergh has explored the language of color field abstraction. He creates compositions that contrast monochromatic fields with isolated, predominantly vertical shapes by brushing layers of translucent oil paint directly onto raw linen. While Van Cauwenbergh’s work might at first glance be considered an homage to the generation of Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Noland, its point of reference clearly differs. Instead of exploring the emotive and non-objective, Van Cauwenbergh employs abstraction to capture the human figure, or more specifically, the human figure in motion.
Van Cauwenbergh has a thorough understanding of this subject matter. Born in Belgium and based in New York since 1994, he trained in dance performance while receiving his fine art education at Pratt Institute. For two years after his graduation, he simultaneously pursued both dancing and painting. He perceives the canvas, therefore, as a sort of stage on which the shapes and colors behave like performers empowered by the spotlight. In this context, each color defines a protagonist of sorts, in dialogue with each other as well as with the audience.
In his most recent exhibition, however, Van Cauwenbergh has begun to de-simplify the compositional structure of his paintings. Here, vivid horizontal brushstrokes dramatically interrupt the ethereal flow and overall rhythm. Many of the color banners have become more opaque and the groupings more complex. The “bodies” are often made of multiple smaller forms, which are less intertwined but arranged in stricter formations. Within these formations, the shapes appear more dissected, with stretched-out limbs and turned torsos seen from many different perspectives at once. In general, the new compositions are intentionally less harmonious and at times even confrontational. These are tougher times and it seems as if Van Cauwenbergh has embarked on a search for a different kind of body. It could be that his characters have matured, or perhaps they are simply helpless, clinging to one another as they tumble toward the future; what is certain is that Van Cauwenbergh has found a new pace within his established vocabulary, setting the stage for whatever might lie ahead.
Kenneth Noland: Stripes/Plaids/
By Alex Grimley
APRIL 2023 | ArtSeen
Stripes/Plaids/Shapes demonstrates the tremendous variety of sensory and somatic effects Kenneth Noland could wrest from these economical means. With its spacious hanging, each of the twelve paintings is presented in its specificity, to be taken on its own terms.
A Language Cairn: Artists on Their PracticeBy Charlotte Kent
MAY 2023 | Art and Technology
Because this month I had the honor of acting as Guest Editor for the Critics Page, where I invited global curators and scholars to contribute a word theyd like to see or never see again in the discourse around art and technology, I thought I would develop this months column around the words that artists use and encounter about their practiceacross media. So I asked them what silly, uncomfortable, or productive term they encountered. It could be something said to them or something they say to themselves. Leaving aside the linguistic debates around performative utterances, words act around art as a network of ideas, a system if you will, or a kind of scatterplot of imaginative relations.
Language Cant Solve Our ProblemsBy Hunter Blu and Krista Gay
NOV 2021 | Critics Page
Can language solve our problems as young Black people, and if so, what form(s) of language?
Howardena Pindell: A New LanguageBy Maximiliane Leuschner
NOV 2022 | ArtSeen
Currently at Kettles Yard in Cambridgeformer home to British art collectors Jim and Helen EdePindell unfolds her new approachfrom abstraction to filmic confrontationover three galleries on two floors in the annexed exhibition galleries.