Friday, February 26, 2010

Bloom at Knapp / Picasso at Art Museum

Okay, listen up. Let’s get serious for a moment. People’s lives are at stake. Presently, I am studying Brazilian Portuguese; a very difficult language to learn. I enjoy a challenge. I tend to be challenged at many fronts. Forgive me, I digress. An important ideal or notion to Brasileiros is verdade. Verdade.” is the Brazilian word for truth. So, for the moment, let’s talk verdade. For clarity, I will define truth/verdade as “that which cannot be denied

While art appreciation is subjective regarding individual taste, relativity requires a point of objectivity in defining what we label as “good” art. Somewhere along the line, somebody said “Hey! This Picasso guy is all that.” Nonetheless, reaching consensus may have taken considerable time. And while everyone may not like Picasso’s style of painting, most would agree that his work denotes a standard by which others are judged. Ergo, our definition of good -“The standard by which others are judged.“ Clearly, for argument sake, our use of good is only meant to simplify not diminish the undisputable contribution made by Father Pablo.

I find it serendipitous that Knapp is exhibiting Jim’s art concomitantly with The Picasso exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Am I comparing Bloom to Picasso? Emphatically, no. However, I am saying there is an undeniable and undisputable quality in James Bloom’s art. This is good art; verdade.

I have a short story for you. This will take only a moment. Back in the fall of ’09, Chris Callahan was up at Knapp. Matisse was hanging at the Pearlman Annex of The Philadelphia Art Museum. At the same time, one of my people was interested in Callahan’s “Tavern Scene.” She held off buying the Callahan until she went to the Annex, wanting to “see” if Matisse made her feel the same way. She did purchase Tavern Scene, acknowledging the definitive quality of Callahan’s color, line and light. Callahan held Matisse accountable. He became the measurable standard by which good and acceptable was judged. It may be now that Picasso is the standard by which Bloom is measured. I am not afraid of the Art Museum, we only have different addresses.

Back to Bloom. Aggressively manufactured, there is urgency about Bloom’s art. Intuitively it calls to transparency. No fancy words here. It’s just honest; verdade. You can’t turn away from the truth. Bloom delivers clarity with the bare essentials. It’s not dressed up. But we are not talking economics. I like that Jim is about getting the job done. Jim gets it done with few brushstrokes, possessing great skill in creating gesture with minimal line. But there is so much more.

Today, I just want to set the work out there. I want you to see. I want you to enjoy.

I will get back with you in a bit.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hang ‘em High!

Traditionally such an expression would depict mass opinion, the lynch mob mentality, and an indictment usually before the final verdict. Sorry to disappoint you. We’re not lynching anyone here. At the Knapp Gallery, we’ve applied a new sentiment to this long held expression.

Tom Brady, senior painter of The Knapp Gallery stable criticizes me for hanging our paintings here in the gallery too high. I get criticized for most things that I do. Somebody always has something to say, from the owner down to my visitors. This job has helped to thicken my skin.

Success, despite the benefits, has also with it many drawbacks. Of which one is limited space for the large size of our events. Our Gallery, though adequate in its length, suffers from an inadequate width. Hanging medium to large paintings in the front half of the gallery is a challenge, they don’t breathe well. Rarely do our events draw a small crowd. We are usually packed to the walls. Hanging wet paintings is a no-no. My insurance does not cover replacing fur coats with vermilion stripes across the back. Hanging the paintings high allows for increased vision through the crowd.

True to form, Adam’s reception had us packed out like sardines. Despite limited visibility, two medium sized paintings sold. Adam cut the deal with the collector. I was asked only to handle the paperwork. My job is becoming easier. Though I wore the soles out on three pairs of cowboy boots this year, my efforts are beginning to pay off. The work is now selling itself. I’m a bit surprised at work when it sells at openings. It is usual during the calm after the storm buyers and collector’s surface here at Knapp. Oftentimes, the show is down before I begin to get solid inquiries that lead to purchases.

I don’t expect this to be the case regarding my favorite painting of the show. Floating, a large 5 x 5, hangs in solitude on the back wall of the gallery. I consider the back wall prime real estate. Our patronage is well accustomed this perspective. I reserve the back wall for the show piece. Adam’s Mummy, supported by a life preserver, comes to life. That’s all I’m saying about this painting. You’re gonna have to come see for yourself. Just so you know, the boss has already told me she wants it if it does not sell. Listed at $5,000.00, this painting won’t last till the show comes down on the 28th. If you’re slow you blow.

Enjoy the sunshine. It is a beautiful day.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bad weather - Great show

The weather has not been good for Adam’s show. It is a shame. He worked really hard to pull off this exhibition. The show looks awesome. Moving forward, despite poor parking, the snow is still a hindrance, Adam’s artist reception goes live tomorrow night at 6 pm.

Consensus among our visitors is that Adam’s work, beyond engaging captures the essence of his character as a painter. Self disclosure becomes transparent in Adam’s work. Additionally, there exists a legitimizing quality in how Adam applies paint. Many visiting painters are caught up in his generosity. Christopher Callahan, a Knapp Gallery painter stopped by yesterday and was moved by Adam’s commitment to the paint. We could have a lengthy conversation about what that really means. I love painters’ use of language.

For the most part, Adam paints with what we painters call a “dry” brush. Use of an under-texture allows the painter to “ride” the crest of a painted landscape catching only the surface. The remaining shadow and under-color offers the painting a softened tonal display. While this technique requires a deft hand, Adam’s counter with hard and edgy subject matter leaves the viewer a bit off balance. Know this right up front; Adam’s work is about tension. His adept execution in applying paint is paramount to his conveying an edgy emotional outcome.

Hopefully, we will see you here at The Knapp Gallery tomorrow, 20 Feb ’10.