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after the show

Post #384 • October 11, 2004, 7:26 AM • 21 Comments

Post-show recovery/catching up on the rest of life continues into today. To everyone who came, thank you. People reacted enthusiastically, but, interesting to me, in a far more mixed manner than in previous shows. What that tells me, I don't know for sure.

Comment

1.

that guy in the back row

October 11, 2004, 3:45 PM

When art gets better, people react strangely because what they are seeing challenges their taste. I'd be more concerned if everyone kindly relayed how wonderful every piece was and chatted about the weather. From the few I've seen, this show was your best. Smolder (which didn't reproduce well in the catalogue) was the best of the bunch. Night Window and Death Head's were also strong. Good luck recuperating.

2.

Gravity

October 11, 2004, 10:36 PM

IFranklin, the work was o.k. but not up to par in my opinion. It looked as if they were thrown together and at the same time trying to hold together with all the gloppy paint, . They didn't set up very well and the large areas of saturated colors didn't work. There were a few in yout last show that really stood out for me, one of them is on the inside cover of your brochure. The value contrsast and shading helps those pictures.

3.

eddie

October 12, 2004, 12:42 AM

i agree with Gravity. not to par with the previous show. i did respond favorably to the pdf catalogue, but when looking at the pieces all together at the gallery, it left me wanting more. however I suspect that previous show at Dorsch had work that spanned a longer period of time, i don't know that for sure, since i don't even know you, but this show seemed thrown together at the last minute. not less ambitious just less concise, less commanding, if that makes sense. also the straight forward format of the portraits don't provide for much composition variations. having said that, had i not seen your previous stuff i might have been impressed buy the way this paintings are built up. it's just these say less with more while the others said more with less. ok now im getting confused. anyhow i did appreciate a few gems here, like Smolder. but that's just my two cents, and right now i dont have the established credibility you may have but it seemed you wanted people to weigh in on this and that's how I feel.

4.

Momoko

October 12, 2004, 1:43 AM

Hello from Japan again. I experienced earthquake and flood in two days in a remote place. I have a lot of stories to tell you all, but now I am too busy having good time.

Today is the last day in Japan and will be a shopping day.

Yesterday I and an Artist from Paris saw lots of shows together, and at the end of day we could no longer walk. There are more art shows than any normal person is capable of viewing in Tokyo.

Stories will continue..

5.

Jack

October 12, 2004, 3:10 AM

Some personal comments on the three new shows at Dorsch Gallery:

Tim Walker's beach pier photos were attractive, fun, enjoyable and very effective at conveying the nature and spirit of a particular sociocultural environment. Of course, since they're not the size of billboards, don't indulge in clinical detachment, don't shock (not that anything does anymore), and don't go in for contrived psychodrama, the "major" people are unlikely to notice. I'm definitely not a photography person and don't presume to any authority on the subject, but these pictures seemed genuine and egaged, as opposed to self-consciously Important (I can just see the "major" people rolling their Important little eyes).

I found Dan Weihnacht's drawings unrealistically priced, which is a bad move, and not just because it discourages sales. I always find that offputting, even though the artist is free to ask for the moon. In my case, right or wrong, it makes me antagonistic, which is hardly conducive to giving the work its due. I doubt I did.

Franklin's small-format paintings suffered from too cavernous a space and, in some cases (like "Lost Prophet," which I liked), suboptimal lighting. They needed to be displayed differently, more intimately, as with room dividers. Some pieces, such as "Howard Cimabue," worked dramatically better close up than from distance. These are not murals, which is what the space more or less wants. "Clear Day," which certainly deserves better than being on a CACA badge (as it was previously shown on this blog) was still a bit too Bay Area-ish. "Mysterious Instructions" was probably my favorite, with both Surrealist and Ab-Ex qualities and very good coloring.

Color sense, in fact, is what I feel distinguished the best of these paintings. Overindulgent impasto, where it was used, was counterproductive, as tends to happen with any technical device that calls too much attention to itself as a Device. That, to my eyes, hurt "Slider" (which was also relatively weak color-wise) and "Heaven," which had stronger coloring but was ultimately a bit too fussy or overdone. The show as a whole was interesting (which is always something) but uneven--albeit coherent, which is also something. In general, it seemed more in tune with current trends than Franklin's previous work, which is not necessarily good or bad, although people like me are apt to find any hint of concession to fashion suspect (possibly because people like me don't have to sell art for a living).

6.

alesh

October 12, 2004, 3:19 AM

I think the new paintings are stronger then your older work. I find that the more expressive approach delivers on the promise of the super-thick paint technique more then the more direct approach. They are scupltural in a way the others weren't - assemblages, almost.

I also liked the fact that they were all self-portraits, although I think not including the hurricane portrait was a mistake.

7.

that guy in the back row

October 12, 2004, 6:08 AM

alesh: you are entitled to your opinion of course, but I fail to see the connection between thick impasto paint and quality.
Furthermore, why the hell would including the hurricane self portrait help the show? Making a good show is a bit more than that. Franklin's show was just that.. his. It could have been the "third of may" and it wouldn't have worked in the space.

Jack: I appreciated your comments, but including cheesy, fun with digital SLR, printed larger than Eckhard size, and a helter-skelter colored pencil show did little to coalesce with Franklins portraits. The former belonged in a photo album. The later at Dorsch. (the pencil show belonged in a sketch book.)

8.

Jack

October 12, 2004, 6:42 AM

Back Row Guy, when I said the show as whole was interesting and coherent, I was still talking about and referring specifically to Franklin's show; sorry if that was somehow unclear.

As for the photos, I repeat that I'm NOT a photo person, but I appreciated that these, at least, were free of the overblown, you-must-bow-down-and-worship aura of currently big-time photography, much in evidence at Art Basel.

9.

Franklin

October 12, 2004, 7:09 AM

Guy, this has become a pattern with you - to challenge anyone's association of anything with quality. Quality may have no qualities on an absolute level, but it must manifest as form in order to become art. If the impasto looks compelling, it connects to quality. If it doesn't, it doesn't. The flip side of your statement - that you don't see the connection between thick impasto paint and quality - is that you can't prove that there can never be a connection between them.

I'd bet the rent money that Gravity is Oldpro.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback. Regardless of your reaction, I appreciate your running your eyes over my work. The split over whether this is my best work yet or not as good as my earlier work is surprisingly close to 50-50. I observe further that people who approved strongly of my earlier work tend to favor it, while people who weren't so drawn to the earlier work favor the new series.

So it goes. I won't proclaim their success, but I will say that they were veritable paroxysms of self-criticism - an intense questioning of everything I was doing, and an effort to discard everything that was getting in the way of the work's aesthetic success, including the discarding of previous discarding strategies, if that makes any sense. The only fun part was handling the paint. The psychological or existential component was a drag. I still feel disoriented about what I'm doing as an artist and I'm not even painting at the moment. With the older works, I knew what I was doing. They came off as confident and authoritative. These, no. They came off as weird and absurd at times. They don't have the finesse of the earlier work and I have had to accept them as doubtful statements that challenge even my own taste.

I accept each of the above criticisms to at least some degree. I also know that I won't be able to do anything about them once I get back into the studio. The self-criticism genie is out of the bottle, and somehow he has gotten his hands on an assault rifle since we last worked together. Again, so it goes.

10.

that guy in the back row

October 12, 2004, 8:29 AM

"Quality may have no qualities on an absolute level, but it must manifest as form in order to become art" I'll give you that Franklin.

I may not have been clear enough. When alesh said: "I think the new paintings are stronger then your older work". (I said that earlier) But, when he goes on to say: "I find that the more expressive approach delivers on the promise of the super-thick paint technique more then the more direct approach." I should have just asked him to expand on that, or at least to say it more clearly.

Your "expressive approach" hasn't changed much so far as I can tell, but he concludes it has somehow increased. I find that that statement says very little. It sounds to me like he implies something that doesn't jive with my experience with your paintings.

Your claim that my pattern is to "challenge anyone's association of anything with quality" is surely true. I'm kind of giddy about that because after ten years of looking I'm starting to see the difference. And what a difference there is out there.

and finally "The flip side of your statement - that you don't see the connection between thick impasto paint and quality - is that you can't prove that there can never be a connection between them." I'm not claiming there can't be a connection between them, in fact all I meant to say was that some paintings with thick impasto paint are good and some are bad.

Hope this helps. God help us if we drift away into word hell again.

11.

oldpro

October 12, 2004, 4:23 PM

Franklin: You owe me your rent money. I have never used another pseudonym here (though I like "gravity" as one), and in this case it would have been, as my detractors like to say, hiding. But it did sound sort of like me. I would have responded yesterday but Mondays are my busiest day..

I liked the paintings better than Gravity did. I felt that the best one was the dark one in the far right corner as you walk in, inadequately lighted as it was. Because I did not have a check lisrt, and because of the lighting, I can't remember if it was "smolder", but that is the one it looked like of those on the PDF, rather dark, low saturation and not much color variation. The CACA portrait is good - maybe the slightly more representational rendering helped here, but, on the other hand, I liked the use of close values in "Night Window", which is almost completely abstract.

As others have mentioned, the presentation was off-putting - all those tiny pictures in that cavernous sauna of a room - and I am having trouble recalling specifics, but my general impression was that the show was better on the whole than the last one but that the last one had some better pix. The mechanical problem with these self-portraits is that I think you needed to limit what was going into them more - really strong color variation and really expressed surface, when applied to an extremely limited format (the self-portrait, which has very little given variation to work with) in very small size is too much. There is just no wiggle room. This may be why that dark, near monochrome picture in the corner looked best. If the paintings were larger (no reason, a la Chuck Close, why they could not be really large, notwithstanding your budget for paint) and lighter and closer in value I think they would have worked much better. Then, I believe, the very simple, very straightforward, format would have worked much better.

12.

also

October 12, 2004, 5:11 PM

franklin,
i was exited to see your new work in person; i think the new paintings are great. i agree with jack though... they suffered in that space, maytbe different lighting would have helped as well as a smooth surface on the walls.
did anyone go see anything other than Dorsch?

13.

oldpro

October 12, 2004, 6:02 PM

Further on the Dorsch show:

I agree completely with Jack about the refreshing innocence of the pier photos, but their wholesome distance from the current species of pseudoartistic dreadfulness we see everywhere does not quite get them to the point of art, I'm afraid. I will just have to be one of those old farts rolling my little eyes, Jack.

I did not know that the drawings wrere overpriced because I did not ask. My question is: if the artist wants to make a point of all that painfully exquisite geometric color pencil drawing, and the subtle color combinations and delicate surfaces, why in the world arrange them in little designy boxes? This completely vitiates the effects he works so hard to acheive.

14.

oldpro

October 12, 2004, 6:15 PM

PS Franklin, I think it is pretty brave of you to let yourself in for criticism from this bunch in an open forum. Good basic training for the old artist's ego, for sure.

15.

oldpro

October 12, 2004, 6:16 PM

PS Franklin, I think it is pretty brave of you to let yourself in for criticism from this bunch in an open forum. Good basic training for the old artist's ego, for sure.

16.

Gravity

October 12, 2004, 7:44 PM

Art must reach a certain level in order to be criticized. Most falls way short and only merit remarks such as "that's fun" or " interesting", among many others. Franklins work is straight forward painting, therefore it opens itself up to tough criticism. In my opinion his work is better and more serious than all but a few of the artists I've seen in Miami.

17.

Jack

October 12, 2004, 7:53 PM

Oldpro, my point about the photos was not whether they did or didn't qualify as art, but rather the contrivance and pretentiousness that permeates much of current photography. When you look at the prices being charged for the stuff, which could potentially be reproduced so that any number of people could have an identical copy, exactly the same as the ones in museums, well, you get the picture. The fact that the number of copies is artificially limited for commercial reasons is irrelevant to me.

The drawings, as I recall, were five thousand dollars each. The issue is not what they are actually worth, but what is a realistic price for this work from this artist at this time (assuming, of course, he wants to sell).

18.

oldpro

October 12, 2004, 8:38 PM

Jack: Thanks for the clarification.

$5000? Ouch! They are quite obsessively drawn; maybe he is charging by the hour. He probably doesn't understand the dynamics of the art business. He will learn soon enough.

19.

oldpro

October 12, 2004, 9:21 PM

Gravity makes a good point. it is easy and safe to just put up a lot of random stuff in a gallery and drape some so-called profundity over it. The absence of craft, tradition and history are a protective shield because there are no established guidelines for assessing it, no buildup of experience and professionalism.

Painting, on the other hand, has that long, rich history we all know about (or should know about). Many of us are painters and have suffered through years of trying to make our painting better. We know the deal. It is part of us. Consequently we feel confident jumping right in to take stock of Franklin's pictures, or the work of anyone else who works within a tradition against the best of the past.

That makes it look like Franklin is getting a hard time when he is really getting respectful attention.

It also reveals all the more what a chickenshit copout all the ubiquitous pomo dreck really is.

20.

Franklin

October 12, 2004, 10:00 PM

I take it as respectful attention and thank you for it. Pile on and swing away.

21.

Gravity

October 12, 2004, 11:10 PM

Yes, definitely respectful attention.

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