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abstraction in miami

Post #529 • May 3, 2005, 9:20 AM • 28 Comments

Abstraction in Miami at Dorsch Gallery. I think this is one of the best things up in Miami right now, an opinion not even slightly tinted, you can be sure, by the fact that I helped arrange the show and that a lot of these people are my friends.

Seriously, Miami has always had a lot of vital abstractionists and this exhibition proves it. George Bethea's work seems the best of the lot, and this recent piece composes a little more strongly than some of the earlier works out of this series, which sometimes came off more as topography samples than paintings, albeit beautiful ones. Kerry Ware is using colors unprecedented in his ouevre, and he's pulling it off magnificently. Apologies in advance to Rene Barge, Philip Spence, and Guerra de la Paz, who also had good works in the show, but my camera couldn't be made to cooperate.

Walter Darby Bannard.

George Bethea.

Andrew Gambrell.

John Germain.

David Marsh.

Kathleen Staples.

Kerry Ware.

William Keddell also has a show up of his stereoviews. You look through those little viewers on the light tables to see stereo versions of the images hung above them. Keddell has expert-level knowledge of stereoview history and theory, and the views provide an experience that I can only describe as gripping - you feel your brain tingle a little bit as you see the three-dimensionality unfold before you. Aesthetically I struggled a little with the novelty, feeling at first that the strong illusionism prevented them from working as compositions, but the feeling passed - the lighting looked convincingly dramatic and the busy-ness, especially in a series of heavily graffittied subways, provided a lot of intriguing surfaces.

Comment

1.

oldpro

May 3, 2005, 5:23 PM

Too bad you did not have a picture of one of Rene Barge's paintings. They were a surprise to me, especially after those not-so-great sketchy things he tacked up on the wall a while ago, which were reproduced here. Someone has to tell him not to call himself "Kung", however.

A number of pictures Dorsch has by these artists which did not get hung in the exhibit are excellent also.

2.

Jack

May 3, 2005, 5:44 PM

The Darby Bannard photo, assuming it's of a piece that was in the show, looks good but has been significantly altered color-wise. Another painting by him was even better (among other things, his experience tells). The Bethea was considerably more impressive live; it looks very truncated here. Ware's pieces were better than those at his last solo show, and this is the better of the two in this one; it's strong and has reproduced beautifully. It's a shame you couldn't put up something by Barge, because his work in this show is some of the best, if not the best, I've seen by him (especially a relatively small painting inside Brook's office).

It's an unusually solid show overall, not just for Dorsch but for Miami. I hope it gets coverage in New Times, though Triff was nowhere in sight (the Herald is too far gone to be a consideration). It really deserves to be seen, far more than any number of negligible offerings that typically get more attention and simply aren't worth the cost of gas to go to them.

3.

Maria

May 3, 2005, 7:12 PM

I agree, Bethea's work is best in the show. The subtle use of materials don't show up in the photo. Bannards work is also very good in my opinion,although, the color is way off in the photgraph. Ware's heading in the right direction with his amplified use of color. In my opinion what's in this show is not up to the quality of his recent solo show, but with time and the lively pallette,it will soon be. Others of note: Staples small painting, pictured above and Barge's painting hanging in the office.

4.

Jack

May 3, 2005, 7:58 PM

Small suggestion: Put the name of the artist below, not above, the corresponding photo. It registers better that way.

5.

knug poe

May 3, 2005, 8:47 PM

does anyone have a pics of the Rene Barge work?

6.

MAKES SENSE

May 3, 2005, 10:10 PM

Best show I've seen in quite a while. I really enjoyed LOOKING at the work for a change. Bethea's painting is beautiful. I enjoyed looking at it most, however, I don't know if that makes it best. There was some exspressive figurative work in the office that was also interesting. Others that in my opinion were pleasurable were Bannard's, Davids, and a largish colorful abstraction in the office.

7.

germain

May 4, 2005, 12:30 AM

franklin, just so you know, there is no "e" at the end of my name, and yes, i agree that george bethea's work was among the strongest in the show, along with kerry ware's.

8.

Franklin

May 4, 2005, 12:42 AM

Crapcakes on fire, John - sorry about that. I'll change it now.

9.

Andy

May 4, 2005, 2:01 AM

Thanks for covering this show Franklin. George's piece does something special. The mossy area in the upper horizontal third of the picture reads atmospherically and almost opens a picture window. Since so much of the remainder of the picture sits on top of the canvas, I can't help but think of Monet's lily pads. I was also impressed with one of the little pieces by Rene. He flirts with a Jonathan Lasker-look but keeps the compositions just this side of faux naive. Darby's new work has some interesting Northern Light glowing spots coming through the gac that I don't remember seeing in his older work. Usually, his pieces seem to be dominated by either color or line. In his painting from the show that is not shown, the line and the color fight for dominance and it makes for a superior picture.

10.

kung fu

May 4, 2005, 2:22 AM

old pro why would you think rene is calling himself "kung"?

11.

oldpro

May 4, 2005, 3:35 AM

I believe that is what the price list said, or whatever I read to find out who had done the paintings.

12.

posey

May 4, 2005, 4:43 AM

All the images shown above are worthy, but the most flirtatious if not just downright sexy would be John Germain's piece. Bravo for another look at refined creativity made simple-

13.

Young Phdeazy

May 4, 2005, 4:45 AM

Georges painting was ok. He has achieved a great surface. It was very natural looking piece of art. It looked as though he never touched the canvas (which is great). Its almost as if the painting grew it self, too bad that it forgot to grow a composition. What George needs in his painting is some semblance of structure. His process is ripe for producing some nice paintings. He just needs to sneak some real contrasting color in those things and get away from that black. That black area really turned me off from the picture. Georges painting may have been the best because of its rich natural surface but it was not at all pretty.

I thought that, Kathleen Staples red painting posted above quietly stole the show. The nebulous composition of this painting was very distracting. I say quietly because I cant remember ever seeing a red painting that was so calm. There is a balance in this composition between space, shape, color, and all that type of good stuff.

Darbys paintings were the probably the official show stealers according to every one I talked with. The reproduction above which really does look more colorful than I remember it to be was the one that I enjoyed the most.

14.

Mercy

May 4, 2005, 5:48 AM

Personally, from the minute I walked in and saw John Germain's work I was in awe... most definitely the best work in the show. I could have walked out immediately and been completely fullfilled.

15.

Young Phdeazy

May 4, 2005, 5:57 AM

Oh yeah I fogot to add. What the heck is refined creativity and how can it be made simple. Please reply in simple english. Desribe the piece II'll go and see it.

Thanks posey

16.

mama mela

May 4, 2005, 6:12 AM

wow, i guess thats why they call you oldpro, huh?....

17.

eddie

May 4, 2005, 6:51 AM

thanks for posting these, i couldn't find pics of the show anywhere. looks like some interesting work, wish I were in town to see it.

18.

Peter

May 4, 2005, 5:18 PM

The show was for the most part very good. The variety of styles and approaches impressed me. I'd like to see more of this in Miami. Choosing a favorite is like picking between apples and oranges. I like some for beauty and intrigue,ie Bethea's , Germain's stood out for delicacy and airiness and Bannard's for ease and technique. One critisism of the gallery is that I could not find a price list. Are they for sale.

19.

Jack

May 4, 2005, 5:29 PM

Peter, of course they're for sale. There was a price list, but it did take a little effort to get one's hands on it. If you ever need that sort of information, just head straight for Brook Dorsch (usually the tallest guy in the room); he'll be more than happy to help you.

20.

oldpro

May 4, 2005, 5:44 PM

They were in short supply opening night too, Peter. I hope you were able to find one eventually.

21.

Young Phdeazy

May 4, 2005, 6:13 PM

Oh I goofed. John Germain.
That piece was great. I would like to see more.
This show was like picking through apples and oranges. I only hope that there will more specific abstraction shows in the future. This was the best show I've seen at the Dorsch since last years abstraction show. I hope that other Miami galleries would follow his lead and put together some shows featuring solid painters.

22.

alesh

May 4, 2005, 7:30 PM

off topic:

Recently, Franklin said something about people complaining when he veers into non-art subjects. For example, the tribute to his juggler hero some time ago. I'm bringing this up now because it's been gnawing at me, and I finally had to say something.

I want to go on the record as saying that I enjoyed that piece, and to whatever extent it may have been off-topic, I think it's good for the blog to go off-topic once in awhile. For what it's worth . . .

23.

catfish

May 4, 2005, 10:27 PM

Kathleen Staples seems to be the surprise here. Her green picture comes off as red. Amazing.

24.

Jack

May 5, 2005, 12:16 AM

I assume there will be a "closing" just as there was an opening, to give people another chance to see the show. If so, the date and time should be posted in advance HERE, since there appears to be no other reliable place to get such info in this "major" art city.

25.

Young Phdeazy

May 5, 2005, 2:26 PM

Why should anyone want to change the topic here. This is nice chance to talk specifically about real art thats happening right now. Heaven forbid that we have conversation about aesthtics in abstract painting.

26.

Franklin

May 5, 2005, 3:08 PM

I think he meant, in general.

By the way, the juggling post was about art.

27.

oldpro

May 5, 2005, 5:11 PM

Interesting point, phdeazy, and it leads to the observation that just about every comment on this page was in the vein of "nice pictures, I like this and that one best" and other stuff directly related to the work itself. No theory, no huffing & puffing, no all-over-the-place yakking. Refreshing, direct and pleasurable. I like yakking about aesthetics too but I will take this any day.

28.

cohen

May 13, 2005, 9:25 PM

i did not see the show in person,,, but is this work digitalart. i cant reallly tell from the jpegs

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