Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Harold Ancart at C-l-e-a-r-i-n-g Brooklyn NY

My first trip, highly anticipated, to C-l-e-a-r-i-n-g in Bushwick section of Brooklyn. I have been wanting to visit their gallery since first learning about the gallery a little over a year ago. I originally found out about C-l-e-a-r-i-n-g through an acquaintance of mine whom I met at the same time of Harold Ancart's first show at Casey Kaplan. It was one of those odd connections I made that day. I didn't get a whole lot out of the first viewing. But once they were in my mind, they stayed. Something about them was playing in my mind. I think now, looking back, it might have been Ancart's use of oil stick, and jagged edges, that made me eventually think of Clyfford Still and how he seemed to make paintings that metaphorically wanted to destroy those that would dare view it.

Thankfully I've spent a lot of time of their website, checking out the exhibitions as they go by one by one. So I knew easily when walking toward the gallery that I had found it. Even the last space was incognito about telling you where they were. This space also has no markings that tell you it's a gallery, even the exterior paint scheme from the last tenant has been kept the same. The only way you can tell is by opening the door and getting that sense of deep quiet that in NYC you can only seem to get inside a gallery.

The inner sanctum of the gallery was hung a series of very sparse paintings. Usually Ancart only paints on paper, which I understand makes it much easier for him to work with, the pressure of the oil stick would consistently get in the way of canvas stretched on a chassis, but this particular exhibition is different. As Ancart is working so big, that the paper can't keep up with him. So to accomplish these works, the canvas was stretched onto wood backed panels, which in turn make for very heavy materials. You definitely need an assistant to move these babies around with. Each of the five paintings were 113 x 81 inches (287.5 x 206 cm) which just seemed monumental to my sensibilities. Everything about them was powerful. You can really see the hand and eye used to create them.

The only smaller work in the exhibition. So many ways to look upon this and project your own ideals. I will leave my ideas to myself and allow you to use your own.

The first in the series of five large format paintings in the gallery.



Number four. I only got this one in a shot with number five.

The Clyfford Still ideas for me really began flowing with this painting.

And the number five of these monumental landscapes.

The circular gestures in this painting give me the sense of warping space.

The idea that I got from a few painting mentors over time was always one painting per wall. With this exhibition it's almost one painting per room. Which really gives you the viewer a lot of wonderful space to singularly take in each work. This exhibition is a real meditation on painting, plenty of MA to go around here. In a direct quote from the artist... “I like to envision exhibits not so much as a succession of objects to be looked at, but as tensions created between the various zones of emptiness.”

Seeing this single painting in the back room now gives me the sense of leaving the planet where the previous six paintings were located. 
A jagged world where life blooms in bursts of energy.

I hope you enjoyed my survey of Harold Ancart at C-L-E-A-R-I-N-G and will make the time to witness it for yourself.

The exhibition runs May 12, 2015 - July 12, 2015 so there is still plenty of time to take in the work for yourself. But whatever you do. Don't dive in and then dash out. This is a show that rewards time well spent.

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Columbus, Ohio, United States