I get excited when I see art made by skilled hands instead of assistants and technicians. And I especially get excited by the able use of color and line. After all, I spent years as an undergraduate trying to master these tools. On Saturday I was again touring galleries with a friend and was happy to see that Chelsea was full of paintings. I love paintings – that’s why I make them.
Our first stop was Wolf Kahn’s show at Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe Gallery (www.amy-nyc.com). Mr. Kahn is now 85 and receiving the respect he has always deserved but not always received. His brave and idiosyncratic use of color pushes the limits of what we can see and like, and this new work shows that he is still evolving as an artist. Scribbling with oil crayon on top of oil paint – I love that! – and paintings full of complimentary colors: violet with yellow, blue with orange, and red with green. But he goes further and makes the red into magenta and the green into lime, until the colors are vibrating on the canvas. It’s like spicy food for your eyes. Spicy food releases endorphins in your brain and makes you feel better. I don’t think anyone will dismiss him anymore.
My other favorite among the artists we viewed was Zak Smith, showing at Fredericks & Freiser (www.fredericksfreisergallery.com). His drawings are amazing. And the gallery assistant, Molly, was kind enough not to stop me when I stuck my nose right up to them to look at the lines and marks which made up his graphic-novel style works. According to Molly, the show was a huge success and had almost sold out. Congratulations Zak Smith. I didn’t know anything was selling these days. I could try to describe his work further, but really, wouldn’t you rather look at the pictures?