In the 1950 Billy Wilder film Sunset Boulevard, the delusional Norma Desmond responded after a studio hand remarked that she used to be big – “I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.” Cristin Tierney on 29th Street presented “Cinematic Paintings” by Joe Fig. Instead of the faded silver screen stars, it concentrated on the larger than life scenes of artists from the movies. Arte Fuse attended the opening and was surprisingly pleased to find diminutive oil on canvas paintings.
Joe Fig explores the larger than life myth of the tortured artist as portrayed in films. Some of the big screen movies he referenced like Frida, Pollock, Basquiat, Surviving Picasso, etc. are favorites or at least familiar to most viewing the oeuvre. All the films he chose are seminal movies worth adding to your Netflix list and view it with a fresh pair of eyes. No matter what the size of the screen, the scene plays bigger in our perception. Therefore, Fig capitalizes on this reactionary view by going in the opposite direction when he made actual works for this current series. Relationships: Vincent and Theo Van Gogh (2012) measures 9 X 16 inches. The intimate size of the oil paintings resulted as a decision made by Fig to rather not exploit the huge moments in these artist’s lives by cinematic proportions but instead provide a juxtaposition where the smaller dimensions gives it more focus and depth. Precious things come in small packages and it does force Fig to render the scenes in the best techniques with an artistic verve that needs to break through the four corners of the frame.
Besides the iconic and dramatic moments there is a very discretionary and editing eye as Fig chose to render scenes into his paintings that are not the expected ones. The subtle yet layered quiet scenes are what he captures best. It is the mode of silence, contemplative moment, isolated discovery and resolute peace. In Lovers: Frida and Diego (2012) that we behold this intimate slice of time that is deftly tapped where what is not apparent resonates far more potently. Silence does speak louder than an overwrought cacophony of blathering noise. This also applies to the composition he includes into each piece that the essential items are framed and not crowded with distractions.
Joe Fig does paint the lives of the artists as big even though his representation of it is small. This dichotomy is a mirror of how great lives are measured in small moments that define the true grit of character.
Joe Fig: Cinematic Paintings / On View: September 6 – October 20, 2012
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am – 6 pm) & by appointment
Cristin Tierney Gallery. 546 West 29th Street. New York, NY 10001
art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
images c/o Cristin Tierney Gallery courtesy of the artist, Joe Fig
event photography by: Max Noy
Sign up for our newsletter!
The Space Between a Group Exhibition Curated by Diana Buckley at Paul Kolker Collection. November 13-16, 2014 Opening Reception Thursday, November 13 from 6-8 PM
Antonio Petracca, Kim Foster Gallery, October 2014
Julien Levy, Garis & Hahn, October 2014
- Fernando Mendoza Bravo November 2011. “The hour of the Wolf is the hour between night and dawn, when most people… »
- The art set at Driscoll Babcock Judith Lauand at Driscoll Babcock Everything old is new again. The cyclical nature of… »
- Art night in Chelsea at Yancey Richardson Thursday Art Night in Chelsea at Yancey Richardson Artist Bryan Graf … »
- 16.0, Brent Birnbaum, Paint On Treadmill, 57 x 56 x 124 in New York, New York, October 22, 2014—Diana Buckley, guest… »
- Erik Jones working on a huge 5 ft x 12 ft painting A work by Hueman A work by Alex Yanes Hueman with one of her… »
- Between the art of Thomas Scheibitz Opening for Thomas Scheibitz at Tanya Bonakdar Cheers to art on Thursday in… »
- On October 29th Mark Schubin will give a free presentation, as part of National Opera Week, at Neil Scherer’s Going… »
- Some words from Linda Yablonsky. During her life this person has written only one novel but she’s among the most… »
- As Director Richard P. Townsend explained during the press preview, MOBIA is following up its Back to Eden show (reviewed… »
- Egg-before conception Breaking the mold of the sort of artworks shown at Dacia gallery, Ted Barr's "Cycle of Life" show… »