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!
“Sir! Sir! ….Sorry.” By Ivaylo Gueorgiev at Launch F-18
- Art night in the LES can be a golden opportunity Artist Elise Adibi The last time I saw the work and reviewed Elise… »
- Art night on the LES in Krause Gallery Stephan Zirwes & Marco Guglielmino at Krause Gallery Installation shot of… »
- Public Display: Streetscapes by Rad Roubeni Opening Reception: Sunday, December 21, 2014 4 - 7 p.m Exhibition… »
- Bloody good photos at Site 109 Photography lovers at Site 109 A bird's eye view at Site 109 Close Up Detail on one… »
- Prime Set Who: Justin Stewart, Chandler Craig, Allison Barker and a collective of musicians, visual artists, and… »
- Festina Lente group show at Create and Collectduring Art Basel week 2014 Laura Cartagena and Tatiana Camacho WYNWOOD,… »
- On Friday November 14th, Arte Fuse visited Launch F18 for their final opening at its current location in Tribeca. The… »
- Press release provided by the Gallery Venus Over Manhattan and Sotheby’s S|2 present Cosa Nostra, the first major… »
- Graffiti at Fridge Art Fair Qinza and Zaks Art by Lady Millard Fridge Art Fair was pleased to offer exhibitors and… »
- To experience Eliane Elias in concert is to understand the notion of temporary bliss. With a career spanning forty… »