Why are we always enchanted and under the seductive spell of cinema? Especially those made in the golden age of film when the stars loomed larger than life. It is the glamour and fantasy that still beguiles us in its artificial world and fictitious shell. AF felt this seductive pull last January 17th at Cheim & Read for two shows inspired and illustrated the very seductive siren song of Hollywood.
Suspicious of rooms without music or atmosphere by David McDermott and Peter McGough included photo-realist paintings, works on paper and sculpture. Internal pathos frozen in conflicted expressions and contained in sumptuous settings inhabit the photo-realist paintings. Taking the stills from classic 1950’s and 60’s melodrama flicks that two distinct planes are melded into one emblematic study of emotional conflict. The black and white part signifies the moment of impact that is frozen while the colored part contrasts as the alternate foil that underscores the narrative. Their works on paper take on close up frames of faces locked in emotional drama but surrounded by the sharp geometric rainbow of prismatic triangles that mimic facets on a gem, which figuratively contain “precious” moments. The entire oeuvre sets the melancholic shadow and tragic beauty as manufactured by Hollywood. These artists created work that turned a mirror on the artificial heightened reality created to influence by visual cues. The challenge remains for us to liberate ourselves from its rapturous web.
Portraits From a Canyon: Los Angeles in the 60’s and 70’s showcased the drawings of Hollywood luminaries by Don Bachardy. The power of his skillful and ethereal style drawings are gifts of being surrounded by a cadre of talented artists and writers. Bachardy captured the bright essence of his sitters as though the faded outlines are bathed by the golden California rays like having their personal spotlight. The very deft and continuous lines were rendered to instantly lock in the very elusive moment of pure radiance and distinct presence. It is very awe inspiring to behold unique characteristics of people as illustrated by his drawings. Bachardy sheds an honest glow to illuminate what’s behind the fame.
Hollywood will always be an industry created by shadows and lights. These artists are testaments to their unique exploratory discourse of how that world still manages to captivate and suspend us in a dream state. It can be a dream but in dreams are the endless possibilities of glamour long after the stars flicker out.
McDermott & McGough: Suspicious of rooms without music or atmosphere / Portraits From a Canyon: Los Angeles in the 60’s and 70’s – Don Bachardy
On View: January 17 – February 23, 2013
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am – 6 pm)
Cheim & Read. 547 West 25th Street. NYC, NY 10001
art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan
art images from Cheim & Read courtesy of the artists
event photography by: Max Noy