Friday, September 19, 2014

James Bishop at David Zwirner Gallery

James Bishop at David Zwirner Gallery

         The show features the abstract works of American artist, James Bishop, abstract works, painted during the 1960s to the early 1980s. From the moment viewers enter the exhibition, the framework and simple horizontal-vertical configuration of squares grasps their attention. As much as his works are compressed and abstracted, the impact from the simplicity is direct and powerful.

His squared and repetitively divided pictorial spaces look similar and blended, when seen from a distance, but when you get close enough to see them, each subsquare in his paintings has distinct individuality. They have differences in brightness, hues, and even in shapes. Those are minor, but exist, and make viewers feeling the paintings more organic. Another notable point is that Bishop’s concretely divided surfaces are not flat, and the many textured painted areas actually reflect the lights. Through the reflections, his brushstrokes become alive and vivid, and it makes his ostensibly static paintings more interesting.
According to the author of Recent Drawings, Elke M. Solomon, Bishop is one of the minimalist artists who has the most limited and repetitious formats in his work, but within it, there is great richness and subtlety of design. No individual squares are the same, and no divided spaces are symmetrical, so we can see the minimalist artist’s abstract works are not as nearly simple as they seem.

Artists may hide underlying meanings in their paintings, but viewers are not always able to completely understand the artists' ideas in abstract works. As abstract paintings often ask viewers for their own interpretation or even assumption, James Bishop's series of works also need such participation. 

(Photo courtesy of the David Zwirner Gallery) *REVIEWED

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your quote from Elke M. Solomon about his paintings. His paintings have the subtlety of layers and each layer seem to carry light on its own. When all the layers come together, Bishop creates this frames within the painting that lets the under painting to shine through. David Zwirner did a great job in curating the pieces in a way that not only it shines by itself but also paintings all together.