INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART
If painting in general is back in vogue, as has been so jubilantly proclaimed, then wall painting's revival cuts both ways: A more grandly scaled, "couture" version of painting, it also, paradoxically, boasts something of an anticommodity status. "Frieze frieze, in architecture, the member of an entablature between the architrave and the cornice or any horizontal band used for decorative purposes. In the first type the Doric frieze alternates the metope and the triglyph; that of the other orders is plain or " brought together five artists to present the state of large-scale murals (all works 1999) - which, in this show at least, exhibited strong ties to Pop, Op, psychedelia psy·che·de·li·a
The subculture associated with psychedelic drugs.
Noun 1. psychedelia - the subculture of users of psychedelic drugs , and '60s and '70s graphic design.
John Armleder Born in Geneva in 1948, John Armleder is a Swiss artist. Armleder first came on the scene during his involvement with Fluxus in the 1960s and 1970s, when he created performances, installations and collective activities. , who made his first wall paintings in 1967, was the relative old master here. For "Frieze," he took on a selection of icons, knocking down or ratcheting up their impact so that they combined into one smoothly static look. On one wall, a series of concentric pink and black circles referenced the targets of Kenneth Noland and Jasper Johns but with the high-modernist marrow sucked out. On another wall, at a right angle to the targets, dozens of free-lovin' smiley faces, ordered into a strict, authoritarian grid, were mirrored on a third, opposite wall by identical rows of black splats Splats (Greek: Σπλατς) is a fanzine with comics. It is sold mainly within Patras as well as other cities. The volume does not number ant its stories are entirely humoristic. It has sold several volumes. , which invoked Jackson Pollock's drips or even an exploded version of the smiley faces themselves.
While Armleder disguised his cultural theory under a sheen of amiable banality, Franz Ackermann and Sarah Morris offered highly stylized styl·ize
tr.v. styl·ized, styl·iz·ing, styl·iz·es
1. To restrict or make conform to a particular style.
2. To represent conventionally; conventionalize. reflections on the urban environment. Berlin-based Ackermann's Untitled (Call Yourself City) presented an homage to the interior of the Bundestag as it looked while under construction along with a painted version of one of the artist's "mental maps" (drawings inspired by the main arteries of cities, in this case Boston) and assorted buildings and billboards - all portrayed practically on top of one another in the center of a stadium. With its candy-colored blobs and intensely hued hued
Having a given hue, aspect, or character. Often used in combination: rosy-hued; dark-hued. , overlapping imagery, Ackermann's hard-edged Any city dissolved into a semi-psychedelic urban playground.
While Morris's recent canvases mimic the grid patterns of International Style skyscrapers, in moving onto the wall she turned to the expansive yet immaterial structures of television. based on a pixelated The appearance of pixels in a bitmapped image. For example, when an image is displayed or printed too large, the individual, square pixels are discernible to the naked eye where one color or shade of gray blends into another. Sometimes, images are pixelated purposely for special effects. image from a Budweiser ad, Midtown - Panasonic Jumbotron (Times square Reflection) had a white diagonal grid crisscrossing hundreds of gray, red, blue, green, yellow, and black triangles, all rendered in extra-thick coats of high-gloss house paint. If Ackermann's wide-screen urban scene was aggressive, then Morris's wall painting was downright assaultive as·saul·tive
Inclined to or suggestive of violent attack: "The reduction of cinema to assaultive images ... has produced a disincarnated, lightweight cinema that doesn't demand anyone's full attention" - painting's steroid-injected, supercharged su·per·charge
tr.v. su·per·charged, su·per·charg·ing, su·per·charg·es
1. To increase the power of (an engine, for example), as by fitting with a supercharger.
2. challenge to TV.
By contrast, Margaret Kilgallen's Half Past, despite its two-story scale, was a refreshingly humanized haven. Incorporating smaller paintings (on found steel or wood panels) and displaying a relatively naturalistic palette, her impressionistic im·pres·sion·is·tic
1. Of, relating to, or practicing impressionism.
2. Of, relating to, or predicated on impression as opposed to reason or fact: impressionistic memories of early childhood. patchwork of signs and words, animals and people seemed downright old-fashioned, a kind of contemporary cartoon folk art. Half Past was also highly tactile: Two narrow shelves held half-used bars of soap and tram-flattened coins, and the artist's hand was evident everywhere in streaks, roller marks, and paint drips.
Finally, local boy Alexander Scott took up the lower walls of the ICA's open stairwell stair·well
A vertical shaft around which a staircase has been built.
a vertical shaft in a building that contains a staircase
Noun 1. . Unlike Morris's high-impact work, Scott offered an interpretation of Satie's "wallpaper music" in visual form (wallpaper art!), with intersecting horizontal and vertical rows of album jacket-like squares. The motifs included a white, stylized deer graphic on pink; black-and-white variations on ellipses-within-circles; and a few squares with simulated fake-wood paneling created with a handmade paint roller (get it?). But just as Satie's music, contrary to its composer's wishes, got listened to, almost already gone got looked at - it was in an art center, after all, not a cocktail lounge. And whereas Armleder's piece looked deliberately vacuous, ScoWs was just vacantly trendy. This, apparently, is the next frontier, as painting merges with design and "dares" to be merely decorative.