FEB 2012

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FEB 2012 Issue
ArtSeen

JESS Paintings

On View
Tibor De Nagy Gallery
December 8, 2011 – January 21, 2012
New York
Jess, "Ex. 1-Laying a Standard: Translation #1," 1959, oil on canvas, 23 1/2" x 15". Courtesy of Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.

Jess: Paintings, Tibor de Nagy’s third solo exhibition of the artist’s work and the first to focus on his paintings, features 17 paintings and two works on paper. This exhibition reveals much about Jess’s progress with regard to process and influences: one finds in the interim between “Kit Kat, Imaginary Portrait #12” (1955) and “Tactile Images” (1959) a studied investment in Édouard Vuillard’s intimate and tonal palette. One also encounters the artist discovering the heavy impasto qualities of oil paint mixed with wax. Through Jess’s varied surface materials and painterly approaches in “Fairy Tale Street” (1953), “Night Scene: St. Dominic’s” (1954), and “The Felon” (1966), a tentative exploration of the mystical is evident—while works such as “Hyakinthos—Apollon” (1962) and “‘Danger, Don’t Advance,’ Salvages IX” (circa 1990, his last painting) attest to a sensual realm where ecstasy and vulnerability are indistinguishable. Painted with the same heavily laid-on, paint-by-numbers style of Jess’s exquisite “Ex. 4—Trinity Trine” (1964, displayed in MoMA’s third-floor hallway this past fall), “Ex. 1—Laying a Standard, Translation #1” (1959)—created three years before Warhol’s 1962 mechanical “Do It Yourself” paintings—is the only work displayed from the artist’s most enduring and recognizable series of paintings.

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FEB 2012

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