Colonization of Space
On ViewPace Gallery
James Siena: Drawing
January 12 – February 11, 2017
Self-contained “microcosm,” illuminated on paper in
Pre-Eyckian splendor. Simultaneously mitigated by
Anomalous septa, debonair syncopation,
Place and space seem to migrate fluidly to unexpected orbits.
In every instance, field and vehicle in image/sign are liberated to
Espouse and adapt to ever-more stimulating environments.
Like a spider building its orb web in early morning dew,
Using its body for measurements, moisture and air
Are caught in between the spiral thread.
Walking, knotting, mapping, breathing with relaxed fingers
As if the intimate marginalia thrived on fluctuating between
Accretion and collapse.
Nihilism, automatism, manifolds dissimilar at will.
Precise and often homophonic rather than polyphonic,
He prefers to refer to the Book of Hours rather than
Setting the tiles of the Taj Mahal, which he did so long ago.
I also see an inventive engineering that gave birth to this
Architectural stomping ground. Ribbed, corrugated and
Lamella vaults, parabolic arches, fluted shells,
Plus possibly fan-shaped buttresses that expand into massive forms
Yet they’re always at the verge of becoming diminutive tapestries.
They’re at the disposal of his particular devotional, visionary
And loving attentiveness to the atoms of Democritus.
Whoever gazes at this fearful symmetry,
Hasn’t found his way out of the spider’s hub.
Phong H. Bui is the Publisher and Artistic Director of the Brooklyn Rail.
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FEB 2023 | Editor's Message
The catalogue raisonné of Robert Motherwells drawings, which was published by Yale University Press in November 2022, was the culmination of more than ten years of research and serves as a companion to the 2012 catalogue raisonné of Motherwells paintings and collages.
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FEB 2023 | Critics Page
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JUL-AUG 2022 | ArtSeen
Bartons drawings are windows into his modest rooms, jail cells, church sanctuaries, and San Franciscos gay clubs. His work chronicles a period when queer men flocked to San Francisco, yet he was not part of the celebrated gay scene around the King Ubu Gallery founded by Jess Collins and Harry Jacobus with Robert Duncan, and he was not known to other San Francisco artists like Wallace Berman and Bruce Conner.