Abstract Painting With a Passion for Controlled Violence: A Review of Stanley Dean Edwards at Oliva Gallery

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Installation view, Stanley Dean Edwards at Oliva Gallery

Encouraged

It’s possible it’s only that with the altering period, I have soccer on my brain, but this exhibit of eighteen summary acrylic paintings positive feels like tv on Sunday afternoon. On a surface area as flat as a gridiron, hulking comfortable rectangles like linemen, smash into every single other even though a amazing swath of purple or streak of blue at times sails above the carnage like a downfield move. It’s controlled violence, in which each canvas, like each enjoy from scrimmage, exhibits amazing athleticism and improvisation. 

It is also all much too clear that a set of regulations and boundaries has been established and scrupulously followed. Which is the change in between Stanley Dean Edwards (b. 1941) and some of the pioneers of Summary Expression on look at at the Art Institute of Chicago. No orthogonal panel could have the strength of Ed Clark (1926-2019), so he broke by the body to launch it. And somewhat than expressing himself with a minimal established of styles and methods to fill them, Willem de Kooning (1904 -1997) expanded his visual vocabulary with just about every brushstroke. Stanley Edwards is distinctive. His goal is not heroic self-expression, but somewhat a catalog of “the Yin and Yang of the human psyche,” as could also be found in the I Ching. There’s even some resemblance between the stacks of rectangles in his paintings and the stacks of horizontal traces in I Ching hexagrams.

Stanley Dean Edwards at Oliva Gallery

There is a large amount of spirit in this do the job, but it could hardly be called non secular. It embodies day-to-day conflicts, it does not transcend them. The scale of the paintings neither overwhelms the viewer nor invitations her into a miniature planet of enchantment. There is a make any difference-of-truth high quality about them all. Some spots are vivid and delightful, though others are ominous and depressing. There is stunning elegance and there is brutal ugliness. There is no anger, there is no love—nothing individual, nevertheless practically nothing at any time uninteresting. When issues occur collectively, they do so in conflict, still nonetheless continue on to pull towards the center, since they just can not aid it.

The Bushy Who? have been six of Edwards’ classmates at the College of the Artwork Institute of Chicago, and his get the job done from the mid-sixties is in the collection of each the Smithsonian and the Artwork Institute of Chicago. It is not significantly eliminated from the theatrical, absurdist surrealism of Art Green. As it turned out, Chicago collectors are thrilled by prankish adolescent alienation, and the mainstream of Chicago artwork has continued down that route. Edwards went in a quite diverse way, which could clarify why his do the job is much less effectively-acknowledged, though it is just as very well made and primarily luminous. His mind-set is extra of awe than humor, and his topic is the universe, not himself. Nevertheless the direct, earthbound and forceful attributes of his do the job feels so very regional. Bear Down Chicago Bears! (Chris Miller)

Stanley Dean Edwards: An Summary Universe, on check out at Oliva Gallery, 3816 West Armitage, via October 2.

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