The Mental Museum

Archive for June 2008

The Paul Jenkins Smear

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Phenomena Blue Held Over 1975
acrylic on canvas 75 x 118 inches 190.5 x 300 cm
Milwaukee Art Museum. Gift of Jane Bradley Pettit.


Kansas City, Missouri born artist Paul Jenkins is now 85 years old. Since the 1950s, Jenkins has been mastering the substance of paint through color study works of art that have come to represent the spirit, vitality, and invention of post World War II American abstraction. Inspired by the innovations of Jackson Pollock and the metaphysical representations of Mark Tobey, Jenkins ultimately became associated with the Abstract Expressionists.  A turning point in Jenkins career as an artist was in 1948 when he began studying under the supervision of Japanese artist Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the Arts Student League in New York. Much of Jenkins work, still to this day embodies an almost calligraphic nature. Calligraphy is an art that seeks to master confident, intentional and measured strokes. The work of the brush as an extension of the entire arm is rhythmic and flows to a nonexistent pulse.  Strokes are calculated before hand and executed only once with certainty and self possession. These notions, although executed with no brush, have been filtrated with Jenkins’ measured skills of paint pouring and canvas manipulation. 


Phenomena Kwan Yin 1969
acrylic on canvas 88 x 119 inches 223.5 x 302.5 cm
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Phenomena Tibetan Flange 1973
acrylic on canvas 66 x 74 inches 167.6 x 188 cm
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.

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June 18, 2008 at 9:08 pm

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Idris Khan, Between the Lines

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every… stave of Frederick Chopin’s Nocturnes for the piano, 2004

Idris Khan was born in 1978 in Birmingham, UK and is currently a London based photographic artist. He attended the University of Derby and received a Bachlor of Fine Arts and contintued on with a Masters of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art, London. His work, since his notoriety has consisted of multiple layering of similar images, images that are frequently taken from art history itself, often using appropriated work from literature, music and art to create his thematic body. What is so unusual and satisfying about Khan’s work is that the end result is, in a way, a visual representation of what time infact does to a work in history. Let’s take Italian Renaissance painter, Michelangelo for example. Art historians, artists, collectors, patrons and the every day museum goers have studied, discussed, analyzed, admired and even copied his work; his technique, his message, his themes. Years of this. Years of this nature of attention have been earned by hundreds of thosands of intellectuals. Composers’ pieces have been reworked, performed again, mastered, taught and enjoyed over and over across the world and throughout the centuries. Literature as well. Read, studied, even reinterpreted into artwork or film. This revisiting, rethinking, reexperiencing is what Khan seems to capture in his work. The idea of history being ‘His’tory is an element of this work that stares me straight in the face. The core, being the original work, is there and evident and acknowledged, however Khan’s personal touch makes it infact ‘his’story. Reinterpretation in one way or another. And isn’t that what really happens to every story in history?

every…page from the Holy Koran, 2004

(optical illusion: stare at the center and watch it grow)

Written by thementalmuseum

June 2, 2008 at 6:59 pm

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