Saturday, September 7, 2013

Just got back from the Clayton Art Fair

Saw a lot of wanna-be Dalis, wanna-be Miros, stuff that looked like it came from the R-Rated version of Struwwelpeter (which I kinda liked), and a bunch of rectangles of various bright colors or the dehumanizingly drab hues of industrial grey, showing that the twin legacies of Rothko and Serra are unfortunately still limping on.  And, of course, I saw many paintings of beautiful autumnal scenes that just would look great over a gas-powered fireplace in the hope of lending it some authentic rustic aura.  Yeah, well, the middle brow art scene is in a rut.  Still.  But it's supposed to be.  Middle brow is per definition in a rut.

But one artist wowed me.  Really wowed me.  Kathleen Eaton.  I haven't seen painted glows this alluring and magical since Latour.  From afar it seemed that her paintings illuminated her tent as dusk fell.  I asked her if she cheated and sneaked in some fluorescents.  She rather curtly said no.  Sorry.  Yeah, it's rather middle brow of me to be bowled over by a painter's tricks with light.  Well, perhaps, "middle brow" is too kind.  I am more like a cave man going onga bonga because he has seen fire for the first time.  Fine.  Great art is supposed to trigger in us a primal sense of wonder, and Ms. Eaton's paintings of scenes manage to do just that in the midst of what is supposed to have buried it, the artifice of modern urban life.

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