Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I was really looking forward to seeing Mary Heilmann's work in person -- her work looks great as jpegs and is right up my alley. But sadly, I was super disappointed at the surfaces. The acrylic really kills the painting surface and makes them feel really lifeless and her hand seems really lazy to me. I did like the pieces where her hand was less evident, like some of the ceramic tiles, but overall, huge disappointment. I wanted to like her so much :(
The Elizabeth Peyton show was surprising in a couple of ways. First, I was surprised at how crappy our Philadelphia Museum's Peyton is. I used to like Peyton a lot, but I guess from only being exposed to the Philly Museum one over and over again, I kind of stopped liking her. I was also surprised at how object-like the small paintings on board were; the surfaces are coated in a super thick oil ground and the frames themselves are pretty deep. It was interesting to compare her hand to Heilmann's -- some might call Peyton's hand lazy as well, but I think there is a grace in Peyton's hand that I really like. Finally, I was surprised at how bad the paintings became when she stopped working from photos and worked from life instead. Her brush strokes almost seem to become trapped on the figure she is painting and doesn't wander and have as much fun as in her earlier work.