Ezra Tessler reflects on Blinky Palermo's Grey Disk (1970).
Tessler writes: "Once Grey Disk made its way into my mind I had a hard time not seeing it everywhere. Turn Grey Disk on its side and walk through the Met: there it is in the rounded-faces of the lifelike Roman funerary portraits painted in encaustic on wood, in the hand-carved cameos of the late nineteenth-century, and so on down the halls. Or leave it horizontal and think of nearly any painting. It mimics the golden orb of the kneecap at the center of Caravaggio’s Narcissus, the shape of Braque’s Violin and Music Score, the dark cutout oval in Picasso’s guitar sculptures, the black elliptical sphere in Dana Schutz’s Guitar Girl, the biomorphic shapes in Ron Gorchov’s pieces, and the swollen lumps of elephant dung in Chris Ofili’s work. It’s the bowl of fruit in every still life from Claesz to Matisse, the muted and dusty grey saucer in Morandi’s Natura Morta II, the skulls in seventeenth-century vanitas paintings, the ominous cloud covering Gerhard Richter’s Table and the carnal orifice of his Mouth. Cloud, face, saucer, saddle, stage, shield, palette – how can one begin to capture everything that it invokes?"
Eric Zimmerman visits the Blinky Palermo Retrospective now on view at Dia:Beacon and CSS Bard on view through October 31, 2011. Referring to Palermo's Graue Schiebe (1970) Zimmerman notes "The painting's surface is as erratic as its shape, which draws you close and then promptly insists you back up again, a process that can continue for as long as your attention allows. These sorts of perceptual games are abstraction's bread and butter. In a sense they speak directly to our vision and physical presence within a space. They let our eyes guide our bodies in seeking out clues, nuance, and new ways of seeing and thinking about form, while keenly subverting the relationship between subject and object. Such acts, Palermo’s being a particularly salient example, subtly ground the viewer in the gallery space through active engagement, both physical and metaphorical."
Artist Steve Roden posts some thoughts on the work of Blinky Palermo sparked by the juxtaposition of a Palermo work, Projektion, with one of Roden's own paintings in the exhibition Time Again at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City. Palermo's Projektion is "a photographic document of a projection of a red and blue painting onto the front of what appears to be the facade of an apartment building." Roden notes that Projektion "...seems to shift certain conditions of an existing architecture through the addition of color and light..." and writes about his own painting's relationship to architecture.
Catherine Wagley relects on friendship and recounts the story of two friends whose work influenced one another: Blinky Palermo and Imi Knoebel. The two artists explored the United States together on a road trip where they "stopped at Rothko’s Chapel, saw De Maria’s Las Vegas piece, and returned home inspired." Palermo's work is currently the subject of a retrospective that travels from LACMA to the Hirshhorn Museum where it opens February 24, 2011. Imi Knoebel's hommage to his friend 24 Colors for Blinky is on view at Dia:Beacon.
Steven Alexander discusses the re-release of Blinky Palermo: To The People of New York City with essays by Lynne Cooke, Christine Mehring, Anne Rorimer, Pia Gottschaller. Published by Dia and Richter Verlag.
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.