Almine Rech Gallery, London, presents Early 21st Century Art, a group exhibition organized with Bill Powers. Works by Alex Becerra, Amy Bessone, Ginny Casey, Tanya Merrill, Anthony Miler, Asuka Anastacia Ogawa, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Jan-Ole Schiemann, Vaughn Spann and Hiejin Yoo are on view.
In the same way that Philip Guston inadvertently killed the notion of schools of art by switching styles and thereby defying easy categorization, perhaps a new generation of painters is helping erase the bias of geography. Isn’t there something old-fashioned or reductive in qualifying works as Western versus Eastern? Look at an artist like Asuka Anastacia Ogawa, who is half Japanese and half Brazilian, but studied at St Martins in London and now lives in Brooklyn. The upside of a globalism that brings Hiejin Yoo from South Korea to study at UCLA graduate school and make paintings about her relationships in America, is that it forces us to deal with artists on a case-by-case basis. A more holistic approach promotes inclusion, or at least that’s our hope. Let us embrace regionalism as one aspect of our biography.
Other artists redefine our era via technique or perspective. Nathaniel Mary Quinn’s performance drawings are created using both hands drawing simultaneously (and sometimes upside down). Quinn’s ambidextrous approach is an attempt to tap deeper into his intuition by pushing his eye/hand coordination to the brink of his conscious ability. Someone like Tanya Merrill fights history itself taking on The Pietà and our collective projections about the American cowboy. She employs a strain of presentism with an aplomb necessary to look back at the shadowy recesses of our past.
Bill Powers recently organized a summer group show Cliche with Almine Rech Gallery, New York, in which several painters from Early 21st Century Art participated. The majority of the artists included in this exhibition are making their London debut.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)