Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review of Eric's show @ Acuna-Hansen

Eric Sall: “High and Wide”
at Acuna-Hansen
Eric Sall’s first solo show in Los Angeles puts just three
of his large-format abstract oil paintings on display, but
since one is a masterpiece, the choice to exhibit quality
rather than quantity is a winning decision. Thick, house-
paint sized horizontal swaths ofcolor—from marine
blue at the bottom of the canvas, rising into grey, black,
then grey again and red at the top—form the back-
ground of Fair and Balanced.It is a color scheme that
brings Yves Tanguy’s fantastical landscapes to mind, es-
pecially the black in the middle, which functions as an
amorphous horizon line. The foreground is completely
centered on a contraption of vaguely military con-
trivance. This represented object, both fanciful and me-
chanical, appears like one of Tanguy’s polymorphous
blobs, but enlarged and more machine-like, like a Jean
Tinguely sculpture in two dimensional oils.
Adding another layer of depth to the picture as a whole
is the red, white and blue smears of bunting that form a
sort of hull, holding the parts in place. To use Fox News’
notoriously misleading slogan as a title for an ostensibly
abstract painting while we’re all in the middle of the po-
litical season could be construed as providing shorthand
for the grasping of meaning in front of the work. But it
actually opens up the art historical references and aes-
thetic experiences available when in front of the workto
include the more quotidian, rational mind. Has the con-
traption been attacked, or is it in the process of shooting
things out and attacking something else? The pinks and
purples used to create the lines and designs within the
thing contribute to a subtle statement about the colors
that go into red, white and blue when they are bleeding
into each other: primary colors politicized as masculine
and patriotic confront shades typically gendered as femi-
nine and assailable. Fair and Balancedexcites thought
while providing visual pleasure.
While Paul Klee described his artistic process as “taking
a line for a walk,”in Stockpile, Sall takes his lines for
short, jaunty excursions and layers them on top of each
other. Jagged zigzags march beneath soft curves and
inchworm silhouettes traverse stunted branchings and
pliable fishhooks. Bloody Ridgeblends his enchantment
with the line into roaring dissonances of unexpected
colors that clash on either side of each highlighted
edge. With Sall’s considerable skills manipulating paint,
the maturation of his ideas should be
keenly anticipated.


“Fair and Balanced,” 2007
Eric Sall
Oil on canvas, 78" x 96"
Photo: courtesy of acuna-hansen gallery
www.artltdmag.com Copyright ©2008 Lifescapes Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"the maturation of his ideas should be keenly anticipated"

no pressure big guy, keep on painting, fuck em.

Good. Good. Good.

Was wonderful to hang out. That I miss about NYC for shizzle.