Sunday, June 6, 2010

John Finneran


  1. John Finneran @
    Tony Wight Gallery
    845 West Washington Boulevard
    Chicago IL
    USA 60607

  2. "Using reflective aluminum grounds and a reduced color palette, John Finneran’s enigmatic paintings
    merge simple visual motifs—lips, eyes, noses, mussel shells, triangles, and trashcans—with brushy
    abstraction. The results are at once deeply personal and flatly ubiquitous. The iconic nature of
    Finneran’s imagery—its repetition and lack of illustrative detail—provides an anchor to the
    expressionistic and abstract elements of the paintings without locking up the compositions. There is a
    complex oscillation here; between the painterly and the graphic, one-shot gestures and heavily
    worked surfaces. Finneran pushes the paintings towards a between space, a space of uncertainty and
    untethered meaning, a contemplative field without answers.

    The central series in the exhibition is LW’s the Sea, which translates statements from a text piece by
    Lawrence Weiner into five discreet paintings. Finneran has reordered the statements as titles for his
    paintings: To the Sea, Bordering the Sea, At the Sea, On the Sea, and From the Sea. These
    paintings are built around the specificity of the language in the titles, the positioning of the self to the
    sea. Rather than a pictorial interpretation of Weiner’s piece, Finneran’s paintings offer a psychological
    interpretation of what the statements feel like.

    The title of the exhibition conflates a practical description of a type of spatial device present in the
    painting Bordering the Sea—a literal border which describes an interior rectangle set inside the
    rectangle of the panel itself—and a perceptual border enforced by the aluminum ground's resistance
    to light absorption. Finneran’s metal surfaces are themselves borders, holding us aside from a visual
    trip to another place. They hold us in front of something like the sea. Immense, impassive and patient.
    This is whatever is outside of us, everything besides us.

    Press Release

  3. The PR is over the top but the central issue is pretty much nailed.

    Seems to be how one reconciles the literal and metaphorical readings. Or what aspects of the sea (for example) we might assign the various materials and techniques.

    The geometry to this one feels a bit safe, a bit tasteful. But the overall project is sound.

    There's also the conflict between the closely worked surfaces and their remoteness of reference. Even to say these things talk about the literal or material, begs some method and end.

    Finneran has a great touch, it's his reach that troubles.

    The sea, etc, are maybe just a little bit too much at arm's length, an accommodating metaphor, that gives him too much elbow room, not enough traction.

  4. Time for a new post CP!

    Also, might want to think about how many posts you allow on your homepage (a settings issue) - the more there is, the larger the file/slower the download.

    I found 5 was about right.