Saturday, May 16, 2009

Colescott and Guston

Last week we focused on John McCracken's Black Box, being one of two pieces artist and writer Pat Boas would focus on at the museum's monthly artist talk. The other piece, untitled, by Philip Guston, we haven't shown you yet.
The essence of Boas' talk boiled down McCracken as the eternal optimist always looking to create a pure form (ie. something that beings from another planet might leave on earth) and Guston the eternal pessimist, who's work is a reflection of living with racism, the vietnam war and the struggles and abuses man does to man. Guston's style is cartoon like, at one point Boas quoted someone else who said Guston painted "satanic with a smile".
In the descriptions of Colescott's work I am coming across the words "cartoon" and "personal narrative" and "satire", these descriptives remind me of Guston, the light blue background, the hooded figure with the red speckles on his cape and also on the bed-like figure behind him, the giant red wound in the middle of the piece and the oversized cartoon hand whose finger is pointing at it. Take a look at this Guston:

The figures are not that different from the one in the painting at the art museum. The cartoon nature of Colescott and Guston's figures and the social commentary they wish to share, the sick sadness behind the myth, the bright colors they choose to paint them in, these things hold these two artists together. Look at these two images, one is Colescott the other is Guston, I'm sure you can tell which is which. They are like two rooms in the same building.

No comments: