Web Design
Film and Animation
Fine Art
Graphic Design
Jobs and Directory
Product Design
:::::: The online source for creative talent ::::::::
[Online Forums] [online forum

Louise Bourgois and Chuck Close (in two solo shows) at the White Cube, Hoxton. Review by Grace Giardina  

You may be familiar with Chuck Close and his amazing, giant, photorealistic paintings, but now there's a chance to see 7 recent works dating from 2000-2002. Some of these portraits include pictures of the artist's wife Leslie, and fellow artists James Siena and Robert Rauschenberg. The 'Self Portrait' on the far wall, visible as soon as you enter the gallery, is fantastic in it's detail. It's a crystal clear face when you're 20 feet away, but when in front of the canvas you may spot the white paint on the side of his nose, or other marks which seem daring, but all together make up a photograph-like image that would make any perfectionist proud. Close states:

"There is a tradition of emphasizing those key areas of the face which control likeness, while the skin, neck, hair, and background are not considered of primary importance in the reading of a portrait. I wanted to make those areas almost as interesting and important as the more symbolic areas of the face."

Chuck Close has been concentrating on portraiture and on the physiological construct of the human face for decades. He has worked through several various styles of painting including an intense neo-realism in the 1970's and later a form of pointillism, in which the work was created using paint applied on the fingertips! One can lose track of time standing up close to a Close, gazing at it's almost hallucigenic shapes and colours. Then viewing the same painting from the other side of the room, seeing how the entire portrait, proportions and all, come perfectly together. I suggest blurring your eyes as well, to get a sense of the depth of the painting.
The story of Close's life is very interesting. It is a tale of strength, and the wonderful ability to never give up. Sickness and death slithered it's way into his life early. Not only did he lose both his parents to illness, but he himself is limited physically. At the peak of his career in 1988, at the age of 49, he was stricken with a spinal blood clot that left him a quadriplegic. Many thought his career was over, but it didn't stop him. Paralized from the neck down, and unable to use his hands, Close not only returned to painting, but with a new style that would keep his place as one of the greatest American painters of our time.

Upstairs, another great artist has some of her own recent work on show.

Louise Bourgois is an outstanding artist of our time who's career has spanned over 6 decades of movements and waves in art. I personally appreciate being able to have had the chance to stand, in the flesh, incredibly small inside the comforting safety of the mother-like spider, possibly the sculpture most representative of the major fascination in Bourgeois' life.
Currently on exhibition at the White Cube, are new works made in 2002, but also including wall works from the 90's. Her sculptures are delicate, giggly, and horrid. They scream pain to the viewer from inside their glass cases, but not without bringing a smile as well. Works of a feminist nature and proud. Louise Bourgeois unveils men as Picasso unveiled women. It could be that her urge to create these scuptures, similar to masachistic voodoo dolls armed with kitchen utensils, dates back to a memory of her father. Describing what must have been a terribly humiliating and painful experience from her adolescence, Bourgois recalls:

"My father cut the shape of a girl out of a tangerine peel, and then he held it up and said, 'Look everybody, this is Louise. She has nothing! All she's got between her legs is a couple of white threads!' Everybody laughed at me." "Once when we were sitting together at the dining table, I took white bread, mixed it with spit and molded a figure of my father. When the figure was done, I started cutting off the limbs with a knife. I see this as my first sculptural solution."

One who can take anger and embarressment, and use it to create something beautiful and powerful, not only holds the key to wisdom, but will forever have a place in the art world. Within her work, Bourgois pays respect to the Surrealists. Her voodoo doll figurines, half-woman half-machine, terrify as they lay down the sick truth they seem to want you to understand. Bourgeois is aware of the concerns and values of the contemporoary era. "What modern art means is that you have to keep finding new ways of expressing yourself, to express the problems, that there are no settled ways, no fixed approach. This is a painful situation, and modern art is about this painful situation of having absolutely no way of expressing yourself. This is why modern art will continue, because this condition remains... It is about the hurt of not being able to express yourself properly, to express your intimate relations, your unconscious, to trust the world enough to express yourself directly in it." Louise Bourgeois is incredibly educated and superior in her knowledge of art and society, and her understanding of life itself.
After 60 years as an artist (or more), Louise Bourgeois has become a special case in the history of art. A case which unites the legend of her strong personality, her frank attitude to social conventions that threaten to sterilize art, and her works, which have become universal imaginings of the human soul. Bourgeois turned 90 on Christmas 2001. Such a strong mind will not fade away quickly. It is my guess that she will continue making work until it is absolutely impossible to do so. She will always be a pioneer, and her work and accomplishments will never die.

Review by Grace Giardina



  Supporters and Sponsors of    
First Colour printing service in in central London Westminster, Covent Garden and West End. Services include litho printing, digital services, copying & binding, posters & banners and graphic design.    

If you are interested in uploading your own gallery to artshole please contact >>>