Sunday, January 13, 2008

Transforming Reality: Patten and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

The People Käthe Kollwitz... The People (1922-23, Woodcut on heavy off-white Velin, Signed, lower right, and numbered 55/100, lower left. Plate 7 from the cycle War). From the exhibition Transforming Reality: Patten and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art, January 15 - March 8, 2008 at Galerie St. Etienne in New York. "...Modernists and self-taught artists in the early twentieth century created works that were remarkably similar in affect, if not in overt intention. Untethered from pedantic verisimilitude, the innate expressive qualities of form and color were allowed free reign, but the retention of recognizable subject matter established a communicative link between the artists' inner visions and the viewing public. This was indeed a new sort of realism, a realism with no pretensions to objective truth. The new realism could be bluntly confrontational in the hands of artists with a social agenda, such as Otto Dix, Käthe Kollwitz and later in the twentieth century, Leonard Baskin. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Kokoschka, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, Schiele and others used a modernist aesthetic to give deeper emotional resonance to their subjects. Feininger and Paul Klee wielded semi-abstract forms with playful whimsy, yet their intent was profoundly serious: to make visible the invisible forces of the cosmos, to link the human to the eternal."

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