When the paintings of the blockbuster Swedish artist Hilma af Klint, who died in 1944, were first shown publicly in the 1980s, some critics argued that the works looked more like diagrams illustrating occult ideas than abstract paintings. Later audiences and critics disagreed. Tastes have changed perhaps — but so has our relationship to diagrams, as John Bender and Michael Marrinan asserted in their book “The Culture of Diagram” (2010). “Schema: World as Diagram” focuses on artists — mostly painters — who use the diagram in formal, conceptual and sometimes playful ways. Some use it to describe social, political and personal structures, such as Mike Cloud, Alan Davie, David Diao, Thomas Hirschhorn, Mark Lombardi and Loren Munk. Grids, networks and circuit boards appear in works by Alfred Jensen, Paul Pagk, Miguel Angel Ríos. Maps are a touchstone for Joanne Greenbaum and the aboriginal painters Jimmy and Angie Tchooga. More cosmic diagrams appear in paintings by Chris Martin, Karla Knight, Paul Laffoley, Trevor Winkfield and Hilma’s Ghost (the artists Dannielle Tegeder and Sharmistha Ray), who take af Klint as an inspiration.
The National Academy of Design (NAD)--the venerable New York-based association of artists and architects established in 1825--has announced the induction of eight new National Academicians. The artists Julie Mehretu, Rashid Johnson, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Joanne Greenbaum, Joanna Pousette-Dart, Gary Simmons, Peter Halley and the architect Andrew Freear join more than 400 international NAD members.
By bringing together oil paint, acrylic, water-soluble pastel, and magic marker to make her images, Greenbaum collapses the distinctions between painting and drawing; "artisanal competence" and casual mark-making; and fine art materials and cheap hobbyist supplies.
Joanne Greenbaum is a New York artist who has been painting abstract compositions for over 30 years. Her work, which ranges from playful to chaotic, cartoonish and sometimes architectural compositions, which are always a conundrum to decode. Recently, the artist has turned to making works on glass for her latest solo exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery in New York City, I'm Doing My Face In Magic Marker.
On the occasion of Joanne Greenbaum’s second one-person exhibition at Rachel Uffner Gallery (May 20 – July 1, 2016), which features both recent paintings and sculptures, Rail publisher Phong Bui paid a visit to the artist’s Tribeca studio to discuss her life and work just a day before the works were transported to the gallery for exhibition.
Joanne Greenbaum’s new paintings are full of stuff; very few areas are left open or unattended. In many of these new pieces, colored pencil, marker, or crayon lines run over the surface, giving the feeling of a child let loose. On first impression this creates a powerful energetic field. Once your mind has had a chance to sort out the various levels, dissonances, and cadences that form their inner structure, however, that first impression begins to recede and the order in what first appeared as a chaotic field starts to get its say.
Joanne Greenbaum is an artist who lives in her studio. It is easy in her latest exhibition, the inaugural show at Rachel Uffner’s new gallery, to sense the olfactory appeal of her process—and, in fact, her practice offers another idea of the studio as a factory. Instead of Warhol’s cool Fordian mass production, the one-person Greenbaum factory creates singular, unique works of organized chaos.
These days, when should abstraction still be dismissed as retread? It is often possible that in the act of making, ideas are transcended and subsequently reinvented. Joanne Greenbaum’s exhibition has an exuberant velocity: staggered steps, carousing curves, and vibrant colors all conspiring to reassemble as they move along. Small ceramic sculptures on a low shelf twist and turn like upended ice cream cones or like Tatlin’s leaning tower. As the architect Eladio Dieste once wrote, “The resistant virtues of . . . structures . . . depend on form.” A very simple logic, but with the inhibitions of structural engineering seemingly removed, a quasi-surreal psychological space materializes; here the incongruent becomes elegant without losing its awkwardness. Greenbaum willfully walks a tightrope, risking a fall into solipsistic drama, a descent avoided but not out of sight.