November 6, 2013

Todd Bienvenu at Life on Mars on Friday

Constellations, 2013, at Life on Mars

The specter of false consciousness still haunts the art world. New art stars are still received either with mawkish tones of hope or with a Bronx cheer. For thirty years we have been snared in this ambivalent jag. Criticism takes refuge in elaborate workarounds and risorgimenti. Brooklyn takes truckloads of guff for truckloads of hubris. And very few painters have been able to crack this mess open and splay it out as deliciously as Todd Bienvenu.

The great meltdown that no one talks about anymore, that is, the death of painting, which was swept under the carpet so we could cobble together a resurrection of painting, is not a matter that is minced in the work of this artist. He spits in your eye!

Bienvenu's work ranges broadly over two categories, “abstract” and “illustrative.” It is amazing how thorough he is in both ranges. He is basically “two hot Bushwick painters” in one. Most people are probably more familiar with his illustrative paintings, such as the one above that will be at Life on Mars. So I have inserted a few of his more abstract works below, so you can see how goddamn gorgeous this stuff really is, and the depth and freedom of this painter's range. He is immensely prolific, he paints with a trowel, he makes you want to start a band.

Be sure to check out the gatorman this Friday in PAINTING IMPOSSIBLE at Life on Mars in Bushwick.

Spitfire, 2013, oil on canvas

Stooges, 2013, oil on canvas

Southland, 2012, oil on canvas