recent paintings


Recent Paintings by James K-M
September 9 – November 27, 2010
Opening Thursday, September 9, 6-8 PM

BARON GALLERY
293 Columbia Street,
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6A 2R5

In the past several years, Vancouver’s public and independent galleries have worked to revive the abstract in art. Relatively new to the Vancouver art scene, the Gastown-located Baron Gallery has a New York sensibility with a strong appreciation of abstract painting and its history.

“James K-M’s paintings not only evoke the history of abstract painting but point to a metaphysical interpretation,” says Baron. “I’m particularly happy to be presenting over 35 paintings of James’ recent work over the past two years that have not been previously exhibited.”

For the last 30 years K-M has worked with geometric, hard edge, colourist and Kabbalistic abstraction. The paintings in this exhibition are all square, 24″ x 24″, stain and acrylic on plywood.

“I see my paintings as contemporary pictographs and abstract icons of energetic fields,” he says. “Like many artists, my paintings are made in isolation and I am very happy for the opportunity to share so many of my recent paintings together at Baron Gallery.”

James K-M’s most recent painting exhibitions were at the Simon Fraser University Teck Gallery (2008) and at the Council Of Fine Arts Gallery in Camagüey, Cuba (2009/10). Both exhibitions featured catalogue essays on K-M’s work.

EVENT

  • Artist talk: Where Does Art Come From?, Sat., Sept. 18th, 2 – 4 pm
    Art comes from the primal, carries paradox and gestures beyond itself. I will show examples of paintings I made starting in 1977 while still a student. I recall the sensation of these paintings, in a way, making themselves. This began a conscious relationship with a primal force, seemingly outside myself, that I have honoured ever since. I do not believe that there can be any art that doesn’t come from this relationship. Real art cannot ultimately be about anything else. To summarize differently, art is the convergence of profound metaphysics with profound materialism, that is, the meeting of the primal relationship with the inherent language of our materials. Yes, this is a paradox and one of many that art carries. In the end, I see my paintings as contemporary pictographs and abstract icons of energetic fields, which means that they are about and point to something beyond themselves, to an abstract non-rational language beyond mind.
  • Artist talk: The Contemporary Pictograph, Sat., Nov. 13th, 2 – 4 pm
    In his 2nd artist talk for the exhibition COLOURING James K-M will focus on his current work and its relationship to primal and Kabbalist forces that sustain creative life. He will relate his current work to the notion of an art after-the-fact, and working backwards through his past work, show how his paintings are contemporary pictographs and abstract icons of energetic fields.

Advertisements

BARON GALLERY
293 Columbia Street,
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6A 2R5

Group Exhibition of Contemporary Art
Featuring Vincent Dumoulin, James K-M, PEETA, Greg Swales
May 29th – July 24th, 2010

“In my paintings, cross-cultural appropriation can allude to Native beadwork, old floor tiling, post New York school abstraction or minimalism, a board game without pieces (since the work moves without them), a Navaho blanket, or Aztec or Mayan sacred geometry. These aspects represent appropriated traditions that don’t usually coexist and a collision of cultures that are somehow resonant with each other. These are metaphysical appropriations beyond the gestural and ironic and collide to reveal a sentient conscious unknown. Yet my work remains within the realm of Western abstract painting, constrained by a square piece of plywood (24″ x 24″), interacting with its stained grainy surface, superimposed by a contemporary abstract figure.”
– James K-M, 2010

Newman Ruminals (Yellow, Sienna, Black, Red, Blue)
Stain and acrylic on plywood
24″ x 24″ each, 2008 (Titles by Jasa Baka)
(Order changed during show to: Sienna, Black, Red, Blue, Yellow)

THE ARTIST MAGICIANS (LOS ARTISTAS MAGOS)
James K-M (Canada), Joel Jover Llenderrosos (Cuba), Osmany Soler Mena (Cuba)
December 18, 2009 – January 18, 2010
Centro Provincial de Artes Plásticas, Camagüey, Cuba
Curated and catalogue essay by Pavel Alejandro Barrios Sosa
The Artist Magicians essay.pdf

“The Artist Magicians form a human conscience, revealing universes that are concentric or
chaotic, silent or resounding; they are devotees whose occupation is to reveal or to make
possible things that have never been, things that will be, or things that will continue to be.
The primordial magic art has not changed; the change is only in our way of perceiving. That
limitation in perception leads to tedium and confusion until the evidence is accepted. The
magic is there still, with the same simplicity which Benedetto Grocce indicated when he
stated that the search for art is to look for a concept that everybody knows. The search for
art is not necessary, it is self-evident. It is simply not understood that it is understood.”
~ Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue essay by Pavel Alejandro Barrios Sosa

All works by James K-M are acrylic on paper, 24″ x 24″, 2009
The Artist Magicians (collaboration), acrylic on canvas, 52 3/4″ x 91 1/8″, 2009

The task is to give birth to the old in a new time. ~ C.G. Jung

A proposition must communicate a new sense with old words. ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

Layering the open, light-emitting heart, day and night, the conscious and unconscious, upon the unevolved, as a creative act. ~ James K-M, 2010

Minus Space (New York)

The Cuba Project

Image: Hearing Bone (detail), stain and acrylic on plywood, 24” x 24,” 2007

James K-M: Cave Paintings, September 2 – November 22, 2008.
Opening: Friday, September 5, 8 – 9 pm. Open daily during campus hours.

Please join us for the exhibition opening at the Teck Gallery, SFU Vancouver Campus, 515 West Hastings St, Vancouver, BC. The artist will be in attendance. Opening remarks at 8:30 pm.

Artist talk: Monday, September 15, 7pm
The artist will present a talk titled “Is There Anything Old Here?”
Room 1600, SFU Vancouver campus

T: 778-782-4266 W: sfu.ca/gallery E: gallery@sfu.ca

James K-M is a Vancouver-based painter who has, since 1983, created a vast series of hard-edge, optically charged works. These paintings reference primordial languages, the linkages between aural and visual phenomena, as well Op Art—a key historical avant-garde movement. The question of how the social is contained within abstraction has been raised in many arenas over the twenty-five years since the first of these paintings were made. This exhibition addresses that societal role, while querying the rationales that continue to exist for new work in hard-edge abstraction. – Bill Jeffries, August, 2008

This exhibition is accompanied by a 24-page catalogue with essays by Eric McLuhan and Bill Jeffries:
Cave Paintings? by Eric McLuhan (.pdf)
Empathy for Abstraction by Bill Jeffries (.pdf)

“Out of extremely objective systemization comes extreme subjectivity”
Bill Jeffries, SFU Gallery Curator

The Mayan calendar is due to end October 28, 2011 (or at the winter solstice 2012 depending on interpretation) and is considered to signify an ‘end of time’ as we know it. What an ‘end of time’ means exactly is uncertain but there is some agreement that a significant transitional shift of consciousness is coming and is already underway. How does one prepare for this transition? Only by cultivating one’s own patterns of abstract interconnectedness.

In my paintings, cross cultural appropriation can allude to Native beadwork, old floor tiling, post New York school abstraction or minimalism, a board game without pieces (since the work moves without them), a Navaho blanket, or Aztec or Mayan sacred geometry. These aspects represent appropriated traditions that don’t usually coexist and a collision of cultures that are also somehow resonant with each other. Yet my work remains within the tradition of Western abstract painting, constrained by a square piece of plywood interacting with a stained grainy surface which reveals a sentient conscious unknown, superimposed by a contemporary abstract figure.

title-wall.jpgsouthwest2.jpgwest1.jpg

southwest3.jpgsouth1.jpgsouth2.jpg

northeast1.jpgeast1.jpgsoutheast.jpg

The feel of the cave — the cave.
From a cave they looked out on the world,
And struggled to understand,
And slowly the flicker of their intelligence
Grew and consumed the dusk with their mind
~ Mark Rothko, 1920s

A Metaphysics of Appropriation
James K-M, 2007

The Mayan calendar is due to end at the winter solstice 2012 and is considered to signify an ‘end of time’ as we know it. What an ‘end of time’ means exactly is uncertain but it does seem that a significant transitional shift of consciousness is coming and is already underway. How does one prepare for this transition? Only by cultivating one’s own patterns of abstract interconnectedness.

In my recent paintings, cross cultural appropriation can allude to Native beadwork, old floor tiling, post New York school abstraction or minimalism, a board game without pieces (since the work moves without them), a Navaho blanket, or Aztec or Mayan sacred geometry. These aspects represent appropriated traditions that don’t usually coexist and a collision of cultures that are also somehow resonant with each other. They coexist here as metaphysical appropriations beyond the kind of appropriation that is gestural and ironic. Colours are intuitively appropriated from 20th Century war uniforms, hunting lodge flags, badges or blankets. This simultaneity can be referred to as a metaphysics of appropriation. Yet my work remains within the realm of Western abstract painting. It is constrained by the square piece of plywood which interacts with a stained grainy surface revealing a sentient conscious unknown superimposed by a contemporary abstract figure.

As well, the following thoughts are expressed in these most recent paintings. While the art community and popular culture aficionados have been intrigued by the novelty of appropriation of visual culture, there has been a 2nd kind of appropriation occurring simultaneously. Much like the secret 2nd transport machine in the film Contact that actually does reach its extra-terrestrial destination, this 2nd kind of appropriation can be described as non-ironic, multi-ethnic, abstract, metaphysical and much subtler and more intuitive in the way it recycles visual culture. Borrowing from across cultures as well as across time to express more than just a summation of Western visual culture, appropriation(2nd) expresses a summation and a connectivity that has something for everyone.

This is the secret, subtle, simultaneous 2nd destination or goal that appropriation gestures toward and is the escape from the cyclical limitations of recycled visual culture. Rather than recycling or cycling visual culture, appropriation(2nd) spirals visual culture. Both are abstract, metaphysical and geometric processes, but while the first nervously waits for a new cycle to announce its demise, appropriation(2nd) spirals into ever more profound levels of play and abstract interconnectedness where there are no boundaries, except those defined by the inherent language of the medium and tools that the artist chooses to play with.

Cultural appropriation occurs regardless of how explicit we make it and metaphysical truth will always be replayed in a contemporary style in any age. As long as the contemporary spirals along from age to age we can never say that it’s all been done.

My working method is to go to Home Depot and have them cut a sheet of ½” plywood into 8 squares of 2’ x 2’. On each square I apply two coats of a single colour of wood stain. My current palette of stain is black, white, red, orange, yellow, pthalo blue and pthalo green. My current palette of acrylic is the same but with three shades of red, raw umber and raw sienna.

I find that there are two main advantages to working again with paint (and stain) instead of the digital print. First is that the grain of the plywood surface becomes an important part of the work and second, that I am now able to create a unique subtlety by painting, for example, yellow acrylic on yellow stain, or black acrylic on black stain. Both create a mysterious subtlety that I could never achieve digitally.

My content is geometric, abstract and colourist.

Although I’ve lived in Vancouver since 1983, I grew up in Toronto where I became aware of painters like Ad Reinhardt, Jack Bush, Mark Rothko, Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, Sonia Delaunay, Arshile Gorky, Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman and non-abstract painters like Henri Matisse, Paterson Ewan, Emily Carr, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach and R.B. Kitaj.

In the late-1970’s I came to know the work of the Neo-Expressionist and TransAvantGarde painters like Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Francesco Clemente and Enzo Cucchi. I consider all of these artists to have a strong metaphysical content and I resonate with this kind of primal expression in all art forms, especially painting. Similarly, I hope that my paintings convey mystery, mysticism and the metaphysical.