Sunday, November 22, 2009

Art Quickie #7 - Margie Livingston @ Kucera

When I was a young lad, recently BFA'ed and fresh on the Seattle art scene (by which I mean going to art openings, talking shit, and wondering why I wasn't getting noticed, like all young artists are supposed to do) I kept coming across Margie Livingston's work. SOIL, Greg Kucera were her main haunts, but she seemed to turn up everywhere.

To be completely honest, I never really got it, her work at that time...well I did get it, but I didn't understand really what it was that made her do these paintings of lines and shapes, seemed to be variations of variations of variations. Of course, at the time I didn't understand that Margie was painting these works from a sort installation-like structures that she assembled in her studio. Sticks, strings and the like, with a variety of light sources. Her entire body of STRUCTURE paintings was so damn painterly in process and subject and that alone should have gotten me. For I fancied myself a painter's painter. After a sort anyhow.

A few more years went by, and I started to see and understand things more, and my respect and interest grew in her work. But I always wondered, how would her work develop? How long would she keep painting those structures in her studio? Would her successes keep her repeating herself, or would she push things?

These are the kinds of questions that artists should be asking of themselves and their peers. However, the answers are not so simple. Morandi made a career out of painting the same 5 bottles for most of his life. But then again Basquiat repeated himself to no end, and was burnt out and dead by 30. Who's to say?

Any who, I'm getting off track, and this is supposed to be an Art Quickie. But all these thoughts are what went through my head when I walked into Greg Kucera the other night. Lo and behold, with this new show "Riff" Margie has taken her studio practice and rethought many aspects of what sort of art can be produced in such a setting. I don't wish to give too much away, I think that a certain delight is had in experiencing these new works in person. So go see it!

But I will say that some of the art produced is from her STRUCTURE series but these new paintings are somehow more loose and yet tighter and take the series to a more vividly robust realm. The other works in the show could be roughly described as painting deconstructions. Call them painting sculptures, sculptural paintings, paint them what you will, they are delightful and interesting to look at, which is no easy thing. Check it out.

As a bonus, Greg Kucera is also showing a selection of nice, trendy-looking works by Whiting Tennis, and some delightful, whimsical, cat vs paper bag sculptures by Edward Wicklander.

It has been a privilege to watch Margie's work develop through these years.

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