Thursday, April 10, 2008

Last days of Kitaj



Little Pictures, Marlborough Gallery (NYC)
April 10-May 3

Yes, as my good friend Kelli Fidlow commented they look like sketches, but some of these are indeed gems. Like all of R.B. Kitaj's work, they are full of intellectual rigor and visual challenge. These "Little Pictures" were done before his unexpected death in October (rumors of suicide were fluttering around the show's opening). The understated subject of this show is color. These final small pictures painted on burlap-like canvas celebrate color and as fragments move away from the wonderfully oblique narratives usually found in Kitaj's pictures.
The images contain references to Rothko, Pissaro, Matisse, as well as portrait's of Freud, Proust, and the artist's father. Self-Portraits filled with kaleidoscopic color as well as love poems to his beloved deceased wife Sandra are also exorcised from the artist’s psyche in this final showing.

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