Art in the City: Doug Argue’s The Art of Translation

Doug Argue's Drift Dive (Edelman Arts)

Doug Argue’s Drift Dive (Edelman Arts)

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

— William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

And man, don’t I wish my cavern had one of Doug Argue’s paintings on its walls? Reminiscent of Jasper Johns and Basquiat, Argue’s “The Art of Translation,” is a new exhibition of paintings by genre-busting painter Doug Argue. “Doug’s approach is as novel, and fully realized, as the works of Jasper Johns, Brice Marden and Jean-Michel Basquiat, at the height of their powers,” says Asher Edelman, founder of Edelman Arts and host of the soiree.

As Edelman Arts explains: “The painter puts his unique vocabulary to work with a visual and conceptual subtext of letters. From a distance, the paintings suggest color field painting or abstract expressionism. A closer look reveals the paintings are comprised of prismatic realms of flowing shapes and patterns. Painted with oil on linen, the letterforms are individually stretched and transformed, capturing language’s ephemeral, fluid nature.”

And in the artist’s words: “What’s important to me is the flux of language—changing constantly in meanings, sound, grammar, in every way—and letters as metaphors for molecules, atoms, and chromosomes—providing a system of combining and recombining with almost infinite variation, while providing continuity in the evolution of the universe, life, and language. The letters also represent sounds. When I use them and break them up, they turn into free-roaming sounds.”

While Abstract Expressionists’ paintings were retrospective—capturing or reflecting a prior idea or emotional state—Argue’s paintings seem propositional, anticipatory—projecting into what the Frankfurt theorist Ernst Bloch terms the “not-yet.”

Doug Argue (b. 1962) currently resides in New York City. His works are included in numerous public collections, including the Walker Art Center, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation. In 2009, he was awarded with the Artist of the Year by the London International Creative Competition. Argue has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Prix De Rome, a Bush Foundation Fellowship and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. Edelman Arts presented a solo exhibition of his works in 2011 and an exhibition of monumental works in conjunction with New York’s Haunch of Venison in June 2012.

Opening: February 21st from 6-8pm, 2013

Runs from: February 22nd – March 23rd, 2013

Edelman Arts

136 East 74th Street

New York, New York 10021

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