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Seth Edenbaum – New Paintings, Drawings, and a Photograph (Works)

Selected Works

Seth Edenbaum

Seth Edenbaum – New Paintings, Drawings, and a Photograph
April 14 – May 30, 1998

Seth Edenbaum – New Paintings, Drawings, and a Photograph Press Release

We are very pleased to present SETH EDENBAUM’s second exhibition at Thomas Erben Gallery.

The new works, including the artist’s first photographic edition, continue to record a preoccupation with the conflict between formalism and metaphor, images and abstraction, between works of art that represent things and those which simply are things.

A few of the works use standard modernist formulas that draw the viewer back to the structure of the presentation; framing or marking the physical attributes of the painting as an object, implying, as Modernism wanted to, a materialist objectivity. But in the end this sort of thing falls away, and what moves to the foreground is a subjective and very private sentiment, presented through an idiosyncratic set of historical references. Of the two abstract ‘landscapes’ in the show, one a monochrome and the other nearly so, the first quietly evokes Max Ernst and Millet while the other evokes Turner, Gericault, and Pop.

There are also two small paintings on aluminum. One is brightly colored and the other nearly black and white, with a dark green standing in for black. Both are almost figurative, with the brightly colored one having some of the warmth one usually associates these days with photography.

The photograph itself is a staged figure study, also something of a landscape, though shot obviously indoors and on a wooden floor. The composition could be considered a reference to any number of 19th century models, without being quite like any. But as in the other works, the rhetorical ‘formalism’ of reference and reuse does not mean that it is ‘about’ appropriation. What the works are about, and what makes them consistent with each other despite the range of styles, is a sensibility that includes the conflicts and contradictions of these various elements, and tries to reconcile them ‘on paper’. The result is a body of work pleasing to the eye and imagination.

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