Joel Longenecker at Sideshow

Joel Longenecker And Then You Die 2007 oil on canvas 90" x 96"


Joel Longenecker Float Theory 2007 oil on linen 62" x 54"

Joel Longenecker Get Drift 2007 oil on canvas 78" x 74"

When I first saw these paintings I didn't know how to fit them into my accustomed ideas about how art should ideally provoke and re-draw my world in some way when I initially encounter it. Joel Longenecker's paintings in his solo show, "Ignorance and Bliss", at Sideshow are both powerful and beautiful, but they do not capture new territory. In fact while they were all finished this year, they would not look anomalous (although they'd probably have been stars) in a Manhattan gallery show years ago.

But to say this is not to dismiss what Longenecker has accomplished. I still like to visit the work of the iconic abstract expressionists, even when it's become very familiar, and when an artist speaks in the same language today, but to tell new stories, why should I refuse to listen?

I knew I would end up appreciating this work more if I hung around a bit yesterday, and I did. I didn't however expect to become as attached to it as I am now, the result of an increased familiarity from having spent an absurd amount of time today trying to adjust the colors on the images I shot during my visit. I had to revise my adjustments over and over to see that the colors were neither too bright and transparent nor too dark and smudgy. I hope I've come close to the originals but, especially with painting, there's no substitute for being able to stand in front of the canvas itself.

Yes James, I had the same reaction seeing these on James Kalm's excellent youtube channel. There you get to experience the scale. I used to paint this way back when I initially fell in love with art so I really respect these paintings. First of all I know how FUN it is to make work like this and I know how HARD it is (many of my mud paintings attest to that). But I have been wondering if my appreciation of these excellent paintings stems from some amount of nostalgia?- similar to the joy I have in drawing still life with my students? Because it feels good and safe like home.
But I do recognize Longenecker's intensity, speed, and visceral lushness in Mark Schubert's sculptures posted below which also provide some fresh surprises (new stories) as well.