Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tom Gregg at George Billis gallery


While this is the kind of show or gallery that would normally find itself on this blog the artist has been showing almost every year with George Billis for many years and tells me he never got a review so we take the challange. Let me give a little background information Gregg went to Yale with the likes of Lisa Yuskavage her show at David Zwirner mentioned below, John Currin, Richard Phillips, Moyna Flannigan, Kyle Staver, Matvey Levenstein, Dik F. Liu, Joe Begonia, Jim Mcshea, Charles Long , Mathew Barney, Sean Landers, Barbara Galluchi, Don Doe, to name a few that might be familiar. The first name signed in the book was William Bailey who at the time was pushing the figurative painting thing really hard, and a few of the above obviously caught the message. Tom Greggs paintings have taken the masters lessons to heart, and in these new paintings take the incredibly quiet world of still life with it's slow slow attention to detail and thrown it into the realm of the big bang. The backgrounds undulate, no percolate with simmering hues of chroma setting their objects ablaze. The only thing wrong with this show is George Billis ability to cram crappy realist painting of an artist painting fairly similar scale still life painting onto a facing wall in the hallway causing pathetic distraction to Tom's craft. Take Greggs paintings and swap them with Yuskavage at Zwirner or Currin's at Gagosian and boy will you have some art criticism. Combining watermelons, hand grenades, plastic toys, cheesy animals, and tea cups and painting them with he same cool distance makes
the fiction completely timeless. Animals in still-life will probably be the next thing, as they are a wonderful metaphor for our own reduction in the humanity department. Placing of explosives
on the table furthers the message pretty graphically. The context inside the picture is perfect and outside could not be more wrong.

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