Kill the Magician
Envision a love note pulled crumpled from a workingman’s pocket. If you, like myself, can presence the allure that comes from this coupling of strength and sentiment, then you’ve got an idea of the types of emotional paradoxes at play in the work of James T. Greco, currently on view at 210 Gallery (210 24th St.) in Sunset Park. “Kill The Magician” (on view through April 24th) offers a uniformly installed suite of six large abstract paintings. Bold in gesture and bravura, these paintings read solidly modernist in their form-focused approach and in a sculptural way, assert the integrity of the object. The show’s title suggests a terminal manifesto against the tricky intellectualism of much of today’s post-modern art offerings, but there is careful thinking here and considered choices a plenty.
For instance, Greco constructs solely with locally sourced industrial materials, (drop cloths, house-paint, plywood and upholstery). The artist shares that this liberates his expression from concerns of material cost and allows him to sidestep the pretence and preciousness of the final art product.
His creation modus in these works is as involved as a romance; stretching and staining the cloth, balling it up in the wash, re-stretching, tearing the surface and stitching it back together again. The show’s standouts are a large scraped and congealed gold on black painting and a pair of red and black works that read like wounded soldiers. Compositionally engaging, these paintings elicit a certain type of empathy, as one’s eye travels across impassioned shreds of fabric and reconciliatory stitch-work, clumsy and tender and caked in scar-like pigment. Ravishing remains, these endnotes are poems to process or lovemaking about making.