Yautepec is pleased to announce Oil on Canvas, its second individual exhibition for Monterrey, Nuevo Leon-based artist, Gretel Joffroy, on view from February 21st to March 30th, 2013.
The paintings in Oil on Canvas range in size from diminutive to monumental but mark a surprising departure from Joffroy's previous works, most notably in their complete transformation into gestural abstraction.
For Joffroy, this break with representation offered a purer, unmediated dialogue with the act of painting — with brushstrokes, movement, and color — rather than with the subject of the painting. Technically speaking, perhaps one could call this new work "abstract expressionism," but that would also be assigning it to a distant place in art history in which this work obviously played no part. Quite a lot has happened in the course of contemporary art since the days of whiskey fueled fist-fights at Cedar Tavern and that self-awareness certainly plays a part in Joffroy's work, as much as her paintings may openly reference the work of that era.
What is important to note is that now a century past the invention of abstraction and a good half century since Pop Art stole the crown from Abstract Expressionism, abstraction does retain this curious capacity to communicate something without having to necessarily mean anything.
That ambiguity and intangibility is essential to Joffroy's new work and arguably to much of the resurgent interest in abstraction among younger artists internationally. It speaks to a current cultural moment, as a kind of tactic for artists to negotiate on more equal footing with the weighty legacy of conceptual art and its demand for every work to be justifiable via forced and often foggily elaborated references to critical theory.
Joffroy's new paintings are intimate, explosive, and unapologetically painterly. She has every intention of putting emotion on a canvas, as frightening as that idea may again be to some. What we're talking about are everyday human emotions, and that painting still has that odd quality of being able to both evoke -- and provoke -- them.
Having said all that, we can't help but recall the words of the late, great Joan Mitchell: "The moment you put the blah blah blah on it, it destroys the whole thing." So in that spirit, we'll refrain from further discussion and simply invite you to join us for the opening of Oil on Canvas.