Held Up…

“We have to recognize that the static hierarchies and meanings inherent in the language of classic abstraction are closed and no longer viable. This language has to be broken down and opened again; its imagery has to reflect the fractured provisional and linguistic nature of contemporary life and thought.” David Row in conversation with Demetrio Paparoni, Tema Celeste, January-March 1992.

David Row Theta 1991 oil on canvas

We still hear calls to arms like this nearly everyday. What is/was classic abstraction? Which Modernism are we talking about? European? American? Is Mannerism the only way forward? What exactly does he mean by “the fractured provisional?” I’m not quite sure, especially at this point in time.  One of the things that I like about David’s work is how it breaks into pieces, fractures time and space, much in the way that George Hofmann discussed vision in his essay Fractured Space.  

Color difference and scale alone made for spatiality – so it was mostly thru splitting that space could be alluded to; fracturing led to differentiation itself – the breaking-up of space in a shallow field – as subject.

@david_row  @georgehofmann1240 

One thought on “Held Up…

  1. Interesting that in 1992 he understood his move from the visual to the linguistic which I refer to in my essay: “Interestingly, Row reduces this to a semiotic sign. Granted they are hand painted but he domesticates the heroism of de Kooning into a sign that is often contrasted with another sign such as the stable grid pattern in “Point of View.” However, when you realize that those swirling patterns represent a kind of irreducible signifier for movement, like the convoluted twists and turns of Chinese dragon painting, then, Row’s lifework becomes clearer and very interesting. He is really involved in the language of painting or better yet painting as language.”

Henri values your comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.