Richard Hambleton Untitled (Shadow Man) 2002
RICHARD A. HAMBLETON (1954-) USA
Untitled (Shadow Man) 2002
Acrylic on paper
Signed: “RHambleton 02”
For more information see: Artists Observed, photographs by Harvey Stein, preface by Corness Capa, essay by Elaine A. King (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 1986), p. 121; Capured: A film/video history of the Lower East Side, Clayton Patterson (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2005), p. 149, 301 and 530; New, Used & Improved: Art for the 80’s, Peter Frank (New York: Abbeville Press, 1987), 46-48, 50-51 and 60.
Framed: H: 32 5/16” x W: 26 13/16”
*** By repute this portrait painting was of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Hambleton can handle paint. When he throws white or black on the canvas, his waves break, his rodeo rider bucks, a man shot seems blown apart. – Michael Brenson, New York Times, March 30, 1984
During the 1970s, a loosely woven network of aspiring artists made a break into the public venue by raising graffiti to a new level of significance. Richard Hambleton was among a growing number of artists who came to be known as “illegal street artists.” He seemed undaunted by the consequences of being perceived as deviant and moved in and out of the urban alleyways, leaving behind a wake of paper paste-ups, freehand drawings, photos and stenciled images. When Hambleton moved from Vancouver in 1980 he left behind several hundred life-size diazo prints of himself plastered all over the city. Upon his relocation to New York, Hambleton was often spotted with friends that included Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Herring. He continued painting his energized, life-size figures that earned him the label pop-expressionist, a parody on modernity’s generic expressionism.
Peter Canty received his BA in art from the Chouniard Art Institute, Los Angeles (now California Institute of the Arts) and an MA from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1969. Heavily influenced by the Post-Impressionist masters Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne, in his own he words he describes his interest in landscapes, believing they are, “the best vehicle for motion, force, and color dynamics.” Although his work reference realistic subjects, Canty’s imagery is drawn strictly from his own imagination.
KNOX MARTIN (1923-) USA
Magna and oil on canvas
Signed: Knox Martin on lower left on front of canvas, Knox M on back of canvas
Marks: From: CORE, 38 Park Row, New York 38, NY, To: Martin, Knox, Eight, 1958, Magna/Oil, 30×40, 700. (paper label), Fischbach Gallery, 799 Madison Avenue, New York 21, Knox Martin, Eight, C.O.R.E., Price $700 (paper label), Mr. Ned L. Pines, 605 Park Ave., New York 21, NY (address label).
Exhibited: Fischbach Gallery, New York 1963; I. Jankowski Gallery, New York, 1975
Provenance: Personal Collection of the artist; Private Collection New York
Canvas: H: 40 1/4” x W: 26 1/4””
Framed: H: 52 3/8” x W: 38 3/8”
From 1957 to about 1964, the spirit of art in New York City was moving in directions for which Abstract Expressionism had not prepared us. By 1965, the strokes, swipes, drips, and splatters of New York painting had given way to cool, laconic representations of the most ordinary of ordinary objects. It was a transformation in artistic culture in which intellectual rewards replaced, or at least supplemented, visual ones, and the whole philosophical face of art was beginning to disclose itself in a particularly vivid way. I saw Knox Martin’s paintings as embodying this transformative moment. In them, I thought, the tension between the two rival philosophies of art could be felt. the way I saw them: they appeared at first glance to be collages, made of large, irregular, overlapping swatches of patterned cloth. Some of the swatches were striped, some appeared to be decorated with circles. It must be conceded that stripes and circles belong to the vocabulary of one kind of abstract art, while the irregular shapes, which felt as though they had been torn from bolts of material, belonged to another.
So one might properly claim that Martin was synthesizing an expressionist abstraction with a geometrical one. For me, however, Knox’s stripes and circles evoked the life of the circus: the striped tents, the loudly patterned costume of clowns. And Martin’s colors—pistachio, raspberry, banana—were festive and impudent. That is why I felt that the paintings referred to vernacular reality, as much so as Campbell Soup cans or Coca Cola bottles. The circus was a recurring theme in modernist art, and I thought it appropriate for late modernist painting to reduce the circus to patterned rags expressive of its raucous gaiety.