Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wayne Thiebaud at Acquavella

     I defy anyone to walk out of a Wayne Thiebaud exhibit and not feel happy. His palette of saturated colors, luscious impasto, bright light, and subject matter are a therapist's wet dream prescription. When learning art history, I pinned Thiebaud as the "pop art guy that does cakes" as I'm sure most did and still do. It wasn't til I saw his retrospective at the Whitney years ago that completely elevated him in my estimation when I saw the ACTUAL work, not repros in books. If ever there is a case to see originals in order to truly appreciate the work, it's Wayne Thiebaud.
     When doing a painting of a cake, what better way to apply rich, shiny, creamy paint than with a palette knife and make it look so much like frosting that you want to lick the canvas? He also delinates the work with lines/layers of reds, blues, oranges and yellows adding to the rich hues of the objects (and people) he's painting. It's easy to undervalue or even dismiss his work due to the subject matter - cakes, pies, ice cream, candy, gumball machines and other nostalgia. But the skill and composition are absolutely there. This show also has his San Francisco cityscapes and figurative work, although the latter (and the still-lifes) are still his high water mark.
     The retrospective is almost over (November 30th) so if you're in the area it is well worth the visit. Acquavella Gallery is located at 18 E. 79th St between 5th and Madison. With all the misery we've had in this area the past few weeks, this show is a wonderful respite that will keep you smiling long after you've exited the gallery.








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