TIME OUT LONDON
Abstract America Today Review
By Eddy Frankel
Full review: http://www.timeout.com/london/art/abstract-america-today
The artists here are all using outmoded or old-fashioned ways of making art to create interesting, often very pretty and undeniably ‘now’ work. There’s collage in Cullen Washington Jr’s chopped up, misshapen canvases that scream references to Robert Rauschenberg and Sigmar Polke. There’s pointillism in Keltie Ferris’s paintings, shaped canvasses reminiscent of Robert Mangold or Ellsworth Kelly in Wyatt Kahn’s monochrome geometric constructions, and garish neon expressionism in Jackie Saccoccio’s big drippy paintings.
Titled Cullen Washington, Jr.: Land Before Words, a new show at the 808 Gallery focuses on this recent work, created over the past six years, and is a fascinating exploration of his continually evolving philosophy. Assembled from found objects, discarded materials, and studio floor scraps, the large-scale, irregular shaped pieces make a dramatic statement, with the largest extending upwards of 12 feet.
“Art is a conversation between me and the broadest of contexts—the universe, or god, or space, or whatever you want to call it,” says Louisiana native Washington, who earned an MFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. “It’s a reflection of my thinking and how I metabolize the world.”
A publication by Res Artis (SPAIN)
There is an evident change between those works
you created at Studio Museum in Harlem and your
previous works. The first and most obvious change
is in the titles: you get rid of them in order to create
an “Untitled” series in which in addition all figurative
references disappear. What is the purpose of
this new series?
For me these new works represent a shift in my
focus and working methods. At SMH, my work
became more about abstraction -- not about abstracting
objects, but rather about how I experience
the world and about my dialogue with the
work in progress. It’s as if I am trying to capture a
snapshot of things before they are formed, still in
an embryonic state of meaning, forming multiple fluid
ART SOUTH AFRICA MAGAZINE
Cullen Washington Jr: Black Moon Rising (Jack Bell Gallery, London, UK)
BY Yvette Gresle
The full version of this review will be published in Art South Africa Magazine (Volume 12 Issue 3).
"Fragments of words are sometimes upside down and obscured. A torn page navigates us to another kind of map, the map of an art world. It reads: ‘Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964-1980’, the title of a 2006 exhibition at The Studio Museum (Harlem, New York). Curated by Kellie Jones this show addressed important historical questions about what it meant for African-American artists, written out of official art historical narratives, to work within the ambit of abstraction, a language assumed to be inappropriate to urgent political concerns. At the same time as his solo show at Jack Bell, Washington is participating in two group exhibitions: at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Boston University Museum. The show at the Contemporary Arts Museum, curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver, and titled ‘Black in the Abstract’ revisits questions explored by the 2006 exhibition at the Studio Museum. The Houston show also locates Washington’s work within a historical context and recognizes its contribution to abstraction as a contemporary practice."
DAILY SERVING, AN INTERNATIONAL PUBLICATION FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
“Cullen Washington Jr.: The Land Before Words 808 Gallery”
BIG RED AND SHINY
Review: Cullen Washington Jr.: The Land Before Words (Boston University 808 Gallery)
By Shawn Hill
"Most of the largest paintings, un-stretched, read like crazy-quilt patchworks of detritus, seamed and sewn and taped and glued together, then simply tacked or nailed to the walls. They give a sense of seeming fragility, of rags fugitively gathered, prone to sinking back into chaos and disarray.
But they are probably quite sturdy. The look of disordered decay is part of Washington's gestural approach, preserving the sense that human hands found all these fragments and parts and put them together in new syntheses. It's the collage of synthetic cubism preserving the gestures of wear and tear, an abstract expressionism that supports and enhances the compelling themes found therein, many of them dealing with childhood and adolescent development."