Thursday, March 23, 2017

Barbara Morris | art ltd.

Critic’s Picks: 

San Francisco

By Barbara Morris

From “Throat Singing in Droghobycz,” 2016
A hand-painted book, Ward Schumaker
Page size 181⁄2″ x 121⁄2″, 56 pages + cover
Photo: courtesy Jack Fischer gallery

San Francisco-based Ward Schumaker—originally well-known for his illustration work for high-profile clients like The Washington Post and Herm├Ęs—quickly achieved notoriety for his unique mixed-media works combining acrylic paint and bookbinding paste. His well-received 2013 inaugural show at Jack Fischer’s Potrero street gallery featured remarkable artist’s books, providing an excuse for his passionate yet disciplined investigations in the properties and potentials of paint. For his upcoming show at Jack Fischer, Schumaker will include new books such as Throat Singing in Drohobycz (2016), inspired by Polish author Bruno Schulz’ The Street of Crocodiles. Other new works to be shown, on Stonehenge paper mounted on canvas, reveal an underpinning geometric structure: some comprised of sets of stacked circles, muscular whorls of paint, taking their inspiration from Brancusi’s Endless Column (1938), others using a grid or pyramid format comprised of squares, or circles, as well as occasional blocks of text. With a limited palette of black, white and red, augmented by glimpses of blue or green, the quality of intentionality of each brushstroke—and the care with which his seemingly random text blocks and blobs of paint are organized—assumes a primacy that is riveting. Ward Schumaker “Priapus and Rain Fall” at Jack Fischer Gallery, runs April 22 – June 10, 2017.

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