Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sanya Kantarovsky at Marc Foxx

Sanya Kantarovsky at Marc Foxx

“‘Stylization’ is what is present in a work of art precisely when an artist does make the by no means inevitable distinction between matter and manner, theme and form. When that happens, when style and subject are so distinguished, that is, played off against each other, one can legitimately speak of subjects being treated (or mistreated) in a certain style.”(Sontag)

It would seem this sentence already feels antiquated, painting today prerequistely stylized with the past worn as its own sleeve. There isn’t a painting today not “stylized” with its own past instance, that doesn’t dress itself in it.  Kantarovsky doesn’t treat style as symbolic fashion to be worn, but merely the water one swims in today, the status quo for an art submerged in the redirection of flows of “content.”  That some could be mistaken for a Kai Althoff matters less than none, the difference is ideological, one cold one warm. Interesting now to see this show finding a child illustration-like pathos within it. The thin veil of the press release decoded with a simple substitution cipher, the enigma revealed:

Surrounded by a chewy gelatinous sugar coating[...]Laden with [painting] history, [Kantarovsky] is burdened as well with the impossible task of conveying sweetness in a largely bitter and disenchanted world, a world overwhelmed with familiar pictures of unfamiliar people. Each [painting] packs a memory of itself, staining the tongue with streaks of saturated color, issuing a syrupy nostalgia for [?] itself—abated only by the hope that some still remain in the pack.”