Monday, March 27, 2023

Merlin James at Chris Sharp Gallery


James makes paintings that are difficult without resort to "bad painting." A distinction interesting since, for all "bad painting"'s ostensible antagonism to rational orders and anti-appeal, has become immensely commodified - the idiot savant nappies now become blue chip trading cards. Somehow the adults love trading diapers. Bad painting not so bad. The point: James's rejection is more obtuse, slow to reach the demands of consumable painting. Like Hans Hoffman, an intellect doomed to make terrible paintings. Or Joseph Albers always being terrible at color. James forever caroms off anything digestible. Elderstatesman to the Richard Aldriches working tangentially to canon's rutted path, instead an outer mud searched through, never really wiped clean. 

See too: Richard Aldrich