There is a Philip Guston painting, a hand, which stuck in my head. A very simple hand, a soft painted left hand entering the frame from the right. Its color is dubious. Even if you’ve only seen it in a reproduction – as I did myself – and of course you know that guessing actual colours from reproductions is always doubtful. Even so, you will keep thinking of that dirty pinkish brown as a dubious dirty pinkish brown. That’s not a mystery, though. That very hand is soft, moving (in both senses), quivering, willing to do something. What? That’s dubious. A hand usually does its job: it catches or bumps or waves or points out. Guston’s 1968 18 x 20 inches acrylic on canvas: a lonely brownish pinkish quivering hand. The handling of that hand is coarse and it’s sensitive at the same time. Where does that hand gesture towards? But is it a gesture? I mean, quite alone, with nothing to see in front nor around itself. I said quivering: well, that’s painting’s magic. You get it? Fine. You don’t? Sorry about that. Morandi’s bottles, yeah, that’s the kind of thing. But there is more to that hand. Indeed, Guston’s painted many hands, especially in the last period. A big deal of hands holding cigarettes. Among those hands I remember a second little hand, without cigarette, also painted in 1968 (incidentally, the year I was born). You are inclined to remember it as a little pink hand, but in fact it’s not. And every time you search for the image on a catalogue to refresh your memory, you get briefly baffled by the fact that it’s not a pink but a white-greyish hand (on a pink greyish background). This time the hand is clearly doing something: it traces a black line. But let me get to the point. And the point is the title: Paw. Well, and the two sensitive pinkish brownish grayish little paintings get somehow confused in my memory. And so sometimes I think about the hand and call it paw, and sometimes I call that hand hand. But paw, that’s so hard, isn’t it? I mean, a hand which furthermore gratifies our sense of humanism, a hand civilizing the world with a sign. Paw. The same one which holds a club, which pulls the trigger. A hand so soft, so aimable. And, I don’t know how, but at the end you somehow realize that a little quiet painting can do all that, can mean a great deal to you. A quivering little dubious thing, gesturing quietly towards something else.
Luca Bertolo – 01.05.15
Caroline Achaintre (b. 1969. FR) undertook her studies at Chelsea School of Art & Design and Goldsmiths College, London. Forthcoming exhibitions include particpation in the 8th British Art Show (2015) and a solo exhibition at BALTIC, Gateshead (2016)
Anna Barham (b.1974, UK) studied at Cambridge University and at the Slade School of Art, London. She is currently exhibiting at Centre Pompidou, Paris until July 20. In September she will have her third solo show at Arcade, London. She lives and works in London.
Luca Bertolo (b. 1968, IT) received his diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts, Milan in 1998. He will have his third solo show in September with Spazio A, Pistoia. He lives and works in the Tuscan Apuan Alps, IT.
Mathew Cerletty (b. 1980. US) received his BFA at the Boston University in 2002. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Office Baroque, Brussels (2014) and Blum and Poe, Los Angeles (2013). He lives and works in New York.
Jeremiah Day (b. 1974. US) graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended the Rjiksakademie de Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. Day and Can Altay are currently showing their collaborative work ‘You Can’t Go Slumming’ in the Thessaloniki Biennial. Day lives and works in Amsterdam and Berlin.
John Finneran (b. 1979. US) graduated from The Cooper Union, NY in 2002 and Bard College, NY in 2004. Later this year he will have a solo exhibition with Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles and in Spring 2016 his second solo exhibition with Arcade, London. He lives and works in New York.
Paul Housley (b. 1964, UK) received his MA at the Royal College of Arts, London. He is currently exhibiting at Belmacz, London, David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen and Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver. He lives and works in London.
Pat O’Connor (b. 1971, UK) graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1996. She was shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize in 2012. She lives and works in London.
Philippe Van Snick (b. 1946, BE). In 2015 he has duo exhibitions with Daniel Steegmann Mangrané at MAM Rio de Janeiro and Casa Modernista, Sao Paulo. In 2016 he will have solo exhibitions at De Hallen Haarlem and Grazer Kuntsverein, Grazer. He lives and works in Brussels.
Maria Zahle (b. 1979. DK) graduated from the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2009. She is co-founder of the London project space The Hex. Her major architectural commission for the Department of Energy Tecnology, Aalborg University will be completed later this year. She lives and works in London and Copenhagen.