MEL BOCHNER, Blah Blah Blah at Maddox Gallery, Mayfair, London, Feb 2020 – The never ending need to explore galleries, to go look at art, the need to go be in the room with it. Managed to catch some of the Mel Bochner paintings recently on show at Maddox Gallery, an exhibition of his very bright text based artworks, ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’ and what we;re told are “Bochner’s popular thesaurus series, which consists of lists of synonyms displayed in rainbow coloured palettes, often featuring repeated words in painterly capital letters”. And yes, to state the blah blah bleedin’ obvious they are works that really need to be seen in the flesh, the rich colour, the thickness, or maybe even the thinkness of the paint, the flow of that paint, the almost icing sugar sweetness, the eatableness of is all. Thinkness was a typo, I kind of like that word though, the thinkness of his words, I should paint it, I don’t paint words, words in art? What a cop out.
“My feeling was that there were ways of extending, or re-inventing visual experience, but that it was very important that it remain visual,”, And he is very very visual, that sounds like the art of stating the bleedin’ obvious but so many artists aren’t really that visual, well not as visual as these paintings are. He’s from New York, or at least he lives and works in New York, he’s touching on 80 now, proper conceptual pop art, originally from Pittsburgh (so Wikipedia tells us), he’s not always as colourful as this, and really, you don’t need a mass of words from us, more “mainstream” shows at places like Maddox in the heart of London’s Mayfair don’t really need us, but those paintings are exciting to actually see (even if it did feel that didn’t really want us paint splatered urchins in their fancy showroom of a gallery, these West End spaces feel very much like high-end car sales rooms, they do kind of look at you like you’re getting dirt on their carpets), it was rather wonderful to see that body of paintings all together in the one small room, you really really can’t appreciate those paintings via a flat computer screen or indeed the pages of a glossy book, it only really makes sense when you marry the words to the actually seeing in the flesh – and those words matter, no cop out here – actually seeing the thought, the information in the process, the thinking and the making, to experience the physical depth of those words in and on the paint, the perspective, the space of each letter, “the language as a form of pictorial expression”, to actually get to see the blah blah blah…. you don’t really need our blah blah blah though, it was dramatically exciting, art excites, you know that, loved it… (sw)
do please click on an image to enlarge or to run the slide show….