John Baldessari’s work has been characterized by the use of photography, painting and text in equal measures from his early oeuvres in the 1960s up until now. In a new series of works, Pollock/Benton, now on display at Marian Goodman Gallery through December 23rd, the L.A.-based painter continues in this tradition with a focus on two American artists: regionalist Thomas Hart Benton and abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock.
Baldessari shares, “For me, Jackson Pollock’s work was a line in the sand in Art History. That is: before Pollock and after Pollock, or B.P. and A.P. I have married Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock together because Benton was Pollock’s teacher.”
The Pollock/Benton exhibition explores the influence between the artists, showing where the two intersect and speak to each other, and inserts Baldessari’s own voice as he reassembles dissimilar parts of the artists’ works and reimagines the fragments together with blank spaces and calculated overpainting to create an altogether new composite and thus a new narrative.
As art historian Martin Engler explains, “For Baldessari meaning arises when two things come together, whether words or image”; when “one brings them close enough that there is a synapse and something new is created, so that out of the two meanings a ‘third meaning’ is generated.” (From On Concept Art and Metaphors: Painting After the End of Painting, in John Baldessari: The Städel Paintings, 2015).
Preview the pieces featured in the exhibition, which runs November 11th through December 23rd, 2016, at Marian Goodman Gallery at 24 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019.