While still an art student, Trevor Shimizu visited Bonnard, the Museum of Modern Art’s 1998 presentation of the French post-impressionist. He left the exhibition feeling disillusioned by painting and decided to direct his attention to video and performance art. Nonetheless, Bonnard’s assertion that “I have all my subjects to hand” remained meaningful.
A sense of proximity, indebted to Bonnard’s experiments in immediacy, drives Landscapes, Shimizu’s fourth solo exhibition at 47 Canal. In many of the works on display, there is a tension between the vibrancy of the subject and the detachment, characteristic of much of Shimizu’s output, with which it is rendered. Each painting is completed from memory, giving emphasis to gesture and reflection.
While the size of the canvases in Landscapes can be interpreted as an allusion to color field painting, it also generates a liveliness within the pictures, and provides a scale of experience that is difficult to reproduce digitally. Shimizu has said that his new works constitute a “dumbing down” of his text-and-narrative-based projects, such as his fart jokes and his works involving situational comedy, generating an extended vocabulary of form, composition and color, and evolving the artist’s practice into renewed terrains of contemplation.
Courtesy of the artist and 47 Canal, New York
Photo by Joerg Lohse