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Haiku Reviews: Not-Quite Minimalism, Hallucinatory Hyper-Realism And 'The Glass Menagerie' (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

First Posted: 12/16/11 02:05 PM ET   Updated: 12/16/11 08:10 PM ET

HuffPost Arts' Haiku Reviews is a biweekly feature where invited critics review exhibitions and performances in short form. Some will be in the traditional Haiku form of 5x7x5 syllables, others might be a sonnet or a string of words together. This week Peter Frank and George Heymont give quick takes on visual arts, theatre and classical music from Tennessee Williams' revamped classic to California's Christmastime exhibitions that are not to be missed. Is there a show or performance that you think people should know about? Write a Haiku with a link and shine a light on something you think is noteworthy too.


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Kes Zapkus and Tino Zago have been unjustly overlooked less because their names consign them to the end of most lists than because they are painters' painters, involved in abstract practice too often dismissed or ghettoized as recondite. To the contrary: their painting, neither minimalist nor expressionist, formulaic or eclectic, relies on rhythm, color, and contrapuntal relationships, and can work musically, not to mention viscerally, on the observer. Zapkus produces dense but expansive canvases across which myriad small incidents drizzle, nervously but gracefully, helping to define an underlying gridwork by playing against it and revealing it in ghostlike fashion. That is the basic method Zapkus has worked with - and upon, and through, and against - for decades, keeping it ever fresh by treating it not as diagram or serial exercise but as intervention into the sensuality of painting; the large canvases here, from 2008 and 2009, were dependably as vast and brilliant as galaxies. Zago, too, is a painter first and foremost, less so reliant on mark-making and a more extravagant colorist but every bit as dedicated to dissolving form into and at the same time building it out of powerful, logical structural armatures. Normally less explicit than Zapkus, Zago's work here played no less with a now-you-see-it-now-you-don't griddiness, a warmer palette and more voluptuous stroke suggesting that he and Zapkus may be fraternal, but are not twins. (OK Harris, 383 W. Broadway, NY; closed. www.okharris.com)
- Peter Frank

KES ZAPKUS, Celestial Calculus, 2009-11, Oil, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 60 inches
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