Chuck Webster is a Brooklyn-based painter who has been showing in New York for a decade. LITTLE BIG PAINTINGS is his first show in St. Louis. Much of what has been written about him is devoted to a description of the mysterious things depicted in his paintings, but the fact is that the painting, as Beckett said of Finnegans Wake, is the thing itself. The point of modern art was to make it new, make it different. Webster's paintings look like no other paintings, no other objects. That's because they are the signs and symbols, the traces of his consciousness (and his alone.) The title of the show is based on a description of Webster's work by Roberta Smith in the New York Times. She says his paintings "have a strange, irrepressible scale, a largeness that exceeds their size..." The paintings are the small, beautiful traces of Chuck Webster's consciousness, written large. As John Yau said (in the Brooklyn Rail), "there was nothing ironic about his belief in art and its ability to resist being reduced to a discussion about the production of meaning." He goes on to say that Webster is "articulating his devotion to drawing and painting as solitary activities in which one discovers something whose meaning is not fully comprehended or easily transmitted, and gets pleasure out of doing it."
Like Webster, Brandon Anschultz is another painter whose work reveals the pleasure integral to the act of making. His favorite approach involves applying thick gobs of paint directly to the surface of a canvas, then partially removing it by pressing it against another canvas, thereby creating another painting, or the beginning of another painting. Jessica Baran (in the Riverfront Times) talks about the lushness and tactility of the paint. Anschultz, she says, "pays homage to the medium's essential capacity for beauty, while challenging every traditional approach to producing it."
Who: The Philip Slein Gallery
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10am-5pm
When: Reception: Friday, November 16th, 2012, 6-8 pm runs through December 21st.
Where: 4735 McPherson Ave. Central West End
Cost: Free and open to the public.