Bowery Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of Thaddeus Radell’s recent paintings, which include six large panels inspired by classical tragedies—each more than eight feet wide—as well as a series of smaller portraits.
The exhibition title reflects the artist’s view of painting as potentially a dark mirror of the tragic. Despite their sombre tones, however, his expressionistic paintings resonate with contrasting hues and intensities, as if lit from within.
Although classical in subject matter, nothing about these paintings is preconceived; the images grow organically out of their rough, layered surfaces. The artist describes his process as “…intuitive constructions that begin with random marks establishing larger masses of torsos, heads and limbs.”
The Death of Cordelia, oil/wax on panel,
David Paulson, a painter writing about Radell’s exhibit said the following: “To experience painting on the level of metaphor once again after being driven underground by conceptual painting for so many years is truly refreshing.
Heroic, highly romantic painting, which makes no apology for itself, which references all of art history from Lascaux to Keiffer- what could be more out of favor in these times? Radell is all references. His love of Rouault, Giacometti and Francis Bacon- and the old adage applies- that the only way past is thru”.
On the Banks of the Acheron, 2016, oil and wax on panel, 60 x 84 in.
Paulson continues, “With Radell’s paintings, the viewer is forced to confront the work psychologically. These are not figures on a landscape with blue sky and clouds overhead, trees and green grass. What we have instead is analogous form and emotional imaging. The dark scratched marks reference trees yet also become arms and legs, torsos and heads of men and women. The space is qualitative which to a large degree makes volume and transparency simultaneously.”
Vaucluse, oil/wax on panel, 48 x 218″
Paulson : “Things are not as they seem. Bodies become negative spaces which give sight to distant landscapes. This is not the Renaissance light which models form and it is not the appearance of a familiar world we find comfort in. These forms exist as psychic images which for the most part negate the natural world and force the viewer to acknowledge painting as symbolic, experiential and metaphorical rather than descriptive, decorative and literally narrative. This “is” what it is to paint”.
Oedipus Afflicted, oil/wax on panel, 60 x 120
In a blog posting last spring Radell talked about his recent paintings and how they draw inspiration from literature. He described it this way: “Last year I read Dante’s Inferno and was so struck by the relationship between Dante and Virgil. I felt … trying to work with this might harness a more poignant meaning to the random dialectic happening between figures in my paintings. From the Circles of Hell I have finally emerged and am attempting to work with another ungraspable equation: Lear and the Fool.”
Three Studies for portraits of Lear,Dante, and Edgar, oil/wax on panel…..
20 x 16″
For this writer, photos can not do justice to Radell’s paintings. They are massive with rich color, layers of texture, and line-work that sculpt the space of the canvas. The paintings have gravitas and at the same time a certain playfulness. This is a show not to miss!
Simon Carr will join Thaddeus Radell in a conversation about painting at the gallery at 4:00pm on Saturday, December 10. Carr and Radell, have a friendship that goes back over 30 years. They are painters of great substance; this will be a very interesting talk. All are welcome!
On Monday, December 19 at 6 pm the Iris String Quartet will be playing Mozart, Ravel, and Schubert in the company of Thaddeus Radell’s paintings.
“THORUGH A GLASS DARKLY” – NOVEMBER 29 – DECEMBER 31, 2016
530 West 25th Street, 4th Floor
NY, NY 10001
Gallery Hours: Tues – Sat 11 – 6 and until 8pm Thursday, Nov 3
** DIANE DRESCHER