Review: Jack Tworkov at Barbara Edwards.

February 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Barbara Edwards Contemporary, located in the Annex neighborhood, is a small, one room gallery that is currently exhibiting a select number of works by American artist Jack Tworkov (1900-1982). If you’ve never heard of this artist, as I had not before attending the reception, you’ve likely come across works by some of his fellow Abstract Expressionist painters, such as Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning.

Tworkov’s allegiance to the Abstract Expressionists is clear, with his slashing brushstrokes and deconstructed figures. The works chosen for display were compositionally diverse, but stylistically similar. A few female figures, painted in blacks and greys stood beside canvases clothed in colorful slashes of horizontal paint. While the colored paintings seemed concrete and finished, the women or charcoal drawings could have been at any stage of creation. This arrangement gave a good sense of the varied dimensions of this painter’s style, and of abstract expressionism.

Two untitled works made with charcoal on paper were particularly eye-catching. In our contemporary world where new imaging technologies can render almost any picture ‘perfect’, a canvas coated from end to end with violent black scribbles of charcoal radiates with life. But displayed next to delicate paintings of crouching women, it seems a touch abrasive. It is works of art like these that lead my brother to ask me sarcastically ‘What is art?’

As beautiful as the eleven works were on display at the Barbara Edwards Contemporary, I would have liked to see more. Somehow one can only stare for so long at a drawing like ‘Untitled (ACD),’ mentioned above, and then our mind needs to consider something else. But for a gallery of its size, this exhibition of works by Jack Tworkov was lively and imaginative.

The Jack Tworkov exhibit at Barbara Edwards Contemporary runs until April 7th.

-Anne Deck

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