Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Jay Rolfe: Ellsworth Kelly at Matthew Marks Gallery ... my journey From Starving Artist To 21st Century Picasso

Don't you just love the future Jay Rolfe's projecting for himself? I do!

Last night I read a review in the March issue Art in America magazine of the Ellsworth Kelly exhibit at Matthew Marks Gallery in the Chelsea district of Manhattan which opened last November. I had previously read a review of the exhibit in the February issue of Art News.

I attended the opening of the Kelly exhibit at Matthew Marks on November 11, 2006. Matthew Marks seemed quite proud when I congratulated him on a great show.

I previously posted about other Ellsworth Kelly paintings on Feb 16, 2007 and an earlier conversation I had with him on Feb 27, 2007.

Ellsworth Kelly is known for his bright clear colors on paintings that are large and lately have only one or two colors and often have a shape other than a rectangle. There were some of those, and here is a photo of some of them.

The remarkable thing about the exhibit at Matthew Marks was that the featured paintings in the large 22nd St Gallery were exclusively black and white. That was unusual for Ellsworth Kelly. Here are some photos I took.

Of the black and white paintings, one reviewer said it was "the first exhibition of Kelly paintings to focus exclusively on form." The other said "the abandonment of colors ... a signature Kelly attribute - when denied, obliges viewers to concentrate on geometry and the juxtaposition of shapes." Both reviewers missed the point. I know because I asked Ellsworth Kelly.

Jay Rolfe said, "Mr. Kelly, what caused you to go from color to black and white?" Ellsworth Kelly said, "The war. There's no color in that." There you are, an artist's comment on the times, the Iraq war. That really explains this dramatic shift in his work. Sometimes all you have to do is ask. Learning that was well worth the drive to New York.

That was another step on the journey of Jay Rolfe From Starving Artist To 21st Century Picasso. You can see some expressions of my unique artistic idea on my website at

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