Saturday, December 16, 2006

Paying attention to what you buy at Gallery Gora


I just received this tout sheet from Gallery Gora which tries to impress with the following statement:
Grid Composition" by John Kingerlee sold for a record price of $156,000 in the Sotheby's Contemporary Art Sale New York. This newly established world record clearly demonstrates the growing demand for this leading world artist. Kingerlee's mixed media, drawings, ceramics and collage are all handled with immense skill, for he loves to experiment and push his materials to their limits, right to the very edge.His work literally fizzles with energy as if seen through the eyes of a child creating friendly innocent like beings, goblins and animals from a cosmic world.
If you click here to see the previous Sothebys results for John Kingerlee that three weeks earlier a larger Grid Composition sold for about one third (36%) of the price. And what really annoys me, is the use of a painting that is not a Grid Composition to illustrate the tout sheet, and the way it is written it is designed to give you the impression that Grid Composition is just one of many paintings by Mr. Kingerlee that are all increasing exponentially in value. When in fact there are many different paintings by him called Grid Composition and they have always gone for a much higher price than anything else he has done. And the other types are not increasing as fast or as much. A piece by Mr. Kingerlee much similar to what is illustrated sold for less than $2,700 at Sothebys on May 25 of this year.

And then finally compare what was written by Sothebys about the Grid Compositions of John Kingerlee with what Gallery Gora wrote.
The series of grid paintings John Kingerlee has been working on since the year 2000 represent the apex of his achievement, both as a superlative technician and as a visionary artist. Each of his grids may be comprised of up to 50 layers of paint and will literally take years to complete, allowing for the fact that each coat needs time to dry before the next one is applied. In the early stages he uses bright colours, but he progressively adds more white to his paints as he loves the subtlety of reduced colour. The process is one of endlessly hiding and revealing, as each layer responds differently to its neighbour, breaking through the surface perhaps or even blending with a new skin of pigment. The unhurried addition of so many layers can be likened to the laying down of geological strata, as seen for example in the rock-strewn landscape surrounding Kingerlee’s home on West Cork’s Beara peninsula.

The Grids ultimately pay tribute to the prismatic disintegration and reassembly of everyday objects by the Cubist masters, Picasso and Braque, at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. Comparisons can also be drawn with the Harmonies of Paul Klee and the heavily impasted abstracts of Nicolas de Stael. But Kingerlee is far from being a mere follower. He uses colour and touch, whether wielding a palette knife or a brush, with great subtlety, and the intended effect is ultimately one of meditative calm. His grids evoke a serenity that belies, in an astonishing perceptive ‘leap’, the near three-dimensionality of their accreted surfaces.

Jonathan Benington
"Fizzles with an energy" vs. "meditative calm." Isn't that soort of like Black vs. White?

(If you need to sign in to see any of the Sothebys pages, use BugMeNot)

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