Monday, June 20, 2016

The Slightly Surreal, Illustration-Like Intellectual Art of Mark Tansey

Late February, we visited The Broad, a new museum in downtown Los Angeles (background here). The collection of Eli and Edythe Broad is housed there, a collection focused on postmodern art of the period 1960-1990, if the impression it gave me is halfway correct.

I am not a fan of the kind of art. Nevertheless, I did come across a few artists and their works that interested me. One of these was Mark Tansey (b. 1949) who I was essentially unaware of. Some background regarding him can be found here, here and here.

Some examples of his work are below. All the paintings date from 1979-90, a period when he did what I consider his most interesting work.


The Innocent Eye Test - 1981

The Occupation - 1984
1980s New York City occupied by 1914-vintage troop from Imperial Germany.

Triumph of the New York School - 1984
Allegory showing Great War clothed French artists surrendering to World War 2 garbed New York modernists.

Triumph ... key to depictions
I found this helpful graphic on the web.

Action Painting II - 1984

Forward Retreat - 1986

Forward Retreat: flipped detail
I took this photo at The Broad.  From right to left are (1) a 1917 Great War French soldier, (2) a 1914 German Great War Soldier, (3) a 1917 Great War British or American soldier, and (4) a polo player.

Constructing the Grand Canyon - 1990

A Short History of Modernist Painting - 1979-80
Another painting I saw at The Broad.  Below are some detail photos I took.

History ... detail

History ... another detail

History ... yet another detail


David Apatoff said...

I love Tansey's painting of The Innocent Eye-- I saw it at the Metropolitan in NY where it really stood out; it's huge, and beautifully painted. I found it to be so much smarter than the surrounding self-important "conceptual" art, and fun as well.

Donald Pittenger said...

Davis -- Tansey changed his style in recent years, not necessarily for the better, but maybe he didn't want to get into a rut. I'm kinda embarrassed that he was off my radar for so many years.