Nares’ Road Paint (2013)

James Nares, the current talk of Manhattan (in Spring 2013), has an astonishing video playing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called Street. Go see it if you can. Here, though, I want to discuss some of his recent paintings, a series of seemingly abstract designs known as Road Paint.

Yes, they look like the lines down the center of a road and tire marks too thereby suggesting a journey which, in his case, must be spiritual. However, as paint, they are clearly self-referential and uncannily resemble a painter's brushstokes. What will not be noticed, though, in Broadway Rap for instance, at left, is the presence of the artist's initial, N. See the diagram below.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Nares, Broadway Rap (2013) Thermoplastic and acrylic on linen. 120 x 96 ins. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.

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In Burn Rubber, another in the series, Nares includes both initials J and N. (Again, see diagram below.) However, in twisting them out of shape, they are clearly mental images which, in art, are traditionally fractured, twisted, melting (as in Salvador Dali) or bent out of shape.1

Nares' Manhattan gallery comments that these paintings are the "result of a completely new technique…...This unique practice seeks to capture movement’s own moment of creation, its own primal genesis."2 In his mind, of course.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Nares, Burn Rubber (2013) Thermoplastic and acrylic on linen. 120 x 96 ins. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.

Click image to enlarge.

In Blacktop, yet another paint reference related to the road, J and N appear again.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Nares, Blacktop (2013) Thermoplastic on linen. 120 x 96 ins. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.

Click image to enlarge.

In this final example the J and the N are fused together in the lower right corner where signatures traditionally go: the leg of the J here being the right-hand upright of the N.

Art always refers to contemporary culture as in the title of this image, How's My Driving? At least in the United States, that phrase is seen on the back of trucks  everywhere and metaphorically suggests How's My Painting? Are my lines making it? This conception of art's construction in the mind links Nares' practice to centuries of tradition which, in essence, never changes because Wisdom never does. It is eternal. Nevertheless Nares' compositions are the signs of a self-inquiring mind and of the artist's own intense focus on the present moment of existence, the moment the art was created.

 

Captions for image(s) above:

Nares, How's My Driving? (2013) Thermoplastic on linen. 120 x 96 ins. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York.

Click image to enlarge.

More Works by Nares

Notes:

1. For explanations of how mental images are represented in art, see my blog entries "Cubism Explained". and "Mental Images from Holbein, Ingres and Picasso". And for other specific examples, see Albrecht Dürer's Virgin and Child (c. 1491), Balthus' The White Skirt (1937) and Francis Bacon's Study for Pope Innocent X (1962).

2. Paul Kasmin Gallery website: James Nares. May 2013.

Original Publication Date on EPPH: 22 May 2013. © Simon Abrahams. Articles on this site are the copyright of Simon Abrahams. To use copyrighted material in print or other media for purposes beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Websites may link to this page without permission (please do) but may not reproduce the material on their own site without crediting Simon Abrahams and EPPH.