Miami Art Week 2014: Smears, Swipes and Strokes

Painted works defined by the thickness of brushwork and beyond

Regardless of the movement within contemporary art, process and technique translate to scene and sensation. The following works found across Miami Art Week all invoke sustained strokes, be that caked-on smears stretching across a canvas to petite tip-of-the-brush swipes. Altogether, they demonstrate the power of pressing down with various intensities across a mix of media. The definition of the word line—”a long, narrow mark or band” according to Oxford—contains vast possibilities and these works touch upon the diversity of the word.


French artist Jean-Paul Donadini makes the importance of brushstrokes most evident in his work “Brosse Arretee Gris Orange.” This mixed media on canvas piece, found at the Modus Art Gallery booth at Scope Art Fair, actually contains the brush used to draw forth the vibrant orange smear at its center. Material, process and tools unite to send a meta message about art, within a rather viscerally striking piece.


While the use of Prussian Blue may be the lasting impression from Jason Martin‘s “Tico II” (2014), it’s the heavy strokes that offer added dimension. This mixed media on aluminum piece at Art Miami within Galerie Forsblom‘s booth, almost bears the attributes of creased and folded fabric with its variation in thickness.


With innumerable light swipes at the canvas, “Late August” (2013) by American artist Robert Harms unifies the power of tiny lines coupled with chaos. This oil on canvas work was shown with Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects at Miami Project.


The large-scale “Oedipus the King” (2014) oil painting by American artist John Zinsser relies on two colors, one for background and another for thick, meandering lines which pull the eye inward, upward and everywhere. Zinsser’s work was found at Pulse within the Philip Slein Gallery setup.


Artist Jules Olitski‘s 1991 acrylic on canvas work “Miracle Wall” stands as a superior representation of the power overlapping lines smears. This is a serene uniformity amid colorful chaos. Spied at Art Basel‘s Paul Kasmin Gallery booth, the work contains detail and dimension worth exploring for hours.


At Art Basel‘s Galeria Millan booth, Brazilian artist Rodridgo Andrade showcased a layered, thick vista of rich color. The oils within “Onda amarela (Daido Moriyama), de serie Bicromia” (2014) stack up, atop one another for heavier lines, but the palate is so refined and taut that a scene of lightness is clearly set.


Thick circular strokes center the line of sight within Mary Temple‘s “false friend” (2014). Also found at Pulse, within the Mixed Greens Gallery installation, the piece even incorporates text—by way of absence of material—to finalize its mission.

Images by David Graver