I Heart New York: New Paintings by Juan Bolivar

30th October – 8th December 2014

Artist’s Talk in conversation with Graham Crowley and book launch 5th Dec 7.30pm

In January 2013 artist Juan Bolivar travelled to New York to witness Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925; a survey of the birth of the abstract movement staged at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

For I Heart New York, Bolivar fuses personal encounters with New York city filtered through the imagery of paintings from this exhibition. He uses Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925 as a starting point for a new body of work made in response to this trip: iconic landmarks such as Broadway and Wall Street are reinterpreted through the schemas of Piet Mondrian and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, becoming an intimate travelog of the artist’s first visit, and quasi-pilgrimage, to New York.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication with an introductory text by Graham Crowley.

‘If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.’ Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Juan Bolivar is full of surprises. For someone who admits to being unaware of post-modernism until 1998 – that’s 20 years after notions of originality and authenticity had first been problematised – he’s certainly caught up. His work isn’t postmodern it is post-conceptual. Juan’s paintings effortlessly epitomise post-conceptual painting. It’s intelligent, un-ironic, humorous and thoughtful. His work appears to be at ease with its materiality. A significant part of the legacy of early non representational painting. The painting as its own object. This is one reason why Juan’s paintings are executed with such precision and care. A profound respect for the discourse that is painting and an established sense of the painting as object.

Juan’s paintings make no apparent claim to authenticity or originality. It’s simply not an issue. The notion of justification has become facile. The myth of expressive integrity has been exposed as an unsustainable absurdity. Integrity isn’t a matter of choice. Wearisome debates as to whether painting is relevant or whatever are long buried. These days we have bigger fish to fry. His work is intelligent without being academic. He doesn’t appear to lose sleep musing over ‘academic kabbalah’*.

‘The picture is a fact.’ Ludwig Wittgenstein.

(Extract from Juan Bolivar I Heart New York text by Graham Crowley. October 2014)

* ‘academic kabbalah'; is an expression first coined by the critic and novelist George Steiner.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela (1966), Juan Bolivar graduated MA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2003 receiving the Warden’s Prize. Bolivar’s paintings investigate language and cognition, and hover between abstraction and representation. His paintings reconfigure the stylistic appearance of abstraction, creating tragicomical reinterpretations of this genre which range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Tim Sheward Projects, London (Law & Order, 2013), Jacobs Island Gallery, London (Bat Out of Hell, 2011), John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton (Geometry Wars, 2008) and Lucy Mackintosh Gallery, Switzerland (Home Alone, 2008). Forthcoming exhibitions include, Castaway (Aldeburgh South Beach Lookout, October 2014) and Battlefield III (Anglia Ruskin University, December 2014). Bolivar’s work has been selected for significant exhibitions including New British Painting (John Hansard Gallery, 2004) and EASTInternational in 2007. He has received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award twice (2001 and 2009), and in 2014 he was selected as Prize Winner at the Nanjing International Art Exhibition, China.  His work can be found in private collections in the U.K., U.S., Switzerland, Japan and South America, and public collections in the U.K., including the Government Art Collection, Ernst & Young, UAL, Goldsmiths College and University of the Arts London Collection.
Join us on Friday, December 5th, 7.30 pm, when Graham Crowley will be in conversation with Juan Bolivar at C&C Gallery to mark the launch of this exhibition’s publication.