Dennis Congdon @ Cue Art Foundation

Dennis Congdon, Visuvi, 2013, flashe and enamel on canvas, 94 × 107 inches (phot
Dennis Congdon, Visuvi, 2013, flashe and enamel on canvas, 94 × 107 inches (photo: Cathy Carver, courtesy of CUE Art Foundation)

William Corwin reviews a recent exhibition of paintings by Dennis Congdon at the Cue Art Foundation, New York.

Corwin writes: "Dennis Congdon’s palette of soothing pastel tones in oil, flashe, enamel, and lightly abraded surfaces may lay claim to the fresco aesthetic of Latium, but his subject matter inhabits the coffee houses and bars (and psychoanalytic offices) of late 19th century Vienna and Paris. The conceit of the Forum Romanum as a regulating geometry of jumbled ruins, architectural conglomerates spanning centuries, and crumbling statuary belies the real focus of Congdon’s paintings, which is the accumulation and appropriation of mostly classical and classically inspired objects as stand-ins for a very modern psychic sensibility. The piles and mounds in these large canvases drip with implication, forming tidy connections between sex, art, desire, and studio practice, and presenting for our consideration the eternal problem of drawing inspiration from the past—or in fact, drawing inspiration at all."