Jack Bush Retrospective

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Ken Carpenter reviews Jack Bush at The National Gallery of Canada, on view through February 22, 2015.

Carpenter writes that in the exhibition catalogue (which features essays Marc Mayer, Sarah Stanners, Adam Welch, and Karen Wilkin): "Both Mayer and Welch put to rest the canard that Bush was 'an aesthetic marionette' unduly under the influence of Clement Greenberg. They recount in detail Bush’s 'aesthetic resistance' to the powerful New York critic. Bush may have changed his paint handling, centered the image less, and eventually focused on his strength as a great colourist by abandoning black, all at the suggestion of Greenberg, but the intelligence and inventiveness of the art was Bush’s alone… Wilkin makes a persuasive argument that Bush occupies a unique position within color field painting. His work is distinguished by a deceptive awkwardness, an 'irrepressible personality,' and a vocabulary of both colour and forms “rooted in observed actuality.” Indeed, Bush could be classified as what I call an 'image-bank' painter. His work stands in striking contrast to the resolutely non-referential and seemingly more precise and refined art of his American counterparts."

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