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Luc Tuymans @ the MCA

Luc Tuymans
October 2, 2010 - January 9, 2011

As a painter I spent a couple hours on a Tuesday after noon viewing his works and paint application. After walking through once, I went trough again to take in the paintings with out the anticipation of what is next. I sat for several minutes on the benches pondering the paintings and intensely looking at them in the galleries. I praise the MCA for hosting this exhibition. Regardless of what Tuymans' paints, I was pulled in by his various brushstrokes, use of paint, limited palette and how he captures each painting with just enough without giving us too much information. Definitely adept in his trade, this painter is a painter who has invested a lifetime in his art making. I will go back many more times!

Many of the paintings stand out in memory, a reflection in a mirror, standing in front of tree trunks as if I were looking through night vision glasses, a giant blue and purple rhinoceros painted on a deep plum/purple canvas reminiscent of one of Rothko's chapel paintings, a nose with a deep brown background, the brushstrokes and thickness of paint seen in every mark. A face mutely painted coming out of a brown contour line with just a mark suggesting a shoulder, the perfect dinner table painted in green-yellow and brown. The simplicity captured in painted legs, a lamp, a pair of hands in black gloves holding chalk pieces, the bend of a back or a black and white coffee pot. The Texas ballroom dancers reminiscent of a Degas pastel drawing, with the floors arched symbol of statehood cropped.

It is interesting to be able to see Luc Tuymans' resources in a couple of gallery rooms, such a photos and films. Images include a high ranking Nazi touching his nose, which may allude to his own Jewish heritage, photos of hands in black gloves holding chalk; with out the reference I saw the painting as an abstraction and could not visualize it even with the title. When I went back, I could see the small pieces of chalk in the hands, the same color as the background of the painting. The political aspects of his paintings are interesting after the fact I have viewed his works for what they are, paintings. The muted yellow flag, a symbol of Belgium and what it may not want to stand for; racism and boarder control with the French and Flemish in the country and racist against each other.  The diseases that inspire the flesh abstractions.  The white boy, a symbol of a young king in Africa. The handsome man in glasses, painted in grays, black and white only to be revealed from the research he was a KKK member.

Also there is a never before film shown, where Tuymans' took five years off from painting to explore film. An exploration that greatly influences the subtleties and limited palette in his paintings.

Recommended upcoming artist talks:

Helen Molesworth on Luc Tuymans
Tuesday, October 26, 2010, 6 pm
MCA Theater

Tickets: $12, $10 MCA members, $8 students
Buy Tickets Online
or call the MCA Box Office, 312.397.4010

Home Base: Michael Darling, Michelle Grabner, and Lane Relyea in Conversation
What does it mean to characterize an artist by where they live and work?
Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 6 pm
MCA Theater
Tickets: $12, $10 MCA members, $8 students

Gallery Talk: David Schutter and Anthony Elms on the work of Luc Tuymans
Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 6 pm
Free
Location: Exhibition galleries. Space is limited.

Curator Tour: Luc Tuymans
Tuesday, December 7, 2010, noon
MCA Pamela Alper Associate Curator Julie Rodrigues Widholm leads a tour of the exhibition Luc Tuymans.
The MCA is FREE on Tuesdays

MCA 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago

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