NEW YORK – S|2 New York is pleased to present Jim Thorell: 7 Paintings, the first solo exhibition of the Swedish painter Jim Thorell in the United States. On the occasion of this exhibition Norwegian collector, critic and curator Peter J. Amdam has written an accompanying essay that examines the artist’s new paintings and aesthetic theory. Thorell’s lush, abstract canvases will be on view in the New York gallery until August 5th.
Not too long ago I was with Jim - and our mutual friend, young American artist Michael Manning - looking at the truly sublime paintings by the Norwegian painter Peder Balke (1804-1887) in London’s National Gallery. As if we were cheered on by Mike’s contagious “maaan, this is soooo gooood” we almost stepped right into one of Balke’s small scenes with the sickest and most blistering, boisterous, life threatening, beautiful greyscale surf imaginable. Stone cold washout. I was slightly taken aback by Jim’s following comment that the pastose strokes of white were reminiscent of what happened in modern day graffiti. I have no clue what this really means. For a moment the distance between my native shores of Northwest coast Norway and the crushing Atlantic Ocean and the mellow ripple of the Baltic Sea in the Stockholm archipelago had never felt longer (and what about Southern California?) Does it mean anything? Then again; what can one say? It is painting. It is friends. No one in their right mind would start a lecture about precursory modernism, arctic artistic aristocracy while casually slashing through the National Gallery with their friends. We were still reeling after spending a whole afternoon with Pipilotti Rist’s mind blowing, fluid, and anemonic video combustion just around the corner. Jim knows. He is what they call a painter. That is, as the title of the show suggests, he actually is painting, he is seven paintings. Extreme identity. Biblical. The only thing that comes between him and his painting is the colon, the “:”, as if the worlds, the Atlantic or the Baltic, emotion and illusion, the climate controlled space of the National Gallery and the solace saturated mayhem of Balke’s canvases, painting and meaning, are both kept apart and joined by a fraught and crude proto-emoji of sorts. When I look at Jim I look at the solace of painting, the portension of painting, the crush of painting, the horror of painting? Is he an effect of painting? Is he determining his own aesthetics instead the suffering that will be imposed upon it? The suffering at the other side of the colon? Punctuation (:) mark. It is as if these paintings demand to be absorbed by their own complexity, or complicity, with the Real?
Soul-bright pistils. Ravaged stamens. Pink. Defeated ultramarine identity. Xanax surf. Offshore acrylic. Keep in mind - that would be: our right minds - these are paintings. They become flowers only when we see them after. When we are recovering from the non-cognition of painting’s prehensive powers washing on shore. It lingers, this strange shape we thought present. Jim Thorell: 7 Paintings. Anemones of pastose subtraction will grow in their bristling, windy light.