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#7 Take 163
1997




Take 44 Blue-Black
1997


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   For London-born New York artist James Nares, painting is a kind of ritual process. He approaches his work in terms of feeling rather than vision. Over the years he has perfected an approach in which he tries to capture the perfect brush stroke -- a precise gesture that will convey an expression of mind and body harmony. The work is in some ways related to Asian calligraphy, but unlike working with ink on paper, and all the caprices of chance, Nares reworks his canvases over and over until the image is acceptably clear. He likens the work to photography, not only because the textural nuances of his surfaces sometimes resemble those of photo emulsion, but because he aims to capture a moment, a kind of millisecond snapshot of feeling.

The nine works on view here are the same size -- 60-by-34 inches -- a dimension that the artist says is best suited to his body, and that best allows him to feel the paint and canvas. With the canvases placed on the floor, and working with a long-handled homemade brush, Nares applies a single color in a convulsive gesture. The striking red painting #7 Take 163 was produced after 163 tries, for example, and the powerful Take 44 Blue-Black results from 44 attempts. The show also includes a work produced in only a single take. Nares implies that feeling a painting is more important than seeing it. All the same, in his recent work one sees the efforts of a truly visionary painter.

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