Magazine article Artforum International

Munro Galloway

Magazine article Artforum International

Munro Galloway

Article excerpt

DE CHIARA/STEWART

Did you grow up before or after the VCR? With or without computers? Pre or post the World Wide Web? Even Luddites have to admit it makes things interesting, not knowing where we'll be next - but knowing we'll be there soon. Where does painting fit in? we wonder. There's been a lot of speculation lately about who the next generation of young painters will be, what attitudes might motivate painting in the future, and, perhaps most important, what it will look like. Keep an eye on Munro Galloway. In his first solo exhibition of impressively stylish and savvy paintings, he uses visual allure as a springboard to grapple with the way painting constructs its relation to its history, to mass culture, and to something we might describe as the place where "the avant-garde meets the good life."

In contrast to the quirky realism of recent figurative painting (e.g., of Karin Kilimnik, John Currin, and Elizabeth Peyton), Galloway's paintings of young, beautiful Asians (mostly men, at least in this show) posed in elegantly empty interiors look all "grown up." This is due, in part, to Galloway's many references to Manet. It's not just the languorous handling of paint, or the refined aesthetics of a palette restrained to muted tonalities, but also a certain attitude that Galloway seems to be borrowing from Manet. That attitude is manifest in the isolation of ultrafashionable figures who appear to be stayed, both by their own self-consciousness at being looked at and by their desire to edify the one whose gaze pins them in place. Factored in as another field of influence, many of the sultry moments Galloway renders are taken from a recent Prada ad campaign featuring Takeshi Kaneshiro, a superstar of Hong Kong action cinema, who is as accomplished in the martial arts and acting as he is in projecting "the look. …

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