Ralph Pugay

January 05, 2015, 1:25pm

NAP Contributor Top 5: Erin Langner

On the occasion of the Museum of Modern Art’s show, The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl recently wrote of painting being in a state of crisis. In response to the show comprised of painters whose “approach characterizes our cultural moment at the beginning of the new millennium,” according to MOMA’s website, Schjeldahl rejects the medium’s outright death. Still unoptimistic, he concludes, “Painting can bleed now, but it cannot heal.”

As someone who has spent a lot of time with paintings over the last few years, I had to stop to consider whether I agreed: are the paintings I have encountered bleeding? In trying to answer, I found myself making my list of the five shows that made me think the most about the state of painting this year—its physicality, its lasting presence, and its bloodshed. — Erin Langner, Seattle Contributor

Sterling Ruby | SUNRISE SUNSET installation view, image courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

Listed under: Art World, Noteworthy

December 17, 2014, 10:51am

Rothkos in Space and Paintings of Dumpsters: The Absurd Worlds of Ralph Pugay

Out-loud laughter is not usually something you hear at a paintings show, particularly one inside of a museum. However, this is the reaction I saw over and over again, as I stood among Portland artist Ralph Pugay’s (NAP #97, #115) paintings, at the Seattle Art Museum. Filling a small but highly trafficked gallery that was wedged between exhibits of glass and of traditional nineteenth and twentieth century American art, the artist’s small canvases excelled at catching people off guard. The flattened, cartoonish scenes captured the eyes of people en route to another space, who would wander towards them with looks of befuddlement. The point at which the artist’s frank titles, absurdities and language games began to sink in was the moment the laughter began.— Erin Langner, Seattle contributor

Ralph Pugay | Rothkos in Space, acrylic on canvas, 24"x24", 2013. Image courtesy of the artist.

Listed under: Museum Admission, Review