Anthony Lister is not an Impressionist artist. Impressionism is essentially dead now, a movement born out of a pre-high technology moment of capturing the feeling and emotion of a place, dwelling on specific meaningful details and movements. Lister tackled classic art of the Impressionist era, creating a new incarnation of free form art, less-is-more Impressionism, which is the subject of his recently opened New Image show.
Lister’s works were mostly unframed, his notes scribbled all over the gallery to really give the “this is the lowest of high art” or “highest of low art” feeling. He had his Degas dancers, ballerinas that were all uneven and not uniform, their bodies diverse and imperfect, a far cry from Degas’ trained and primped and glowing ballerinas. A portrait of van Gogh was at the center of the wall space, a portrait in homage to one of the bigger Impressionist pieces ever created that Lister created in a way that almost suggested he had conquered and improved upon van Gogh’s world. In the middle of the room, there was even a small sculpture, a bust careening itself to the left, undoubtedly a shove at Degas’s Little Dancer of Fourteen Years.
The show was decidedly “not fancy,” strips of canvas applied directly to the wall, some layered atop of each other like flip books. Some pieces were framed, some literally dripped off of the walls, some literally danced off of the canvas: there was a nonchalance and transience unique to the show, as if all the pieces were going to melt away in a few days. His scribbles on the walls were the best touch, detailing wall structures that needed to be removed, gold frames that needed to be added, and–at it’s most brilliant–off-white words painted on the white wall above a painting noting “MATCH.” They were self-conscious and commentary on “how the show should have been,” perhaps if it were in late nineteenth century Europe.
Lister’s work at New Image is up through April 7. Definitely stop in and check out his take on Impressionism, which may or may nor be a new mash-up artistic movement. We’ll have to stay tuned to find out.