“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” -Buddha
For an artist that brings home with him a rich assortment of sensory experiences to contemplate; the now is all there is. For Tony Magar, it is getting immersed in the process, the moment at hand of creation and destruction together that is the most exhilarating. Viewers are easily drawn into Magar’s universe of the living present, reflecting the sights, sounds and feelings of the day. Yet, how does one contemplate only what is in view when you are aware of such a history, a career spanning over 50 years and still building on the legacy that is Tony Magar.
Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to announce Buddha sometimes, an exhibition featuring new work by painter/sculptor Tony Magar. Born in London, this visionary pioneer of the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York began by working on the fabrication of steel with mark Di Suvero, a craft that he would continue to develop in the years to come. In the late 1950’s, Magar settled in New York where he exhibited alongside the second generation Abstract Expressionists including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauchenberg, Claus Oldenberg and John Chamberlain. Always dynamic, Magar made “burn paintings” in which he ignited the lacquer covering his collages, coming dangerously close to burning more than his studio floor. It wasn’t until the 1960’s, however, that he found his place with a group of abstract artists. Collectively, they founded Park Place, the first SoHo space to show abstract art with the aim of a continuous exchange of aesthetic ideas and unknowingly, carved their names into the ever growing realm of art history, securing their place in this grand narrative studied all over the world.
With a strong belief in the limiting influence of the ego, Magar understands that it is something that must be moved aside in order to move forward, create and continually grow; An admittedly difficult task, achievable on our best days, only sometimes. Working in Taos, New Mexico, Magar is able to realize the amount of peace required to progress and create works that are vibrant and undeniably full of life. Lightning canvases beam luminosity with colors, once belonging to nature, now made Magar’s own. Gesture and movement, controlling and dominant in their lyricism, build to create this progressive new series of works far less condensed in terms of a single, cohesive idea. The viewer is pulled into this realm of exquisite chaos, reflective of the nature around us yet somehow, true to the Magar tradition, not of this world.