Massive is the first thing that came to mind when I entered the William Griffin Gallery this past weekend to see Leon Golub Late Paintings: 1995-2000. (on view until March 5th). First, I have to say that this space is absolutely perfect for these works … As soon as you enter there is no obstruction. You immediately enter the space and are introduced to the work. In the case of Golub, I don’t really see how it can be any other way. The work is confrontational in content and size. The large unstretched, unframed canvases colored in dark imagery demands your immediate attention.
Golub is known for his expressionistic style of work and political (unedited, raw, uncensored) subjects. However, this exhibit explores his later years when he focused on issues of mortality through the depiction of dogs and skulls existing in what I would call catastrophic environments.
I was fascinated by the dogs. They were angry and merciless. Having grown up in a city where “Beware of Dog’ was commonly placed in front of black gates holding back a pack of German Sheperds, I could almost hear the barks echoing from Golub’s canvases. It felt very uneasy and far too real. At the same time, it brings you closer to your own feelings of mortality – a discourse many fear to engage in. I think Golub’s later works may be one of his best. I’m not sure yet. I am still deciphering that.