From our sister publication Art Practical, today we bring you a review of Facundo Argañaraz‘s solo exhibition Tonight Tonight at Highlight Gallery in San Francisco. Author Danica Willard Sachs notes that with the paintings in this new show, Argañaraz is “riffing on the monochrome… [and] grace is not found in presentness, but in confrontation.” This review was originally published on October 28, 2013.
A traditional narrative of art history culminates with Michael Fried’s “Art and Objecthood.” In this essay, Fried declares the end of painting at the monochrome: the complete distillation of painting to its most basic elements. For Fried, the monochrome marks the purest of aesthetic experiences as the viewer finds transcendence in the eternal present. In Tonight Tonight, Facundo Argañaraz questions the relevance of this history to contemporary art practice by employing industrial processes and found images to create deceptively clean-looking works that confound the viewer’s efforts to discern a deeper meaning. Argañaraz enters this historical conversation obliquely in the exhibition statement, referencing a quote from Jorge Luis Borges’ 1980 essay, “The Thousand and One Nights.” Borges contends that this historical tale acts as a metaphor for our paradoxically eternal yet evolving collective history. Tonight Tonight anchors the artist’s process and imagery in the familiar and industrial to argue for a contemporary rethinking of the monochrome.