Polychrome Fiction · Joanne Greenbaum and Jackie Saccoccio

Polychrome Fiction pairs Greenbaum and Saccoccio, two leading abstract painters based in New York City. Greenbaum’s large-scale, wildly colored canvases often incorporate schematic linear constructions evocative of fantastic structures. Saccoccio’s new works, completed during her residency at the renowned American Academy in Rome, Italy, are titled Portraits. However, it is difficult to discern a face among the webs, drips and washes of richly hued paint. For both artists color is key, as is creating fictions, structural or psychological.

Drawing and color co-exist on an equal footing in Joanne Greenbaum’s exuberant paintings. Animated shapes, patterns and linear structures, interconnect and overlap – seemingly on the move – in both a challenging and playful manner. The crystalline armatures that eventually emerge, after repeated work sessions, function in both a graphic and coloristic way as they spread and evolve across the surface of the paintings. Greenbaum achieves an inclusive sense of both play and urgency in each painting while also negotiating a balance between risk and caution.

As Greenbaum states, “I’m very rigorous in the progression from one work to the other. This is where modernism comes in – I have to learn something from each painting in order to move on. If the painting feels too familiar or I seem to have done it before, I stop.”

Typical of Jackie Saccoccio's paintings are the colored layers of poured paint that drift and flow in glazes and rivulets. The sedimentation of numerous washes of color creates structures as unpredictable as they are surprising – and the addition of brush strokes furthers the paintings complexity with contrasting forms and marks. The works are known collectively as Portraits, with an added name to identify them individually. The titles often reflect the assertive energy of the paintings, though sometimes the association is with an event in the artist’s life.

According to Saccoccio, “As a starting point, I focus on portrait painting, mostly works from the 1500s to1600s. The original impetus was going through the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain. The presence elicited by some of those portraits – Holbein, Correggio and Ghirlandaio in particular – just got under my skin. So initially, I make notes about their paintings and then try to translate them into an abstract language with color and liquidity. Once I get painting though, it’s improvisational.”

Joanne Greenbaum lives and works in New York, NY. She received a BFA from Bard College in New York, NY, in 1975. Her work has most recently been featured in one-person exhibitions at Greengrassi, London, United Kingdom; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, IL; and Nicolas Krupp Gallery, Basel, Switzerland. In 2008, Greenbaum was the subject of a solo museum survey exhibition at Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland, which traveled to the Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach, Germany. BOMB magazine will feature one of Greenbaum’s works on its cover, and include an interview, for its forthcoming summer issue.

Jackie Saccoccio received her BFA in 1985 from the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI, and her MFA in 1988 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has most recently been exhibited in Portraits, Eleven Rivington, New York, NY; and Open Windows (curated by Carroll Dunham), Addison Museum of Art, Andover, MA; and Portraits, Museo di Arte Contemporanea, Villa Croce, Genova, Italy. She is currently in residence at the American Academy in Rome.