...Breer’s tiny abstract flipbooks surreptitiously introduce the third - and largest - section of the show, comprised of abstract comics from the new book of the same title by Andrei Molotiu. Here, narrative art comes with most of the trappings of the comics, minus realistic imagery and, for the most part, a verbal stream. According to Molotiu, an artist and educator, the absence of a verbal story can create a feeling of sequential drive, rhythm, or the rise and fall of a story arc.
This idea characterizes much, but not all, of the art on display at the James. Collected through a worldwide open call, the work is done by artists who will be new for most visitors to the show. Among the standouts are
I am not married because I do not have a watch, by Noah Bertansky, in which the narrative drive of the art carries haphazardly framed panels screechingly across their paper background. The message seems to be that the artist’s life is a train wreck, due to his watch- and wife-lessness,
Jasnusz Jaworski takes the idea of abstract comics to the extreme by creating an abstract language for the speech bubbles that inhabit the frames in a style reminiscent of Japanese scroll painting and calligraphy. And an old-fashioned wire magazine stand hosts a collection of paintings by Mark Staff Brandt called A History of Composition in Abstract Comic Covers. Done in oil, acrylic and collage on masonite panels, the 30 pieces in this series have a wonderfully crude graphic style shared by realistic comics by R. Crumb and others of the East Village Eye era...
Read the whole thing here.