Shirley Kandea interviews painter Juan Uslé about his work and career. Uslé's works were recently on view in his exhibition Al Clarear at Frith Street Gallery, London.
Towards the end of the interview Kandea asks: "I think painting, unlike other mediums, has a tremendous history that can’t be ignored. The painter always has to work with this history even if it’s about emptying out that history. Would you agree?" Uslé responds: "I understand that your question refers to what I call a voice, or an invitation to a peculiar view—some works have that, and it seems timeless. No matter how many times you might see that work, you always find the thread that you’re never done unraveling. For me, painting’s legitimacy depends on that voice—that prevailing, inexhaustible quality, much more than on its circumstantial use value, technical factors, material conditions, its social or historical context, and those sorts of attributes which are so important to those who need to organize things. For me a pictorial gaze avoids those eschatologies."
Mary Jones interviews painter Amy Feldman whose exhibition Grey Area was recently on view at Sorry We're Closed, Brussels.
In her introduction Jones writes: "With simple and strong contrast, Feldman’s forms activate the ground, dispelling any metaphors of the mechanical. Expressive, letter-like cartoon and carnal shapes drive Feldman’s unique, psychologically charged language. The rigorous simplicity of the work embraces the fundamental elements of painting, a barebones approach of all or nothing, without revisions or second layers."
Asked about figure/ground relationships in her work, Feldman comments that she is "obsessed with figure/ground relationships and negotiating the space between them, the space that flips between something and nothing—an attentive and imprudent flip. When the works get large, a chunk of figure that you could almost hold onto becomes ground, and vice versa. I am interested in highlighting the areas between figure and ground that might be ignored. These are the areas that the drip embodies. The drips are completely accidental, but I see them as integral to the overall image structure."
John Bunker interviews painter Sabine Tress about her work. Sabine Tress: Run Run Painter Run is on view at Appels Gallery, Amsterdam through July 4, 2014.
Tress comments: "I think I am more and more looking for a personalised version of painting. And above all I want my work to reflect a very individual view and complex emotions. I don’t know if my work does that but I am attracted by works that do that, plainly speaking... I’d like to work a lot more on bigger formats. Physically, it’s a challenge. The huge format I worked on recently… I had to get on a chair in order to reach nearer to the top. Small formats can be challenging too as I need to control my actions much more. The bigger formats on the other hand, allow me to ‘slam the paint’ on, I have more freedom to experiment, leave the canvas ‘empty’ on certain areas. Bigger formats allow me to have more of a dialogue with the painting. It’s like a person or a presence standing there. It also feels more like creating a very personal reality, something that stands its ground. I imagine sometimes that if I could paint lots of big formats and that I would then be able to live in this painted environment."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy talk to painter Allison Gildersleeve at her exhibition, Elsewhere at Asya Geisberg Gallery, New York, on view through June 21, 2014.
Gildersleeve comments: "I love pattern and I also love paintings that there is no recognizable subject in it but it feels very figurative. They're just piling up these shapes and yet it feels like it tells a story. Those two things are things I'm always trying to get to happen in my own work... Ideally I'd like to get to that point where it's all my language and my language brings out what I see in whatever it is I paint... so you start to see that kind of energy and fluctuation and the things mutate and change, they fall apart and come together... I want paintings that continually unfold and breathe and happen, and are not fixed."
Maria Calandra interviews painter Erik den Breejen on the occasion of his recent exhibition There's a Riot Goin' On at Freight + Volume, New York.
Den Breejen comments: "I see the paintings as having three equal, interconnected parts: the words, the image, and the color. The color operates as its own language, but it's usually based on some pre-existing lighting situation, and it occurs on the words as it creates them, as they both create the image. It's hard for me to pin down what the most engaging part of the work is for me, but as I'm making them in the moment, I'm most concerned with color. Mixing the colors and playing them off one another feels very musical to me. Instead of using lots of chords, per se, as I did in the past, I'm now using fewer chords, but they're bigger, more complex chords. Listening to Wagner had a lot to do with that. I’m thinking of the color as a key, as it relates to the image, as it relates to the subject. It's very interconnected."
Lauren Henkin and Richard Benari interview artist Dorothea Rockburne about her work and career.
Rockburne on space: "It seems to me that the big changes in art, if you want to think about it, are spatial changes, they’re not changes in subject matter. Subject matter, still life, geometric abstraction, the human figure, more or less, remains the same... I think there was a tradition that was going on—and goes way back—that had to do with oblique geometry. Today, we’re unfamiliar with it. It’s in the Pompeii Room at the Met. Then, all of a sudden, the stuff just disappears. I think that if it was in Pompeii, it was an inherited tradition. And since there were no books, traditions were handed down pragmatically, from word of mouth —and doing. But it was all lost. There were remains of it, probably because artists are nosy and they’re nosy about the past. And probably Giotto, who certainly had a superb intelligence—that’s for sure—used that tradition, that kind of geometry, but not always."
Kalm notes: "Obsessively building up oil paint, Dickson creates these works with an unflagging intensity and a faith in paint itself. Sometimes weighing in at over one hundred pounds these works become fetishized objects that transcend the normal limitations of graphic images."
Nathlie Provosty interviews painter Michael Berryhill about his work on the occasion of his exhibition Beggars Blanket at KANSAS Gallery, New York, on view through June 14, 2014.
Berryhill comments: "What’s exciting to me is being a little bit lost and then finding meaning; finding my way out of being lost is so palpable. And it’s fleeting, but when you feel that moment of getting an answer—where there are no answers forthcoming in our lives or elsewhere—when you get a real clarity in not-knowingness it’s a pretty inexplicable sensation experience. And I think that drawing does that, and a lot of different art forms; I’m a huge movie fan. But painting is the most vivid version...I don’t frontload my work with subject, and I don’t think about trying to get something to translate from a subject. I think the subject comes out of the translation of confusion. At some point it could be more figurative than object or more heavy than light, but I recognize the subject when it’s almost done. And that’s when I finish."
James Kalm visits the exhibition Stephen Maine: Halftone Paintings at 490 Atlantic Gallery, Brooklyn, New York.
Kalm notes: "Having developed his vision of abstraction over more than thirty years, Maine has developed a very personal and unique method that removes his hand and habits from the paintings. With a very perceptive eye, and probing intellect, he questions every received concept and intuition of what 'abstract painting' truly is. Maine gives viewers a brief walking tour explanation through this, his latest show."
Wragg comments: "...one of the problems people have when they look at painting is that they are full up to the brim with notions of what painting is and what it should be, and meaning, and so on, and so on. And the answer is – and I think that this is what every individual should strive to do – is to empty out completely, let it all go and try not to have expectations of anything, but just to actually look, and look, and look. You might respond to it in a way that surprises you, because you let it in, because you are empty; but if you are full up it means you have resistance and you will keep it out, and you will be limited. If you are less limited you can go much further."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.