T.J. Clark reflects on Picasso's mural Fall of Icarus (1958).
Clark writes: "My argument, then, is that it was only in the real-size, forty-piece Fall of Icarus that Picasso escaped from Cubism – from the studio, from ‘viewpoint,’ from proximity and tactility, from the whole spatial and figurative world of Guernica – and showed us the world after epic. Two things seem decisive. First, to repeat, there was the eventual effect of the non-square shape on the picture’s deployment of surface and depth. ‘Flatness’ of a new kind emerges, peculiarly piecemeal and lacking in structure, floating the scene’s absurd protagonists apart from one another. It is impossible to know how much Picasso knew or cared, at this point in the 1950s, about ‘American-type’ painting. But The Fall of Icarus has the look, especially from ground level, of a burlesque Barnett Newman with figures added by Matisse."
Collins writes that "[Benning's] work has a directness to it, it's immediate but there is also the underlying sense of much more going on than what you immediately see. I recall taking in the craft of how she cuts all the ply up and then assembles it back together into these wonderfully playful paintings... the sunset was my personal favorite work in the exhibition. I think her designing of landscape is something I would love to see more of. But her talent of coaxing imagery from a plywood panel in such a lyrical but calculated way is one that is supremely hers..."
Riad Miah reflects on the paintings of Johannes Vermeer.
Miah writes that Vermeer's works "are open invitations to looking long and carefully. And the act of looking and investigating, combing through the details of his paintings are at the core of what I find so sustaining. In a world where we can find boundless information on anything we are looking for at our fingertips and just a few clicks away, it is satisfying to look at a painting by Vermeer and slow down time and focus on just a few bits of visual information."
Tomkins writes: "Although he hasn’t really used artist’s paints or brushes since he was in art school, what Bradford makes are abstract paintings. He starts with a stretched canvas and builds up its surface with ten or fifteen layers of paper—white paper, colored paper, newsprint, reproductions, photographs, printed texts—fixing each layer with a coat of clear shellac. Sometimes he embeds lengths of string or caulking to form linear elements in the palimpsest. When the buildup reaches a certain density, he attacks it with power sanders and other tools, exposing earlier layers, flashes of color, and unexpected juxtapositions. Not until the first sanding does he begin to see where the painting is going. He works like an archeologist, rediscovering the past."
Ashley Stull Meyers interviews painter Katherine Bradford whose exhibition Divers and Dreamers is on view at Adams and Ollman, Portland, Oregon through June 3, 2016.
Bradford comments: "I want to examine large themes that exist in any time or place—themes like isolation, community, play, or wonder. My paintings are full of awe for our place as small beings in an immense scheme of things. Is that a romantic notion? I feel my settings are universal and timeless and exist in the past as well as the future. The deeper, darker palette came first [in making Divers and Dreamers] and suggested outer space at night. Outer space is a joy for any painter of large color fields. You’ve probably already guessed that my favorite colors are dark blues and purples. It’s full of the mystery of a dark, unchartered universe and gives me boundless opportunities for the invention of multiple light sources."
Desmarais writes: "Papering the walls with large hand-printed sheets, she has created a vast picture of layers of images in various stages of dissipation. Gaseous clouds of pixels and picture-parts unravel, carrying along image-objects from the artist’s past and present like celestial bodies in an expanding universe, or rending in giant tears and splits. It’s an all-over work of multiple print techniques, piled one atop another; troweled-on schmears of paint in pastel colors build out physically from trompe l’oeil spaces and structures, all coming together as an environment loosely bound by an irregular grid — faux posts and beams that mimic the supports of gallery walls and ceilings."
Keeting comments: "Improvisation is huge, but there’s careful organization going on as well; these two polarities are sometimes at odds, sometimes complimentary. The proportions of synthesis and discord vary from piece to piece. Slurries of difference excite me, and keep the painting process difficult. Toggling between the impulsive and the strategic is as much psychological as it is physical."
Robin Greenwod reflects on future directions in abstraction.
Greenwood writes: "... once abstract art takes upon itself a full measure of human content, the counter-intuitive sense of this proposition – of abstract content as human content – inverts. Remember, we are not trying to illustrate human values, we are trying to “make” them anew. The apparent realism of the ambition is to be entirely transmuted into plastic and spatial values. This in itself is not a new idea; psychological values have always been sought in, and made concrete by, the plastic and spatial properties of art, whether figurative or not. New and advanced abstract art just takes this further, and does so without subject-matter or prejudgement."
Tim Keane writes about the paintings of Stanley Boxer which were recently on view at Berry Campbell Gallery, New York.
Keane observes: "If there is a single identifiable subject to his resolutely abstract works, it is coalescence — the gradual coming together of disparate colors, textures and granules. As a result, the paintings frequently suggest organic processes other than artmaking. Some seem like bird’s-eye views on to the rocky, color-rich striations of a riverbed. Others resemble magnified still images of plasma and blood cells. Still others could be close-ups of rough-hewn, jewel-like coral reefs."
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.