Kalm notes that Valentine's "show presents many small scaled paintings featuring the artist's heavily worked surfaces, and rich warn pallet. There's a sly, mischievous quality to the work due to the artist's knowingly tweaking and manipulation accepted painterly tropes, and genres."
Goodman writes that Bradley’s paintings "communicate feeling above all else. Often looking like cloudscapes, and usually occurring in a dark, midnight blue, Bradley’s pictures summon visions of endlessness on a cosmic spiritual level. Her work is open to contemplation and deeply felt experience; the paintings are mystical in nature and suggest the sky, the ocean — places where one finds and retrieves the self in heightened circumstances." Goodman contines, noting that Bradley's "independence as a painter is notable, in large part because she is so determined to present an undertow of feeling and force through abstraction alone. Interestingly, though, the radical self-containment of Bradley’s paintings often opens up to sweeping vistas that relate to the infinite. So the works have the tendency to switch back and forth between closed and open states. Thus, Bradley’s broad horizons issue forth from a relatively narrow spectrum of expression; the paintings are closely related, and their cumulative effect on the viewer is striking."
Linda Francis interviews Thomas Micchelli about the work in his show Bacchantes and Bivalves at John Davis Gallery, Hudson, New York, on view through March 1, 2015.
Asked to describe his working process, Micchelli comments that it is: "Rather chaotic, less so in the drawings than in the paintings, which are often free-for-alls in terms of intention and technique: picking up and disposing of approaches as they prove useful one moment and useless the next; trusting that some kind of unity will emerge within a body of work without striving for it in terms of form or style. I find myself cleaving away my knowledge of art history to come up with a direct relationship to the paint, something that relates to the unmediated experience of the material on the surface — it’s an impossible task, but it’s my goal with each painting."
Joanne Mattera blogs about the exhibition Territory of Abstraction at Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, on view through April 4, 2015. The show features works by Steven Baris, Rob de Oude, Edgar Diehl, Gabriele Evertz, Kevin Finklea, Enrico Gomez, Brent Hallard, Gilbert Hsiao, Gracia Khouw, Joanne Mattera, Mel Prest, and Debra Ramsay.
The post includes a Q&A with Mattera and gallery owner Christine Pfister. Asked whether the works in the exhibition can be called "reductive? Post-minimalist? Abstract?," Mattera replies: "Abstraction is our umbrella. Reductivism is for many of us both the path and the objective. As a group we do not make fussy art, although it may be referential. If by “post-minimalism" we understand that the aesthetic of the 1960s is being brought into a new century—a new millennium—with a broader sense of what’s possible in reductive work, then yes, we’re post-minimalists. Our reductive tendencies don’t adhere rigidly to industrial coolness or the anonymity of manufacture of a previous generation. We engage color, material, layers, process. Some of our work is quite sensuous."
Eric Holzman remembers painter Jake Berthot (1939-2014).
Holzman writes: "Since Jake came to landscape painting from a different angle than everyone else, that is abstract painting, I imagine the grids provided a scaffold upon which he could build and construct his compositions. They must have made the space between things seem palpable and real, measurable in some way. With them in place, he could more readily move and feel his way through the warp and flow of form and space. Jake came to the sensuality of landscape and representation not through direct observation, but through abstraction and geometry which was also real to him. I bet he saw, felt or sensed those grids underlying the physical world, connecting and flowing through everything that we inhabit... For me, taken as a whole, [Berthot's] work was an expression of faith and philosophy. It is a treatise on a way of being in the world of consumption and competition. It is an alternative to irony. Jake's work attempts to build a bridge to another way of being, to the sacred. Sometimes, I think he got deeper into hidden worlds than anyone since Cezanne. For Jake painting was a portal, a transporter to other dimensions where the line between life and death fades."
Piepenbring writes: "In the thirties, Neel made a series of illustrations for an edition of The Brothers Karamazov that apparently never came to fruition. It’s not clear if the publishers rejected her work or if the whole project fell through, but in either case, damn. The eight illustrations demonstrate how attuned these two sensibilities are: it’s the marriage of one kind of darkness to another. Compare them to, say, William Sharp’s Brothers K illustrations and the difference, the change in register, is immediate—the black storm cloud of Neel’s pen is well suited to Dostoyevsky’s questions of God, reason, and doubt."
Sharon Butler reviews my current show of recent paintings at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York, on view through March 28, 2015.
Butler writes: "Brett Baker's new small-scale paintings at Elizabeth Harris are a little bigger than the ones in his last show, and they continue his exploration of line, thickly layered paint, and color. Several years ago, when Baker moved from a good-sized studio to a small apartment in New York, he decided to apply the same effort to miniature abstractions that he had previously invested in mural-size work. The resulting series, which he continued when he eventually relocated to North Carolina and began the blog Painters' Table, are intellectually enigmatic. By the same token, though, the rich blue palette (many of the paintings are simply titled 'Night Studio') is visually hypnotic, and the heady scent of linseed oil (some are still wet) cuts directly to the heart... Through excessive reworking and overpainting, he manages to push each painting beyond generic abstraction to something more personal--an unusually earnest approach in an era when the look of effortlessness and a slapdash sensibility tend to prevail."
Sultan writes: "This has rarely happened to me, but when I saw John Zurier's show 'West of the Future', currently at Peter Blum Gallery, my awed reaction wasn't just 'I love these paintings', but 'I want to make these paintings'. Their quiet attentiveness, simplicity, attention to surface and materials, their qualities of light and mood, led to a physical longing on my part: a longing to feel the paint, whether distemper (glue size and pigment) or oil; to make the marks; a longing to mix the colors and spread them on fine or coarse canvas. In Hearadsdalur 3, the blue ground is a translucent dark, as of a luminous evening. Each line, each small mark of white, although looking casual, feels carefully considered, and very alive."
Elizabeth Glaessner writes about her experience of paintings by Karin Mamma Andersson, first in reproduction, and then in person at the recent exhibition Mamma Andersson: Behind the Curtain at David Zwirner Gallery, New York.
Glaessner writes " ...standing in front of the paint was a transportive experience and as I imagined her process, the stories opened up and I saw the work on a different level... I don’t know that I have one favorite painting in Behind the Curtain, but I’m still thinking about Burden. Initially, I saw a child’s room with crooked paintings that seemed a bit off kilter. It took me a while to understand where I was standing in relation to the space, and then I quickly realized that this room wasn’t built with people in mind. As I looked closer I felt more and more shaken. The rust-colored stain lining every object in the space became blood. Suddenly, the paintings on the wall were crooked because something horrific had happened, but nobody had been there to discover what. Then I looked at the other paintings around me and I realized that it was a dollhouse with tiny furniture. But actually, no, it was a painting, so it could be all of that, or none of it at all."
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.