Faith McClure reviews Alex Katz, This Is Now at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, on view through September 6, 2015.
McClure observes: "What sets Katz apart from the long history of realism, as well as the great canon of abstractionists, is that, at his very best, he can achieve 'realness' through a completely unexpected entry point — his pared-down aesthetic of broad strokes and giant flat planes of color, his subtle gesture and capturing of light. Katz, as Margaret Graham references in her catalog essay, actually disrupts the requirement that realism be anchored to a certain particularity of detail. Instead, details hit you from a distance. You notice his nuance as a broader sensation rather than as a point of specificity. An incredible feat with such economy of paint, when Katz hits it, he nails it."
Jonathan Stevenson blogs about works by Ruth Root at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, on view through August 14, 2015.
Stevenson writes: "Each piece comprises two main elements – digitally-printed fabric of Root’s own design (involving dots, lines, and more elaborate shapes) and a Plexiglas panel enamel- and spray-painted in oblique reference to the pattern or in looser coordination with it. They hang in restive equilibrium. One element tempers the visual primacy of the other, while each work as a whole presents a controlled conflagration of line, color, and allusion, sometimes to mesmerizing effect."
Allan writes: "Brightly illuminated against the whitewashed walls of the gallery, the shimmying plaids and high-keyed, off-kilter stripes of these paintings have the pulsating energy of Scandinavian or African textiles. While their sources and influences are deep and varied, they strike me as having a relationship to fabrics, music, and architecture as well as the history of abstract painting through the lineage of Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Myron Stout, and Alice Trumbull Mason. Bridget Riley, though spoiling the alliteration, should also be included in this lineup. Despite these various affinities, Brown’s intimately scaled paintings have a self-containment and reserved exuberance that is taut and refreshing, if sometimes overly modest."
Yaniv observes: "Each of Burg’s portraits evokes a distinct sense of staged theatrical drama, in which both the artist and her animate or inanimate models co-inhabit. She affirms that her models have to be people who are close to her, preferably women, and adds that dressing them up becomes like 'a bond of two kids enraptured in a make-believe game.'"
Jenny Uglow reviews works by Eric Ravilious at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, on view through August 31, 2015.
Uglow writes that Ravilious "has been called a Romantic Modernist, and his sensibility belongs to a particular English fascination with form, a line that includes the sculptors Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and the radical architects of the Architectural Review, as well as Paul Nash, John Piper and Graham Sutherland. Realist though they are, his paintings move towards dislocation, even abstraction, conjuring both past and present. They are full of unexpected angles, transformations, and juxtapositions. Doors open onto emptiness, the ordinary jostles the mythic; we meet chalk giants, shooting stars, unearthly, shimmering lights."
Bell begins: "Portrait painting requires stillness. What, for the subject, is it like to be still? As far as one can tell, the gentleman facing Richard Dadd in 1853 had nothing that he wished to project: his attire was dapper, his red locks kempt, but his eyes did no more than attend, uninflectedly staring back at those that analysed him. At the same time the painter, adjusting the tonal weights that composed the sitter’s head, arrived at a subtle asymmetry that fractured the psychological monotony, touching some faultline in his subject’s self-possession."
Moses comments: "I got interested in the grid from the crisscross action in certain Navajo blankets. And I rotated the grid 45 degrees so it didn’t reinforce the geometry of the plane that they were applied to. I wanted them to float free rather than reinforcing the vertical horizontal of the plane... Mondrian was interested in locating the vertical horizontal and reinforcing the geometry of the plane that exists and I wanted to break that."
McNay writes: "it might be suggested that his lack of direct contact with the canvas meant there was no intermediary between it and the content of his mind – his canvas could be said to be at one with his mind. Even these seemingly chaotic paintings were the result of careful consideration, however. Pollock would often stand and contemplate his progress, and he spoke of the need to 'get acquainted' with the work and the importance of not 'losing contact' with it. For me, there is an absolute serenity to his contained chaos."
Eating Painting, curated by James Biederman and Lisa Taliano, is on view at 308 at 156 Project Artspace (156 5th Avenue, Suite 308), New York from June 25 - August 15, 2015. The show features works by James Biederman, Cora Cohen, Ben La Rocco, Gerard Mossé, Fran O’Neill, Judy Pfaff, Lisa Taliano, Russell Roberts, and Thornton Willis. Eating Painting presents works that embody painting as an immersive sensory experience - the “consumption of paint as color and substance.” Special thanks to James Biederman for granting permission to reprint his catalogue essay below.
Eating Painting by James Biederman
The multiplicity of the senses and mind mingle in the vaporous state of being. The alertness of the eye opens the door to the pictorial and questions the unknown spacecraft. We hover above, waiting and searching for a point of entry: a safe place to land to begin our exploration. Set adrift amongst the foreign terrain, we float and turn to regain our lost gravity. There is no past, no history. I am center to this world, this tumbling of thoughts and sights. Somehow my feet have lost their grounding. The painter’s presence has entered my being. I enter the painting. I enter the painter. It is now. It is present. The light and dark, the quickness and slowness, the exactitude and amorphous, the overwhelming sense of colors and feelings: where am I? We are falling without weight nor gravity to pull or stop our spinning and turning and going inside out with no ups nor downs.
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.