Götz comments: "The works are all about tension or discrepancy between the reality of the space and an abstract idea. I see the space, and I design this abstract painting in my studio, which then changes again completely because of the reality of the space. The moment it’s painted onto a wall, it becomes part of the space - part of reality, never completely abstract. There is a transition between abstraction and the real space; it’s this play that interests me."
Peter Schjeldahl considers James Abbott McNeill Whistler's Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist's Mother), 1871, currently on loan from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris to the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA.
Schjeldahl writes: "The painting represents the peak of Whistler’s radical method of modulating tones of single colors. The paint looks soft, almost fuzzy—as if it were exhaled onto the surface. There is some bravura brushwork, where Anna’s lace-cuffed hands clutch a handkerchief, with unprimed canvas peeking through, and daubed hints of Japanese-style floral patterning on a curtain that commands the left side of the picture. A few of the daubs faintly echo the pink of Anna’s flesh. She wears a gold wedding ring: a spark of harmony with the muted gilding of the frame that Whistler designed for the picture. Practically subliminal whispers of reds and blues underlie areas of the silver-gray wall behind her, and a dark purple smolders in the curtain, where the artist’s signature emblem—a butterfly—hovers."
Barosh observes: "In Soul Bolt, Reeves’s immaterial figures present different degrees of psychological anguish and absurdity. The diminutive beings, cobbled together accumulations of painted debris, play out silent scenes of operatic grandeur or teeter on the edge, in parody of the Sublime. A new level of mystery is introduced when Reeves begins to pair the figures with photographed landscapes, placing the iconography of the dream world onto a representation of the real, replicating the inside-out feeling of terminal illness... Jennifer Wynne Reeves lived every moment of her life for art, sustained to the very end by creativity in its purest form, emotional honesty, and a striving for spiritual transcendence. Her work lives on reflecting her graceful humility and passionate spirit..."
Mendelsohn writes that Remington's paintings are works in which "purely visual elements feel both tangible and psychologically compelling. She paints hieratic forms that suggest machined devices, architectural diagrams, interiors of the body, shields, and emblems. In their ambiguity, the possibilities inherent in the imagery keep opening up multiple readings of exposed cross-sections, places of refuge, routes of escape, and at times, majestic flowerings... In all of Remington’s work we are confronted by the mystery of a psychic urgency charged with myriad impulses: the mechanistic, the sexual, the claustrophobic, along with the display of beauty and power."
Mugar writes that Bailey's work is "realist but does not partake of the history of realism from Caravaggio on since it is not grounded in an exploration of the perceptual base of most realism. It therefore does not have the sort of optical impact of something freshly seen as in Lennart Anderson’s or Al Leslie’s work. It partakes of the figuration of the early Renaissance that is typified by Perugino, which was still imbued with notions of metaphysics and correspondences between the earthly and the higher realms. Ideality dictated reality. There is a will to make the objects and the figures of his paintings real but it is achieved through a meticulous working of the surface not through any analysis of how things are seen through their optical structure. Like so much avant-garde American art of the last fifty years they jump out of the subject/object dichotomy and move into a neutral world of pragmatically made things following simple rules. There is neither a trope toward endless reduction in a search for underpinnings nor a move into the optical ambiguity of figure/ground that [Al] Held explores in his 'Big N'. It is as though the object is already reduced in the way that cubes in a Judd installation are, not subject to further questioning as to what stands under them. Both midwesterners they share a workmanlike practicality, which posits pragmatically things as made and space as just the opportunity of placement."
Meier quotes the Cantor Arts Center's Alison Gass: “The books are filled with stunningly gestural sketches of bits and pieces of daily life, both mundane capturing of everyday things, and powerful vignettes of intimate family moments ... We see brief visual meditations on vistas seen on travels, and we see carefully built studies that would become the large-scale finished Ocean Park paintings we know so well.”
Smith begins: "The longer I look at Mondrian’s paintings, the more I see in them. This applies to lots of art, but I think Mondrian built real time into his paintings. They unfold with unusual deliberation in a semblance of symmetry and order that is actually precarious, even volatile. This is especially true of his mature works from the late 1920s to the early 1940s, with their tensile fusions of glowing white backgrounds, black scaffoldings and blocks of bright primaries. Everything about them, the tiniest decision, is evident and has visual repercussions."
Recalling working on one painting Garabedian comments: "One evening I started painting a standing figure. I got involved and it was just killing me. I was having so much trouble with it. I was working and working and finally after many hours, I said, 'Forget it.' I left and went home to bed. The next day I got up, went to the studio, saw it there, and was stunned. I thought, 'My God, you finally painted a figure.' It told me how to paint more, with these brushstrokes just constructing figures on pieces of panels. It was what they call a turning point or a breakthrough. I had these nine figures. Even today when I look at them, I feel good and like I accomplished something."
Browing comments: "There is never a plan or study for a piece in the beginning. That is just not a system that works for me. I’ve tried it, but I quickly realized that intuition, instinct, accident—whatever you want to call it—is the main driver of my work and the only way I get a piece that is “successful” to my eye. So for me, it’s pretty much the classic Abstract Expressionist approach: 'Make a mark, respond to that mark, etcetera.' So I would say at least 75 percent of each painting is made by trusting my gut and putting down colors and marks without really thinking them through. The other 25 percent of the process is where I will let a layer sit for a while and just look at it over a period of days, plotting my next move. That calculated choice may or may not remain in the final piece, but it is still an important part of the process. So in the end, the painting contains a cumulative effect of thoughtful decisions and purely felt acts."
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.