Rob Colvin review the group show Paul Klee at Underdonk on view through November 1, 2015. The show features works by Peter Acheson, Britta Deardorff, Jared Deery, Lori Ellison, Amy Feldman, Glenn Goldberg, Brenda Goodman, J Grabowski, Loie Hollowell, Christopher Joy, Hein Koh, Jonathan Lasker, June Leaf, Dona Nelson, Carl Ostendarp, Kim Sloane, Joyce Robins, Jason Saager, Brian Wood, and Sanford Wurmfeld.
Colvin writes: "Artists, and here, curators Ashley Garrett and JJ Manford, are taking a second look at the work of the Swiss-born German artist (1879–1940). For Alfred Barr, Modernism’s biggest champion and director of the Museum of Modern Art, 'not even Picasso approaches [Klee] in sheer inventiveness.' So it may be the 20-artist exhibition Paul Klee is worth at least a first look, and perhaps a second too."
Blog post revisiting Philip Leider's 1978 profile of painter Frank Stella republished on the occasion of a retrospective of Stella's work at the Whitney Museum of Art, on view through Feb. 7, 2016.
Leider, whose profile focuses specifically on Stella's work from the 1970s, notes: "Every artist of the better sort, wrote Thomas Mann, 'carries within him a canon of the forbidden, the self-forbidding.' A change of style of the magnitude undergone by Stella in the last two years constitutes a restatement of this canon, a shift in the view of what is possible and what is not possible to abstraction at any given time. In these most recent works, Stella, throwing open the doors to much that had hitherto seemed to him forbidden—figure-ground dichotomies, composition, gestural paint-handling, etc.—has achieved for abstraction a renewed animation, life, vitality, that has already about it some-thing of the sheerly miraculous. One would be blind not to see it, catatonic not to feel it, perverse not to acknowledge it, spiritless and obtuse not to admire it."
Butler writes: "In these new paintings, [Thibeault's] focus has shifted to the uncertainty created by violent environmental upheaval and the individual's vulnerability in the face of powerful forces. The jangled, saturated color, buckling architectural forms, shifting landscape spaces, and jittery brushwork give visual form to the artist's anxiety and sense of helplessness."
James Kalm visits an exhibition of works by John Lees at Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, on view through November 28, 2015.
Kalm notes that: "This exhibition ... is a welcome relief from a recent bombardment of 'Zombie Formalism' and 'Flipper Art'. Lees often lingers over these works for decades, providing his quotidian subjects with an obsessive materiality that is contrasted with a near spiritual invocation. The several drawings and studies of 'Man in an Armchair' give viewers an opportunity examine the artist's process of refining and complicating the image, before finally reaching a satisfying level of completion."
Greenwald writes that "the myth of Morandi is that the artist kept a low profile as Fascism raged around him. Legend has it, the unassuming artist developed a unique artistic vision, bravely resisting modernism, closing himself in his studio, doggedly investigating compositional possibilities by adjusting tabletop arrangements... CIMA’s exhibit of artworks made during the rule of Mussolini’s National Fascist Party (1922 - 1943) indicates Morandi’s stylistic development was, in fact, deeply rooted in fascist ideology. Morandi turned away from the arty pretentions of the Metaphysical School to embrace the values of the Strapaese (super country) movement, a nationalist group that glorified Italy’s agrarian identity. Strapaese extolled modesty and simplicity in art and ridiculed effete Parisian modernism."
Micchelli writes: "Dispensing entirely with modernist emotional distancing, Gillespie’s most effective works go well beyond a mere horror of the flesh; in his own private netherworld, any act of intimacy — incarnated in his sensual, exacting brushstrokes — is a step into the abyss... Perhaps the most disturbing paintings in the show are the ones that relinquish multifarious imagery and instead present the artist in unadorned self-portraits...That these two grinning portraits ... were completed the year he took his own life lends them an almost unbearably melancholy edge. The disjunction between their apparently willful good cheer and the descent that followed would seem to embody Gillespie’s professed themes of 'insanity, chaos, weirdness,' compounded by compositions that feel deliberately ungainly, unvarnished and disconcertingly real."
Blog post revisiting Steven Litt's 2007 profile of painter Dana Schutz republished on the occasion of Schutz's exhibition Fight in an Elevator at Petzel Gallery, New York.
The exhibition press release notes that "Schutz’s figures are placed within compressed interiors where they are forced to struggle against the boundaries of their painted environments and up onto the physical edge of the canvas. Her characters find themselves helpless in the mouth of a lion, exchanging blows in a mirrored elevator, or somnambulating down a narrow staircase. These highly structured spaces, which are both intensely public and utterly private, point to how Schutz tackles the subject of interiority—rather than offering a voyeuristic view, her frontal facing subjects stare directly back at the viewer, seemingly with the desire to extend outside of themselves."
Mattera writes: "I was most taken with the work from the last two decades of [Tworkov's] life. The title of the show, Mark and Grid, best describes the work on the second floor ... Gallery notes describe Tworkov in this period as 'a forerunner of post-minimalism.' I love that. The tension of the grid and the self-imposed limits of minimalism are here broken by the clear presence of the artist's hand. Marks, almost cursive, are contained within geometric compostitions which are, in turn, laid over a grid. The illusion of space--fractured, unfolding, or deeply dimensional--is strong in these works."
O'Leary remarks: "I’m very aware of the collision between the old and new, destruction and rebuilding are very much a part of my practice. I think of how people construct lives and I construct paintings with awareness of the failures and foibles that are part and parcel of being alive. Painting is a language, we push it forward to keep it going, but I’m always aware of its history as I work."
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.