William Eckhardt Kohler reviews Jack Davidson: love, mistake, promise, auto crack-up, color, petal at THEODORE: Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through April 12, 2015.
Kohler writes: "The warmth in Davidson's paintings is both related to the strange and inventive forms and color ideas they contain and to subtle decisions such as repainting by hand edges that were initially made using tape. Davidson describes this as the difference between haircuts with electric shears and scissors -- a difference more felt than visually discernible. And, notwithstanding the moments of paint blotting, or some intentional brushwork, the latter often copied from the painted marks in collages, the work is remarkably clean, while being, dare I say it, soulful. Davidson has expressed that there was some risk in exhibiting this variety of types of imagery, but for this viewer it has made for an exhilarating experience and a relief from the bland seriality of many contemporary painting shows."
Christopher Lowrance interviews painter Stephanie Pierce, whose show Radiant Welter will be on view at Alpha Gallery, Boston from April 4 - 29, 2015.
Pierce comments: "I love getting to the point where the realization of the space has happened, and that I can then begin to let go of things, dissolve, shift, and then make it full of so much at once that it’s overwhelming as an experience to look at it. That might not even begin to happen the way I want it to until I’m deeply into the work–about 3/4 of the way through. I really love the last stretch of a painting where everything is moving incrementally, slowly, and intentionally; when I can see it’s finally a painting, rather than the frustration period of many routes taken that haven’t come to fruition as something that matters yet."
Thomas Micchelli reviews Breaking Pattern at Minus Space, New York, on view through April 18, 2015.
Micchelli writes: "Optical or perceptual painting, for all of its rigor and intellection, can be thought of as a vanguard in defense of 'aura,' a Romantic credo affirming the power of the art object. Optical painting may look anything but emotional in its content, but its direct engagement with the viewer underscores a deep-seated longing to connect... The genre has matured considerably over the past half-century, veering from cheap tricks toward labor-intensive analyses of form and color, and a deeper understanding of the act of seeing. that the "show features the work of five artists — Gabriele Evertz, Anoka Faruqee, Gilbert Hsiao, Douglas Melini, and Michael Scott — across two generations (Evertz was born in 1945; Faruqee and Melini were born in 1972) constituting successive waves of perceptual art."
Jan Dalley visits the studio of painter Gillian Ayres whose show New Paintings and Prints will be on view at Alan Cristea Gallery, London, from April 13 - May 30, 2015.
In the interview Ayres comments: "To me painting is a visual thing. I find this terribly important... People like to understand and I wish they wouldn't. I wish they'd just look; it's visual. I'd go further - I don't want this sort of understanding. There is no understanding."
Morgan notes that "Japanese scholar Koichi Kawasaki ... argues that Shiraga was the first East Asian counterpart to Jackson Pollock, with the crucial difference that Shiraga painted not with a stick or a brush, as did Pollock, but with his naked feet while supporting himself with a single rope that hung from the wall in his studio. ... To see Shiraga’s paintings is not about seeing a well-designed virtual display; rather it is about an intense physical and emotional experience. The comparison between the works of Pollock from the 1950s with those by Shiraga, such as 'Chibisei Walkyakuko' (1959) at the Mnuchin Gallery or 'Untitled' (1959) at Dominique Lévy, if such a comparison is possible, offers a possible distinction between East/West expressionist abstraction..."
Sharon Butler blogs about On Kawara-Silence, curated by Jeffrey Weiss with Anne Wheeler, on view at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, through May 3, 2015.
Butler writes: "Unlike artists today, Kawara eschewed the limelight, even skipping his own openings because attending them would interrupt what he envisioned as a lifelong performance – tracking a single life, lived unremarkably. Rooted in the groundbreaking 1960s Conceptual Art practices developed by artists such as John Baldessari and Sol Lewitt, Fluxus, and Ray Johnson, Kawara’s work seems both to anticipate and to challenge the contemporary narcissism played out across social networking media. Where we err on the side of oversharing, Kawara was dedicated to undersharing. He provides simple details – what time he got up, where he went, whom he met – but no more. In the absence of a fuller story about him, we tend to look for ourselves in his work."
Seed notes: "Several of the exhibition's aerial views are very small: for example, Bridge Over the Navarro is just over seven inches across. As a result, I was drawn near as I inspected the painting, only to find that at close range it suddenly felt expansive. Rubin's brushwork is uncannily perfect, and the detail of a roadside stop sign represented by a pinprick of red paint -- look for it to the right of the bridge -- made its verdant green surroundings suddenly seem vast. The two thin, straight lines defining the edge of the bridge add a note of manmade geometry that provides a counterpoint to the blue river's serenity and meandering natural presence."
Robinson writes: "Many of the paintings in West of the Future are named after seasons or times of day. Zurier has a unique ability to be sensitive to his surroundings and the pace of change during the creation of the painting. Although painting communicates time on an immobile field, Zurier is able to create paintings that unfold like weather and remain singular and specific in their tone. There is a sense of each work being a vessel that Zurier allows to fill slowly. The fact that the paintings appear nearly empty at first glance only furthers the effect. In Zurier’s world chance and intimation are welcomed by an open heart. Although the work is intellectual, heart is the right word, as it takes great optimism and belief in the world to allow these paintings to happen."
T.J. Clark considers the particular effect of Goya's drawings on view in the exhibition Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album at the Courtauld Gallery, London, on view through May 25, 2015.
Clark notes: "Repetition and variation in [Goya's] drawings – each one intense and definitive, monotony coexisting with inventiveness – lead nowhere. That is what seems immediately ‘modern’ about them, and what puts most pressure on our notion of (our hopes for) art. Repetition and variation in the albums do not open out into a steadily broadening range of emotion, or a deepening sense of identification and sympathy. There seem to be difficult things in the world, like old age and human cruelty and petty malice and the ugliness of lust, to which I (Goya) am drawn, and which I can’t put down – can’t get used to. ‘Repetition compulsion’ doesn’t quite capture it, since in Goya there is never a feeling of the trauma being dwelled on in order to be mastered. There’s not even the feeling that the horror is a trauma, or that drawing necessarily lessens it. Maybe the opposite. It isolates it; it specifies it; it gives it the blank of the page to live in."
Hurst writes: "The first thing one notices about the paintings on display is the immediacy with which they are painted. There is a dark, brooding feeling of aggression that pulls itself across the surfaces of the 9 large paintings that decorate Pretzel’s main gallery space. The sense of storm and stress that pervades this room is almost physically present. Though each of the bizarre cartoons, leering manically from their various positions on the wall, has a clear sense of personality, the material sense of paint overwhelms the figurative depictions beneath. Pensato’s 'Castaway Mickey' grins eerily at visitors, emanating a totally unsettling but unavoidably charismatic vibe. While it might be easy to start to imagine the fucked-up inner thoughts of this would-be character, the violent, almost performative gusto with which this painting was made tends to wrench you out of that sort of reverie. It is this tension between the subject matter and materiality that lends these works their indecipherable, mysterious quality."
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.