Catherine Kehoe posts an essay by painter Tim Kennedy, written for his exhibition Paynetown, on view at First Street Gallery, New York, from March 3 - March 28, 2015.
Kennedy writes: "Working directly from the motif without an intervening filter such as photography, at least for now, is important to me. I think of my eye and my consciousness as a kind of funnel into which the world is poured and from which judgments about color, space and shape emerge in the form of a painting. This has seemed the simplest and best way for me to produce work."
Bell writes: "The apple hadn’t yet fallen on Newton when Rubens died in 1640. Bodies might have weight, but gravity made a local rather than a comprehensive claim on them. Minerva’s heel thrusts down on the hip of Sedition in a sketch for the Whitehall Banqueting House ceiling Rubens painted in the 1630s, but the hag she seeks to pitch into the depths has no means of support: won’t they tumble together, as if into the Reichenbach Falls? And yet the picture makes a plausible claim on our physical intuitions. To flex one’s arms is to feel strength stemming from within: the armed defender of the state and her naked foe push against each other in this way, twin sources of energy interlocked. Everything in this art wells out from bodies – as Kerry Downes noted in his 1980 study of Rubens, ‘space in his paintings exists between and because of objects and not independently of them’..."
Charles Kessler blogs about the exhibition Madame Cézanne at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through March 15, 2015.
Kessler writes: "I don't think capturing [Madame Cézanne's] personality, or the personality of any other of his sitters for that matter, was Cézanne's concern, any more than capturing the personality of an apple or a landscape was... Furthermore, I disagree with the common description of Cézanne's art as composed of massive, rounded, solid forms... Instead of massive, rounded and solid, I perceive Cézanne's work as elusive, evanescent, and unstable... Cézanne's compositions are always a little off – slightly (and sometimes not so slightly) out of balance. They can be asymmetrical, elongated, broken up, tipsy, uncentered; and forms fluctuate back and forth between inhabiting three-dimensional space and lying flat on the surface. This is what gives Cézanne's art energy and dynamism, and its expressive, if often disconcerting, power."
Sharon Butler blogs about Joan Waltemath: One does not negate the other at Hionas Gallery, New York, on view through March 14, 2015.
Butler writes: "Centuries ago, artists were a bit like chemists, mixing secret recipes for binders and varnishes that least would affect the lightfast quality of their pigments and the surfaces of their canvases. Joan Waltemath, who has a handsome show of abstract paintings on view at Hionas this month, is something of a throwback to those times, grinding her own pigments, experimenting with minerals, concocting mediums, and undertaking other painting-related investigations. The resulting paintings are elegant and spare in terms of imagery, which is based on mathematically-generated harmonic grids, but rich and complex with respect to surface and color."
Sultan writes that the show "was a wonderful surprise for me ... I hadn't seen his work before, and when I looked at the show online it seemed to me to be too much of a grab bag of styles and ideas and subject matter and form; this made it look as though it were held together solely by an intellectual construct, a theoretical way of approaching painting, a high-handed cleverness. Oh, how wrong my assessment was! I have several times been disappointed by seeing work in person that I very much liked online, but I don't remember such a turnabout from skepticism to love when in front of actual work. It is the quality of the paint––its searched-for texture and touch––and the artist's sensibility, that pulls it all together into a celebration of painting."
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."
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."
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.