Knight writes that the "exhibition centers on Moholy-Nagy's paintings, a medium he set aside as old-fashioned for a few years but picked up again in the early 1930s. He experimented with materials and techniques: incising into plastic, trying out metal and Formica as a support, varying paint textures as a means for altering the play of light across a flat surface. The physical architecture of a painting entered into dialogue with its optical effects. Often he worked on paper (six examples are here). Perhaps the most compelling is a watercolor with collage on the gritty sandpaper used on a metal shop's grinding tools. With intersections of geometric shapes and color-shifts, he transforms the brute physical material into an elegant perceptual tool."
David Ebony interviews Michelle White and Bradford A. Epley, co-curators of the recent exhibition Barnett Newman: The Late Work at The Menil Collection, Houston.
White comments: "In the late works, compared with the better known earlier paintings—of the 1940s and ‘50s—changes in the way he treated the painted surface are readily apparent. A lot of earlier works are more painterly. He applied many layers, and established a sense of atmosphere. There’s a rich complexity in the layering you can see in paintings like Ulysses (1952), with its layers of blue pigments. A big part of what happened from 1965 on is that he began to use acrylics instead of oil paint. The color in the late paintings is flatter, more solid and saturated. And the overall design is more boldy graphic."
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."
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.”
Rhodes writes: "In their rows of rounded shapes and loosely brushed compartments Whitney’s earlier paintings resemble shelves or cavities, reading like sections of a catacomb or stacked fruit. Stacking is significant as the paintings are evidently constructed to accommodate color building with units or blocks of color; this has, indeed, become foundational to all his painting since the1990s... The structure in the earliest of the large oil paintings at Karma, Radical Openness, (1991) evinces an already begun absorption in image making that combines drawing and painting through repetition and difference. By this I mean that, rather than change a basic structure from one painting to the next, the basic structure remains the same: graphic invention and shifts in color space become the painting’s subject. Though continued right through to the present day, there is no sign of this structure inhibiting or reducing the possibilities of emotional or intellectual expression, of inquiry through color and line. In fact, it becomes indexical of changes along the way."
Noting that some of Gear's work bears resemblance to some contemporary abstract painting, Greenwood observes: "Gear does not do ‘casual’ or ‘provisional’ or even gestural. In fact, it is hard to find in all of his oeuvre a genuinely relaxed-looking moment, when the assumed dignities and diligences of being a fine-art easel painter are abandoned in favour of something more loose and instinctive. Even the more contingent of his images look pondered and preened, fully worked-up and over-worked... I get the sense that he strongly aspired to get his paintings to summon some kind of particularised feeling – a sense of a landscape, perhaps, which he himself had felt and experienced, and which he desired to capture, and which would be built into the work by him, rather than casually attributed at a later date by the viewer. I admire the specificness and determination of that vision, but I think the results fall short, for reasons both of his inflexible sensibility, and for the crude state of development in abstract painting at that time..."
Peter Walsh reviews Van Gogh and Nature at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, on view through September 13, 2015.
Walsh writes that "the elimination of the haunted self portraits, including the icon images of the artist with a bandaged ear, shifts attention away from van Gogh the half-savage tortured soul and towards van Gogh the intelligent, enthusiastic, sophisticated, deliberate, and extraordinarily talented creator of intensely original works of art... What is perhaps most remarkable of all about this exhibition is that you can go from beginning to end without picking up a clue about van Gogh’s turbulent personal life. Instead, you see an artist approaching his chosen career with a deliberate plan, concisely and brilliantly carried out, proceeding by distinct stages until he reaches, and makes full use of, the peak of his powers, which he does until the very end of his life."
Adrian Margaret Brune blogs about Elizabeth Livingston: Night Fell at Lodge Gallery, New York, on view through September 6, 2015.
Brune quotes Jason Patrick Voegele of the Lodge Gallery: "Liz takes great pleasure in peeling back veneers of suburban order to capture intimate moments ... Her most recent body of work evokes all the same cinematic emphasis on visual scrutiny and moments of false security -- much like a Hitchcock or Vermeer. There is a shared suspense in these voyeuristic moments, a sense of the quiet before the storm or the last rays of light before night arrives."
Kennedy notes that the show will feature "15 major paintings ... that show the artist’s attempts to capture the bright blue sky and light and the harsh lines of the jagged coast. They were all painted in the few years of intense creativity after Lanyon looked up one day while walking along a Cornish clifftop, saw three gliders pass silently overhead, and pledged to join them."
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.