Mark Stone blogs about two painting exhibitions on view in Venice Sean Scully: Land Sea curated by Danilo Eccher at Palazzo Falier (through November 22) and Peter Doig at Palazzetto Tito.
Stone writes: "Scully’s newer works have gotten much looser, the paint handling is more offhand, drippier, the compositions have opened up and become less structured. The predominant color in these works is an ultramarine blue that occasionally gets lightened, muddied or blurred with acidy yellows or workman reds, dropping the primaries into secondaries and/or tertiaries. In these landscape-y blue works there is a broader swing from dark to light, the stripes open up while the paintings remain more monochromatic. ... Doig’s color is hearty in blocks and stretches, the figuration is respectfully abstracted following Diebenkorn’s and Hockney’s examples, and there’s a bit of Surreal spectacle and art historical play in them. This is Postmodernism done well, and when it works as it does here, it can be pleasing."
John Mitchell blogs about the work of Malcom Morley, on view at Sperone Westwater, New York through June 6, 2015.
Mitchell writes: "There’s a poetic multiplicity of meaning to every aspect of Malcolm’s work. The spirit of playfulness in his painting is joyful and at 83, he’s charged with youthful vigor for his work – as his robust output over the past decade clearly demonstrates."
Oliva Laing profiles painter Agnes Martin. An exhibition of Martin's work will be on view at Tate Modern from June 3 – October 11, 2015.
Laing begins "Art must derive from inspiration, Agnes Martin said, and yet for decades she painted what seems at first glance to be the same thing over and over again, the same core structure subject to infinitely subtle variations. A grid: a set of horizontal and vertical lines drawn meticulously with a ruler and pencil on canvases six feet high and six feet wide. They came, these restrained, reserved, exquisite paintings, as visions, for which she would wait sometimes for weeks on end, rocking in her chair, steadying herself for a glimpse of the minute image that she would paint next. 'I paint with my back to the world,' she declared, and what she wanted to catch in her rigorous nets was not material existence, the Earth and its myriad forms, but rather the abstract glories of being: joy, beauty, innocence; happiness itself."
Micchelli writes: "Despite the recognizable humans, birds and animals floating in and out of Schwartz’s canvases, Morgan argues that her work is more strongly connected to Abstract Expressionism than to a likelier source, the figurative imagery of 1980s Neo-Expressionism. Compared with the latter, which 'was primarily generated in Europe' and 'contained a cynical edge,' Schwartz’s practice is guileless, open and instinctual... Whatever the image, it speaks the language of paint — no symbols are assigned, and meaning is recognized (as in the psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva’s notion of intertextuality) as outside of the author’s control."
Mills writes that "Jensen’s work communicates something profound about the union of spirit and physical being. He addresses the heart of humanity in his process and reminds us how to stay in touch with ourselves in a society which encourages indulging in superficial pursuits and distractions. It’s a prayer."
Mira Schor writes about Leon Golub: Riot at Hauser & Wirth, New York, on view through Jue 20, 2015.
Schor observes: "Golub is a painter. He is a political painter, consciously so. He strives for the heroic, via the anti-heroic, but irony is not his calling card and materiality, flayed scumbled paint on unstretched raw linen, is the embodied expression of his moral vision of the world. His sources are often photographic, but the body of marble aged by millennia, of paint applied expressionistically in action painting, are the means of communication. He is our Delacroix, our Gericault, our Courbet, not our Duchamp, our Warhol, or Koons, nor even our Haacke, but we have preferred to honor the artists who it is felt by some as having fulfilled the narrative of institutional critique, commodity culture, new imaging technologies. Despite everything that has happened since abstract expressionism, we still seem to be in a Greenbergian revolt against the political in painting, especially if it takes place within the language of abstract expressionism, of old fashioned painting. This gets close perhaps to the source of the curious case of Leon Golub, famous and honored yet not honored as he should be in his native land."
Bradley writes: "Start anywhere, go everywhere—that would seem to be the calling card of mid-twentieth-century painter Charles Burchfield’s body of work, which predominately captures scenes from nature and rural, country life as charged by drama, tension, and a freewheeling style that rockets straight out of humble en plein air painting’s crypt and into the stratosphere of vision."
Lily Kuonen reviews Jered Sprecher: The Hollow That Echoes at Gallery Protocol, Gainesville, Florida, on view through May 29, 2015.
Kuonen writes: "... just as a coherent string of words creates a sentence, or several clicks creates data tracking, an assortment of visual qualities or even strategic marks can be combined to produce an image. This would imply that a similar logical or systematic approach could be used to produce paintings, but that these paintings will be subject to glitches or corruption — as are digital images, files, and even popular phrases. Is there a way to resist this degradation? Jered Sprecher’s paintings seem to employ a form of camouflage as protection. By creating the appearance of inconsistencies, anomalies, and prefabricated layers of irregularity, they dissimulate the process of generation loss."
Christopher Joy and Zachary Keeting visit the studio of painter Heidi Hahn.
Hahn comments: "I'm such a figurative artist that ... it's not a painting until there's a person in it... even though there's a lot of abstracted moments within this figuration that come together ... I've always been that kind of person where I'm interested in the story of how people live, how they interact with others, how they carry themselves..."
Tome writes: "As one walked through gallery, one witnessed an artist—self taught, remarkably—inventing her own forms and paying homage to her forbearers, all the while conscious of her own status as a woman painter coming up in the male dominated art world of New York in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. On the whole, this show made one think about what it means for a woman of Haynes’s generation to be an abstract painter, and further, to be a contemporary painter ever-concerned with the use and depiction of light in painting."
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.