Altoon Sultan considers American landscape paintings in the collection of the Hood Museum of Art.
Sultan begins noting that many of the painters "depicted the local New Hampshire landscape, or that of New England. America––that vast 'virgin' land, unpeopled in the eyes of the European settlers, close to God in its awe inspiring grandeur––was a great subject for many artists. Before the 19th century, landscape was so low in the academic hierarchy that many artists painted them only as backdrops to a story or moral tale. With romanticism and the concept of the sublime, landscape came into its own. A small painting like that of Thomas Doughty showed grandeur of mountain peaks, the fear in the blasted tree, the smallness of the human floating within this space and light."
Phyllis Tuchman reviews Brand-New and Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s at the Colby College Museum of Art, on view through October 18, 2015.
Tuchman observes: "Sixty-some years later, all the work still looks brand-new and terrific. As it was, these singular portraits, Maine landscapes, and uncluttered interiors never got their day in court. Katz, for starters, went against the grain and painted small-sized, representational pictures on Masonite panels for much of the 1950s... In ten short years, Alex Katz went from being an art student to a fledgling artist to a mature painter and collage and cutout maker."
Pagel writes that Reeves' works "are suffused with more sadness than most would want to experience in a lifetime, much less an afternoon. But delight also enlivens Reeves’ juicy paintings. Racing upward, like the fizz in a soft drink, that elusive pleasure pops when it hits air: a miniature Minimalist firework for the attentive... Deftly switching from abstraction to figuration, they reveal an artist who believed that the most potent art was also the most flexible; able to roll with the punches and dig up insights wherever they might be found."
From the poscast post intrduction: "In his own words, Auerbach is suspicious of too much thinking: 'thinking about thinking', he says, 'isn’t true thinking…If one’s really thinking, one’s not aware of it'. Doing, for the artist, is everything."
Kate Connolly profiles painter Imi Knoebel, whose work is on view at White Cube Bermondsey, London through September 13, 2015.
Connolly writes: "Knoebel’s Drachen Serie (kite series) is arguably the highlight of the White Cube show in London. Seven kites – light, bright aluminium shapes that hover high up on the eight-metre wall – take up one room. Nine other works – aluminium shapes and mirrors, in fluorescents and pastels – fill another. A piece called Ort-Rosa (rose place) resembles the open corner of a room, inviting you to step inside. And there are several hovering paintings, simply nam"ed Bild (picture), that look as if a Malevich had been made out of wax and left in the sun to melt."
Whitney notes: "The way the 4 x 4 grid came about in my work is I wanted the composition to be simple and have the color be magical. Color has always been about space for me. You have the Claudian space of the landscape painting—a central field framed on either side by trees—or the vast allover space in a Jackson Pollock, but how could one create space in the color on a grid? How could I lay two colors so close to each other and not trap them but rather allow air for the canvas to breathe? This became a sort of preoccupation for me. Creating space within color involves experiments with density, vibrancy, saturation, and even with matteness. It is not just formal for me—color has great depth; it can bring up great emotion and immense feeling."
Reed: "Painting is really good at absorbing the world around it. This used to be thought of as a weakness and people thought that painting had to be purified and become just itself. Such a stupid idea. It’s good that painting absorbs everything around itself. It makes painting alive, part of the world that it’s in. Painting especially loves other media. It’s great that painting can absorb other media. Paintings have this intense symbiotic relationship with film and digital media and photography. I mean, they used to think photography would destroy painting. But instead it’s as if photography is the vampire that has bitten painting. The vampire’s kiss of photography, instead of killing painting, has made it another vampire, immortal."
Heilmann: " I like to think of the subject matter and the image in a painted picture in the same way, and I’m getting a lot of my ideas and inspirations from commercials. They’re so brilliant, how they’re made and how they’re timed. So I don’t think it’s dead, painting; I don’t think film and TV are going to kill it. Because the kind of work you go through in making paintings, like ruminating and thinking, and actually using your hands, that’s a big difference from other mediums."
Celeste Moure blogs about the exhibition Guy Yanai: Ancienne Rive at Ameringer McEnery Yohe, New York, on view through August 14, 2015.
Moure writes: "Yanai’s pieces look pixelated, in keeping with the digital age in which they were created — and the artist doesn’t shy away from mentioning computers, Photoshop and Instagram in conversation — but they are also reminiscent of objects made using centuries-old crafts, like needlepoint or weaving. His style, he says, 'references a lot of ancient things but also a lot of new things.'"
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.