Kalm notes: "As a serious painter, battling against both the historic legacy of Abstract Expressionism, and the contemporary steamroller of Minimalist dogma, Fish concentrated on capturing the delicate and transient effects of light. Picking as her subject the simple still life, the artist, through her commitment and single-mindedness, raised this form to a new level of conceptual perception. During the decade represented by these works, the arc of development is profound, and stands as a unique statement to Fish's achievement in painting."
Sharon Butler blogs about the paintings of Mariam Aziza Stephan, whose show Undercurrents is on view at The Gezira Art Center, Cairo, Egypt, through January 12, 2016.
Butler writes that in Stephan's paintings: "Multiple forms are situated in the same space, and different points in time are revealed at once. At first glance the paintings appear dystopic--dark, mysterious, inaccessible--but on closer viewing they are less foreboding. The more you look, the more you see. Subtle colors come forward, and as new edges and shapes begin to emerge, the scenes change. Rich with allusion and symbolism, hence with ambiguity, Stephan's paintings are seductive and ultimately hopeful. In the face of disintegration and complexity, she bets on rebirth and renewal."
Nechvatal writes: "Appel was one of our best, last bets on visceral enthusiasm, so if anyone can restore zeal to our stumbling world of art, devouring whole the evil spirits at play in the market, that artist or group of artists will have something of his fervor about them. To run wild under the banner of Appel is to ask how art is complicit or subversive in its social context. Art will always need something of his loose gesturing toward hidden animal forces — those forces that explain art as the process of tracing connections, attachments, and conflicts."
Anna McNay reviews Munch : Van Gogh at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, on view through January 17, 2016.
McNay writes: "While both painters’ lives were filled with anguish, their paintings remain somehow appealing and accessible to the masses, not just because of the bright colours and often simplified compositions, but because of the depth of feeling and sincere humanity that emanate from their canvases, speaking to viewers across time and place."
Indrisek writes; "Upstairs, a gallery outfitted with black lights provides a coolly psychedelic environment for a series of canvases painted with ultraviolet enamel pigments. What might have been a nifty gimmick is instead an awe-inspiring, alien experience, bringing to mind everything from Gerhard Richter’s brash 1980s palette to the high-impact graphic nature of skateboard design and the fuzzy glow of one of James Turrell’s spaces. The colors here are thoroughly unnatural, the hues of Mountain Dew or Orange Crush. One canvas in a ghostly, ghastly green resembles a computer monitor that has imploded or blown out, left to emit a diffuse, swelling glow. With these works, Humphries shows the ways in which she’s influenced a younger generation of abstractionists, from Patrick Brennan to Keltie Ferris. These are paintings that indeed encourage and demand looking, but they move beyond the retinal into registers that are more sensual, and even physical."
Marvin Aguilar writes about the work of Nathan Pankratz which was recently on view at Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Philadelphia.
Aguilar writes: "Looking at the titles, the show is undeniably an homage to love and how it reveals itself to people. Yet the show also is a metaphor for the artist’s love of interacting with paint. The way [Pankratz] moves the brush across the canvas; allows the paint to mesh with other colors; and brings the brush to the end so the colors slowly drip over the edge of the canvas is a natural, even sensual, act of an artist’s love of his/her materials that is frequently forgotten but should not be dismissed."
Kim Connerton interviews artist Erik Parker on the occasion of his exhibition Undertow at Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, on view through January 23, 2016.
Parker comments: "I am trying to pack as much into a painting as I can ... I am trying to make loaded paintings because we live in a loaded time... So these are multi-task paintings with constant streams of information coming in."
Claude Smith profiles painter John Phillip Abbott, whose work is the subject of two exhibitions: Turquoise Sunset at Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago (on view from January 10 - February 13, 2016) and On Any Sunday at Pierogi Gallery, New York, (on view from January 8 – February 7, 2016).
Smith writes: "'Tennis,' 'Cosmos,' 'Pontiac,' 'Zen,' and 'Fortuna' are some of the words that find their way into Abbott’s compositions; diaristic words that create an association to past experience and memory. While they often have deeply personal meanings, their ambiguity leaves room for multiple interpretations."
Allie Biswas interviews Ruth Root on the occasion of Root's exhibition Old, Odd and Oval at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, on view through April 3, 2016.
Root comments: "'Odd', to me, means 'hard to describe'. The paintings are almost like flattened sculptures that have been turned into paintings. Otherwise, they could be thought of as paintings that are sculptural and have their backs to the wall. Sometimes, when a painting is 'odd', it is a surprise and also unfamiliar. Often, a goal of mine in the studio is to surprise myself, and make something work that I didn’t think would work. The result is frequently a quality that I like."
Robert Moeller interviews painter Lisa Yuskavage on the occasion of her exhibition The Brood, recently on view at the Rose Museum at Brandeis University. The show will be on view at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis from January 15 - April 3, 2016.
Yuskavage comments: "There are entrenched prejudices against all things female, and those expressions can come not just from men but also other women, even in the name of feminism. That qualifies as misogyny. But there are many excellent woman artists working today who are embraced warmly and so I don’t see this is a global issue. At this point, I am willing to say that I think the controversy is actually more specific to me, and my energy, and I believe it comes from a number of elements in the work. First issue is the potency and specifically female potency that I seem to both personally represent and also inject into my paintings. I do not create work from a warm and fuzzy place. I am representing something vulgar, harsh and sinister (at times) and these are not on the list of things we allow women to say or to be. That is certainly a gendered prejudice. Men suffer under no such prohibitions. The paternalistic, didactic and prescriptive seems to come into play because I do not paint in a manner grounded in expressionism. This mode of representation would make the work a safer repository of emotion. I chose a manner of constructing a painting that allows for the huge carnival of emotions that I seek to represent, anger being only one of them, but also love and tenderness and humor, loneliness, self-deprecation, internalized misogyny, grief and joy... the whole banquet table. The manner in which I paint allows for this range. I have given it a lot of thought over the years, and if I did paint in an expressionist manner it would dilute the potency."
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.