Hands writes: "It’s worth saying that I was drawn to visit this show, via receiving the press release and seeing his work on-line (how else?), because the apparently abstract imagery is derived, to some significant degree, from digital sources: but I could not really connect with the work from digital reproductions and felt that I really did need to see the originals ... Loesch’s approach, to producing paintings in this instance, might be more accurately defined as Conceptual and/or Post-Painterly. If there is an element of teasing (my interpretation), I mean it in an ironical sense of requiring the work to be experienced as materially painting (by various means), and as continuing the long tradition of painting as we understand it, but in relation to the non-material, digital environment" Hands adds: "Loesch’s paintings are exquisitely made, with brush marks applied with precision, and ink-jet layers are added to each composition in a variety of configurations and colour schemes, part-covering the various ‘brush marked’ surfaces. For the digital printing to be applied perfectly the surfaces are carefully prepared and this attention to immaculate production is carried through to the final gallery display in smart, well engineered, aluminium frames. All, this might suggest, is mere surface – and digital depth is shallow, despite an approximation with traditional painting."
Mattera provides a photo tour of the show and makes note of revelatory details provided by the accompanying photography of Morandi's objects by Joel Meyerowitz including that "... Morandi set up his still lifes at three different levels: on the table, and on shelves at two different heights, so that even when he painted the same motif—he revisited similar compositions many times—he may have altered them via perspective, as well as by light source, or by adding or subtracting the number of objects in the composition. I mean, I'd noticed the difference in perspective, but I didn't know until the visit that Morandi had a system for it."
Viktor Witkowski reviews Austin Lee: Nothing Personal at Postmasters Gallery, New York, on view through December 5, 2015.
Witkowski writes: "Even though many reviews have focused on Lee’s translation of the digital (tablet) into the analog (acrylic on canvas), Nothing Personal is also a study of portraiture and its role within contemporary painting." He concludes that in Lee's work: "What we are given to work with is never complete and always evolving - in other words, these three paintings demonstrate that beyond their smooth surface lies a more profound and less articulated space, where things human reverberate contingently through paint."
Mir writes: "Baltzell started her career as a still life painter and teaches courses in it at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, but she says she no longer paints directly from objects. She relies on her memory instead and her understanding of space and light. An athlete when she was young, Baltzell has said that she stopped with sports when she started painting. Now, her athleticism shows in her work, with its long, improvisatory lines... Baltzell knows the artistic legacy from which she comes, but never simply repackages earlier strains of abstraction. A unique combination of painterly knowledge, a commitment to the physical act of painting, and an improvisatory instinct runs through her entire career."
John Seed talks to Michael Klein, curator of Grace Hartigan: Works From 1960-65, on view at the X Contemporary Art Fair, Miami from December 1-6, 2015.
Klein comments: "... some of Hartigan's paintings of this period are pure abstractions such as Saint Valentine or Pomegranate; others like Grey Eyed Athena have a figurative element to them. It was typical of Hartigan to bring figurative elements into play within an abstract vocabulary and this is why the influential critic Clement Greenberg so opposed to her work. Hartigan was not aiming for a singular style but instead was exploring the options of what was available to her when it came to painting. This raises a question: why was it permissible, in Greenberg's thinking, for de Kooning or Pollock to make reference to the figure but not for Hartigan?"
Julie Beckers reviews a retrospective exhibition of works by Balthus at the Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, on view through January 31, 2016.
Beckers notes that "mental isolation is a recurring element in much of Balthus’s work; figures depicted in odd and suggestive angles seem detached from their surroundings, their gaze cannot be caught, giving the viewer the sense of being a voyeur... Balthus was equally fascinated by games, youth and adventure, themes that are important features in his work... This sense of playfulness is mostly felt in the space devoted to the artist’s obsession with Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll. Here, the viewer is welcomed by the self-indulgent and strange self-portrait titled Le Roi des Chats (1937) which Balthus signed 'HM The King of Cats painted by himself'. The artist, accompanied by his muse the cat, addresses the viewer from above in contrapposto pose... The exhibition also examines Balthus’s collaborations with the playwright Antonin Artaud."
Failing writes: "To evaluate the artist’s assertion that some of his ideas deserved 'survival on more than one stretch of canvas' requires a deep dive into his complex vision of relationships between mind, hand, and painting as an 'instrument.' ... In the exhibition’s catalogue and earlier publications, [curator David] Anfam cites evidence that Still conceived 'the real' from the vantage point of Platonic idealism, where 'the visible world is but an imperfect replica of the realm of ideas…. It’s the idea that’s fundamental for Still,' he emphasizes. 'The idea exists in the mind’s eye and in the imagination. Even if it springs from something observed in nature in the first sense, it lives within him on a metaphysical level. Physical printouts, as it were, can be done at will.'"
Johnson writes that "[Hammershøi's] paintings convey a distinctively modern psychological complexity. But unlike another famous Scandinavian, the Expressionist Edvard Munch, Hammershoi practiced a kind of representational painting dating back to Rembrandt and Vermeer. With their severely muted colors, Hammershoi’s portraits and pictures of women in nearly empty rooms may call to mind the suavely subdued paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Although influenced by him, Hammershoi never pushed as far toward abstract abbreviation as Whistler."
James Kalm talks with painter EJ Hauser at her exhibition Amphibian, on view at Regina Rex, New York, on view through December 6, 2015.
Kalm notes that "As a member of the new generation of painters contributing to the Williamsburg and Brooklyn art scene, EJ Hauser has gained recognition for her focused commitment, and experimentation within the medium. With her latest show 'Amphibian', the artist again defies expectations and presents a series of works in which she reduces her means, simplifies compositions and distills her process to a fine level of brevity and elegance."
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.