Malone writes: "Ryman’s work is often spoken of in terms of a pronounced quietude, but a full appreciation of its extended roots—effectively accomplished in the two Dia shows—can enrich the experience... The Chelsea show concentrates on color, highlighting the artist’s early development of his exclusive and by now signature choice of white paint. The Beacon show concentrates on his attentiveness to the ambient light that has such a profound effect on a viewer’s experience of the work. The Chelsea show echoes formal concerns similar to those of early modernism, while the Beacon show seems to touch upon that period’s infatuation with spirituality, a phenomenon that was itself a revival of a much older aesthetic."
Bacon writes that "[Black] made this series by working from projected JPEG reproductions of paintings that he first produced at a small scale the summer prior. The color is inevitably off in these cast images, and the size has become non-specific, because it is no longer tied to the act of painting that originally produced the images within the boundaries of a canvas of certain dimensions. The same is true of the yoking of short stories with various paintings as a means of titling them in a form of disjointed ekphrasis, since the narratives are unrelated to the works. By negotiating these factors, Black unwittingly introduces a perverse system that has enabled him to push this body of work forward by way of new coloristic and formal relationships that did not exist in the original works—specifically a morphing and pulsing of forms within a tightly controlled two-dimensional plane, like amoebas oozing and flowing across a petri dish."
Stevenson writes: "All of Valentine's subjects are presented as slightly disoriented, not quite fitting in the dark space from which they seem to escape or the surface they purport to occupy, unable to fully form and somehow muted by their limbo. Save for the lucky few with genuinely charmed lives, everyone feels that way sometimes. Valentine captures this anti-nirvana reality with skill and panache, depth and compassion."
Christopher Volpe blogs about the exhibition Eric Aho: Ice Cuts at the Hood Museum, Dartmouth University, on view through March 13, 2016.
Volpe writes: "A stark, angular void edges out the largely blank, skewed border of remaining white space in the canvases of Vermont painter Eric Aho’s series of Ice Cut paintings. To call these paintings abstractions would not be incorrect, nor would it be accurate. The paintings depict the hole cut in ice, or avanto, as it’s called in Finnish, intended for the bracing plunge following the heat of a Finnish sauna. Aho, of Finnish descent, first painted the motif (to scale) in 2008, during his family’s regular recreational outings to a frozen pond in New Hampshire. Since then, he has immersed himself in a multifaceted investigation of the dark void produced by sawing into the thick ice."
Yevgeniya Baras interviews painter Matt Phillips whose exhibition Comfort Inn is on view at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York through February 6, 2016.
Phillips comments: "For me, paintings are roughly equal parts body and mind. There is the seeing, thinking, and responding aspect of painting. And the other half is so physical -mixing, touching, pushing, scraping. I like seeing how this polarity of the body and the mind co-exist in a picture. I want my images to have one foot on the surface of the support and the other through it... [the paintings] basically start with a grid. They are initially rational and systematic. The grid is non-memetic and denies perspective. In a way, the paintings begin by excluding the natural world and a lot of potential subjects. But that becomes something that I get to paint in relation to - a point of departure. I change things and, eventually, maybe the work evokes a form or a light or a space. I like that pivot, when the painting starts to regard something outside of itself - something unexpected arrives."
Tim Keane writes about the new volume of the Ellsworth Kelly Catalogue Raisonné that focuses on Kelly's early work from 1940–1953.
Keane writes: "Before the reader’s eyes, Kelly is transforming himself from a middle-of-the road figurative painter into an innovative, lyrical abstractionist gradually branching out into mixed media works and relief sculptures... the catalogue offers reproductions of rarely seen student works — extensive drawings and studies along with somber portraits and moody landscapes enlivened with European avant-garde conceits; Paul Gauguin and Max Beckmann are named as foundational influences. [Yves-Alain] Bois’s analyses of Kelly’s art school realism emphasizes how these naively naturalistic works portend the stripped-down semi-abstractions that were soon to come. After taking in the book’s entirety, the lucky reader will be tempted, as I was, to go back to these student works and seek covert abstract effects underpinning the representational elements."
Malone writes that the show "highlights a selection of Fish’s work from the late 1960s and 1970s that demonstrates how, within the limitations she had set for herself at the time, she found a surprising range of solutions to problems arising from still life arrangements in the unforgiving light of a sunny window... She is — or certainly was between 1968 and 1978 — energetically involved in matters of pictorial structure that clearly differentiate her work from that of painters who at the time maintained a greater adherence to photography."
Cascone writes: "The paintings [on view] mark an important stage in the artist's development, as he left Sausalito, California, in 1949, and began studying for his graduate degree at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The exhibition also covers his time Urbana, Illinois, where he moved in 1952, and his first years in Berkeley, California, where he settled later that year. Throughout his career, Diebenkorn was always inspired by the landscape..."
James Kalm visits an exhibition of works by Robert Ryman at Dia:Chelsea, New York, on view through June 18, 2016.
Kalm notes: "This show presents a wide survey of various experimental and conceptual approaches to the project of painting. Since beginning his practice in the mid 1950s, Ryman has limited his materials to mostly white paint, square formats, and an extraordinary variety of grounds and surfaces onto which he applies paint. These twenty-two paintings record the evolving bodies of work the artist has developed from the late 1950s until the mid 1980s."
Amirkhani observes: "While the studio paintings lend the exhibition an important theme, it is Hackett’s dialogue with painting itself that provides the coherent pulse. Whether a studio scene or a vibrant explosion of color, the paintings in this exhibition point to the shared intensities of labor, time-based processes of making, and the artist’s intimate engagement with materials that all paintings demand."
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.