Salle comments: "The main quality of image culture is its relentlessness. My experience of my own work is somewhat different. Of course we all grow up awash in images, more or less meaningless, transitory. No doubt that’s in my head, just like everyone else, but I’m interested in trying to make something where the images matter, not as bits of random stuff, but as form. Recently someone was telling me what a young artist said about their work, noting that the same thing has been said about mine, that they like to have the TV on, and the radio, and they’re playing a video game, and so on—saturation and overload being the point. I said, 'stop right there.' In the first place I don’t watch TV, and I never play video games; I’m a noise-phobe and I can’t do two things at once. I mean, I’m not a Luddite, I have all the modern devices, but so far they haven’t changed the nature of the stuff that matters, at least to me. The images I use in my work are specific; they’re not random. They’re not from all over the place; they’re from certain places."
Ellen Gamerman interviews painter Alex Katz whose work is on view at Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York, through June 13, 2015.
Gamerman begins: "One morning. That’s how long it takes Alex Katz to start—and finish—a painting. This high-speed routine has repeated itself many mornings, for many years. Such remarkable productivity would be a feat for any artist, but especially an 87-year-old whose towering pictures demand exacting brushwork across canvases that span entire walls."
Bienvenu comments: "If you get personal in the work it’s more likely to resonate in a universal way. My friends show up in the paintings, drinking buddy as muse. They all start as automatic drawing, abstract marks and then I see an image in the mess and it seeps up from the mud. I lay in some colors and start to see an ex-girlfriend peeing or a bearded buddy sitting at a bar so I let it happen and if I like looking at it, the image sticks around. A huge part of it is communicating my feelings; humor is a great way to deal with anxiety and fear. Also the lapsed Catholic thing, live your life, that plays some role in the imagery I’m sure."
Jennifer Samet interviews painter Jason Karolak whose work is on view in the group exhibition Full Tilt at Novella Gallery, New York, through May 10, 2015.
Karolak comments: "I want to have one form in the painting at the end. It may have multiple elements or a network-like feel. But I still want it to read as a thing, albeit an abstract thing, as opposed to a completely allover field with no hierarchy... The forms in my paintings are distillations of the process, and an internal logic is created through color and drawing. It is specific to each painting. They start in fragmented fields of color and line. And then I put several of these elements back together, building something new."
Thomas Gebremedhin interviews painter Lisa Yuskavage whose work is on view at David Zwirner, New York, through June 13, 2015.
Yuskavage comments: "I’ve gotten cease and desist letters. They’ve called me pornographic, like it’s a bad thing. We are living in a world where you have to go to battle to have an open mind. People are a little more used to seeing what I do now, but when I was making my early work they were really not prepared for it. And I loved what I was doing so much, because I knew it was right. If it feels so good, it’s got to be right. I stopped thinking about making art that looked like anything else. I had a direct line to this thing inside of myself. It’s like cooking and saying, I have a hankering for this and a little bit of that. You’re not working from a recipe because the goal is not a known goal. You’re putting something together based on cravings. I wanted to make art that I was hoping to see and hadn’t seen. To be able to get back to painting was a real act of defiance for me, especially against myself. When I got back to it I felt like I was breathing air for the first time."
Mark Skilton, Hilde Skilton, John Bunker, Nick Moore, Sam Cornish, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Anne Smart, Anthony Smart, Ben Wiedel- Kaufmann, Noela James, and Emyr Williams visit the studio of painter Patrick Jones.
Jones introduces the work noting that "the paintings, to me, are to do with the fact that I work very, very thinly, on bare canvas. I don’t prime them at all, and I work with stained, thin acrylic paint ... I’ve always used acrylic, and I was brought up with it and I like it. It’s inert, and it’s not something I have to mess about with a lot to get it to do what I want. But that’s what I see the problem with the painting as being. Trying to work with virtually nothing on the canvas until the weave is filled, and then it changes. It’s a technical problem; it’s how to keep a painting varied and lively and interesting on that surface... it’s HOW to paint is the most difficult problem."
Alteronce Gumby conducts an extensive oral history interview with painter Stanley Whitney.
Whitney comments: "... my big goal.[was that] I wanted to open the work up—not relying on the color, but on structure. I thought that Color Field artists were weak with their structure. And the color in those days was weak too. They used flat color right out of the jar or the tube, like Stella. But I didn’t want to give up color and touch—colors like Veronese’s or Courbet’s, or de Kooning’s sensuousness with oil paint. I was interested in how color and touch go hand in hand. The color changes with the touch—it’s a different color if you change the weight, or the amount of paint, or its viscosity. It’s much more nuanced. I was looking for a way that I could have all these things in one painting."
Jennifer Samet interviews painter Jason Stopa on the occasion of his exhibition Double Trouble at Hionas Gallery, New York, on view through April 25, 2015.
Stopa observes: "At the end of the day I am most interested in [the paintings] being read as formal images. I am less interested in images that are solely based on ideas. I do not accept the idea that language prescribes how we are supposed to see a thing. I think it is the opposite. When you go back in history, language comes out of the visual. It comes out of people making marks — symbols that become metaphors, allegories, narratives. I think that we understand and respond to things first on a sensory and somatic level. Then we place conceptual and philosophical ideas on what we have seen."
Ashley Garrett interviews painter Brenda Goodman about her work and career. Goodman's recent paintings are on view at Life on Mars Gallery, Bushwick, Brooklyn, through April 19, 2015.
Goodman remarks: "I don’t get in front of a painting and think I’m going to be open or I’m going to be vulnerable or I’m going to be light or I’m going to be pretty or I’m going to be sad, it’s so who I am to the core. What I don’t like about work is when I look at it and there’s a wall between me and it. And that’s what happens when I do the intensives with people who have creative blocks, that wall is going to disappear the wall between the painter and the viewer. Everyone comes from a different place and there’s great things in the different ways people work. But I can always spot when someone has this wall. I strive in my work to have no wall between my painting and the person looking at it. You should want to be seen! I mean, what’s the point, what’s the wall for? Who are you? Be vulnerable! When people see my work it feels real to them, it’s not bullshit, it’s from the heart, there’s no barrier between me and them. When you meet me, who I am is what you get. I don’t have that kind of facade."
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.