Lita Barrie reviews David Hockney: Painting and Photography at LA Louver (on view through September 19, 2015) and talks to David Hockney and Peter Goulds about the painting, photography, and digital media.
Barrie writes: "Hockney's new work is a playful critique of the limitations of photography, that captures fascinating things a fixed perspective can never capture--multiple vanishing points, altered perspectives, different moments of time, emotional resonances--which keep the eye alive. Seen together, the paintings and digital "photographic drawings" in this exhibition have a coherence that goes beyond individual pieces to retain our interest."
In the subsequent conversation, Hockney comments: "There are thousands of perspectives--not just one--everywhere you look. Perspective doesn't exist in nature. It is just a convention, but it is a convention now that is fixed with photography. When it was fixed with painting, painters could bend it... and did. Painters always bent perspective. But chemical photography cannot, and that has dominated the 20th century. But now we are in the digital age, and digits have much more information."
Lopas comments: "There is a great deal of painting that I love, have looked at, and learned from. But resonance is something different from that. For a painting to resonate it should be with you when you paint. It should guide you when you make decisions. It should occur to you in moments of reverie. For me those are individual artists or specific paintings, rather than periods. That’s because I think all works of art that exist are in some sense contemporary. If you can stand in front of it now, you can experience it totally on your own terms, regardless of its place in history... For me I have learned that painting is a process that produces a state of mind. It is best when no other concerns invade it. The judgment of others or yourself, the reception of the art world, are hindrances. Paintings are best when made from a state of pure absolute personal need. You must give yourself permission and space to get to it and then notice when you are ripe for working well."
David Ebony interviews Michelle White and Bradford A. Epley, co-curators of the recent exhibition Barnett Newman: The Late Work at The Menil Collection, Houston.
White comments: "In the late works, compared with the better known earlier paintings—of the 1940s and ‘50s—changes in the way he treated the painted surface are readily apparent. A lot of earlier works are more painterly. He applied many layers, and established a sense of atmosphere. There’s a rich complexity in the layering you can see in paintings like Ulysses (1952), with its layers of blue pigments. A big part of what happened from 1965 on is that he began to use acrylics instead of oil paint. The color in the late paintings is flatter, more solid and saturated. And the overall design is more boldy graphic."
Culp comments: "To me, Cezanne made landscape painting into real golem painting. Before that landscapes were usually the background of things. I studied the 17th century Dutch landscape painters for a while along with Cezanne. Dutch paintings are wonderfully dramatic in the light and shadows, the use of the horizon, you feeling apart of the landscape and even the paint. You can see a mountain so many kinds of ways. The Chinese know it too, the mountain continues to elude you. The author of 'Arctic Dreams' writer Barry Lopez says, 'Nature eludes you, it changes its mood so quickly you will never be able to define it.' He says you can go out and pick up a leaf or remember the scent of a bush, or see some scat, he says you try to put all these pieces together of the land that you love and hope to define it. He said, 'The land will always elude you.' And it does. Painting is a slow way of seeing. Understanding what you’re seeing."
Götz comments: "The works are all about tension or discrepancy between the reality of the space and an abstract idea. I see the space, and I design this abstract painting in my studio, which then changes again completely because of the reality of the space. The moment it’s painted onto a wall, it becomes part of the space - part of reality, never completely abstract. There is a transition between abstraction and the real space; it’s this play that interests me."
Recalling working on one painting Garabedian comments: "One evening I started painting a standing figure. I got involved and it was just killing me. I was having so much trouble with it. I was working and working and finally after many hours, I said, 'Forget it.' I left and went home to bed. The next day I got up, went to the studio, saw it there, and was stunned. I thought, 'My God, you finally painted a figure.' It told me how to paint more, with these brushstrokes just constructing figures on pieces of panels. It was what they call a turning point or a breakthrough. I had these nine figures. Even today when I look at them, I feel good and like I accomplished something."
Browing comments: "There is never a plan or study for a piece in the beginning. That is just not a system that works for me. I’ve tried it, but I quickly realized that intuition, instinct, accident—whatever you want to call it—is the main driver of my work and the only way I get a piece that is “successful” to my eye. So for me, it’s pretty much the classic Abstract Expressionist approach: 'Make a mark, respond to that mark, etcetera.' So I would say at least 75 percent of each painting is made by trusting my gut and putting down colors and marks without really thinking them through. The other 25 percent of the process is where I will let a layer sit for a while and just look at it over a period of days, plotting my next move. That calculated choice may or may not remain in the final piece, but it is still an important part of the process. So in the end, the painting contains a cumulative effect of thoughtful decisions and purely felt acts."
Eastham writes: "Tuymans describes an approach defined by the artist’s decision to take inspiration from the world around him and his place in it. This is ‘a realism born of necessity. This country has been overrun by so many foreign powers that we don’t have time to be Romantic.’ ... Tuymans ‘decided very early on not to make art from art’. Rather than join with, or react against, prevailing movements in the practice and theorisation of contemporary art he sought instead to engage with the world as he perceived it, and the impulse remains ‘to start from something real’."
Pitcher remarks: "At some point I realized, I am living in Santa Barbara, so why not work outside? Also, there is that Eugène Boudin quote:, 'Two strokes in the field are worth two weeks in the studio.' In the field I often see something I could never make up ... I always begin the paintings outdoors, but then there is some fussing that needs to happen in the studio. Sometimes, when I work on them too much in the studio, I will lose it. For me, it has always been a balance between wanting to have that experience of motion and the abstraction in the studio. When one dominates the other, it doesn’t hold up.""
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."
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.