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."
Dittenber comments: "In my painting I inquire about the intersection, overlap, fusion, collision of representation and abstraction. Accuracy in drawing or representation is not my exclusive objective, but is offset by other aims … playfulness, for one, and the pursuit of undiluted instances of striking color interaction. Some of my favorite paintings are more about “wrongness” than rightness and I try to let a similar instinct lead in the studio."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy visit the studio of painter Michael David.
David remarks: "I came up from the roots of AbEx and from punk and I learned all the academics but my goal was to make paintings that when they went on the wall were undeniable. And your experience with them was not well behaved. And that they owned the room, and that they made you think."
Robb remarks: "Drawing is essential to me; I use it as a means of investigation. I use it to probe. I draw when I have a structural/formal painting problem and I draw from observation to collect specific information for a painting, so I draw a lot. I don’t draw for aesthetic reasons, but I’ll discard a drawing that doesn’t work aesthetically because I can’t bear to look at it."
Amenoff comments: "Landscape, as an idea, has to do with longing. Paintings are alternate worlds – worlds unto themselves, manifested by each artist to satisfy a desire to fill a void. One summer I taught with Per Kirkeby at Skowhegan and he said that paintings are more real than actual experience. I thought about that, and took it to mean that painting is a distillation. A painting takes some aspect of the world — maybe an emotional state — isolates it, and makes it more potent. A painting is edited and condensed, so the flavors are sharper and brighter and stronger. It can be as magical as an Agnes Martin. Her work does that: isolates, distills, and creates a world. With an unsuccessful painting, or when parts of a painting are annoying, you are not able to believe in that world."
Grill comments: "What I do as a painter is to paint a lot. It's part of what we all do as artists, doing a lot of work over and over again. In a way being an artist is growing your gut muscle and that tells you when you have made art. It’s finding your voice. You have some control over it, but it's also a result of working. It's not about deciding to change, it's about getting really involved with your material–whatever that is-- and finding what you can make out of the material. Also it’s about figuring out what kind of touch you have. There are paintings that will change color, because the color is not my color. I'm not excited or surprised by it. Or it might not feel like I made the painting. I will wipe out a whole painting if that's the case. Because my gut says it's wrong."
Brennan remarks: "I don’t think each painting is an isolated event, so I find myself starting with the last paintings I made in my mind, sometimes painting what I have done before, and to go forward, I must destroy that and let the new painting reveal itself. When I am not painting I am drawing, one feeds the other. Also I have learned to just stop and back off and do something else when things aren’t going well. It can be a real emotional rollercoaster when it’s not working. It is so disheartening, it amazes me just how bad the feeling can be, still after all these years. On the other hand, it is hard to beat the highs of painting, I think there is no greater pleasure than being surprised by your own work."
Pardee comments: " I combine work inside and outside the studio. I’m really concerned with perception, with observing, through painting on site, which I then combine and edit in the studio. That editing process goes in two directions. One is going in and dissecting the painting by using colored patterns to break up the image or enlarge on it. The other is putting several of these paintings together in a grid, and letting one interact with another to create a composite image. In the studio I’m also constantly observing the effect of one color on another and making changes... When you’re looking at something you’re in the space, and your body is in there and you have movement — which means rhythm and your sense of where things are, and how big and heavy things are. That is where I want to start — with your own body in relation to what’s around you."
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.