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."
Arthur Peña interviews painter Joyce Pensato on the occasion of the exhibition FOCUS: Joyce Pensato at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, on view through January 31, 2016.
Pensato comments: "I’m taking the ways of Abstract Expressionism in the way I apply paint but I don’t censor pop culture from my work. I’m combining both." She adds: "[Painting] happens when you’re one with your body and lose yourself in what you do."
Hilton Als interviews painter Celia Paul on the occasion of the exhibition Desdemona for Celia at the Metropolitan Opera Gallery (curated by Als) on view through January 2, 2016.
In his curatorial statement Als writes: "The majority of Paul’s paintings—or the majority of the paintings I saw then—were of women: her mother primarily and then her sisters and herself. In recent years, though, Paul added several elements to her repertoire; indeed, her images of the elements—water and sky—were as rich, to me, as the faces she drew and painted with such precision. Taken together with my photographs [of Paul], [gallery director Dodie Kazanjian] and I felt Paul’s paintings and drawings were deeply evocative of the character of Desdemona—one of the more mysterious figures in Shakespeare’s great play and Verdi’s unforgettable opera [Otello], despite the fact that so much of the plot turns on her and her actions."
Metzger comments: "I am tied to the belief that paint can be alchemic in a way. I think the illusion that paint has the capability of reconfiguring itself through becoming something other than itself has always been fundamental to painting. ... I know it sounds ridiculous or perhaps a little too dogmatic, but in painting today there is just not enough insistence on forcing paint to do what the artist wants it to do. It’s a material like anything else in the world and you can make it do whatever you believe it can do."
An interview with painter Svenja Deininger whose show Untitled / Head was recently on view at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York.
Deininger comments: "My work can be like a sentence. It is about combining single paintings in a space like there are single words in a sentence and finally in a story. In their combination there is often a range of intensity... For the first view [my paintings] mostly seem to be very straight and logical, but once you spend time looking at them you realize they are not. I wouldn’t describe my work as abstract paintings though I wouldn’t see them as being figurative either. It is more like a visualization of a general higher idea and, with its materiality and different layers, like a concrete description without bringing the idea to a physical appearance."
Kleberg observes that "[the] idea of expectation and disappointment goes back to the form. I love this idea. These paintings are like frames within frames within frames within frames. There’s a lot of framing. There are stripes. Everything is rhythmic. And some have curtains drawn back and everything is vibrating into the middle… and the thing is empty. But those empty spaces are also the only place where any kind of illusion happens. They are very flat paintings. The illusion is kind of fleeting. It always collapses, but that is what paintings forever have done. They give us these moments of magic where this flat space becomes another world. So on one hand those spaces are empty and on the other hand, that’s the only place where the painting magic happens."
Allie Biswas interviews curator Courtney J. Martin about the work of Robert Ryman on the occasion of an exhibition of works by Ryman at Dia:Chelsea, New York, on view through June 18, 2016.
Martin comments: "it was never just white paint: at the very beginning, he was simply experimenting. In many ways, it’s not just the achromatic factor, there is also the question of surface depth. Sometimes he applied paint with a palette knife, resulting in dense, encrusted surfaces. In other works, the paint is sheer and thin, like a wash. Viewers get caught up in looking at the white and yet we're missing what’s really happening. We are missing the application and the method. For many of the works, colour has been applied underneath, and then been painted over with white. When you look at the work chronologically, each painting is a challenge or a question that Ryman answered or complicated with the next painting that he completed."
Laurence Noga interviews Simon Callery whose show Flat Paintings was recently on view at FOLD Gallery, London.
Callery comments: "The questioning of flatness, which I believe is very important, is that I recognized that flatness is the product of image-based painting. It had to be flat to communicate as clearly as possible. I am not working with images so there is no reason why it has to be flat, although in this case - through a sense of contradiction - they are flat by choice... One of the things which is very important to me is to continue to ask: what is a painting, what is its function, its role? When I was growing as an artist, there was a backlash; a wave of anti-painting from all directions, everybody was climbing on the bandwagon waving their hands and saying that painting was dead. It made me want to question and define what makes a painting and what makes painting unique. I began taking it apart, questioning those roles from a contemporary viewpoint, redefining, reassembling, and re-casting its function."
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.