Wren comments: "I have always liked the idea that in painting you can make space visible. It’s something that you just move through without thinking about in real life, but in painting, it can be an actual thing. It is a color. It is a feeling. I think of the space in my paintings as a tangible presence, as real of a thing as an object... My experience of nature is usually what makes me want to paint. Specific moments outdoors will spark something that I want to explore in paint. Sometimes that initial inspiration carries all the way through and sometimes it’s only a beginning point and the painting takes off in another direction. But it always feels important to have a connection to some sort of lived experience outside of the studio."
Jennifer Samet interviews painter David Humphrey whose exhibition Work and Play at Fredericks & Freiser, New York, on view through November 8, 2014.
Humphrey comments: "When I went to New York University, critical theory was being translated and showing up in cinema studies. Identity politics and feminism became part of the language of contemporary art. Painting was being interrogated for its masculinist commodity status. For better or worse, it introduced a self-consciousness that put pressure on artists to account for themselves. Some artists became more pinched, and for others, it raised the stakes. I felt that it was liberating. Painting could reflect what it was to be a person in contemporary life. You are going to the grocery store, buying things, thinking about your girlfriend, dreaming about other things. All of those layered contents could be addressed or reflected directly in the painting: the idea that the painting has the ability to reflect consciousness in a certain way — maybe in the way poetry can — in this peculiar language of colors arranged in a certain order."
O'Donoghue remarks: "My process has changed a lot over the years but I think one thing which has remained constant is the almost mathematical nature that runs through it. This is something that has become even more prominent for me in recent years. I studied computer programming for a few years before going to art college and this has been a major influence not only on what I paint but also how. So for me the process is often a very defined by a structured set of procedures. I realise of course that this can seem like a very alien approach to painting which is so often defined by ideas of expression, intuition or spontaneity. For me all of these things still exist within my process but they take place at the micro level rather than the macro. And I think on that micro level my process has be defined by a very slowly developing love affair with the very material of paint."
Larry Groff interviews painter Kyle Staver about her work and career.
Staver comments: "Composition is the delivery system, there are lots of different aspects of how the painting delivers its message. You need to have the horse firmly in hand or else you can’t do it. Composition helps me contain it and release the message in the way I want it... I think of the canvas as an arena… I set up my rules, something going to happen and the painting must resolve, I don’t leave them hanging. Everything has to be accounted for, every piece of the painting has to be introduced and informed and in working order with the rest of the painting. There is nothing casual about the components of my painting’s relationships to everything else. There is nothing that I’ll let go. It’s like cat’s cradle and I’m in charge. How do I know if it’s working or not? It’s not a plan as if I were dismembering a bomb or something. You can read all you want about composition but until you’re there and you have your hands on; you can’t know. So it’s only in knowing the painting, so I feel my way through and I trust that. That’s my job."
Megan Liu Kincheloe visits the studio of painter Daniel Herr.
Herr comments that "some of [the paintings] actually just start as a crude drawing of a figure, or a crude object, or a word, or I’ll have a picture I took some place to begin with as a compositional set piece. There’s kind of everything in every painting. It’s sort of absurd. I will start with an idea, and I’ll try forcing and forcing it, then I’ll just abandon it, and ride the wave to somewhere else. Ultimately, it becomes a different thing ... paint and the interaction between two wet colors has always been what I’ve been most interested in—the 'chord changes.' That said, I’m really into the way of thinking associated with collage—the randomness, the everyday, Dada, stream-of-consciousness, disorienting subject matter, and turning something on its head."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy visit the studio of painter John L. Moore.
Writing about Moore's work in 2002, critic Lilly Wei noted: "New York artist John L. Moore continues to elaborate on his theme of mirrors and water in his recent paintings... There is an aspect of roughed-up Pop in his style, his sketchy, schematized imagery forcefully blunt, his painting technique spontaneous and expressive. Scaled to his height - Moore's signature format is 80 x 67" - his canvases contain enigmatic ovoid shapes he calls mirrors, floating on the surface as if on water. However, they are blank, reflecting whatever the viewer might bring to them. These mirrors can also be read as eyes or openings into the painting, holes in the fabric of illusion, personal and impersonal witnesses, implicating perception and events: how we see, what we see, if we see."
Diamond comments: "The line in art is the essential ingredient that inhabits my imagination. Forms can be branch-like, crazy-figurative hybrids, rocks, pillow-forms. Often they are unseen energy. The energy of the forms needs to inhabit a space, which as I've referred to above, gets worked in. There is a power-play between large and small forms. Forms reach toward one another, pull away from one another, or maintain a solitary distance... I want some of the forms to be safe, enclosed, and others to be looming, oppressive. This place I go in the last several years tends to be an invented landscape – I want the viewer and myself to be able to move into a realm. Landscape doesn't push back, like the world. It just is, in all it's generous independence, unlimited stature and fragility, minute animations, causes and effects."
McNeil comments: "I find writing quick notations, recording phrases, or making simple written lists often stimulates drawings that can become a portal to explore an idea in the form of a two-dimensional image. Most paintings are started with these preliminary drawings or informed by existing works. If feeling stifled or inhibited and a new course is desired I respond with accident and chance making marks and forms intuitively until I find a passage into a painting. Regardless of my entry point, once an image emerges I am able to start making critical decisions that will determine the identity of the work."
Wilson comments: "For me, watching the sky is the most interesting, thought-provoking part of the landscape. Living in a suburb of Philadelphia, it’s rare to see large open spaces. I’m usually capturing glimpses when I’m driving or walking, looking up or at the end of a street between buildings or trees. I rarely see horizontally. The skies I see that tell a story in the round; they are a space of transition and impending weather, from left to right, from top to bottom. They are almost never predictable and almost always in flux. In contrast, natural or built landscapes are essentially static in their foundation with the exception of weather events, the changing light and the passing seasons. The energy of the sky and fixed landscape work independently though collaboratively, quietly and often times quite dramatically... My interest lies with making little environments, a whole world of them. Sometimes they are based heavily on real experienced realities and sometime they are entirely invented. These are representational souvenirs of observation and thought."
Alex Bacon and Barbara Rose talk to painter James Bishop on the occasion of his exhibition at David Zwirner Gallery, New York, on view through October 25, 2014.
Bishop comments on close-value divisions of form in the paintings: "I don’t want to make a monochrome! I don’t want to make a square that’s all one thing. The most important thing is finding some way to divide up the surface that is interesting, and you’d be surprised how much you can get out of this kind of thing, putting it this way and that way...
On a structural reading of the paintings: "The reading of them as referential to the paintings’ material structure is really off, and if they think it looks like a door or something, what does it matter?..."
On the necessity of letting the experience of the paintings unfold over time: "I don’t really feel that I should be trying to make things as easy as possible. I like to make it a little difficult."
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.