Kalm notes that Valentine's "show presents many small scaled paintings featuring the artist's heavily worked surfaces, and rich warn pallet. There's a sly, mischievous quality to the work due to the artist's knowingly tweaking and manipulation accepted painterly tropes, and genres."
Linda Francis interviews Thomas Micchelli about the work in his show Bacchantes and Bivalves at John Davis Gallery, Hudson, New York, on view through March 1, 2015.
Asked to describe his working process, Micchelli comments that it is: "Rather chaotic, less so in the drawings than in the paintings, which are often free-for-alls in terms of intention and technique: picking up and disposing of approaches as they prove useful one moment and useless the next; trusting that some kind of unity will emerge within a body of work without striving for it in terms of form or style. I find myself cleaving away my knowledge of art history to come up with a direct relationship to the paint, something that relates to the unmediated experience of the material on the surface — it’s an impossible task, but it’s my goal with each painting."
As the first post in Noah Dillon's new "Tell Me" series, where artists discuss single work of art in person, Eric Sutphin considers Manet's Boating (1874) (and Bouguereau) at the Met.
Sutphin comments: "This painting feels rather stripped in a way, and I think our identification with some kind of subject, a human subject, is an important aspect of this painting. And it brings me into that by way of all of the vision games Manet’s playing... When you spend a lot of time thinking about how contemporary vision is shifting as a result of the ubiquity of screens, lenses, cameras, all these things, it can feel a little scary, vertiginous. It’s a consolation to know that these guys were also at that same precipice. A significant difference between Bouguereau and Manet is the matter of vision and seeing. The two artists are representative of two types of seeing and a shift in the way that people perceive images. It’s not incidental: space like this becomes physiological, and by closing in on this scene Manet was both internalizing and depicting a new paradigm in perception."
Burns comments: "In the last few years the central image silhouette is chosen as much for its formal properties as its literal meaning, the cephalopods and now the thorn-thistle images. What I mean by that is that the silhouette contains an evocative presence both visually and mechanically. Mechanically, for me these images evoke certain aspects of twentieth century American painting, primarily Abstract Expressionists, the whip-like gesture of de Kooning, Pollock’s skein, Motherwell’s visceral black ovals from his Elegy to the Spanish Republic, Frankenthaler’s pour and spill process. The great thing about the silhouettes I choose is that they inherently contain a great many of these tropes. With the cephalopod images, from the Bilateral Silhouette paintings, the organic gelatinous nature of the silhouette, its gesture, is very much akin to the methods by which paint is applied to canvas in abstract painting. I choose the silhouette images for their firepower, their potency. With silhouettes an evocative image is the hook; it’s what’s going to connect with the viewer."
Lloyd commetns: "I start with a concept but it inevitably changes in the course of making the work. I can’t conceptualize a whole painting ahead of time nor do I want to. For me paintings have a life of their own. If I leave myself open the painting will usually lead me in an interesting direction. I don’t edit myself much in the studio. If something doesn’t end up working I have the option to not show it.,, I’m in the process of starting a new body of work that will expand on the last one. Right now I’m doing a lot of experimentation. There’s no pressure to produce for a new show just yet so this is a period when I get to try out new ideas or directions. I have no interest in making the same body of work over and over."
McCleary remarks: "I will have the model come and pose for drawings and sometimes a photograph. The models return many times and pose in sets I build in the studio... It can take up to nine months to finish a painting. I usually work on four or five painting simultaneously. I work two to three hours a day with the model and continue to work on the paintings alone. There are usually two or three models posing throughout the week." He adds: "I want to keep a prudent distance from the model. The people I paint are always people I have respect for. I have to have some sort of connection to them... For me, painting is just working. It requires a lot of time alone, which I enjoy."
Responding to a question about "looking at nature closely as a means of getting out of your head," O'Reilly comments: "I think that it stops me being self-conscious because it’s not something that I carefully set up and have this serious thought about which object goes where or even if it’s just shapes, I can get paralyzed pretty easily with that. If I’m outside, there is all this world of things that I’m stimulated by so when that self-conscious element is gone I’m freed up. I suppose it offers new solutions all the time because you’re looking with a fresh eye even if I go back to the same place over and over, which I do. It’s never the same. It’s a different day, the light is different, something has changed, something got moved; especially in the city. It changes daily and even along the canal it changes a lot. I go out one day and I notice a particular plant hanging over the canal, I go out another day and see a yellow truck sitting by a building, so I’m stimulated by something without a preordained idea of what I’m going to paint. I wander around and think that looks interesting, it presents itself."
James Kalm visits Gary Petersen: Not now, but maybe later at THEODORE:Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn. The video includes an extended interview with Petersen about the work in the show and a short interview with gallerist Stephanie Theodore.
Stanley Whitney, Bodyheat, 2012, oil on linen, 96 x 96 inches (courtesy of Team Gallery)
Stanley Whitney: Care of the Brush
There are some artists for whom formalism appears effortless. Their formal rigor, while apparent, dissolves quickly before your eyes into something natural and lifelike. Stanley Whitney is one of these artists. He sets forms in motion and they maneuver themselves into place.
Whitney may work hard in the studio to achieve the ease exuded by these works, but they feel free even when their color and compression suggest dissonance or cacophony. Their abstraction feels familiar rather than distant.
The bold simplicity of Whitney’s paintings is disarming, and they speak to the liveliness that the simple act of painting can invoke. In his paintings, working within given parameters towards a novel resolution feels fresh again and this freshness comes from clarity and the courage to commit to an essential concern - in this case color.
Any painter knows how difficult and how dizzying the world of color can be. Whitney himself recalled seeing “10,000 shades of orange on the street” in India. Limiting the palette is the time-honored method used to reign in the unruliness of color, to subjugate it and task it with reproducing mundane retinal experience; yet Whitney lets color loose and trusts it will organize under the care of the brush. “In a Manet,” he has said, “I might look at what the white in the dress is doing. He changed the touch, and it’s a cloud.”
Charley Peters interviews painter Sharon Hall about her work.
Hall comments: "The paintings evolve from a starting point that uses simple geometry for dividing up the overall surface area through an implicit and rational use of proportion. I have always tried to avoid complex mathematical or geometric permutations in my works, and I strive for a kind of structural simplicity that is then made more complex by the colour, and the emerging painterly and optical relationships. The initial geometric proposition serves only as an armature into and onto which colour is loaded. And it is only with the introduction of colour itself that the paintings really begin for me. While geometry isn’t paramount as a kind of mathematical set of relations in itself, it is crucial to define the colour in order to determine how it is perceived, through neutral shapes or spans across the surface. The divisions and parts of the paintings can appear optically as empty space by using close tonalities, and the underlying geometry is sometimes rendered almost invisible. The eventual resolution of the paintings is ‘found’, rather than being predetermined or locked into an overtly rigid map, so they can proceed quite intuitively and imaginatively."
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.