Chippendale comments extensively on observational painting and studying with painter George Nick: "Observational painting, I learned, was not a mimetic art form. We were not in the business of copying or duplicating what was before us, but of transposing it through paint, and through the forms we each adopted as individual painters. Our goal was not to match or try to outdo what nature did best, but to interpret it through metaphors that were 'parallel' and in every way 'true' to the facts we perceived, except in being literal about them. Ideas of 'truth' in observational painting were, accordingly, not limited to ideas of 'likeness' or verisimilitude. One could be absolutely true to the richness of one’s perceptions without being literal about them, in the same way that poetry can bear witness with great precision to truths and realities that lie far outside of, and are in fact inexpressible within, the jurisdiction of the literal. I found observational painting richly full of paradoxes and contradictions, often vexingly so. Nick taught me to think more with my brush. I learned from him that making was itself a form of expressed thought, and that solutions were to be found in painting itself. Standing before the easel, considering the variables that arose in my paintings with every passing moment, I learned that it was ultimately important to act—to paint—in clear material terms, and sooner rather than later. If recklessness was the consequence, and errors and mistakes the result, then these were simply the facts and uncertainties of painting. Risk, in Nick’s view, would forever trump cautiousness, and I inferred from his approach, which I came largely to adopt myself, that being overly guarded and calculating in painting was ultimately a dishonest act."
Christopher Joy and Zachary Keeting visit the studio of painter Fran O'Neill.
Thomas Micchelli, writing about O'neill's work for her recent show at Life on Mars, observes that “O’Neill’s art is something you take in with your whole body… [her] blunt, tough-minded, ecstatically convulsive oil paintings are endlessly revealing: pigment and binder, solvent and surface fuse and split, continuously reconfigured under the constant pressure of the artist’s agitated eye and restless hand. The colors cling to the picture plane even as the translucent fields they inhabit unfurl to reveal the depths of space churning below.”
Bell notes that "Drexler depicts her subjects in a very straightforward manner, usually against monochromatic backgrounds. The figures appear uncomfortable and still, isolated in a foreign scene. The saturnine scenes are further augmented by the exhibition’s curation, with works sparsely hung upon stark white walls and strong white lighting. A glance across the room confuses the mind: vibrant colors that grab the viewer’s attention are juxtaposed with scenes of death, rape, and assault. Empty purple, blue, and green faces stare. Death is hot on the heels of a smiling Marilyn Monroe in 'Marilyn Pursued by Death' (1963)–a reminder that the true human experience is ephemeral."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy talk with painter Yevgeniya Baras at her exhibition Of Things Soothsaid and Spoken at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York, on view through March 29, 2015.
Baras discusses the works on view, described in the catalog as "small-scale, textured oil paintings reconfigure abstraction as a kind of talismanic skin. Baras incorporates a variety of materials into her paintings: wood, yarn, paper-maché and foil. Her distressed and encrusted surfaces collected gestures, cuts and marks recall the traces of age, devotion and obsession found in ritual objects and textiles of tribal cultures."
Gordon Moore interviews painter Joan Waltemath whose exhibition One does not negate the other is on view at Hionas Gallery, New York, through March 14, 2015.
Waltemath comments: "... verticality can set up a one to one relationship to your body when you are standing in front of it. I’ve done horizontal works, and also squares, but since these works are initially focused on getting a recognition of the body to occur, the vertical format is critical... my work has always been concerned with a physical relationship with the body and how the body negotiates the world and receives a painting – through movement."
In her introduction Samet writes: "Botts has an exuberant but economic way with paint, marking the curve of a flower stem, the form of a mesa, and a cloud sitting in the sky with accuracy and poetic bravado. The landscapes are punctuated by geometric interruptions: squares of saturated color and black, jagged outlines that symbolize a break between the natural forms in the paintings and a studio or painting wall. They are the checks and balances in the middle of a relentless pursuit of adventure and the sublime, where motifs and geometry are constantly recycled and re-imagined."
Collings comments: "I like making choices and limiting. As much as you’d want to put in, eliminating 80% of that makes it much more interesting... In one of Philip Guston’s lectures at the Studio School he was saying that he would take a year or so off from painting every now and then and only draw during that time. He wanted the immediacy of drawing to come out in his paintings. Or he wanted his paintings to come out immediately the way his drawing did, like an extension of his body. I like that force and activity that happens when you‘re drawing, you have to improvise. So, I think I’m probably bringing that to my work right now, it’s taught me something and I’m trying it out."
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."
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.