Cate McQuaid writes an obituary for Boston Expressionist painter David Aronson (1923–2015).
McQuaid notes that: "Mr. Aronson’s achingly poetic, often mystical work is in the collections of numerous museums around the world ... He created the visual arts program at Boston University, where he taught from 1955 until 1989, and he established the Boston University Art Gallery. 'He had a profound influence on Boston art and why representation keeps its hold here,' said Katherine French, director emerita of Danforth Art [Museum] ... Figuration was key for Mr. Aronson and other Boston Expressionists, who shrugged off trendy abstraction to wrestle with moral, spiritual, and psychological conundrums in their paintings."
William Tucker remembers painter James Adley (1931-2015).
Tucker recalls: "You could not get back far enough in his studio to get a picture without distortion, and even in a large public space the actual visual experience of a 50-foot canvas like Transition (1988-98) was impossible to capture in a slide. Size was a necessary component of his symphonic ambition for painting. He favored a horizontal format with an implied grid or web of vertical and horizontal bars, which could be more or less dominant or transparent, but never rigid or dogmatic and always carried out with delicacy and sensitivity. He worked thin acrylic paint with a variety of implements, including brooms, squeegees and sticks."
Mike Tooby writes about the life and career of the late painter Albert Irvin (1922 -2015).
Although Irvin's career began in the 1950s, Tooby writes that Irvin's "work became prominent in the reinvigoration of British painting in the 1980s and 90s, and latterly became familiar through wide exhibition and reproduction. He made colour sweep and spray over pictorial areas that give the illusion of depth, created by complex and dynamic marks and gestures of the handheld brush. He often took on a grand scale, but also created brilliant and beautifully crafted works on paper."
Christopher Masters pens an obituary for painter Sheila Girling (1924 - 2015).
Masters writes that Girling's "final decades were a period in which [she] produced works of an impressive emotional range within a clearly defined, highly abstracted style. Her use of acrylic was combined with a penchant for collage, the technique through which, according to her own account, she 'found' herself. Collage gave her paintings a tactile quality and an engagement with the world outside the art studio, but she also practised in the more traditional and characteristically English medium of watercolour. In this way she recreated the forms and light of nature while never abandoning her modernist aesthetic."
Nicole Rudick remembers painter Jane Wilson (1924 - 2015) who passed away this week.
Rudick writes: "The strata of distant land in [Wilson's] paintings lie like silt at the bottom of a river and remind me of the colored stripes of earth in Malevich’s Red Cavalry. 'I have conquered the lining of the colored sky,' he once wrote. 'I have plucked the colors, put them into the bag I have made, and tied it with a knot.' Because Wilson’s big skies are so abstractly rendered, with only hints of land and wisps of clouds, they are more like hymns to color than representations of places. Her work has been compared to Mark Rothko’s clouds of color, but they also closely resemble Monet’s landscapes, if you removed the people, the haystacks, the boats, and the trees. They have all the variation and mood of a Turner painting, but none of the violent intensity, none of the outsize drama. James Schuyler characterized Wilson as 'the eclectic, cultivated artist, whose nineteenth-century hero is Delacroix.' I like the way Wilson herself once expressed the affinity: 'And Delacroix, Delacroix, Delacroix.'"
Elisa Jensen remembers painter Jake Berthot (1939-2014) who passed away on December 30, 2014.
Jensen concludes: "With Jake’s passing on December 30 we have lost a wonderful man, and a brilliant artist. But the paintings that he used his freedom to create continue to live among us. As Auden wrote in his elegy for Yeats: “…he became his admirers. Now he is scattered over a hundred cities, and wholly given over to unfamiliar affections…” We will miss the man no small amount, and for no short time. But Jake, as a painter, has, indeed, become his admirers, and there are enough of us who feel an altogether familiar affection for his work to be certain that his accomplishments will be celebrated for a long, long time to come."
Reprint of a classic John Ashbery review of Jane Freilicher's 1975 show at Fischbach Gallery, New York. Freilicher passed away earlier this week.
Ashbery notes that: "The swift transition from style to style is one of the most remarkable things in Freilicher's painting. The denotative and connotative jostle each other, with no fixed boundaries; a rough tangle of brushwork menaces a sleekly realistic passage. A field as minutely painted as Ruysdael would have done it leads to a cloud on the horizon which really isn't a cloud but a brushstroke. 'Non-representational' painting is always lurking in the background, or the foreground for that matter, of an ostensibly straightforward account of a landscape, and of course landscape is like that; the eye deals with some of it and neglects the rest. Other painters have made the point, but in Jane Freilicher's case the transitions are so gradual, the differences so close, that her grammar of styles can easily go unnoticed. The viewer imagines he is looking at an 'objective' account of trees or a table top without realizing that they have been dismantled and put back together again almost seamlessly."
William Grimes writes about painter Jane Freilicher who passed away December 9, 2014.
Grimes writes: "Although Ms. Freilicher ... studied with Hans Hofmann , the influential teacher and theorist of abstraction, she put her expressionist style of paint-handling and all-over approach to the canvas at the service of recognizable images, a course that made her an outsider in an era dominated by abstraction. Influenced by Bonnard, Vuillard and Matisse, she took as her subject matter the cityscape outside her Greenwich Village penthouse apartment, interiors with still life objects and, after she began spending summers in Water Mill, N.Y., in the 1950s, the marshes and potato fields of eastern Long Island. ... A romantic by temperament, she agreed wholeheartedly with the English painter John Constable’s famous remark that 'painting is but another word for feeling.' Her own works, she told ARTNews in 1985, were 'an emotional reaction to something I find beautiful in the subject, which provides the energy, the impetus to paint.'"
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.