Jeff Jahn remembers painter Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015).
Jahn writes: "As one of my favorite artists what I appreciated most in Kelly's work was his way of sharing the otherwise impossible world of pure, concentrated observation. As subjectivity demands, conveying what one individual apprehends necessitates a kind of distillation and transposition into abstraction. Usually something is lost in that process, but not with Kelly. It ends up being visually and spatially richer and more pervasive... closer to an alphabet for the basic architecture of reality than painting... The act of looking for Kelly... in a very personal way was directly related to Matisse, someone few artists have been able to build upon. But Kelly did and similarly his work remained vital right to the end. Perhaps that is the greatest of his Kelly's gifts as a an artist... the way things in his eyes/hands never seemed to be diminished in vitality, observation and specifics."
Rebecca Allan remembers painter Robert Berlind. Berlind's work will be on view at Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., New York from January 9 - February 13, 2016.
Allan writes: "The movement of Berlind’s vision reminded me of the gestures of a Tai Chi practitioner, gradually encompassing all dimensions of space (and time). We sense the scanning and tracking motion of his eyes as he sought and isolated particular fragments of the landscape ...This working method resulted in a way of saying – through his paintings – Here, look at this. Pay attention—this snow shadow, this shivering reflection is really magnificent. Berlind’s particular contribution came through the manner in which he superimposed layers of space and distance, foreground and background, as though the substances within each spatial level were compressed under a microscope’s cover slide, or seen through sheets of Mylar, one above the other. This layering and flattening of the levels of space contributed to a straightforward coolness and precision in his work can bring to mind Winslow Homer’s ravens waiting to attack a fox in the snow, or his hunted ducks careening above waves in mid-air. For me, Berlind’s approach to pictorial depth also metaphorically suggested that all things are (ideally) created equal, and that the hierarchies we impose on life are essentially artificial and divisive."
Miguel de Baca remembers painter Paul Reed (1919–2015).
De Baca writes:"Reed’s work is celebrated for eliciting a sense of vibrancy from complex color combinations even when areas of thinned pigment overlap, demonstrating his mastery over the unpredictable acrylic medium... Reed’s early work ... sustained the interplay between graphic elements and painterly ones and an innovative use of the 'fragment,' which became one of his important motifs. These tensions between color and shape motivated Reed to employ zigzags and lattices in later works. By 1967, he was liberated from the rectangular format; bold, diagonal rays of color exploded against the edges of irregular quadrilaterals and other polygons.
Scott Noel and David Cohen remember Lennart Anderson (1928 - 2015).
Noel writes: "Although the best paintings are summit achievements in their form, Anderson’s work functions as both a destination and a door. Certainly for painters of my generation the discovery of his pictures came as a completely unexpected recognition of visual eloquence and surprise which seemed impossible faced with the thudding literalness of contemporary practice. The foil dome of Jiffy-Pop and the ruddy, inexhaustible head of Barbara S. were epiphanies enough to reset the course of the painters he influenced." Cohen offers a note on Anderson's late work recognizing "the quiet heroism of Lennart Anderson’s last decade and half of painting in defiance of macular degeneration."
Schumacher and Phillips begin: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lennart Anderson, a perceptual painter, a painter of the figure, a painter of still life and of landscape in the spirit of Edgar Degas and Edwin Dickinson and others that he admired, a painter whose manner and style of painting did not preclude the desire to invent, imagine, and draw forth from an inner vision. Throughout his life he worked and reworked his paintings, ever searching and revising, shaping and re-shaping his distinctly rich palimpsest of marks and textures. The patience this open-ended working process required suited him well, increasingly as his outer vision began to fail due to macular degeneration a little over ten years ago. Unable to imagine a life without painting, he adapted his working methods to this fate and continued to produce inspired paintings until the end."
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."
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.