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."
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."
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.