Tyler Green talks to painter Jack Whitten on the occasion of the exhibition Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, on view through January 4, 2015.
Whitten comments: "It was de Kooning that I became really attached to in terms of gesture, to the point that, by the end of the 60s I approached the canvas and my hand had become automatic... I had remove Bill de Kooning from my hand... how do you get around a giant like Bill de Kooning? ... I came up with the idea that as long as I'm using my hand we're dealing with relational painting... one stroke answers another, answers another... so my thinking was that if I could do something that got rid of the relational thinking maybe I could do something. So, I conceived of the canvas as one gesture - the whole picture plane operating as one gesture... The studio became a laboratory. I put the brush down.. and I started experimentation with a part of painting that I did not know enough about... materiality."
Richard Benari posts a podcast recording of painter Arnold Mesches in conversation with Robert C. Morgan, Irving Sandler and Michael David on the occasion of the recent exhibition Arnold Mesches: Eternal Return at Life on Mars Gallery, Bushwick.
Mesches comments: “What was going on [in the early 1950s] was an awareness of the technique of the form of art — because they stopped making images. They made art! I began thinking that something else was happening, and that something else had to be brought into my thinking as a social realist painter — how the hell can I bring that into my thinking as an image maker?... By combining unlikely juxtapositions, both in painting techniques and disparate imagery, I have tried to re-create the sense of utter instability and sheer insanity that I feel has so often permeated my years. Instead of, as in my salad days, veering toward the overt, I have, for some years now, found myself depicting our time with a sense of unreality bordering on the more unsettling absurd."
Richard Benari talks to painter Siri Berg about her work which will be on view at with Hionas Gallery at Volta, New York, March 6-9, 2014.
Benari notes that: "works daily, making drawings and paintings that are, at first glance, deceptively simple, but in the real show a concern for surface, light and color that extends the conversation begun by Minimalism. And, breaking with Minimalist doctrine, Siri insists that the artist needs to be 'there' in the work. She mixes and tubes her own paint, and lays down colors 'that don’t exist out there,' in nature. ... she works with a reduced palette–just nine colors; a rule that guides her practice–and because the values of her multi-panel works are so close, a sense of space is evoked, a sense of shadow and depth. Combine this concern for illusionistic space with Siri’s interest in making actual shadow part of the work (each of her more recent canvases sit on 3' supports; the resulting distance from the wall creates a very definite shadow that makes each panel pop) and the trajectory is clear: 'I’m not saying I’m going to start making sculpture,' Siri says, 'but I’m very interested in how sculptural the thing is, and how things that are sculptural affect the environment in which they are seen. It’s light, it’s architecture–these are the things that interest me now.'"
Tyler Green talks to painter Sedrick Huckaby about his work. Huckaby's large painting - Hidden in Plain Site (2011) - is on view at the Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth through February 2, 2014.
Huckaby comments: "There's always a thought about how deep does a picture go - and obviously many of them it's almost zero space. It's as if sometimes the quilt was literally painted on the surface and because the paint is thick it bends where the actual quilt would bend. At that point there's a literal dialogue between painting and relief... Sometimes when I use thick paint, it's just thick paint - I'm just swimming in the paint, I'm loving it - but sometimes when I'm painting form ... paint protrudes forward, or out, or gets thick where the actual object would come out towards the viewer, and it gets thinner as it goes back into space. So, literally sometimes I think of it like a relief... One of the things that happens in relief is that there's literal form but it's slightly compressed. And even in the literal form there's a suggestion that it's deeper, that there's more depth than you're actually seeing... the only difference is that with painted space, the color is allowed to go into that conversation. The color also helps to dictate space."
Garrett comments: "What's important in my work is having a sense of being grounded in the world, taking in the outside world... paying attention to light, sound, smell, touch, feeling, all the tactile stuff - [to be] bristling with attention." She continues, noting that this attention "is a huge resource of information.. always overflowing with content. I find that whenever I go that direction in terms of making art ...even if it changes really dramatically from the source material... that it's the most relatable and usually it has the most force."
Tyler Green interviews painter Amy Sillman on the occasion of the exhibition Amy Sillman: one lump or two at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, on view through January 5, 2014.
Asked about the physicality of painting, Sillman comments that paintings "are a pleasure because they're physical and they're made by you.. you're in this kind of forming relationship with them that is about changing them with the hand while you're thinking about them with the hand. The hand is the tool, the integral tool, that changes them and moves them and makes them and uses them, both in utilitarian ways and involved ways."
Phillip J. Mellen interviews painter Tim McFarlane about his work and process.
Speaking about his process, McFarlane comments: "My tendency is to work in layers, and a lot of times I'll go through several paintings on one piece. These days if I find something that I like... I know I did it, but it's go to go. That's how I allow myself to stay free... That one thing doesn't make a whole painting - it doesn't make the whole painting the best it can be."
Phillip J. Mellen interviews painter Suzanne Kammin about her work and process.
Kammin speaks in depth about her process which includes freely experimenting with compositional possibilites via computer sofware. Using the software as a studio tool, she comments, "eliminates a certain amount of anxiety about destroying the painting and that frees me up to try a lot of different things... You have to try, as hard as it is, to let go of your anxiety about making a mistake. It's your anxiety that hampers the feeling of confidence you need... you have to try to get yourself in the mindset of not caring what happens... The computer allows me a way around that problem."
Burgard comments that the merging of asbstraction and figuration "is one of [Diebenkorn's] great accomplishments... most beautifully in the Berkeley period, he solved the problem of abstraction versus figuration by instead of saying either/or, to fuse them together, and in doing to endow something that's ostensibly abstract and inert with a human life and vitality." Burgard also speaks about de Kooning's influence on Diebenkorn noting that "deKooning moving from abstraction to figuration... that gives Diebenkorn the license and permission to consider that option as well. I think the sequential series of paintings, already in 1953 in one of the earliest paintings in the series Berkeley #3, he's already dealing with these supposedly opposing forces and reconciling them in a really extraordinary way."
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.