Chris Lowrance, Jennifer Wiggs, and Chris Fletcher discuss Sharon Patten: An Independent Vision at the The Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Missouri, on view through August 30, 2015.
Chris Lowrance introduces Patten's work, writing: "Patten’s paint is heavy, applied with a knife and so thick that the paintings frequently look different up close than from a distance. Figure and ground relationships that seem insistent from 10 feet away dissolve when the viewer moves in for a closer look. An outline can be literally obscured by a passage of impasto. And for all the physicality of the paintings, the role of design seems critical to the experience of these paintings. As does the role of metaphor. Patten herself was clear about the importance of metaphor in her work. It’s discussed in a quote from the artist posted on the gallery wall, and in titles of many of the paintings: 'Concurrence', 'Experience', 'Aplomb', 'Success', etc. For Patten abstraction was a form and a behavior."
Tom Emery reviews Real Painting at at Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, on view through August 2, 2015. The show features works by Simon Callery, Adriano Costa, Deb Covell, Angela de la Cruz, Lydia Gifford, David Goerk, Alexis Harding, Jo McGonigal, DJ Simpson, and Finbar Ward.
Emery writes that the show questions "20th century modes of thinking about painting - where an image is representative of something, even when it is ostensibly abstract - and it is this mode of thinking that Covell and McGonigal seek to redress. In their own words, this exhibition does not consider 'what a painting means, but what it "does"'. This is an exhibition of paintings that exist on their own terms, for their own sake, works that provide a physical presence and don’t just passively sit on a wall to be admired."
Hands concludes: "Bridget Riley’s abstract art is clearly modernist, but notwithstanding her traditional training as a painter (she still produces cartoons for her paintings), her work successfully combines a strongly characteristic feature of line through disegno (drawing) with form as colore (colour) to attain a synoptic temporality: intimating a psychogeographic relationship with space through physical positioning and perception; and a sense of time and rhythm integrated in and through the intrinsic properties of the images. The association of colour and line, especially the curve, is sensuous at a visual and an intellectual level. If this interpretation is correct, it might suggest that a purely non-objective abstraction is a fanciful notion – because contingency is unavoidable, so long as human beings continue to make art."
Bernstein writes: "Walking into the exhibition space, I am met by a group of strange peers in the form of paintings. We are painters. We have not met before, but they speak in ways that I understand and with a wisdom that I did not know existed. They tell me that formal elements still hold an unearthly power even in such an advanced technological age and that real time is a clock marked only by birth and death. They say that to be honest in the depiction of nature is to be honest to its endless nuance and tangled complexity. They say that stylization is insufficient in the accuracy of its account; to make a rough map is to send someone in the wrong direction. They say that human rhythm is not of an exact meter but in fact imprecise. They say that color is a choice that demands attention."
McNicholas writes:"... the 6-foot-tall Untitled (pdn63) (1976) dwarfs me. It’s a dark and unyielding expanse of blue-green, with thousands of miniscule dots horizontally positioned along an invisible grid, each dot the amber color of a sun setting behind viscous pollution. I stand for a minute in alienated silence before I have any verbal thoughts at all about the work. The scale speaks of grandiosity, the form of objectivity and restraint. Then I notice some of the more subtle dynamics at play: the rows of horizontal dots are alternately bright and muted; the dark background undulates between two barely different shades; and thin, horizontal strips of acrylic are raised above the rest, creating a tactile surface. What first appeared arrestingly flat suddenly swells with energy and depth. The dots, however meticulous, quiver with an inescapable human imprint of imperfection, evidence of the painstaking labor devoted to the work."
Butler observes: "Oehlen isn’t a worrier. For him painting isn’t about developing a distinctive style or thinking too deeply about a particular shape or line; to the contrary, it’s about creating something unexpected and taking painting somewhere new... Oehlen is unequivocally a pioneer. In the 1990s, when he got his first laptop, he began using digital imagery – early Photoshop drawings – as subject matter for his paintings. At the time, few knew what to make of the computer or manipulative software, or how to incorporate digital imagery into painting. The options for outputting digital drawings were limited, and few artists thought to use the crude images made on the computer as the basis for paintings. Many were trying to make early digital imagery look like traditional drawing and painting, but Oehlen's genius was that he embraced it for what it was, and unapologetically incorporated elements that others were trying to overcome – the pixelated edges, artifacts from cutting and pasting, shrill RGB color, inconsistent lighting between composited images, clumsy brush tools, ready-made patterns, and so forth."
Schjeldahl writes: "The works present wobbly grids of variously sized and proportioned blocks of full-strength color in friezelike arrays, separated by brushy horizontal bands.. It’s as if, for each painting, Whitney had climbed a ladder and then kicked it away. A viewer on the ground can only wonder how he got up there. A picture’s dynamics may seem about to resolve in one way: heraldically flat, for example. But blink, and the shapes swarm in and out—a Cubistic fire drill. I had the thought that I can’t live long enough to wear out the works’ alternate readings..."
Jonathan Stevenson blogs about works by Ruth Root at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, on view through August 14, 2015.
Stevenson writes: "Each piece comprises two main elements – digitally-printed fabric of Root’s own design (involving dots, lines, and more elaborate shapes) and a Plexiglas panel enamel- and spray-painted in oblique reference to the pattern or in looser coordination with it. They hang in restive equilibrium. One element tempers the visual primacy of the other, while each work as a whole presents a controlled conflagration of line, color, and allusion, sometimes to mesmerizing effect."
Allan writes: "Brightly illuminated against the whitewashed walls of the gallery, the shimmying plaids and high-keyed, off-kilter stripes of these paintings have the pulsating energy of Scandinavian or African textiles. While their sources and influences are deep and varied, they strike me as having a relationship to fabrics, music, and architecture as well as the history of abstract painting through the lineage of Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Myron Stout, and Alice Trumbull Mason. Bridget Riley, though spoiling the alliteration, should also be included in this lineup. Despite these various affinities, Brown’s intimately scaled paintings have a self-containment and reserved exuberance that is taut and refreshing, if sometimes overly modest."
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.