Alan Pocaro reviews Abstraction: A Visual Language at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, on view through July 31, 2015. The show features works by Samantha Bittman, Kika Karadi, Linnéa Spransy, Raychael Stine, Jackie Saccoccio, Nancy Haynes, Magalie Guérin
Pocaro notes: "Aside from the obvious aesthetic concerns of making objects of lasting beauty, the central problem of abstraction has always been one of style and technique. More specifically, it has been the search for a technique that yields and animates an autographic or signature style as unique as the painter’s vision. It’s a lot harder than it sounds: as evidence, witness the cliché-ridden failures of abstract painting’s supposed 'comeback' visible at any given art fair. All the more reason then to celebrate the seven artists whose works comprise the concentrated, diverse and yet seamlessly integrated 'Abstraction: A Visual Language' at Rhona Hoffman Gallery. That these artists are also women is a fact worth highlighting in its own right, but let’s be clear: these are damn good painters first and foremost who make singular works that defy easy categorization."
Bogin comments: "I have a long-standing interest in logos and signage and their ability to communicate a wide range of information in a compact image. By coopting parts of that language I am able to communicate non-specific references and influences in a way that make them accessible but still mysterious... I like the tension created by referencing a language that we expect to deliver some sort of information or message but keeping that message elusive to create a more contemplative moment."
Sharon Butler interviews painters Judith Dolnick & Lucy Mink about their thoughts on color. Dolnick's and Mink's paintings are on view at OUTLET, Bushwick, Brooklyn through June 28, 2015.
Dolnick comments: "My choice of color is all very intuitive. One color calls for another. Encourages another. Mix as I go. You know, as I move through the painting. I never mix a lot of color all at once. It’s part of search, isn’t it? To discover a painting over time? ... I don’t consciously think my colors specifically reference objects or experiences. My color choices are more about the colors' relationships to one another."
Mink notes: "I have no particular rules when choosing a color. I have some favorites, cobalt blue and hookers green and I will often be thoughtful of where these color choices are used and what is near them. Lately I get excited about two colors meeting that are new for me. It has to work in the composition, though. I mix as I move through the process. I like not knowing what's going to happen in a painting."
Yau writes: "There is an infectious exuberance to the paintings — a feeling that they are trying to break out of their rectangles, as well as jump out of their skin — which doesn’t feel forced. In four of the five identically-sized, vertical paintings on one wall, Reginato uses differently colored diagonal lines to define a plane jutting toward the painting’s top edge, suggesting an aerial view of a corner of the artist’s studio, where a lot of fervent activity is taking place. The space is ambiguous, as a layer of splashes seem to be hovering above the plane, not having landed on the surface below. This feeling of movement animates the paintings, lifting them out of the literal into a fictive space."
Alexander observes that show "reveals Hall's deep connection to the history of painting -- the materials, processes, systems, and iconography, as well as the ritualized labor of traditional practice. While it might not be obvious to the viewer that each small panel is painstakingly built of many layers of sanded Venetian plaster, what is obvious is the utter sensuality of the resulting surface, and the delicacy and depth of the oil color ground. On top of, or into that ground, Hall uses graphite hash marks and lines to create intricate rhythmic patterns that are at once translucent, physical, and constantly shifting with the viewer's position."
Sassoon writes: "Like the best painting from cave art onwards, Still’s work is as alive and raw as if made today. His characteristic lightning shapes are a bit like the flashes that follow on the heels of Superman. They direct the eye, they activate the composition; actually they are the composition. They suggest a rip or wound in the skin of the paint, something damaged or hurt, while at the same time opening a window of light and color in the otherwise emptiness or murky impasto of the canvas. Still must have gone through countless gallons of black. Either pessimistically or optimistically, the rips and flashes seem to reveal an intimacy and vulnerability, creating a touching counterpoint to the bravado and strong ego that the work communicates — if you are open to being touched by it."
Ridley Howard interviews painter Benjamin Butler whose exhibition Another Tree, Another Forest was recently on view at Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna.
Butler comments: "I used to be very interested in combining dissimilar art historical reference points, into singular paintings. It was definitely important for me to use a simple/modern subject matter, the landscape, as a context for what was essentially a post-modern strategy. The landscape format made what could have been a heavy-handed idea more bearable to me. Mondrian was a part of this historical discussion that was happening in my paintings. The singular tree framework/motif functioned like a time machine for me. I often thought to myself, "Imagine if Mondrian had never stopped painting trees, and was then influenced by the many abstract painting languages which came later (that Mondrian, himself, had actually influenced)". This non-linear, and slightly absurdist idea, was incredibly helpful in pushing my project forward. The often-discussed idea of abstraction and figuration, and the blurring of the two, I've always thought, is a rather natural and unavoidable effect of putting paint on canvas. However, it does, usually, make a painting more compelling to look at, for a longer amount of time."
Janet Goleas reviews Vernacular at Theodore:Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through July 19, 2015. The show features works by Eric Brown, Sharon Butler, Joyce Robins, and Andrew Seto.
Goleas writes that the artists "approach abstraction with a shared sense of humility, materiality and ambiguity. Speaking in distinct but related painterly tongues, the works on view connect familiar idioms—minimalism, cubism, precisionism—with a wabi-sabi aesthetic. The conversation among these accomplished artists is smart and refreshing."
Halasz writes: "Nathanson’s shapes are bounded by edges that are sometimes straight, sometimes jagged, and occasionally rounded – all within the same picture. They look like pieces of paper that have been cut or torn, nor is this by chance. Rather, it’s because they’re based upon collages that constituted the preliminary studies, or modelli, for the paintings... At present, she relies upon her preliminary studies only up to a point, but sometimes edits unnecessary details out of them for the final version and/or experiments with freely-flowing, more accidental pourings."
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.