Patrick Neal reviews an exhibition of recent paintings by Sharon Butler at Theodore:Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through February 14, 2016.
Neal writes: "Butler has ... been a practitioner and proponent of a style of painting she dubbed 'The New Casualism,' which she characterizes as 'the rising inclination of artists to explore the metaphorical implications of failure, imperfection and imbalance—the artistic significance of the off-kilter and the not quite right.' Butler’s new body of work, on view at Theodore:Art in Bushwick, might then surprise visitors, who enter the gallery and find it filled with mostly compact, sturdy, and resolved paintings. Taking in the richly evocative color and touch of the individual works, a viewer can scan the room, noting and cross-referencing how marks and visual elements are reimagined in different compositions... The colors and spaces she depicts come across as on-the-spot observations of places or things, or memories and inventions that appear to evolve, the paintings recording change."
Malone writes: "Ryman’s work is often spoken of in terms of a pronounced quietude, but a full appreciation of its extended roots—effectively accomplished in the two Dia shows—can enrich the experience... The Chelsea show concentrates on color, highlighting the artist’s early development of his exclusive and by now signature choice of white paint. The Beacon show concentrates on his attentiveness to the ambient light that has such a profound effect on a viewer’s experience of the work. The Chelsea show echoes formal concerns similar to those of early modernism, while the Beacon show seems to touch upon that period’s infatuation with spirituality, a phenomenon that was itself a revival of a much older aesthetic."
Bacon writes that "[Black] made this series by working from projected JPEG reproductions of paintings that he first produced at a small scale the summer prior. The color is inevitably off in these cast images, and the size has become non-specific, because it is no longer tied to the act of painting that originally produced the images within the boundaries of a canvas of certain dimensions. The same is true of the yoking of short stories with various paintings as a means of titling them in a form of disjointed ekphrasis, since the narratives are unrelated to the works. By negotiating these factors, Black unwittingly introduces a perverse system that has enabled him to push this body of work forward by way of new coloristic and formal relationships that did not exist in the original works—specifically a morphing and pulsing of forms within a tightly controlled two-dimensional plane, like amoebas oozing and flowing across a petri dish."
Yevgeniya Baras interviews painter Matt Phillips whose exhibition Comfort Inn is on view at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York through February 6, 2016.
Phillips comments: "For me, paintings are roughly equal parts body and mind. There is the seeing, thinking, and responding aspect of painting. And the other half is so physical -mixing, touching, pushing, scraping. I like seeing how this polarity of the body and the mind co-exist in a picture. I want my images to have one foot on the surface of the support and the other through it... [the paintings] basically start with a grid. They are initially rational and systematic. The grid is non-memetic and denies perspective. In a way, the paintings begin by excluding the natural world and a lot of potential subjects. But that becomes something that I get to paint in relation to - a point of departure. I change things and, eventually, maybe the work evokes a form or a light or a space. I like that pivot, when the painting starts to regard something outside of itself - something unexpected arrives."
Dittenber comments: "In my painting I inquire about the intersection, overlap, fusion, collision of representation and abstraction. Accuracy in drawing or representation is not my exclusive objective, but is offset by other aims … playfulness, for one, and the pursuit of undiluted instances of striking color interaction. Some of my favorite paintings are more about “wrongness” than rightness and I try to let a similar instinct lead in the studio."
Tim Keane writes about the new volume of the Ellsworth Kelly Catalogue Raisonné that focuses on Kelly's early work from 1940–1953.
Keane writes: "Before the reader’s eyes, Kelly is transforming himself from a middle-of-the road figurative painter into an innovative, lyrical abstractionist gradually branching out into mixed media works and relief sculptures... the catalogue offers reproductions of rarely seen student works — extensive drawings and studies along with somber portraits and moody landscapes enlivened with European avant-garde conceits; Paul Gauguin and Max Beckmann are named as foundational influences. [Yves-Alain] Bois’s analyses of Kelly’s art school realism emphasizes how these naively naturalistic works portend the stripped-down semi-abstractions that were soon to come. After taking in the book’s entirety, the lucky reader will be tempted, as I was, to go back to these student works and seek covert abstract effects underpinning the representational elements."
Cascone writes: "The paintings [on view] mark an important stage in the artist's development, as he left Sausalito, California, in 1949, and began studying for his graduate degree at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. The exhibition also covers his time Urbana, Illinois, where he moved in 1952, and his first years in Berkeley, California, where he settled later that year. Throughout his career, Diebenkorn was always inspired by the landscape..."
James Kalm visits an exhibition of works by Robert Ryman at Dia:Chelsea, New York, on view through June 18, 2016.
Kalm notes: "This show presents a wide survey of various experimental and conceptual approaches to the project of painting. Since beginning his practice in the mid 1950s, Ryman has limited his materials to mostly white paint, square formats, and an extraordinary variety of grounds and surfaces onto which he applies paint. These twenty-two paintings record the evolving bodies of work the artist has developed from the late 1950s until the mid 1980s."
Ed Schad writes about unexpectedly encountering Alexander Rodchenko's triptych Pure Red, Pure Yellow, and Pure Blue (1921) on a trip to Mexico City.
Having been fascinated by the story of this work for decades, Schad notes: "I poured over the surfaces, but there was nothing to see other than cracks and age and fraying edges. The paintings obviously remained rolled a long time, and their condition spoke of a great fall from history ... They seemed naïve, a vision of the monochromic impulse as merely political, a vision of color as something fundamental and platonic that could somehow be 'pure.' ... But I remained stunned by my encounter with the work, by how it leapt ... into the sudden reality of my visit to Mexico... When one thinks of revolutionary art—when one thinks of democratic reform predicated on socialist principles—this is the art that one thinks of. Rodchenko put forth his equation, but these were other equations put forth by Mexican artists on the other side of the world. But do they hold their power? Are they really revolutionary? Or does form only hold what its creator requires of it at the time, only to evaporate when the winds of history shift?"
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.