Altoon Sultan blogs about the exhibition Raoul De Keyser: Drift on view at David Zwirner Gallery, New York through April 23, 2016.
Sultan notes: "For Raoul De Keyser (1930-2012), paint is a subtle medium, carrying a delicate expression, fluid and free, and at the same time concise and spare. His paintings are like brief poems, allusive, and richer than the minimal language suggests." She concludes: "Within his quiet language, De Keyser explored wide worlds."
Jennifer Samet interviews painter Bill Scott whose exhibition Imagining Spring is on view at Hollis Taggart Gallery, New York through April 16, 2016.
Scott comments: "I think I paint bittersweet fictions. I don’t believe the imagery I paint exists. I am not so removed from the world that I think it is pleasant out there. I think it is close to awful. We are walking towards extinction. So, why wouldn’t I paint the Garden of Eden or something pleasurable? What am I going to gain, spiritually or emotionally, from painting something miserable? I would much rather live in a fantasy world. I want a kindness in the painting. I want there to be an emotional ease. Generally, I don’t feel that in life, so I want it to exist in the paintings."
Clarity Haynes reviews Carrie Moyer: Sirens which waas recently on view at DC Moore Gallery, New York.
Haynes concludes: "Despite Moyer’s many influences and art historical references, her work does not look like anyone else’s. She is creating new territory and forging her own language in paint. A kind of deep, bodily theatrics are at play in these smart, masterful paintings. It’s hard to leave the gallery—the works literally cajole the viewer to stay. Sirens gives more than it asks: it is fundamentally generous. This is a big, beautiful party to which we’re all invited."
Riad Miah remembers painter Jake Berthot (1939-2015). Jake Berthot: In Color is on view at Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York through April 23, 2016.
Miah writes: "I pursued Jake Berthot as a teacher and an artist because I believed then and now in his values of what it means to be an artist. The world of painting suffered a loss with his passing a little more than a year ago, but has gained so much because of the work he created. Jake’s visual language grew out of the study of artists he admired, through avid looking and keen analysis. In the early part of his career, one could see that his work was reminiscent of Rothko and Resnick. But in the last 20 years of his life, his painting became more evocative of Ryder, Turner, and Cézanne. He taught and influenced scores of artists, and his spirit will remain present as we continue to look at the work; each mark that he laid in place was a sign of thought, belief, and felt experience."
Tom Wachunas writes about the exhibition On And Off The Grid – Generating Abstraction: Paintings by Elizabeth Yamin, Emily Berger, Susan Post, and Bosiljka Radista, at Main Hall Art Gallery, Kent State University, North Canton, Ohio, on view through April 6, 2016. Wachunas observes: "I think it’s important to appreciate painterly abstraction in general as a visual language of many dialects, and the four artists here (three working in NYC/Brooklyn, one in Boston) as engaged in dialogue with their own mark-making. Painters as raconteurs. You could consider it a call-and-response dynamic, wherein the act of putting down a brush stroke or a wash of color, or defining a shape, activates the surface and initiates an ongoing process not unlike constructing a written phrase, a sentence, or a paragraph. The artist “reads” the marks and responds (and here’s where the mystique of intuition comes into play) with other marks which could in turn cue the painter in how to proceed further along the picture plane. We viewers are in effect a third party in this conversation – negotiation, really – reading and interpreting what’s before us."
Rubenstein observes: "The depiction of power, though its presence is immaterial, has been a source of fascination for painters since, well, there has been painting. Michalangelo, David, Rembrandt, Benglis, Golub, Kruger, and Longo come to mind. Schor plays with the relationship of the figure, immense and monolithic, against the ground, delicate and ephemeral. ... Like Picasso, in his last self-portrait (Self-Portrait Facing Death, 1972), Schor gives us a schematic depiction of time at work. The Mangaaka figures which were the catalyst for this group may have had talismatic properties for their creators, but for the contemporary artist, Schor seems to ask, does art still have that power? Schor’s drawings are meditations on time and aging, and on the power of art to transform and transcend the temporal."
Robin Scher interviews painter Thomas Nozkowski on the occasion of his exhibition of Works on Paper at Pace Gallery, New York, on view through March 26, 2016.
Nozkowski remarks: "We tend to get obsessed with language and the information that can be carried by language. But I think long before men spoke, certainly before they wrote things down, they had a visual language and understanding of the world. A certain color meant a certain kind of weather was coming, a broken branch meant lunch just walked by. Or even—this is one that always gets me—you’re standing on a street and you’re looking three blocks away and there’s this little moving dot and somehow you just know it’s your best friend. There’s no way you could see enough to know that, but somehow by the presence of this dot in the world, you can read it. I think that’s our deep understanding of the visual of the world."
In excerpt from his new book, Mark Rothko: from the Inside Out (Yale University Press), Christopher Rothko reflects on his father's love of music (in particular Mozart) and its influence on his paintings.
Christopher Rothko writes: "Rothko paintings, at their most affective, do engage us in a full-body experience touching all the senses. On the most basic level, we see the paintings, but if you suspend the experience at your visual receptors, you have not really seen a Rothko. Like music, Rothko paintings offer a gateway to our inner selves. They evoke a visceral reaction that in turn sparks feelings and engages our minds, one that indeed offers great riches because all can speak it. In this way, they provide a basic level of human connection that starts between the artist and the viewer, but extends to how we speak with the world around us."
Du Toit writes: "Ultimately, though, the greatest value of art-historical anomalies like af Klint does not stem from their elusiveness, nor from their canon-defying dates ... It is that their work tends to make us abandon the generic lenses we habitually apply to art. To call af Klint abstract, for instance, is a category error, since she was independent of this discourse. Such perspective must be a good thing, even if it leaves us without much to say."
In her introduction Samet notes: "Although Gilliam is best known for his 'Drape' paintings—unstretched canvases stained in vibrant pigments and extended into three-dimensional space—the surfaces of the paintings he has made over a fifty-plus-year career are actually quite diverse. They include the “Black” and “White” paintings: dense thickets of monochrome paint, with collaged, cut and reused canvas additions. Gilliam has also worked extensively with multi-panel paintings in enamel on aluminum with plywood structures."
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.