Ed Schad reviews the exhibition Four Abstract Classicists at LACMA - Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on view through June 29, 2014. The show features works by Karl Benjamin, Frederick Hammersley, John McLaughlin, and Lorser Feitelson.
Schad writes: "The origin of the hard edge most likely can find root in the dispersal of the International Style of architecture and the principles of the Bauhaus during World War II. Forced out of Europe, exiled architects and artists populated the earth bringing optimism about the social role of design... Evidence of this expansive moment exists now at LACMA in the way, way too small and horribly titled Four Abstract Classicists, in the form of Lorser Feitelson, Karl Benjamin, John McLaughlin, and Frederick Hammersley. In each of these painters, you can either posit a rejection of New York Abstract Expressionism – again pitting coast against coast and brushiness against crisp lines in the most boring way – or you can find these four incredibly original and genuinely weird painters among their sympathetic confederates, which amazingly were sprouting up all over the world. Each painter is very different, with their own story, and the rubric of the hard edge barely contains them."
Asked about her more abstract recent paintings Coffey remarks: "It's all figure painting, it's the only thing I do... They're about the figure, they're portraits, and that's what they're about. So, while the image is abstracted and might be thought of as modernist abstraction, at the end of the day they're calling in a way that a portrait can call for an 'I, thou' moment. They're more outward, they're not asking to be looked at, they're asking for a relationship... This is a kind of space which is constructed to move out rather than in."
Pagel writes: "Unlike so much of what makes up today’s visual landscape, Penkala’s paintings are slow burns. Combining the instantaneous appeal of eye-grabbing attractions with the lasting satisfactions of time-tested abstractions, his seven new works ... at Western Project treat viewers to luxuries rarely found in contemporary art: reverie and introspection."
Paul Behnke posts a photo blog of a studio visit with painter Jason Rohlf.
Behnke writes: "Upon encountering Rohlf's paintings, one first thinks of celestial charts, ancient navigational maps or imagined cosmologies - stories, plot, directions and plans. After spending more time with the work the artist's materials and processes sneak to the fore and the viewer becomes conscious of the layering, second guessing, and work involved in realizing an image. Experimentation, variety and chance are major factors in this work. And, indeed, Rohlf's experimentation and rooted painterliness are the backbone of these ambitious paintings."
David Cohen, Nora Griffin, David Rhodes, and Joan Waltemath engage (and clash) in an email roundtable discussion about the recent Christopher Wool retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York.
Topics debated include the paintings' surface and reflectivity, Wool's knowing (or unknowing) engagement with the flow of art history, the presence or absence of "experiential space" in the paintings, rawness as an indicator of a "punk" aesthetic versus "attitudes of renewal," and nihilism in the work expressed as a more "negative attitude towards the possibilities of paint than positive ones."
Charlie Schultz interviews painter Celia Gerard about her work on the occasion of her exhibition Lost at Sea at Sears Peyton Gallery, New York (through February 8, 2014).
Gerard remarks that this series of works on paper "came out of sculpture ... I started working in low relief, and playing with very small increments of depth that of course become huge increments in space. So working into space, into depth, has always been an interest and a priority, and sort of by accident it lead me to this two-dimensional work... I think of [the forms] as elemental. Everything in nature is based on these basic shapes. Cezanne made that observation and it influenced a lot of modernism, cubism certainly. For me, the exchange of depth and flatness is also interesting. When do these shapes become three-dimensional? When do they flatten out again? I’m interested in moving them around in that way. There is also a sense of anonymity to these kinds of shapes. It makes them universal, easily recognizable, familiar."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy talk to painter Angelina Gualdoni at her exhibition Held in Place, Light in Hand at Asya Geisberg Gallery, New York, on view through February 15, 2014.
Gualdoni, whose new work employs pouring and staining techniques honed in earlier abstract paintings to still life subjects, comments on combining a variety of technical approaches in a single work: "Part of it is the dialogue that's created between those different ways of mark-making... that context of what it means to let something happen... it's also about a more elastic formal and artistic vocabulary, one that can grow and change and adapt with you rather than being locked in... so it's flexible."
Yau writes that Carnwath's paintings "are diaristic but non-narrative, simultaneously complete and a collection of fragments — often resulting in a combination of language, symbolic iconography and abstract patterns... Carnwath seems to be advancing that the corporeal space the painting occupies with the viewer is where the public and private are constantly colliding and getting entangled with each other, that the space isn’t simply physical, but also mental. The space Carnwath’s paintings occupy is the one where information of all kinds is constantly being received."
Sharon Butler blogs about a range of painters employing bleaching, staining, and dyeing techniques in their work.
Butler posts images by Matthew J. Mahler, Helen Frankenthaler, Halsey Hathaway, Lauren Luloff, Saira Mclaren, Piotr Uklanski, Angela Gualdoni, and Richard Tuttle. In the cited examples, she writes, the artists use "canvas and fabric like the woven materials they are, rather than transforming them through finely-prepared grounds, modeling paste, or thick applications of paint."
Lily Le Brun interviews artist Tess Jaray, curator of the exhibition The Edge of Painting recently on view at The Piper Gallery, London.
Jaray comments: "I was asking myself why I think of these works [in The Edge of Painting] – works that I particularly admire and love – as paintings. They aren’t paintings in the true sense of the word, but nor are they quite defined as anything else. There was a period about thirty years ago when people would say that a drawing is a sculpture. Well actually a drawing isn’t a sculpture, but we like the idea: it has a certain enchantment about it, a bit of fantasy. But we haven’t really found a way of defining art without reference to style or material, and it’s curious that artists quite like to be called painters despite hardly using paint. It’s almost as though artists are aspiring to the condition of painting, even though they don’t use paint. In the same way, is has been said that painters aspire to the condition of music. Of course we can only aspire, we can’t do it, but that’s part of the search."
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.