Pocaro writes: "Presented, according to the artist’s statement, as products of her 'free-time,' these airy compositions feel less like assertions of the soul’s liberation from constraints, and more like affirmations of work’s subjugation of the individual. Inscribed into their surfaces, the repeated motifs record a kind of desperation, an internal crusade to uncover meaning and value in an autonomous activity. While Leiby’s paintings are not particularly authoritative visual statements, they are important objects of self-recognition. Buoyant and clumsy, composed of the past and trying to make sense of the future, their frayed edges embody Leiby’s struggle for purpose and by extension, our own."
Roche writes that in Schor's new work "interplay between above and below is key. Chthonic means underground and the concept of lying fallow has deep meaning for the artist. Her paintings—largely ink and oil on gesso on linen—suggest that underground can be a time/place of regeneration, contemplation and renewal. Schor’s fallow isn’t about being dormant, clearly. It’s a time of 'productive anonymity,' which she aligns with 'experimentation' and 'benign neglect,' in opposition to 'celebrity culture' and 'austerity measures'—all words found in Conditions of Contemporary Practice. In the luscious, nocturnal Morning in America, we find the avatar nestled below ground like a seed, protected against so much hovering verbiage, dreaming of benign neglect (as in leave me alone vs. abandonment). But underground is not always fertile or productive. Sometimes the avatar is pitched into the earth or uprooted, like the 100-year-old tree near Schor’s apartment during Hurricane Sandy, another experience of collective precarity entering this body of work."
Asked about using non-traditional materials in paintings Gahl comments "it's... that funny question of 'Painting?': Is it a painting? What is good painting? What is bad painting? What is painting that you do on a barn that you get paid for versus painting that goes on a canvas that you show in a gallery? And the bigger question of what is it all for (making all these things)? I’ve been trying to pare things down to mostly just painting and painting objects, and not going too crazy with materials. When you’re doing stuff like this you have to sit down at the end of the day and ask yourself, 'What do I respond to? What am I really obsessed with?'. For me, it’s painting. That’s what I’ve always responded to the most."
Photoblog: installation views of an exhibition of Maya Hayuk's mural paintings at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, on view through January 26, 2014.
The museum press release notes: "With their symmetrical compositions, intricate patterns, and lush colors, Maya Hayuk’s paintings and massively scaled murals recall views of outer space, traditional Ukrainian crafts, airbrushed manicures, and mandalas. Hayuk weaves visual information from her immediate surroundings into her elaborate abstractions, creating an engaging mix of referents from popular culture and advanced painting practices while connecting to the ongoing pursuit of psychedelic experience in visual form."
Halasz writes: "I’ve never been a passionate fan of later work by Kandinsky, but I found myself liking some of these paintings better than I’d expected, with the stand-out being the large 'Black Form' (1923). Still, they were no match for the series of large paintings hanging in the large gallery at the west end of the building (backing up on Fifth Avenue, and with a wall text headlined 'Beyond Easel Painting'). This is a dazzling gallery, with a generous selection of the dynamic, and often deeply moving pictures that Kandinsky made at his peak, between 1911 and 1914. During this period, if you believe Rose-Carol Washton Long, Kandinsky was making semi-abstract paintings with imagery derived from Theosophical treatises, including elders, walled cities, riders on horseback, and whatnot. If you don’t go along with this iconography, these are merely the fluid, painterly, free and easy works from the artist’s first and happiest discovery of abstraction."
After viewing the exhibition Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, Viktor Witkowski argues against the accepted view of Forrest Bess as a "visionary artist."
Witkowski writes: "While the visions or dreams that Bess claimed to experience regularly have received most of the attention in numerous articles and essays on his work (in addition to his genital self-surgery), his roles as a skilled observer, informed reader, writer, multifaceted intellectual and engaged individual have been neglected... Forrest Bess is also a painter of all things visible. He is not a copyist, but he clearly paid attention to what surrounded him. These visible things include other works of art, literature, people, history, the politics and ethics of his time, the experience of 'self', the natural world - reflections of it alongside less reliable byproducts like dreams - fevers of the mind - and unfinished thoughts."
James Kalm visits the exhibition Anke Weyer: Du at CANADA Gallery, New York, on view through January 26, 2014.
Kalm notes that Weyer's new paintings "are human scaled, reflecting a performative relationship between the canvas and the artist's body and its physical gestures. Using a freewheeling mixture of acrylics and oil paint, and a 'provisional' approach to presentation, Weyer extends a legacy of Abstract Expressionism with a "new media" aesthetic, at once knowing yet distanced through time and virtual information."
Joanne Mattera posts an extensive overview of abstract painting on view at the 2013 Miami Art Fairs.
Mattera's selections from among the "thousands of paintings at the fairs" includes works by Agathe de Bailliencourt, Agnes Martin, Alex Hubbard, Amy Feldman, Anke Weyer, Anne Truitt, Chris Martin, Craig Taylor, Deanna Lee, Enoc Perez, Federico Cattaneo, Gabriel Hartley, Georg Baselitz, Grace Hartigan, Günther Förg, Jaq Chartier, Joan Mitchell, Jon Pestoni, Joshua Aster, Keltie Ferris, Louise Fishman, Melissa Brown, Morris Louis, Norbert Prangenberg, Per Kirkeby, Polly Apfelbaum, Sachin Kaeley, Sam Gilliam, Shaun O'Dell, Theaster Gates, and Todd Kelly.
Tamar Zinn blogs about two exhibition of works by painter Leon Polk Smith: Cherokee | Chickasaw | Choctaw at Washburn Gallery, New York (through January 25) and Space Considered at Valerie Carberry Gallery, Chicago (through January 11).
In addition to posting a fascinating selection of Polk Smith's works from the two shows, Zinn also includes the following short statement by the artist: "I set out from Mondrian to find a way of freeing this concept of space so that it could be expressed with the use of curved line as well as straight. I soon found that this was not an easy thing to do. After more than a decade of intense search and painting (in 1954) somewhat by accident, while drawing with free line on a spherical surface, I observed a concomitant situation wherein the idea of space and form were complimentary to each other as well as interchangeable."
Comparing Motherwell and Wool, Schor writes: "thinking back on the echoes in Wool’s paintings of Rauschenberg and Polke and a host of other artist going back to the Abstract Expressionists and to Cobra, two things seem clear: the facility of Wool’s marks, including in particular those moments when he seems to be riffing off the idea of wiping out a drawn loop of paint, is only simulacral of the notion of discovery within a painting. The work is predicated on the risks taken by earlier artists, all the battles have already been fought, by somebody else, whereas in these early Motherwell collages you see those battles being fought freshly and with sincerity rather than with a facile gloss. The difference is that although Motherwell was also fighting battles that had already been fought by Miro, Matisse, Picasso, Gris, Braque, he isn’t skating over slick ice yet, he’s still engaging. And this engagement yields a pleasure particular to works from that era."
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.