Alexander writes: "It would be hard to imagine three artists who are more simpatico and yet distinct... The intimacy of the Painting Center space is perfectly suited to the modest scale and subtle materiality of the works in this show. The three artists are unified by their discerning approaches to materials, and by the understated nature and expansive implications of their respective programs. Each in her/his own way creates what Agnes Martin referred to as a 'plane of awareness' -- an undifferentiated space in which the formal and material elements of the work coalesce, inviting us to a heightened attention to our own place in the world."
Edward M. Gómez reviews an exhibition of works by Gene Mann at Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, on view through April 26, 2014.
Gómez writes: "While Mann’s formal language may be largely abstract, her approach to making art is not self-consciously filtered through any canonical styles or theories. If anything, it has been informed over the years by her exposure to and assimilation of European art’s own late-20th-century experiments, in which such artists as Jean Dubuffet, Lucio Fontana, Bram van Velde and Pierre Soulages, among many others, scratched, slashed, burned, punctured and otherwise assaulted or caressed their materials to produce paintings and different kinds of mixed-media works. Raw creative energy is also a hallmark — if not the subject — of much of Mann’s art. So is a sense of spontaneity and an awareness of that drive. Although she is not an outsider artist per se, Mann has developed her art-making techniques primarily on her own and through them has found ways to give expression to the forces that motivate her."
Alli Sharma interviews painter John Mills whose work will be on view at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Santa Monica, CA from June 7 - July 5, 2014.
Mills comments: "I really do appreciate Calder’s simplicity in his constructions. There is freeness and a wonderful focus on a level of form that is very beautiful and poetic. I try to go for that but, in the end, I want to include the dirt of things. These grounds are ruddy and if you look closer often I have been scrawling-in marks, almost like graffiti, as if I am tagging my own work... I like layers, flat layers. You see a surface on a train and one person came along and did this then another person came along and did something else but its all on a flat plane and there’s all this overwriting happening. I really appreciate systems that get overwritten, like modernism being overwritten by contemporary life and all its dysfunctions. The result I think is an existential strangeness that can feel alien or uncanny."
Paul Behnke photo blogs a visit to the studio of painter Gili Levy.
Behnke notes that Levy's "mostly, large oil paintings have their origins in figuration and immediately convey the intimacy and depth of feeling she has for her subjects. But Levy is a painter first, and it's easy for the viewer to come ungrounded and caught up in the quality of paint handling, the endless variety of application and the struggle between color and form that are made all the more interesting by quirky line quality (beginning and ending abruptly) and sophisticated, unexpected, color placements and combinations. Levy's work is resplendent, and gritty as the figurative and the abstracted vie for attention and end up equals comprising a transcendent whole."
Noor Brara interviews painter Rochelle Feinstein about her recently completed series of paintings, on view at On Stellar Rays, New York through May 11, 2014.
Feinstein comments: "The 'Love your work' phrase is something that I'd heard for years, and I think it's still in play. It's one of the most awkward phrases to use because if you're the one saying it—often you're called upon to say something—it's not that it's necessarily insincere, but it's sufficient only for the moment, when you can't think of anything better to say... I was thinking of it coming from a comic book. In a comic book, the bubble is attached to the character speaking—they can't go back on what they said. I think if I used quotes or any other kind of punctuation for the work, it would be suggesting a linguistic structure outside of that particular phrase. It wouldn't be as 'spoken,' and would perhaps signify a kind of assigned meaning, which is exactly what I'm questioning the existence of."
Commenting on the development of his painting process, Brock notes: "I was making these marks, and I was painting over them, and I was essentially starting to treat my paintings in literally the same way I would treat a wall. If you have spray paint on your wall, the only way to cover it up is to use primer, and white spray paint, and sanding paper, you sand it away, and you prime it, and you sand it, and you prime it, the same way you repair walls, and try to get them back to a clean state. So I just started treating my paintings in that same way. It was always really connected to this very practical labor thing that came out of building out my studio... My paintings are all very labor intensive, they take a really long time, and I think that’s great. There’s something more real and practical, and satisfying and grounding about repetitive labor than something that’s about just some obscure erudite decision that is supposedly meaningful to the people that read a text. There’s something really reassuring and basic about labor—doing things with your hands, spending eight hours a day doing it, having it be a physical thing, as opposed to anything else."
Nathlie Provosty talks to painter Ron Gorchov about his work and career.
Gorchov remarks: "I really think that painting is about space and proportions and where things go; it’s what painting is. Form, if it isn’t the right color, it is not in the right place. And you know you can actually change the relationships a lot by changing the color a little... To me, art is really very much about the irrational. I don’t think you can rationalize why something is good, for instance. There are many definitions of art, but what strikes me as art is when something’s much better than it should be, when you just can’t figure out why it’s so good. In other words, you can’t use craft—that it’s meticulously made or that the colors are absolutely right. Something can be really good, and nothing’s right about it; it’s irrationally good."
Rob Colvin reviews the exhibition Logan Grider: Untitled at David Findlay Jr. Gallery, New York, on view through April 12, 2014.
Colvin writes that in Grider's recent work, "an elegant grace seems to have intervened in his commitment to muscle his way through what one might consider Modernism’s unfinished business... There’s little evidence of the artist bluntly antagonizing space or pushing his own artistic capacity for its own sake. Here we have a less complicated love. The still lifes of Matisse and Cezanne are embraced, as is their casual disregard for correct perspective, so that color and shape can thrive without restrictions. Grider takes the character of that disregard — it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t match — and flips it: the inconsistencies matter and animate the whole."
Kohler writes that Ray's work "appears to spring from the simple pleasure of seeing and painting the rhythms and patterns that she finds in the world around her... [Rodriguez's] tone is a kind of comic grief. The subject; skulls, lemons, weedy grass, an old tennis shoe, speak to small moments of pain, loss and inevitable entropy, but with a sense of humor... [Keesey's works] "reflect a process that while initiated by observation of nature are more about the feel of the act seeing rather than a description of what is seen... [and Fox] usually lands on the abstract side of identifiable reference, though it is clear, that like Keesey, he is taking his visual cues from the world around him, in this instance the studio; windows, books and leaning paintings among the more frequent starting points."
Bingham writes that the show "brings together two German painters, one a 20th century maverick-visionary, the other a contemporary art star. The point of connection between the two painters is Wols’s Blue Phantom (1959); the first oil painting von Heyl recalls seeing as a child. In her accompanying catalogue essay, Siegel notes the artists’ shared rejection of traditional painting categories, such as abstraction, representation and expressionism. Their common interest in imagery that is by turns namable, then less so, acts as a visual thread bridging the intergenerational paintings."
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.