Rubinstein writes: "It turns out that these paintings haven’t been 'painted' at all. Thomas’s process involved first making small collages from strips of paper, packing tape, cardboard, and corrugated plastic, which she then photographed with an 8-by-10-inch camera. The next step took place in a commercial photo studio with a giant darkroom (the studio specialized in printing billboard posters). There, Thomas used an 11-by-14 enlarger mounted on tracks to expose her negatives onto linen supports that had been prepared with black-and-white photo emulsion. These paintings, then, are actually photographs printed onto linen. At a moment when unpainted paintings seem to be everywhere (to say nothing of abstract photography), Thomas’s work looks incredibly prophetic. Decades before Wade Guyton, Mark Flood and a host of others discovered the artistic potential of the ink-jet printer, Thomas was making hands-off paintings of conceptual rigor and unassuming beauty."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy talk with artist Helen O'Leary at her exhibition Delicate Negotiations, on view at Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, through October 18, 2015.
O'Leary remarks: "I have a full history of painters in my head that I'm thinking about... and it's my way of coming to that language through a very very different structure, that's to do with my own life, to do with my own system, to do with my own failure. I think of big, heroic paintings a lot and then I think of my way of getting there, which is through mostly revision, small movements, and failure."
Allie Biswas reviews Julie Sass: Be-Bop Your Visual Acts (Shared Space) at Third Space, Copenhagen, Denmark, on view through September 27, 2015.
Biswas notes that "[Sass's] display consists of works on paper as well as paintings, of which the majority are diminutive (the size of a large notepad). The exceptions to this are a couple of substantial canvases that take up the central wall and window. The objects have been hung by Sass so as to be caught at various viewpoints (one painting hangs above the doorframe; another sits on top of a short pedestal on the ground), mirroring the transitional perspectives offered by her pictures. Using paint as her primary medium, and often relying on collage techniques, Sass’s skill lies in generating bold, uncluttered images that oscillate between precision and fluidity as a result of her textural and structural manipulations."
As part of the Brancaster Chronicles annual studio visit series, John Pollard, Alexandra Harley, David Lendrum, Helga Joergens-Lendrum, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Anthony Smart, Hilde Skilton, Mark Skilton, Noela James, John Bunker, Patrick Jones participate in a group studio visit with painter Anne Smart.
Micchelli writes: "If the Abstract Expressionists sought to vanquish the focal points of traditional painting through a balanced fragmentation of the picture plane, Saccoccio does the opposite. Rather than rely on Cubist precedent and correlate the figure to the ground, she doubles down on her targeted point of interest, the center, and then does all she can to demolish it via a wholesale effusion of solvents... Saccoccio’s go-for-broke, materials-based practice lands on the far side of the conceptual divide over the efficacy of painting in a wired culture. She literally pours everything she’s got onto the surface, ensuring that the experience of her paintings — the prismatic shifts of light, the feathery strata of color — can be understood only by standing in front of them. Her work seeks a tenfold amplification of painting’s inherent physical presence, a radical declaration of relevance for the fixed, unchanging object in space."
Megan Abrahams profiles painter Sara Bright whose exhibition of abstract frescoes is on view at George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco, through October 10, 2015.
Abrahams writes: "In her beguiling new series of moveable frescoes, Los Angeles artist Sara Bright renders an abstract allusion to poetry. During the last year, Bright has devoted herself to this new—though ancient—medium, mastering and refining her approach to its demanding, meticulous process and distinctive properties. For her fall solo exhibit at George Lawson Gallery in San Francisco, Bright will present a selection of small frescoes characterized by waves of delicate color applied with dexterity, an exacting instinct for composition and a subtle but pervasive lyrical harmony: in effect, wordless poetry."
David Rhodes reflects on a recent exhibition of paintings by Suzan Frecon at David Zwirner Gallery, New York. The exhibition catalogue, with an essay by David Cohen was recently published by the gallery.
Rhodes writes: "Throughout the exhibition, movement of the brush and bleeds of oil from one color to the next are far from hard-edge abstraction: each change at the boundaries or variation in opacity of the color crucially adjusts a painting’s reading." Later in the article he adds that "Frecon’s work materializes the ideas that generate it — ideas about color, surface, shape and scale — the desire is for painting itself to make a self-referential, visual narrative, that is evocative of, rather than representative of, experience in the world."
Witkowski writes: "A similar [to Jackson Pollock and Thomas Hart Benton], if stylized, reach toward the edges can be observed in the paintings by Charles Pollock that he finished during his second sabbatical year in Rome between 1962 and 1963 ...They recall the work of Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline and one can see how the legacy of an artist like Charles Pollock is overshadowed by more established, canonized artists. With all their intended or unintended references, Charles’ paintings stand their own ground: the green and purple glow in each of them is a subject of its own. They are far more reductive than Jackson Pollock, less expressive, but nonetheless striking. Where Motherwell approaches the minimal, Charles Pollock turns toward the sensual; where Jackson exercises the near-violent, Charles settles with stillness."
Rebecca Morris talks with curator Kate MacNamara on the occasion of the exhibition Rebeca Morris: Rose Cut at 365 S. Mision Road, Los Angeles (through November 1, 2015).
Morris comments: "I paint with the works flat on the floor and then they need to come up so I can look at them. This looking time varies greatly. Sometimes I know immediately what to do next, or that something needs to shift. Other times I have to think for a few days. Occasionally I need to think about a painting for much longer. It becomes a time-out. When this happens it can be a bit nerve wracking and/or frustrating and/or a bummer because I start to wonder if I’ve lost the painting, or am losing 'it' myself. But in the end several of these pieces have been what I later see as very strong works. I hate rushing the looking part. There was one year where there was way more looking than making, maybe it was 2011? I just had to trust that this was okay and was a natural, but important shift."
David Carrier reviews the book Hilma af Klint: The Art of Seeing the Invisible, edited by Kurt Almqvist and Louise Belfrage (Ax:son Johnson Foundation, 2015).
Although finding certain aspects of the text wanting, Carrier concludes "Perhaps ... to understand af Klint we need to avoid a rigid distinction between spiritualist diagrams and abstract painting. After all, Renaissance altarpieces, which originally served sacred functions, nowadays are treated as works of art and so placed in museums."
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.