Behnke writes that Pollack "paints encrusted works that are much more sublime than that adjective implies. His surfaces can be gemlike or move towards the monochrome but both evoke the light and élan found in the glistening seasons and environments that inspire them."
Gordon Moore interviews painter Joan Waltemath whose exhibition One does not negate the other is on view at Hionas Gallery, New York, through March 14, 2015.
Waltemath comments: "... verticality can set up a one to one relationship to your body when you are standing in front of it. I’ve done horizontal works, and also squares, but since these works are initially focused on getting a recognition of the body to occur, the vertical format is critical... my work has always been concerned with a physical relationship with the body and how the body negotiates the world and receives a painting – through movement."
An excerpt from Robert Storr's preface for the new book Go Figure! New Perspectives on Guston, edited by Peter Benson Miller, published by the New York Review Books and the American Academy in Rome.
Storr writes: "Guston died of a heart attack at the same age as Rothko, sixty-seven, yet was still at the height of his powers and on the eve of the unprecedented fame that resulted from his traveling retrospective of 1980-1981. Nevertheless, for countless painters who came to their vocation around that time or during the thirty-plus years since that show, Guston was embraced as a near contemporary in a way that none of his celebrated coevals have been. The resulting paradox—of being at once an avant-garde Old Master and a perennial beacon for emerging or reemerging talents—points to the essentially anomalous historical status from which Guston both suffered and benefited most of his career."
Kalm notes: "Yevgeniya Baras combines the rugged, physicality of found objects with an almost shamanistic reverence for their evocative potential. By melding the factual with a sophisticated sense of abstraction and its legacy, the artist teases out emotional responses that are embedded in the humble substance of simple images and day to day things."
Through the lens of several west coast exhibitions, David DiMichele notes the continued relevance of abstract painting and argues that Jackson Pollock's Mural (1943), recently on view at the Getty Museum, should "serve as a benchmark with which to evaluate current work."
DiMichele notes: "Surprisingly, one of 2014’s most impressive historical abstract painting exhibitions was at the Getty Center. After two years of restoration, Jackson Pollock’s Mural from 1943 was unveiled, along with an exhibit documenting the conservator’s efforts. The painting looked stunning; I could easily say that it was the most powerful abstract painting I have seen in years, the most visually inventive and compelling one. It was reportedly inspired by Pollock’s witnessing of a mustang stampede during his teenage years in the west, but many historians see it as a group of abstracted, attenuated stick figures that appear and disappear amongst the meaty brushstrokes that form a pulsating field across the canvas. What is it that makes the work so much stronger than most current abstract painting? For one thing, it retains a reference to the world."
Ray writes that "Zurier’s work has been moving toward a sturdier sense of individuality, complicating his frequent categorization as a monochromatic painter. The works in his current show—the Berkeley-based artist’s fourth at Peter Blum—assert themselves as a cast of characters. The 14 oil and distemper paintings (all 2014 and 2015) move between the concrete and the suggestive, as indicated by their titles: half refer to specific locations, and the other half to seasons or times of day. Zurier has long worked in a range of sizes, and only two paintings here have the same dimensions. They are not vast and ungraspable; even the largest, around 78 × 48 inches, feels approachable in scale. Human-sized and firmly material, these paintings function as equivalents, pieces of weather brought inside as figures, each with an insistent specificity of format and surface character."
Haber writes: "Interpretations of Abstract Expressionism long divided between the poles of Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg, of grid and gesture. Goldberg makes clear how much they share—and how much they remain relevant for art to come. He treats paintings and drawings much the same way. Oil might be the medium for works on paper, along with blackboard chalk from an artist never above lecturing, while canvas might hold pastel and charcoal as well. And both hold a distinct range of color and feeling. Goldberg runs to violet and orange along with primaries and plenty of black. He includes lipstick reds unlike even de Kooning’s—and that without a woman in sight. Paint takes on physical weight, but without Hoffman’s floating rectangles."
Nick Nes Knowlton reviews Formal | Loose | Painting, curated by Jennifer Murray, at Ralph Arnold Gallery, Loyola University, Chicago, on view through April 11, 2015. The show features paintings by Michelle Bolinger, Samantha Bittman and Anna Kunz.
Knowlton writes that the works on view "are a refreshing contrast to lifeless painting that threatens visual communication itself in a hunger for conceptual novelty. Together they confirm that a voice can still be found in purely formal painting about the process of abstraction itself."
Ian McKeever writes about Richard Diebenkorn on the occasion of an exhibition of works by Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, on view March 14 - June 2, 2015.
McKeever writes: "If the early abstract works by Diebenkorn are composed of flowing interlocking forms, then the ‘Ocean Park’ series is distinctly angular and urban. Although appearing counter intuitive, in going from abstraction, to figuration, then back again to abstraction, the trajectory of Diebenkorn’s work does in fact pursue a clear inquiry into the nature of what, in painting, abstraction might be. By contemporary standards, in comparison to, say, the consciously theatrical mega-pictures of Anselm Kiefer Hon RA or David Hockney RA, Ocean Park #79 is not a big painting. It measures 236.2cm x 205.7cm. Indeed its size could be said to hold a relative modesty, a characteristic common to Diebenkorn’s work. Higher and wider than a doorway, yet still having a sense of the scale of the human body, perhaps the height and width of a man with arms raised high or spread wide, this human scale seems important to the painting. Indeed the paintings in Diebenkorn’s ‘Ocean Park’ series seem actively to want to pull us back to our own physical place in the world, to find an intimate contact with the viewer, whereby it becomes a specific one-to-one, body-to-body relationship. The body that is the painting and the body that is our own."
Martin Mugar posts his essay for the exhibtion Lighting Out for Territory at Kimball Jenkins Galleries, Concord, NH, on view through April 30, 2015. The show features paintings by Susan Carr, Martin Mugar, Paul Pollaro, Addison Parks, and Jason Travers.
Mugar writes that the show title comes from "the line spoken by Huck Finn at the end of the 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' that he wanted to 'light out for the Territory.' ... Among the artists in this show there is a conviction that the terrain of Modernism that they grew up in, admired, studied and accepted is not the endgame for painting and not to be rehashed ad nauseam. All that was jettisoned from Minimalism: earthiness, anxiety, passion, affection, mystery, magic, surprise, place and space the so-called attributes of the real which were somehow secondary to concepts and ideas come back to haunt the work of these artists. I once seemed perplexed about how personal experience came to inform artwork. You spend time in nature, you move in it, dig in it, touch it smell it, but where and how does it feed into the painting. Addison said it does unbeknownst to you. It is absorbed through your pores, the accumulation of days and nights inhaling the smells of autumn and one day haptically without forcing the issue it pops up in your work. You just let go and it does its magic. The touch and feel of being in the world rejected by the bright lights of logic come back to haunt these painters."
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.