Kardon observes that "the mammoth scale of the work in Black and White Paintings takes one off guard. On a page, on a screen, or even from a good distance, the whole painting can be apprehended, despite its internal contradictions. But up close, at the distance from which they were painted, our physical relationship to these colossi distorts all perception. White spaces become enlarged or compressed as we pass from one end of the canvas to the other, and angles change as we get closer or further away. The sense of the whole becomes elusive. Rather than objects, the paintings behave as fields, where relationships dominate instead of physicality."
MacPhee comments: "I have to feel like it’s organic to what I’m doing. I’ve done diptychs and triptychs and sewn canvases together, but never gone off the rectangle. It has to seem as if it’s inherent in the direction of what you’re doing. It can’t be an add-on. I’ve always been very suspicious of myself. You have to understand the difference between embracing something because it makes sense in terms of what you are doing versus grabbing something that doesn’t make sense in terms of your own work and confusing yourself... I like to be surprised. To be surprised is the highest aesthetic category."
John Goodrich reviews works by Ken Kewley recently on view at Gross McCleaf Gallery, Philadelphia.
Goodrich writes: "Compared to merely decorative paintings, Kewley’s communicate in an elemental language based in the self-sufficiency of common objects. What does it mean to be a petal, amidst a hundred others, spreading above the plane of a table? In some existential sense, we’ll never quite know; our eyes imperfectly measure a world that finally defies measurement. But Kewley, speaking in a language peculiar to painting, offers compelling possibilities."
Stephen Maine reviews David Row: Four Decades of Painting at Loretta Howard Gallery, New York, on view through April 2, 2016.
Maine writes that "The work of New York painter David Row has been labeled 'conceptual abstraction' but the unabashed physicality of his work—of which 15 choice examples are on view at Loretta Howard Gallery—suggests “calisthenic abstraction” as an equally apt designation... A pictorial field that seems too small to accommodate the figure—that is, in which the boundaries of the canvas or panel appear to crop the image—has long been crucial to Row’s compositional strategy. Variously reiterated, it yields all manner of spatial displacement and disjunctions. But this instability is carefully controlled, meticulously planned—another paradox that only deepens the pleasure this stunning show affords."
Real States featuring paintings by Tom Burckhardt, Clare Grill, and Sangram Majumdar is on view at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York, from February 10- March 13, 2016.
This is the final weekend to see Real States at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects on the Lower East Side. The show features paintings by Tom Burckhardt, Clare Grill, and Sangram Majumdar. The works of each of these artists engage with the notion of image, but also confound it. The press release notes that the artists "all make paintings that engage abstract or abstracted forms on the armature of an implied grid. However, these forms and shapes are simultaneously allowed to fall away from any such structure."
A panel discussion titled The Abstract Image, moderated by art historian and critic Jennifer Samet, was held at the gallery on February 28, 2016. With their paintings around them, all three artists started off by talking about their process and it's relation to image-making.
Sangram Majumdar commented that moving away from recognizable imagery is "a way to arrive at a place that's a bit more unknown. I think there's an anxiety about looking at things. The longer I look at them I start disbelieving... so the painting process for me becomes a way to get closer to what ... drew me into that imagery."
Clare Grill responded: "I want my work to feel specific... [the source material] provides a mood, or a feeling, or a reason to make a painting. And that's it. And then it becomes something else - it becomes a painting."
Noting that Majumdar and Grill work from something that exists in the world, Tom Burckhardt commented: "I work in the opposite way... In terms of the image-making, I really start from absolutely nothing - it's akin to ... surrealist automatic writing ... and out of that generality what I eventually move towards is specificity." Referring to working on cast supports, he continued: "But my relationship to the support is incredibly specific from the beginning... if you [Grill and Majumdar] are working from something in the world, something that has a representational life somewhere, for me the only thing that's like that is the sculpture of the painting."
Malone writes: "Each image is built of a dominant color, yet within each color there are subtle variations that maintain a shallow atmospheric depth — not enough to sink the color into a distracting illusion, but more than enough to activate its magically ambiguous relationship to the picture plane. Moreover, within each color division there are similarities in touch and density that are reprised in other parts of the painting. The canvas is less a container of discrete items and more a field of discernible yet harmonizing parts. This attention to compositional structure is what separated him from his AbEx colleagues... Opper somehow transcended the mythology of the AbEx period and almost clandestinely slipped into the more formalist designs of color field painting, while holding to a visual language that was both his own and an echo of Bonnard."
Steven Alexander blogs about Paul Corio:Ghostzapper at McKenzie Fine Art, New York, on view through March 13, 2016.
Alexander writes: "This vibrant and beautifully installed show explores the capricious nature of color, employing both chance and intuition to create configurations that trigger full tilt chromatic dynamism. There is an element of obsessiveness in the complexity of Corio's compositions, and the depth to which he explores the nuances of color relations. But more prominent is a sense of playfulness, of reveling in the realization of endless possibilities."
Tom McGlynn reviews the recent exhibition Carolanna Parlato: A Delicate Balance at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York. McGlynn writes: "One can see the strong influence of contemporaries ranging from Melissa Meyer to Charles Clough to perhaps even Jonathan Lasker in Parlato’s structural approach to gestural lyricism, a type where marks can retain their separate identities in ensemble with a party of similarly free agents. While Parlato’s spatial presentation is perhaps more spiritually aligned with older precedents like Helen Frankenthaler (whom she has cited as an important influence) and Sam Francis, she actuates a decidedly post-modern, dematerialized relation of gestural form in her work."
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.