Rooney writes: "In these canvases, scribbles, zips, and coarse gestural passages, often painted wet into wet, populate both large and small-scale compositions in a frenzy of energy and intent. Abstracted marks are offset by repeated figurative motifs—animal skulls, mechanical detritus, and rotting debris—vanitas symbols bloated and swollen by the loaded history that delimits their boundaries. Pablo Neruda’s like-titled book of poetry marks the departure point for this affecting solo exhibition, and indeed, the works read as poignantly as Neruda’s 1950 revisionist history of Latin America. The difference is that Gisholt’s narrative mines the contemporary American predicament as its source material, with the works’ feverish landscapes transposing man’s tenuous dominion over the natural world."
John Goodrich reviews the exhibition Indian Space Painters at David Findlay Jr. Gallery, New York, on view through March 8, 2014.
Goodrich writes: "Seeking an innately American response to Cubism and Surrealism, artists such as Steve Wheeler, Peter Busa, and Robert Barrell began in the late 1930s to combine elements of Native American and pre-Columbian art in mosaic-like abstractions. Their pulsating compositions, often laden with symbols, melded object and space, subject and myth... Most compelling, however, are the six works by Wheeler... There’s nothing else quite like Wheeler’s paintings. One encounters the same pressured intricacy, perhaps, in a painting by Bosch, or even early still lifes by Juan Gris, but the rhythms of both of these masters seem tempered by a wise, ennobling hierarchy of form. Wheeler’s work is different, and indeed unique, restlessly surging against his own relentless control. It’s the vision of a modern-age shaman, made palpable in color and form."
Sherman Sam interviews painter Clive Hodgson about his work which is on view at White Columns, New York through April 19, 2014.
Hodgson relates his current work with an interest in decorative painting: "The decorative thing I saw as being painting, existing in a real and vivid form precisely because it is outside of traditional painting – that is formal painting, easel painting, paintings confined by a stretcher and canvas. So there would be decorative painting on walls, like marbling or patterns, and on furniture…. All of that attracted me, and it had to do with the painting spreading outside of a confine. And that represented something that appealed to me – something rambling and not centred... I was looking for where the painting seemed real to me in the way that decorative painting seemed real. Something begins to happen because there aren’t any points of reference for meanings."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy visit the studio of painter Claire Sherman.
Speaking about two complementary series of recent paintings Sherman comments: "I want them to ride a line between inviting you in and pushing you out... I would think of [my paintings] as confrontational - [but] not all of them are that way - some of them have an airy-ness or lightness about them that veers in another direction... they're in dialogue with each other... The paintings work together as a group. They have a weight or a lightness between them that I see as a balancing act."
Sharon Butler blogs about the exhibition Deborah Brown: Outer Limits at Lesley Heller Workspace, New York, on view through March 9, 2014.
Butler writes: "Most of the energetic paintings in [Brown's] new series are based on details of well-known portraits, the sitter seemingly overwhelmed by some kind of crazy, top-heavy rollercoaster scaffolding or rings of barbed wire. According to the press release for the show, Brown is interested in the costumes, coiffures, and conventions of self-presentation inherent in portraiture and history painting... Citing diverse influences such as Goya, Velazquez, George Condo, Cubism, and the tribal art of Africa and Oceania, Brown... is clearly intent on charging in a new direction. Her 'Tête' series is as bold as it is generous..."
Brian Dupont responds to the ongoing debate about Provisional and Casual painting.
Dupont argues: "Provisionalism did not remove the need for manual skill in art (that ship has long since sailed), but as it has become a focus in the practice of young artists it has become threatening exactly because it challenges the need for skill and craft within painting. This is the last high ground the old academies and hierarchies have. Appealing to a silent majority to refute aesthetic challenges harkens back to the tyrannies of the past rather than looking towards a more egalitarian (we hope) future... Of course a great deal of the work will be bad, some of it will just be “bad”, but some small bit of it will be good. The work necessary to find art that is good can hide the fact that it is a positive thing that it was made, however now it must be judged on individual merits and accomplishment, not the category it is assigned to. Categories are only generalizations; what is important are the specifics of the artwork and the relationships in question."
Naves notes: "Continuity is the abiding leitmotif. Bimo, or brush and ink, is to Chinese art as oil paint is to the West. Tradition is a bolster; that’s all to the good. But how well is it being maintained? ...even when artists aren’t explicitly engaging in 'semantic subversions,' there remains an overriding sense that tradition is not a resource but more a plaything. A deadpan flippancy insinuates its way into 'Ink Art'—a sense of closed horizons and narrow purviews... local tweaks on international trends don’t necessarily build upon the store of human experience. If anything, these tweaks point not to the possibilities of art but to the finitude of the artistic imagination. Now the status quo, commentary and self-involvement, tweaked with political import, have rendered the mainstream of world art professional, brainy, and static. (Navel-gazing, by its very nature, leads nowhere.) 'Ink Art' codifies this stasis with frustrating gravitas."
Amanda Friedman talks to Lauren Luloff about her exhibition Pineapples and Teapots at The Hole, New York, on view through March 1, 2014.
The gallery describes Luloff's work as having "multiple strata; many begin with hand-painted fabrics where Luloff creates textures and colors using bleach on domestic fabrics to paint a sort of pan-international imagery referencing many traditional designs... These patterns become her working material as she collages forms onto canvas with rabbit glue, often including oil painted components or using tulle to create see through windows in the works. Occasionally the artist paints from life with the bleach, from portraits of friends to household objects; even the occasional plein-air landscape appears in the photogram-like bleach lines. The transparent elements in the composition make the works look like laminations and the natural tones and puckering of the rabbit glue suggest the taut hide of a drum or the slick adhesion of clothes caught in a downpour."
Bunker writes that Sturgis "has been developing an abstract painterly realm saturated by forms that evolve from a complex interweaving of drawing, painting and painting’s histories. They are all re-energised by the seductive colour and technological hard edges of commercial design... There is a frisson between strands of art historical DNA, namely abstraction (geometric/Op/Pop) with that of commercial design, packaging and graphics. It could so easily be a cyclical trend like so many others. But Sturgis shows a commitment to the craft and a real recognition of abstract painting’s contested relation to a rapidly changing world. This show pushes beyond the facile and the purely decorative into a painting experience that is decidedly phenomenological."
Ten artists - Graham Boyd, Alice Browne, Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe, Alan Gouk, Robert Linsley, Jeanne Masoero, Rebecca Norton, Mark Stone, David Sweet, and Gary Wragg offer their thoughts on drawing in abstract painting.
Browne remarks: "When I think about it, drawing seems to be an innately abstract act: reducing matter and ideas to a series of lines and symbols for something that we may understand (such as these letters), or simply a trace of the movement a marking tool has taken, presumably at the end of a human hand... lines can be reminiscent of string, wire or fabric, but most often of outlines of a suggested form. They leave space for the imagination to fill, as well as being unequivocal. Drawing for me usually involves instantaneous decision-making between eye/mind and hand, which can be rewarding. On the flip-side, initiating this bold directive can be destructive and very hard to renege on. Drawings can be persistent; no matter how many times I paint over, they remain."
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.