Brian Bishop addresses the "lack of forward momentum in the critical dialogue surrounding Painting."
Bishop writes: "Painting may now find its home... [n]ot necessarily in opposition to the screen but rather in relation to it, more of a symbiotic relationship. In representational terms, Painting as a window functions differently, it is a disturbance, a passageway that is also a storage bin of time, information and experience. It is a space between, a filter, and an activity that is inherently about temporal expansion and accumulation. Today we may fully understand that we reference a reality that is already an image (a thing that it is nomadic, able to rapidly change scale, location and context; something never fixed in any given material form). But within this context, Painting could be the locus to fix the image, and a method to engage the other in a physical form that is both familiar and alien—a new twist on its agency of yore."
John Yau reviews the exhibition Joyce Robins: Paint and Clay at THEODORE: Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through July 20, 2014.
Yau writes: "Robins isn’t a ceramics artist so much as an abstract artist working in ceramics and, in that regard, her work shares something with the abstract ceramic pieces of Mary Heilmann and Norbert Prangenberg. What distinguishes her work from these two artists, as well as from ceramic artists, is the dance she sets in motion between clay’s susceptible materiality and color’s gossamer light. The way spots of various colors define a loose grid of indentations conveys Robins’ quiet mastery... as with her paintings from the mid-70s – the ceramic pieces invite the viewer to get lost in the looking, to experience a pleasure at once solid and elusive, in which inevitable change is a component. Inspired by the finger marking she saw on the clay-covered walls at Rouffignac in the Dordogne, Robins’ abstract ceramic paintings – I know of no other way to adequately characterize them – are both primal and sophisticated, visual and visceral."
Perl notes that Polke is "something of an artist’s artist. His influence is now at flood tide, the mingling of gadabout hedonism and ostentatious disaffection in paintings, drawings, assemblages, photographs, and films echoed in countless little gallery shows on the ultra-hip Lower East Side. There is a princely arrogance in Polke’s down-and-dirty games, a sporadic visual avidity that complicates the self-congratulatory anomie. When he layers painted images on cheap printed textiles, the results, although ultimately little more than artsy attitudinizing, can seduce the eye. And when Polke borrows calligraphic devices from Dürer and allows them to hover over expanses of smoke-gray paint, he engineers something that at least echoes the elegant effects of the best of Cy Twombly. I find myself succumbing to the seductions of Polke’s tastiest visual play without really feeling moved. He is an egomanical seducer—an artistic Lothario. ... Amid his work in so many media, manners, and modes, there are also quite a few that aim to repel and maybe even revolt us, but even early in the show, where Polke’s faux-naïf paintings of a chocolate bar and a trio of biscuits are crudely forthright, there is a feeling for the cuisine of painting, even if it is an anti-cuisine cuisine."
Christine Hughes visits an on going exhibition of works by Anselm Kiefer from the Hall Art Foundation at MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachussetts and talks with Director Joseph Thompson about the work.
Hughes writes: "... why do I love most of Kiefer’s work? The materiality. The weaving of visual imagery with written word. The encompassing scale. The openness of brushstroke. The combination of landscape with history painting. Dead straight ahead view of it. The fact of it... My thinking is, as we write or paint or create anything, we want to offer a way of seeing which will give an epiphany, a boost, a gift, insight, give something. It’s not about impressing viewers with newness or intimidating them with obtuse meaning, but giving them something, changing something in them, allowing something, affirming some part by. Kiefer holds a mirror to the destructive in us all, the narcissistic. Robert Hughes said his work “affirms the moral imagination.”
Charles Darwent writes about the unique role that Mondrian's various studios played in his painting process. The exhibition Mondrian and His Studios is on view at Tate Liverpool, through October 5, 2014.
Darwent notes that "Piet Mondrian’s paintings have become some of the best known and most loved works of the twentieth century, and the studios in which he created them - in Amsterdam, Paris, London and New York - were incredibly important in the process, with the walls often covered in coloured cards to aid him in his vision. As one critic has noted, these spaces were ‘an experimental expansion of the work and the condition for its accomplishment’ ... [Ben Nicholson recollected that Mondrian's Paris] studio had a black floor, and white walls on which the ageing artist, 62 at the time of Nicholson’s visit, pinned cardboard rectangles of primary colours that he could move around at will. Which is to say that Mondrian’s studio looked very much like a Mondrian canvas, except in three dimensions... For Mondrian... the act of painting and the space painted in were one and the same thing."
Christopher Knight reviews a retrospective exhibition of works by John Altoon at LACMA, on view through September 14, 2014.
Knight writes that in Altoon's works: "Voluptuous color and luxurious interpenetrations of sensuous forms conspired to make messy, elegant, often witty abstract pictures. Their hedonistic punch is a delicious indulgence... Like artists as diverse as David Park in the Bay Area and Wallace Berman and William Claxton in L.A. ... Altoon's interest in the cool, seductive rhythms of West Coast jazz informed his work. He designed album covers for Pacific Jazz Records and other companies, but the music's reliance on sensual improvisation is what infiltrated his paintings... as Altoon matured into his mid-30s, those impulses would be caressed in lyrical — and inescapably erotic — reveries."
Kardon writes: "Berryhill is not ambivalent about his ambition... Though modest in scale, the paintings use expensive, thick-weave linen, a high culture archival maneuver that serves to offset some of the low culture references, and telegraphs his seriousness. Berryhill nods to not only Goya, but Picasso, Matisse and Bonnard, as well as his contemporaries, such as Dana Schutz. He places himself in an early modernist painting tradition that, despite an apparently abstract affect, is always representational in its ultimate methods. The major ambivalences in this show concern the perception of the imagery and how important it is to decipher it. Berryhill presents his subjects theatrically with proscenium-like verticals as quotation marks and a shallow horizontal strip at the bottom that stages each event. The grain of the linen, and small, dry brushstrokes allow Berryhill to use a halftone-like layering process, producing a surface of fuzzy colors and figure-ground inversions. The results are images seeming indefinite, corroded, or out of focus."
Kalina writes: "As Duchamp was wont to do, Bochner pushes up against the resistant core of the quotidian—the unknown and the unknowable residing in the obvious and the ordinary. Language functions as the fundamental form of abstraction we engage with on a daily basis—so fundamental that we hardly see it at all, much less recognize it as an abstract and abstracting entity. It is the mental air we breathe and we ignore it unless it is taken away from us or is, in some sense, poisoned or damaged. In Bochner’s case, the abstraction of language naturally allies itself with the abstraction of painting. Art that deals directly with language confronts, of necessity, its essential abstraction, its simultaneous referencing of and removal from physical experience, as well as its tendency to hide in plain sight."
Pozanti remarks: "[early on] my practice was based on images that I would collect from the Internet. I was really engrossed in that culture of image collecting, collaging. But I realized that I couldn’t propose something new by appropriating things. I wanted to step away from the computer, because I was spending so much time in front of the screen, sitting there staring at something with dozens of tabs open. I decided to invent my own language, through abstraction."
Sharon Butler blogs about the exhibition Supports / Surfaces at CANADA Gallery, New York, presented with Galerie Bernard Ceysson, on view though July 20, 2014. The show features works by André-Pierre Arnal, Pierre Buraglio, Louis Cane, Mark Devade, Daniel Dezeuze, Noël Dolla, Jean-Michel Meurice, Bernard Pagés, Jean-Pierre Pincemin, Patrick Saytour, Claude Viallat.
Butler writes that "there is an undeniable aesthetic connection between S/S art made more than forty years ago and work being produced today. But the current approach, radical forty years ago, is no longer experimental, especially iconoclastic, or self-consciously polemical. Rather, it has become an established painterly language that subsumes the ideas and values pioneered by the S/S artists. That's a kind of progress... The resonant exhibition at CANADA is important not just because it shines a light on the subliminal influence the S/S movement has had on our contemporary aesthetic, but also because it reinforces the notion that abstract painting can be rooted in politics. As faux-smart abstraction becomes increasingly popular among collectors and speculators, this timely show shrewdly exhorts young artists to understand the historical and political significance of their decisions in the studio, their materials, and their techniques."
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.