Jennifer Riley reviews Russell Roberts: Paper Bed, Concrete Head at Heskin Contemporary, New York, on view through April 18, 2015.
Riley writes: "In these complex paintings, rich in complex spatial propositions, the main white and blue areas evoke Matissian plays of figure and ground, while within the smaller white or blue areas Roberts complicates foreground and background with shapes and lines that easily swap roles. Various marks and lines cut through and exit the box-like shapes. The light white areas contain orange and purple shapes, sinuous lines that can feel both comic and anthropomorphic. Occasional brownish-green shapes or strokes connote‘stuff’ tucked into interstitial spaces like closets, corridors or in-between walls. Each element is interconnected and dependent on other parts. Lines often toy or flirt with shapes, bisecting or breaking off, linking disparate areas, yet a strong sense of liberation and harmony is achieved. Perhaps Roberts has engaged these forms in this way to serve as an apt metaphor to describe the complexities of world we live in today."
Phong Bui interviews painter Glenn Goldberg whose exhibition All Day is on view at Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, through April 4, 2015.
Goldberg comments: "I think the body has its own needs. Although painters essentially paint with their eyes and their hands, their bodies have to participate in locating elements. And things aren’t always as symmetrical as they appear. Whatever people call it—a flower, a mandala, an energy form—to me it is a place to visit. At some point, about three years ago, I decided to make paintings using just black and white and the infinite gray scale they generate in between. It actually felt great because I didn’t have to deal with colors, which can be very intrusive and distracting. I was reminded again how and why I love Agnes Martin’s and Alan Uglow’s paintings. None of these works were ever filled with things. They dealt with the articulation of breath."
Sharon Butler blogs about the exhibition Craig Taylor: Enface at CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles, on view through April 11, 2015.
Butler writes: "Craig Taylor empties traditional portrait bust forms of facial detail and fills the silhouettes with strata of small marks and brushstrokes. The effect is to make visible the unarticulated anxiety behind our carefully crafted facades."
Alexander writes: "These paintings dive head first into the history of great painting -- the all-over space of Pollock, the shape-making of Gorky and Kandinsky, the playfulness of Klee -- and emerge looking utterly fresh, direct and personal. Grill's touch is completely tuned in to the nuances of the paint and the linen, creating fields of marks and shapes that accumulate to a state of utmost sensuality ... Grill has found a zone, an intimate space and a beautifully poetic vocabulary. The paintings seem to have sprouted, fully formed from her hand."
For the show, Zinsser created new work in response to abstract expressionsit painter Theodoros Stamos. Commenting on the process Zinsser notes that half of the challenge was "[a]pproaching how we create these romantic mythologies with these artists. But the other half is: What was it that launched our own painting out of the issues of abstract expressionism? For me, it always means making paintings that are event-driven, something where you’re looking for an image that will emerge out of the painting process itself. Also, materiality. Or moving things into large scale. So all of those are specific painting issues carrying directly over... I wasn’t looking at the specific paintings that were going to be in the show when I painted my paintings. I had more of my own idea of what a Stamos painting looked like. I mean I had looked at catalogues and monographs and so forth. But it was more an imagined idea of what they looked like. So it was surprising that when they actually came together, they did have these very specific resonating compositional and color relationships. Which is great. It really made it much more a present-tense open thought-inquiry that makes you re-see Stamos in a surprising way. I hope."
Sultan writes: "There is so much life in these drawings; they don't stay still politely, but have a continuing pulsing energy. The drawings remind me of the looser forms of Asian calligraphy, which require many years of study in order to have the knowledge to use free brushwork... I see a similar sensibility in the Lyric Suite drawings and the Open series, with their forms inhabiting large spaces, floating within them. There is a great respect for the ground plane and its strong presence; the artist's entry into it is as collaboration, not dominance."
Garrett comments: "I’m trying to include all of the possibilities of perception at once... There are all of these parallel ways of thinking and knowing, mistaking and perceiving. So how do you work from a place where you have a memory, but are in the process of forgetting it as you go? Or not having fully remembered all of the details in the first place, and working within that place?" She adds: "I want to be vulnerable in the work in some way. I mean, look at Guston or Morandi! You can really feel them in their work. The form and the emotional content is incredibly specific. There’s a great deal of personal risk."
James Kalm films a recent panel on contemporary painting hosted by Hunter College and the Brooklyn Rail. The panelists include: Phyllis Tuchman, Alex Bacon, Carrie Moyer, Greg Lindquist and Amei Wallach and are introduced by Phong Bui.
William Eckhardt Kohler reviews Jack Davidson: love, mistake, promise, auto crack-up, color, petal at THEODORE: Art, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through April 12, 2015.
Kohler writes: "The warmth in Davidson's paintings is both related to the strange and inventive forms and color ideas they contain and to subtle decisions such as repainting by hand edges that were initially made using tape. Davidson describes this as the difference between haircuts with electric shears and scissors -- a difference more felt than visually discernible. And, notwithstanding the moments of paint blotting, or some intentional brushwork, the latter often copied from the painted marks in collages, the work is remarkably clean, while being, dare I say it, soulful. Davidson has expressed that there was some risk in exhibiting this variety of types of imagery, but for this viewer it has made for an exhilarating experience and a relief from the bland seriality of many contemporary painting shows."
Thomas Micchelli reviews Breaking Pattern at Minus Space, New York, on view through April 18, 2015.
Micchelli writes: "Optical or perceptual painting, for all of its rigor and intellection, can be thought of as a vanguard in defense of 'aura,' a Romantic credo affirming the power of the art object. Optical painting may look anything but emotional in its content, but its direct engagement with the viewer underscores a deep-seated longing to connect... The genre has matured considerably over the past half-century, veering from cheap tricks toward labor-intensive analyses of form and color, and a deeper understanding of the act of seeing. that the "show features the work of five artists — Gabriele Evertz, Anoka Faruqee, Gilbert Hsiao, Douglas Melini, and Michael Scott — across two generations (Evertz was born in 1945; Faruqee and Melini were born in 1972) constituting successive waves of perceptual art."
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.