Asked about transitioning to abstraction after years of plein-air painting Werfel comments: "I don’t really feel like I’ve left observational painting behind as much as use it in a different way–collaged and improvisational. So I may start a painting based upon one of my son’s childhood drawings but then I turn the painting upside down to free it up from representation and then I’ll layer it with a segment of the view out of my studio window. I am constantly adding stuff from my everyday environment to free my mind from habitual ways of working- whether it is something incidentally observed like how my shoelaces are tied or the wires around my laptop or some flowers in a vase. The difference now is that I am not committed to one view of a motif but use perception as a tool to drive the work in new ways."
James Kalm talks with painter EJ Hauser at her exhibition Amphibian, on view at Regina Rex, New York, on view through December 6, 2015.
Kalm notes that "As a member of the new generation of painters contributing to the Williamsburg and Brooklyn art scene, EJ Hauser has gained recognition for her focused commitment, and experimentation within the medium. With her latest show 'Amphibian', the artist again defies expectations and presents a series of works in which she reduces her means, simplifies compositions and distills her process to a fine level of brevity and elegance."
Calandra writes: "Baras' painted lines, tactile textural build up, and recurring color themes carry through from one work to the next, but for the most part each painting exists in a category of its own. They bring to mind the stream of consciousness marks on Miro's canvases, or the early cubist constructions that broke the confines of reality and convention... The sense of freedom that I get from not only seeing the work, but also imagining her experience making it, gives me endless pleasure."
Mary Hrbacek reviews a recent exhibition of works by Anders Knutsson at Van Der Plas Gallery, New York.
Hrbacek writes: "Knutsson's hues are emphatically mixed; they are not comprised of raw paint taken straight from the tube in undiluted pigments. Instead, he combines his own pigments in an attempt to explore pure unadulterated light through color that cannot be easily explained... Unlike Yves Klein, known for the idiosyncratic blue paint, or Frank Stella, whose early works are exclusively black, Knutsson investigates the entire color spectrum, focusing on one hue at a time. These veils of see-through paint create in solid form a depth of reflective light with the colors one perceives obliquely in the rainbow."
Malone notes that Ferren's work was "eclectic and wide ranging. What’s clear, even in the small Findlay exhibition, is how Ferren’s lifelong dedication to Zen and to the spiritual in art informed his many styles in ways that likely precluded enticements to choose just one... Ferren’s restive approach led him on many occasions to examine styles for a short period only. He did not so much work outside the mainstream as circle it continuously in a personal and highly meditative quest for meaning."
Goldner writes: "By studying, 'the colors of the sea, the sky and the sand, the seashells and seaweed, the dark clouds over the horizon in the evening,' Hafif says, she made these vibrant paintings using colors as Indian yellow, green earth, rose and ultramarine blue, and muted shades of indigo, silver and violet grey. Joan Waltemath explains in the catalogue, 'The pure sensation of light that bounces off the surface of each of her canvases seems to indicate colors so precisely calibrated that each emits a single frequency of light.' As [curator Mike] McGee observes, 'We experience her colors on a tactile, physiological and even feeling level.'"
John Haber reviews Louise Fishman at Cheim & Read, New York, on view through November 21, 2015.
Haber writes: "The lightness starts with the palette, which can hardly help evoking sea and sky ... long verticals on largely open fields and in broader strokes brimming over the grid. Both give added prominence to the white of the ground. It penetrates the colors almost as if added last, as highlights... The lightness is the biggest change in her art over the last twenty years, along with a greater acceptance of the grid. They go together, in fact. It takes the grid to make one this aware of where brushwork begins and ends. The interplay is most obvious in her latest paintings, and they are stronger for it."
Walter Darby Bannard writes about the work of Ann Walsh on the occasion of her exhibition at Alexander/Heath Contemporary, Roanoke, Virginia, on view through November 28, 2015.
Bannard writes: "Dematerialized color is a physical impossibility and monocolor – a simple one-colored surface – is an ineffective cliché and by now overdone, so the prerequisite for a 'color artist' such as Olitski or Walsh, or perhaps Morris Louis, who threw color against the edge to keep it pure and unmixed, is to contrive a work that insists on color as the primary expressive vehicle as such. Olitski did it with low-variation sprayed surfaces and edge-drawing that proclaims the work as a painting, and Walsh does it by putting forward uninterrupted expanses of pure color in carefully adjusted combination. Recently she has introduced mild curvature into an originally rectilinear format, eliminating real-world intimations of stability, and turning structural dynamism into casual delicacy – less a 'tough'visualization of lateral tension than the sudden beauty of a windblown curtain."
Francis notes synergies between the two shows writing: "Marden has remained consistently interrogative of precise material form and what value it contains. When a viewer approaches both his early and contemporary canvases, the weight of the paint layers is indicated by a special exposé in the lower region of the rectangular canvas. This unfinished strip constitutes a process of framing that at once alienates the viewer into understanding its plastic materiality and also invites them luxuriate in the painted colour blocks. The 1964 – 1967 notebook contains meticulous details of this process: 'When applying the paint with the brush drips accumulate on the marked off section of the canvas. I redraw the bottom edge using a straight edge and a pencil. I exercise little or no control over what happens below the drawn edge…'"
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.