Oliva Laing profiles painter Agnes Martin. An exhibition of Martin's work will be on view at Tate Modern from June 3 – October 11, 2015.
Laing begins "Art must derive from inspiration, Agnes Martin said, and yet for decades she painted what seems at first glance to be the same thing over and over again, the same core structure subject to infinitely subtle variations. A grid: a set of horizontal and vertical lines drawn meticulously with a ruler and pencil on canvases six feet high and six feet wide. They came, these restrained, reserved, exquisite paintings, as visions, for which she would wait sometimes for weeks on end, rocking in her chair, steadying herself for a glimpse of the minute image that she would paint next. 'I paint with my back to the world,' she declared, and what she wanted to catch in her rigorous nets was not material existence, the Earth and its myriad forms, but rather the abstract glories of being: joy, beauty, innocence; happiness itself."
Micchelli writes: "Despite the recognizable humans, birds and animals floating in and out of Schwartz’s canvases, Morgan argues that her work is more strongly connected to Abstract Expressionism than to a likelier source, the figurative imagery of 1980s Neo-Expressionism. Compared with the latter, which 'was primarily generated in Europe' and 'contained a cynical edge,' Schwartz’s practice is guileless, open and instinctual... Whatever the image, it speaks the language of paint — no symbols are assigned, and meaning is recognized (as in the psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva’s notion of intertextuality) as outside of the author’s control."
Mills writes that "Jensen’s work communicates something profound about the union of spirit and physical being. He addresses the heart of humanity in his process and reminds us how to stay in touch with ourselves in a society which encourages indulging in superficial pursuits and distractions. It’s a prayer."
Lily Kuonen reviews Jered Sprecher: The Hollow That Echoes at Gallery Protocol, Gainesville, Florida, on view through May 29, 2015.
Kuonen writes: "... just as a coherent string of words creates a sentence, or several clicks creates data tracking, an assortment of visual qualities or even strategic marks can be combined to produce an image. This would imply that a similar logical or systematic approach could be used to produce paintings, but that these paintings will be subject to glitches or corruption — as are digital images, files, and even popular phrases. Is there a way to resist this degradation? Jered Sprecher’s paintings seem to employ a form of camouflage as protection. By creating the appearance of inconsistencies, anomalies, and prefabricated layers of irregularity, they dissimulate the process of generation loss."
Tome writes: "As one walked through gallery, one witnessed an artist—self taught, remarkably—inventing her own forms and paying homage to her forbearers, all the while conscious of her own status as a woman painter coming up in the male dominated art world of New York in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. On the whole, this show made one think about what it means for a woman of Haynes’s generation to be an abstract painter, and further, to be a contemporary painter ever-concerned with the use and depiction of light in painting."
Goodrich writes that "the installation handsomely pairs [Berding's paintings] according to their internal dynamics. The diagonals emerging from the background tapestry of brushstrokes in one canvas mirror the angles in another; the somewhat centripetal rhythms of a third echo those of its neighbor. Viewing them together, one gets a strong sense of a distinct temperament. The reworked surfaces suggest a wry, hard-fought romanticism, less about singular expressions than about the sheer eternal struggle with material paint"
Halasz writes; "For most artists, a 'late style' comes as the final fillip. With Friedel Dzubas, it represents the third stage of an evolution that may be viewed in terms of Hegelian dialectics. The first stage, or thesis, is the Dzubas style of the 1950s, marked by the energy and dynamism common to so many gestural abstractionists of that period. The antithesis comes along in the 1960s, when — in the words of Barbara Rose — Dzubas 'cleaned up and emptied out his canvases.' Instead of many active small shapes, the artist focused on a just a few, large and superbly calm ones. The final stage, or synthesis, occurred in the 1970s, and lasted right through to Dzubas’s death in 1994. The dynamism of the 1950s combined with the detachment of the 1960s in Olympian canvases of increasing scale distinguished by the artist’s unique stylistic device, a feathery spectrum of color."
Yau writes: "It is in the painting itself that Burckhardt, who was born in 1964, distinguishes himself from other abstract artists of his generation. Rather than relying on a particular or signature process, vocabulary, message or aesthetic justification (which is what 'provisional painting' has predictably become), he discovers the painting through what can only be called trial and error. He introduces an image into the work, overlaps it with something else, covers nearly everything over and starts again. While one sees the evidence of earlier stages peeking through many of his paintings, Burckhardt doesn’t fetishize his pentimenti. He isn’t trying to impress the viewer with his labor, which, like watching a weightlifter having to prove how much he can hoist in the air, quickly proves tiresome."
Kenneth Baker reviews John Meyer: Diptychs at George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco, on view through June 13, 2015.
Baker writes: "The installation at Lawson permits visitors to see that the incidence of light on the paintings’ surfaces matters crucially to their definition, or self-definition. Yet even the surest perception of such aspects, under what seem close to ideal viewing conditions, feels tentative, subject to vagaries of changing daylight, viewing angle and our common incapacity finally to see as others see. Explicitness and elusiveness converge in Meyer’s work with an intensity we seldom see in contemporary art, irrespective of style. That flavor of experience can reach an exquisite, almost excruciating intensity in paintings where Meyer brought color into play, such as “Untitled Diptych #6 (Blue/White)” (1994)."
A. Bascove reviews Joan Snyder: Sub Rosa at Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York, on view through June 20, 2015.
Bascove writes: "Snyder is in full mastery here. Her use of multiple materials, lush color, and the tension of opposites; the thin washes under built up mounds of paint and paper mache, the stark contrast of pale clotted creams, whites and golds with intense deep rose, wine reds, and black purples. She continues her exploration of various textures of fabric and glitter with the integration of organic materials pulled from the earth. An embodiment of memory, hand written words and thoughts, are repeated and distorted to the point of illegibility. These are works of the primal emotions, of passion and loss."
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.