Jennifer Samet interviews painter Jason Karolak whose work is on view in the group exhibition Full Tilt at Novella Gallery, New York, through May 10, 2015.
Karolak comments: "I want to have one form in the painting at the end. It may have multiple elements or a network-like feel. But I still want it to read as a thing, albeit an abstract thing, as opposed to a completely allover field with no hierarchy... The forms in my paintings are distillations of the process, and an internal logic is created through color and drawing. It is specific to each painting. They start in fragmented fields of color and line. And then I put several of these elements back together, building something new."
Jeremy Harding reviews and exhibition of works by Richard Diebenkorn at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, on view March 14 - June 2, 2015.
Harding concludes: "The last room celebrates Diebenkorn’s return to abstract painting. We’ve understood by now that his career was not a single, mechanical oscillation from abstract through figurative and back, but a long argument with himself, and others, about different ways to make a good painting. The grandiose Ocean Park canvases seem to cut that conversation short with a monumental flourish. They’re hung to drive home the point: standing at the entranceway you have a sense of cool, early morning coastal light, as you pick out louvred bands of colour and big squares a bit like cotton blinds: pale blues, greens and yellows, adorned with a livery of fine lines, mostly in a lower key. You move in, the bands flatten, and your next impression is of large, translucent openings in the gallery walls, like stained glass windows (all that’s missing are the pews); the paint is weightless."
Williams writes that von Heyl is "known for an eclectic style which admires both the natural and the constructed. Serving as a window into the painter’s early work and artistic roots, [the show] is a collection of paintings never before shown in the U.S. Shown in Cologne and Munich during 1991 and 1995, these paintings posses a bold approach to abstraction, with their provocative aesthetic strength and impressive historical awareness... this exhibition provides insight into some of the deeply rooted artistic practices that are still present in Von Heyl’s current works, combining heavy use of illustration and abstraction to powerful effect."
Rubenstein writes: "Jensen strives for an ego-less, unpretentious practice devoid of preconceived outcomes, surrendering to the painting process, allowing it to determine the path and destination of his work. His intensive layering and reworking of the canvas results in highly tactile and seductive surfaces: paint is plastered on, scraped off, seeped, dredged, brushed, and smoothed until a certain 'presence' is achieved; he attempts to create paintings which, like self-contained beings, affect the world around them—a characteristic he refers to as 'emotional density.' In the work shown at Cheim & Read, Jensen riffs on subjects taken from Chinese poetry, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, the icons of Andrei Rublev, and contemporaries, like Jasper Johns and Carroll Dunham."
Matthew Neil Gehring blogs about two shows at Brian Morris Gallery, New York: On the Money (through May 17), featuring works by Alison Hall, Suzanne Jolson, Zachary Keeting, Jenna Pirelli, David Rhodes, and Gary Stephan; and From Now On In (closed) featuring works by Michael Berryhill, Tom Burkhardt, Steve DiBenedetto, Lydia Dona, Fabian Marcaccio, Carrie Moyer, and Alexi Worth.
Gehring writes that "both shows have contributed paintings that seek to expand our experience of painting, and to nudge the enterprise along in some way."
Etty Yaniv reviews Karen Schwartz: Down the Rabbit Hole and works on paper by Margrit Lewczuk at Life on Mars Gallery, Bushwick, Brooklyn, on view through May 31, 2015.
Yaniv writes that Schwartz's paintings "conjure a sense of grief with the gusto of life. Equipped with her intense inward gaze as a professional therapist, Schwartz does not shy away from personal references to her mother’s unexpected illness and passing last year. Her canvas surfaces resemble a battleground of mark-making; layer upon layer of intense colors, lines, scrapes and voids, suggesting images of abstracted human figures, animals and sometimes cultural icons... [Lewczuk's] collages pair well with Schwartz’s paintings. Much smaller and calmer in mood, Lewczuk’s collages utilize media such as markers and color pencils on layered paper. They resemble elegant, textured and richly colored illuminated manuscripts, drawing upon a wide range of references which allude to the merging of different religions and cultures."
Cardoza writes: "The works by Todd Kelly and Morgan Mandalay ... help bring the concept of the still life into the twenty-first century. Kelly’s pieces are the more straightforward of the two, with influences ranging from Dutch and French masters from seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to a visual representation of the gravitational pull of the planets... eight paintings from [Mandalay's] series [are] in the show, depicting a vase of flowers in varying degrees of completeness, always framed by the same red curtains. Made with oil and spray paint, these paintings are arresting in real life; the oil paint in some is layered so thick the flowers seem to be blooming off the canvas."
Mark Skilton, Hilde Skilton, John Bunker, Nick Moore, Sam Cornish, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Anne Smart, Anthony Smart, Ben Wiedel- Kaufmann, Noela James, and Emyr Williams visit the studio of painter Patrick Jones.
Jones introduces the work noting that "the paintings, to me, are to do with the fact that I work very, very thinly, on bare canvas. I don’t prime them at all, and I work with stained, thin acrylic paint ... I’ve always used acrylic, and I was brought up with it and I like it. It’s inert, and it’s not something I have to mess about with a lot to get it to do what I want. But that’s what I see the problem with the painting as being. Trying to work with virtually nothing on the canvas until the weave is filled, and then it changes. It’s a technical problem; it’s how to keep a painting varied and lively and interesting on that surface... it’s HOW to paint is the most difficult problem."
Annie Correal profiles painter Leo J. Bates (1944-2013).
Correal writes: "Looking at Mr. Bates’s work, it is clear that something happened when he left Manhattan and moved to Brooklyn. When he plunged into deep solitude, he found something new... Mr. Bates’s last paintings were huge X’s and chevrons that when examined closely revealed tiny grids of dabbed paint. Mrs. Bates said she did not believe that her husband regretted his decision to work in obscurity. His goal had been not to pander to passing tastes, or to scatter his work to the four winds. He had just painted."
Sultan observes: "Looking at the long black line on the left wall, I see that it has some weight and presence, but it's not quite a sculpture. It is, rather, a long narrow, irregular painting, pointed on both ends so as to push into the space around it, animating the wall. The surface isn't polished and smooth, but bumpy and somewhat misshapen. I find this imperfection very touching, and the emotion is heightened for me by the ordinariness of this object placed on the wall: it is a line, and a hand-formed object, inviting metaphor... Palermo called his hybrid works of painting in three dimensions 'objects'. They are painting amplified."
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.