In the exhibition brochure, curator Karen Wilkin writes: "The founders of AAA believed implicitly in the power of autonomous, non-representational images to communicate profound ideas and emotions. In today’s art world, when verbally expressed ideas are often valued more highly than the forms that embody them and traditional facility in representation is often admired above any other considerations, the kind of wordless eloquence that the first members of AAA embraced has once again come into question. Yet the work of many significant artists, such as today’s members of AAA, continues to reaffirm the health and versatility of abstraction."
Kelly Reaves reviews works by Scott Wolniak and John Phillip Abbott at Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago, on view through February 13, 2016.
Reaves writes: "With nods to studio noodling, [Abbott's paintings] seduce with flashy neon hues and sexy pools and swirls of paint. They start on unstretched canvas first used for sopping up spills and clearing out spray guns. Once “found,” they are stretched and completed with strategically placed, blocky words, implying context but mostly functioning to stabilize the space. Also on view are Wolniak’s “tablets”—flat surfaces covered in plaster and painted with water-based pigments in palettes reminiscent of Hawaiian shirts, then carved into with elaborate linear patterns made up of circles, dots, scratches and swooshes. They are peppy but anxious, undulating with the manic energy of thousands of repetitive marks covering every square centimeter of their surfaces."
Yau writes: "Miller’s process isn’t to cover the canvas with paint so much as to cover and uncover it, to interrupt, upend or subvert an expectation. For her, a canvas isn’t a surface to which another uniform surface is applied, but a kind of diary where things are added, covered over, uncovered – a combination of construction and archaeology. To assemble her paintings, she has transformed aspects of trompe l’oeil, hard-edged abstraction (the use of masking tape), patterning and repetition, transparency and layering, as ways of assembling her paintings. She also seems to have gotten something from the French affichiste artist Jacques Villeglé’s use of torn posters in his decollage. All these possible sources are subsumed into the painting; there is no citation, irony or nostalgia, only the present tense of the painting... "
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy visit the studio of painter Michael David.
David remarks: "I came up from the roots of AbEx and from punk and I learned all the academics but my goal was to make paintings that when they went on the wall were undeniable. And your experience with them was not well behaved. And that they owned the room, and that they made you think."
Schwendener writes: "DeGiulio’s paintings take a simple trope, the floral still life, and remake it into a black-and-white postpunk-type affair. Call it Manet for the millennium, after his late flower paintings... If ... DeGiulio’s art plays it cool ... Zuckerman-Hartung’s work is a firestorm of techniques and effects: bleaching, dyeing, staining and sewing linen, silk and humble dropcloths."
James Kalm visits an exhibition of paintings by Jonathan Lasker at Cheim & Read, New York, on view through February 13, 2016.
In his intro to the video Kalm writes: "These paintings continue Lasker's investigation into the operations of perception, as well as how viewers might decipher various visual codes of abstraction. Kalm ponders the relationship of Lasker's use of ultra-thick oil paint with the tradition of 'Material Painting' that's developed within European and American Post-War practices, and how this "materiality" might have bee inflected by Pop Art, and Conceptualism."
Robert C. Morgan reviews Odili Donald Odita: The Velocity of Change at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, on view through January 30, 2016.
Morgan writes that over the course of his career "Odita has focused on diagonal, hard-edge color combinations, emphasizing color values and varying hues. His intention is not to illustrate color theory in his work, but to harden the gesture in painting in a manner that gives it dynamic force. Color becomes the vehicle in his work, a prerequisite to form. In contrast to theory, Odita works from a more intuitive perspective in arranging colors without gradation, thus holding the surface flat while maintaining variable depths of spatial illusion. In doing so, his paintings — whether stretched on canvas, painted on pre-fab wood panels, or applied directly to the wall — suggest a kind of conflicted illusory motion intended to inflect emotion."
Sharon Butler blogs about the exhibition Color Matters at The Painting Center, New York, on view through January 30, 2016. The show features works by April Hammock, Barbara Campbell Thomas, Becky Yazdan, Carla Aurich, Claudine Metrick, Kimberly Thorpe, Fukuko Harris, Louise P. Sloane, Marianne DeAngelis, Ophir Agassi, Ruth Ava Lyons, and Stephanie Franks.
Butler writes: "Color is slippery. Anyone who has ever tried to translate a casually observed color into pigment on canvas knows that the hue will never be the same as what he or she remembers. Variables like light and shadow change the same basic color from warm to cool, light to dark. And, as Albers taught us, chromatic context is also a critical factor. The lively exhibition, "Color Matters," at The Painting Center, comprises paintings by thirteen artists for whom the exploration of color's transience is a driving force."
Tamar Zinn blogs about the work of Ilse D'Hollander, on view at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York through February 6, 2016.
Zinn writes: "In her intimately sized canvases and works on paper, D'Hollander transformed elements from the landscape and built world into abstractions, alternating between vigorous visual statements and more tentative, suggestive explorations. The tension present in all of her work captures the viewer's gaze and invites contemplation... The paintings appear to be thoughtfully considered and bold, yet they also embody elements of uncertainty and mystery."
Greenberger notes: "By the mid-’70s, Whitten had leapt into total, process-based abstraction, and had even switched media—he stopped working with oil paint all together and took up acrylic because it dried faster. His 'Slab' paintings, the works shown at the Whitney in 1974, were very much of their era, which is to say: messy, and positively overwhelming. This is also a fine way of describing the radical shift that happened over the course of the first decade and a half of Whitten’s career. He’s still trying to find ways of doing this in his newest work, which has referred to the Newtown school shooting and Barack Obama on purely geometric terms. Whitten said, 'I want a worldview that will teach me how to conduct myself in this new world order. That’s what I’m working on.'"
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.