Couzens writes that von Heyl "is nothing if not flexible — canceling and subtracting intuitive moves, constructing unstable, open-ended formal juxtapositions into befuddling works that remain in a constant state of flux. We glimpse something almost recognizable before it dissolves into lyrical passages of swooning paint, only to be stopped dead by a flat-footed block of pigment shoring up tumorous appendages. But second looks offer different experiences of the same work. The only constant in von Heyl’s work is its continual renewal. She practices at the highest level, working against type, style and knowing. She interrupts herself and is not afraid to be clumsy, goofy or downright odd. She has referred to her process as 'brutal detachment,' erasing compositions by inserting 'some other element into it or over it, something that refuses to fit until it is a fact.' "
Yau writes: "In Twombly’s case, every scribble and scrawl feels absolutely necessary. This is how the drawings in the exhibition came across, and I could only marvel at them. Through the placement of the five or six strips of paper and the density of marks covering them, as well as the folding or tearing of the bottom edge, Twombly was able to evoke a multiplicity of narratives within the framework of the series’ inspiration, which is the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice emerging from the underworld. Attached by tape at the top, the strips suggest veils, plinths and abstract forms. With the marks covering them going from an all-over density to a few scrawls, one could read them as moving from darkness to light, registering the fated journey undertaken by Orpheus and Eurydice as he tries to lead her out of the underworld. In one drawing, the two strips on the far left side touch each other near their top inside edges, so that they slowly spread apart as they descend. They could be a veil torn apart, or two figures leaning on each other, or an opening between two massive slabs. Twombly was never literal and the rich allusiveness of his work resists a reductive approach or any sense there is a one-to-one correspondence, with this meaning that."
Rubinstein writes: "For all his lifelong commitment to abstraction, Mueller took a great deal from Neo-Expressionism. Many of the pictorial devices as well as a sense of glamorous drama in his 1980s paintings recall elements from Polke, Schnabel, Salle, while some of the brushwork looks borrowed from lugubrious paintings by the likes of Rainer Fetting and Enzo Cucchi. And yet, Mueller, even in the 1980s, never looks like a 'school-of' artist, in part because isn’t tempted by figuration (a requirement of Neo-Expressionism), in part because of his sheer painterly ability and daring."
Johnson comments that his new work "came out of questioning what I want or wish painting could be right now, for me. A type of interaction with the two-dimensional surface and it surroundings and a desire to control the space. I think that sometimes it’s easier to talk about something by adding an element that is foreign to the medium. While I am working I like to imagine that I have moved the picture plane right in front of the viewer as if everything within the visual field functions as an important part of the image or at least interacts with it. There may be a set of lines or shape on the floor that have a certain length, width and direction that reflects in the painting allowing a different type of space to occur in the image. Or the wall might be the same color as an area in the painting creating a tangible plane in the image, a kind of reference point almost. I like to think of how deeply a painted shape appears to sit in the image and its interaction with the surrounding reality and the actual depth of the canvas. This allows the viewer to jump back and forth between the 'painting' and its surroundings. Creating an active relationship between the wall, floor and canvas. If that makes any sense? I really just want the viewer to interact with the images in a way that is not typical to painting but is still involved in its discourse. The two-dimensional space starts to live in a way that typically doesn’t happen in the 'framed window' of painting."
Joan Waltemath reviews paintings by Cary Smith and Don Voisine at Gregory Lind Gallery, San Francisco, on view through December 20, 2014.
Waltemath writes that the show "is heavy on black and white, with notes of color punctuating in concert and alone. Both Smith and Voisine are working out of a tradition of geometric abstraction that is again enjoying a moment in the spotlight. For seasoned viewers, the cyclical nature of what we are given to look at in any particular time is familiar. Yet the meanderings of geometric thought that have been with us since the beginning, from the earliest remains of potsherds in the anthropology museum to the present day, go much deeper. From notations incised in clay to the genre of the hard-edge, there are consistencies in the problematics of fixity and fluidity. This historical context sheds light on the importance of both Voisine and Smith’s desire to keep things in motion. While the hard-edge appears to be fixed, the organization of elements in both their work sets things in motion. Hung with an eye to these relationships, their works reach across the room to extend the conversation."
Lorimer remarks: "I’m looking for a non-linear, more elusive image... There is always that contention between the reference image and creating an original picture. These are old painting problems… Perhaps it’s best not to over-think, and make the painting... The fun thing about painting is that you can do anything. It’s not like I’m building something (I build things for people where I have to apply a strategy). In painting it’s a whole platform where I can work that doesn’t require strategy. I can do one thing and then I can do the exact opposite two minutes later. And that’s exciting."
Mark Godfrey interviews Peter Doig about the work of Sigmar Polke on the occasion of the exhibition Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010, on view at Tate Modern through February 8, 2015.
Doig comments that he felt "connected to Polke because of his use of popular imagery in a kind of witty irreverent way, and that he was prepared to use all types of visual language in his own work... He seemed to use an abstract element to create real atmosphere and mood in his paintings, not just to make comments on abstract paintings. It didn’t seem to be about the language of painting that existed. It was more about what he could invent at that point in time for a particular work or body of work." Doig continues: "I can’t think of any other painter who’s experimented on materials as much as he has, and I felt that, in a way, he created a no-go area because he did it so well. There have been a few other artists over the years that have used material in a somewhat similar way, but their work always seems quite decorative, whereas with Sigmar’s work it was integral to the way he works and the way he thinks. You do believe that he is a magician or a conjurer or alchemist."
Christopher Joy and Zachary Keeting visit the studio of painter Alison Hall.
Hall remarks that while the subject may be veiled in an abstract painting, its feeling gets "embedded into the work. I think the spirit of that can be felt in an abstract way. It's not like you can identify it or name it, but I think there are feelings inside of [the paintings] that when you view them you get close to that experience."
In a recent statement, Hall wrote: "One would think that, in making paintings about pattern, there would be a defined beginning and end, an image that’s certain and void of breathing room. But that’s wrong. I feel as if I never know the ending. The mistakes keep you from knowing the ending."
Ramsay comments: "My starting process arises from a mixture of my environment and a desire to track something within it. My methods are conceptually rigorous and process-oriented. With a faithful allegiance to geometry and its capacity to reveal profound truths, I work to generate or guide form in precise ways. The idea comes first; the search for materials, methods and procedures that will best support the idea follows. The work develops around repetitive and serial systems. I get caught up in subtle calculations and decisions of proportion and interrelationships. Once I develop the system for the specific project and determine the calculations, what remains is a form of meditation: I become the conduit for the arrangement of shape and the placement of color."
Nadja Sayej interviews painter Joanne Greenbaum on the occasion of her show Dysmorphia at Galerie Crone, Berlin, on view through January 31, 2015.
Greenbaum notes that "with this group of paintings, a common denominator was the use of the drawing to dictate the form that the paintings would take in the end. I also wanted to be free of editing on the canvas and pretty much whatever went on there stayed on these—even using what I didn’t like in a particular painting to use that and learn from it. Very often the mistakes are the best part." She continues, "I don’t paint for an audience but mostly to please and challenge myself as much as I can. If one painting is successful (sells) I don’t then go and make the same one or the same one in different colors. I really feel strongly about growing and changing and not being locked into a system that will then define you."
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.