Lilly Lampe compares two exhibitions of contemporary painting: Painters Panting, recently on view at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and Painter Painter at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, on view through September 27, 2013.
Lampe concludes: "These exhibitions and their ilk call attention to the insecurities of painting by their very nature, but in their execution declare the evolution of painting more than a primacy of painting’s original existence. Essentially, painting’s influence is felt strongly, even if what purists would call painting has changed radically. But painting is always changing, and every shift has instigated a call for its death. The moves made by the Impressionists, Modernists, Abstract Expressionists, and so on and so forth, sounded like death knolls to their detractors, but made painting all the more relevant. Enough with the preemptive eulogies and defensive exhibitions; painting exists, and it’s good. The trick is to show it in a framework that’s more self-aware than self-obsessed."
Painter Painter will be on view at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis from February 2 - October 27, 2013. Exhibition co-curator Eric Crosby interviews painter Alex Olson whose work will be included in the show.
Olson comments: "I do think that painting is a language, as all marks are referential, but that’s just one element that comes into play for me when making a painting. My focus is on choreographing these marks in ways that prompt a desire to read, but without providing precise language to do so. It’s about suspending the act of looking and judging for the viewer, and hopefully encouraging a constant reassessment of these judgments... The values that are associated with virtuosity in paint are ones that I’m just not interested in. For instance, I never want my work to read as heavily labored, so that the labor overrides the rest of the work. Instead, I’m trying to make clear, accessible paintings, built using deliberate marks. Generally, I choose marks that have the ability to behave as stock signage—meaning that they act as a sign but remain unattached to a singular definition—such as a dash or an “x.” They are very flexible, and can conjure up associations without delivering one precise read."
Fee writes: "I like Olson’s directness with her paintings’ surfaces, like how she squeegee’d broad blood-orange bars across the gauzy, drybrushed grayscale Weave. These measured bands may seem at odds with the lyrical backdrop, like crashing Park Seo-bo‘s austere mechanics with Christopher Wool‘s gritty choreography—yet Olson’s sure hand makes it believable, and the combination works... Olson doesn’t treat her works preciously, but she brings them to the exact stage where we, the viewers, become that palmist and editor to contemplate them further."
John Haber blogs about the resurgence of abstract painting, evident in a large number of high quality exhibitions recently on view in New York.
Haber writes: "Call me old-fashioned. Just don’t call me derivative. That put-down dogged abstraction for a long time, back when painting was, you know, dead. Since then abstraction has roared back, but by quoting - often to the point of conceptual art. So surprise, for early fall has brought no end of sincerity, with pleasures of its own."
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.