John Yau reviews Angela Dufresne: Let’s Stay Together at Monya Rowe Gallery, New York, on view through November 2, 2014.
Yau writes: "as this exhibition proves, [Dufresne] has a remarkable narrative gift, which is different from being anecdotal, telling a story, or citing disparate cultural sources, all of which she has already done. Dufresne’s narratives are direct and opaque, funny and sinister, seemingly ordinary and downright weird, creepy and mysterious. But their real strength is that you cannot extract a story from them – that you can’t reduce what you see into some tale that you can take with you. The paintings in Let’s Stay Together neither illustrate a methodology nor are they a secret code that you have to decipher. The artist has shed her tendency to make work that feels claustrophobic, and at the same time she has introduced an unsettling feeling that gets under your skin."
Dufresne comments on her interest in "the way space can expand, emphasize, or focus can be directed -- scale can become narrative... I actually think of painting as a physical medium and a metaphysical medium that can converse on multiple planes simultaneously. The framing of parlors and pastorals -- those two types of archaic theatrical spaces have been the stage of painting forever. I like [the] term etiology to describe the way the history was treated in a lot of the works, though I was thinking more that it was humanity, and not painting itself, that was the diseased entity. Certainly painters have been party to some ridiculous ideologies throughout history, but what field of art hasn’t? That insanity at times leaves the field of painting looking quite reactionary, but even in those instances the actual paintings remain as amazing vestiges of real evidence, material evidence of something dreamt, lost, delusional -- or delightful, utopic, sublime. Painting is what told the story."
Bradford comments that the show, featuring one work each by eight artists, is meant to "celebrate a time when painting with humanist impulses and intimacy and personal stories is very much in the air and of interest."
Kalm notes that Bradford herself, as an educator and an artist, has inspired "approach and content more interested in a painterly empathy with people than a calculated theory."
Dufresne remarks: "I am trying to connect with images in reverence, however bastardized that reverence may be. It’s quite perverse, usually. How I interpret this dialog with history is to not make it falsely dry or sweet and not pretend that perception and the given narrative have much in common because they don’t. We see similarity in moments. We recognize ourselves or our experience in a flash or a film still, a painting or a piece of clay for that matter, connections, resonate narratives, and for me, there are instances when I can jump into those narratives and represent the thread–however disparate, however much based on projection–and that this is an honest portrayal of my connection to history and the history of cultural production. My works attempt to engage in the stuff of the world, in dialog with media, cultural production, and history, as performance, and then project it back onto the canvas, completing the cycle as it were."
Jenny Jaskey reviews Vivid: Female Currents in Painting on view through January 22, 2011 at Schroeder Romero & Shredder. "If anything unites this group of artists, it is a commitment to painting, as opposed to “painting beside itself,” to borrow a phrase from scholar-critic David Joselit [October 130, Fall 2009]. Unlike the increasingly popular, so-called transitive painting, which points to networks of production or distribution outside the picture plane, the artists in Vivid are committed to life within the stretcher."
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.