Thomas Micchelli reviews Breaking Pattern at Minus Space, New York, on view through April 18, 2015.
Micchelli writes: "Optical or perceptual painting, for all of its rigor and intellection, can be thought of as a vanguard in defense of 'aura,' a Romantic credo affirming the power of the art object. Optical painting may look anything but emotional in its content, but its direct engagement with the viewer underscores a deep-seated longing to connect... The genre has matured considerably over the past half-century, veering from cheap tricks toward labor-intensive analyses of form and color, and a deeper understanding of the act of seeing. that the "show features the work of five artists — Gabriele Evertz, Anoka Faruqee, Gilbert Hsiao, Douglas Melini, and Michael Scott — across two generations (Evertz was born in 1945; Faruqee and Melini were born in 1972) constituting successive waves of perceptual art."
Faruquee writes: "For me, this painting endures unlike more facile examples of Op Art, because, like a work of thoughtful science fiction, it uncannily compresses the past, present and future. Throughout her writing, Riley recalls the impact of specific perceptual memories. In this painting, one sees how she draws upon these lived moments, whether it was observing light across water, watching the bright blue sky fade into its complementary afterimage, studying the divisionism of Seurat’s dots and Moorish tiles, or engaging an all-over structural approach to figure drawing. She hones aspects of these past experiences in order to present a wholly new perceptual event tantamount to them."
Corio begins: "One of the things I like best about the resurgence of abstraction in New York is the shear number of shows. The quality is uneven to be sure, but that’s the point; one is given the luxury of exercising judgment. I can remember several junctures not that many years ago when there were so few exhibitions of abstract painting that you were sort of starved or blackmailed into viewing them in a positive light. One could always recharge at the museums during the drought periods, but the idea that little was being added felt gloomy. The new year opened in New York with a veritable avalanche of abstract paintings."
Marks notes that "the perception that Faruqee’s patterns are self-evident—arise only because the conventional idea of moiré-ness, like an insidious stereotype, may distract viewers from the particular conditions that characterize Faruqee’s expression of the pattern, and from the nature of her painted surfaces... all [of the works] produce [a] dynamic of depth, breadth, and layering that reads as both moiré and not-moiré. The canvas is barely able to contain these multiple activities."
James Kalm visits the exhibition Xstraction at The Hole, New York. The exhibition features work by 32 contemporary abstract painters.
The press release states that the show examines trends in "textile-based and 'craftstraction'", paintings influenced by "digital aesthetics," "trodden-upon, dirtied, worn out or even 'entropic' abstraction," and "un-painterly abstraction" in the works of a younger generation of painters.
Kalm's video walkthrough looks at "commonalities and techniques employed by this generation of artists. Includes views of works by: Adam Henry, Andrew Sutherland, Angel Otero, Anoka Faruqee, Chris Johanson, Cory Arcangel, Gerhard Richter, Kadar Brock, Mark Flood, Sam Moyer, Thomas Øvilsen, Trudy Benson, Wade Guyton, Wendy White, Xylor Jane."
Thomas Micchelli reviews Xstraction at The Hole, New York. The exhibition features work by 32 contemporary abstract painters.
Michelli writes that "there are only a few paintings here that are startling in their originality, but despite their sheen of newness, their relationship to antecedents is very much in evidence. This is not a criticism; to the contrary, it’s a major factor in the richness of their aura (a word I use advisedly). The rest of the works in the show appear to be earnestly made, but their conversion of past practices (abjection and process are especially pervasive) for the here and now do not register as particularly imperative."
Faruqee comments: "I’ve always been interested in knowledge that’s not passively received, but actively experienced. I guess that’s why I make paintings—or why I believe in making paintings—because the act of making the painting presents the question." She continues: "These are very optical paintings, some more than others. You look at them and see them very much as image and illusion. There are a lot of things happening with color in the moiré patterns that are kind of illusionistic. Yet I don’t want the materiality to be lost. The materiality is important, even though it’s sublimated somewhat. I feel like I’m sublimating the materiality for the optical experience, and so much of what you are seeing are traces or residues of material events. "
Walker writes: "Faruqee’s paintings are constructed using 'comb-like notched trowels' that she pulls through wet paint, 'kind of like raking sand in a zen garden.' As the layers of colors interact, they form the optical interference that creates the Moiré pattern. Though the paintings are technically done free-hand, Faruqee’s comb tool directs her designs and makes them appear digitally constructed. The tool creates a kind of rudimentary cyborg relationship that is responsible for the work. However, Faruqee has pointedly left behind many 'mistakes' that become traces of the artist’s presence. For instance, she does not tape off the canvas’ edges and there are places where her paints do not match up perfectly near the edges of her patterns."
James Wagner visits a novel exhibition of painting, "Battle of the Brush" in Bryant Park, NYC. The show pits "abstract" painters vs. "realist" painters in a tongue-in-cheek mock battle; a clash as obviously senseless as any taking place around the world today. Wagner remarks that the show is "one of the most creative art shows of the year... The work is on view in closed, retrofitted and climate-controlled vitrines (actually, two of the booths which had recently housed The Holiday Shops at Bryant Park). Visitors will be able to see the art, en plein-air, until February 2."
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.