Thomas Micchelli reviews the exhibition Let’s Get Physical at Ventana 244, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, curated by Rick Briggs. The show features work by Jonathan Allmaier, Yevgeniya Baras, Rick Briggs, Chris Martin, Dona Nelson, Jackie Saccoccio, Russell Tyler, Maria Walker, and Chuck Webster.
Micchelli writes: "The kind of work found in this show, which avoids 'narrating or signifying' almost completely and makes a point of exposing the processes of its construction, is especially redolent of the artists’ 'fundamental manner of being;' their instincts, impulses and intelligence are woven into the manifold layers of attack, alteration and resolution. Through their formal and expressive thoroughness, these paintings, which present the viewer with obdurate abstraction, thingness and even hermeticism, draw us into their orbit not by what is splashed across the surface but by the physical manifestations of their creators’ thoughts, emotions and sense perceptions."
James Kalm visits the exhibition Chuck Webster: Blessing at Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, on view through October 12, 2013.
Kalm notes: "These impressive pieces bare testament to a new freedom and casual approach to materials, color and surface. Many of the works were inspired by a recent visit to the Rothko Chapel in Texas." From the gallery press release: "The surfaces are... activated by heavy brushwork, incidental markings and taut delineation... The chapel became a metaphor for his own interior space and the chapel’s octagonal footprint is the form in and entry to several of the paintings in this exhibition."
Samuel Jablon talks with painter Chuck Webster about his work and process.
Webster remarks: "I think the idea and the picture need to be one total experience for the viewer. Pictures have to be an embodiment of the idea while still remaining clear. Ideas for me come from the activity, from the evidence of putting down marks and removing them. I have to work my way through a number of ideas before the painting reveals itself to me. I believe in the transformation that happens there, with the materials and on the picture. My concept of making resides in that miracle, the awareness that starts to happen when something is made from raw material through time. Those things are one and the same: a picture is the concept. As it starts to transform, it creates new energy in the world and therefore its own version of form and narrative."
Sharon Butler blogs about the exhibition Love curated by Stephen Truax and presented by Art Blog Art Blog, on view at One River Gallery, Englewood, NJ, through December 21, 2012.
Love, featuring work by a diverse group of Brooklyn painters, celebrates the emotional attachment both painters and conceptual artists have for the medium, a 'love' that has returned painting to the "forefront of innovation in visual art." Butler writes that curator "Truax says the artists he has selected have 'a romantic and emotional engagement with painting and its history,' At the end of his essay, he even suggests that Conceptual artists are adopting painting as a strategy, too... Believing that all painting, no matter how seemingly intuitive, has conceptual underpinnings, Truax makes a case that the old saw "dumb like a painter" no longer applies."
In 2011 Carol Diehl wrote of Webster's work: "At first glance, the quirky, cartoonlike quality of Webster's semiabstractions may seem more trendy than profound. With a little scrutiny, however, this impression is mitigated by the ambiguity of the subject matter—which, like all good abstraction, seems to be filled with meaning while actually signifying no specific thing. Points of reference are also ambiguous: often biomorphic, other times jagged, these emblematic symbols could just as easily be co-opted from early tribal paintings as could represent signals channeled from a simpler, postapocalyptic future."
Webster comments: "I get a lot of the forms from the world - from an old piece of glass, a detail of Mantegna, the shape of a muffin or an old Roman helmet. They come from a huge store pile of things I see and make drawings of. Lately, I have been making drawings that remind me of Kachina dolls, old Mexican churches, pointy things and A.R. Penck. I use color by instinct... Color makes a narrative atmosphere for the paintings and gives them oomph."
Yau writes: "The structure that Webster is here exploring is a stepped form that owes something to Navaho blankets. He uses a thick line to make the form’s border, appendages and interior lines. The thickness of the line confers gravity, as well as a sense of slow forcefulness... For all of its weight, the forms seem animated, as if they might pick up and move elsewhere. By focusing on one form, which he never repeats exactly, I got the sense that the artist is trying to consolidate what he knows and attempting to learn something else at the same time. Webster certainly knows how to make an interesting and often mysterious form, but he has seldom put it somewhere believable. Now it seems that he wants to expand the premise of his work, to go beyond the realm of mysterious things and make places where such things might exist."
Photoblog studio visit with painter Chuck Webster, showing works in progress related to the current exhibition Chuck Webster: Paintings at ZieherSmith, on view through May 25, 2012.
The gallery notes that Webster's new paintings "Further deviating from previous paintings which were each an idiosyncratic image often on a smaller panel, the final surface on this body of work is a skittering, plangent line, with a consistent language throughout the group of mostly large scale paintings. Lending immediacy to the lush texture of the under painting's countless layers, these looser, brushy contours alternately resemble the ancient footprints of excavated villages and a contemporary cartoon aesthetic reminiscent of Phillip Guston, Carroll Dunham or Jonathan Lasker."
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.