Real States featuring paintings by Tom Burckhardt, Clare Grill, and Sangram Majumdar is on view at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects, New York, from February 10- March 13, 2016.
This is the final weekend to see Real States at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects on the Lower East Side. The show features paintings by Tom Burckhardt, Clare Grill, and Sangram Majumdar. The works of each of these artists engage with the notion of image, but also confound it. The press release notes that the artists "all make paintings that engage abstract or abstracted forms on the armature of an implied grid. However, these forms and shapes are simultaneously allowed to fall away from any such structure."
A panel discussion titled The Abstract Image, moderated by art historian and critic Jennifer Samet, was held at the gallery on February 28, 2016. With their paintings around them, all three artists started off by talking about their process and it's relation to image-making.
Sangram Majumdar commented that moving away from recognizable imagery is "a way to arrive at a place that's a bit more unknown. I think there's an anxiety about looking at things. The longer I look at them I start disbelieving... so the painting process for me becomes a way to get closer to what ... drew me into that imagery."
Clare Grill responded: "I want my work to feel specific... [the source material] provides a mood, or a feeling, or a reason to make a painting. And that's it. And then it becomes something else - it becomes a painting."
Noting that Majumdar and Grill work from something that exists in the world, Tom Burckhardt commented: "I work in the opposite way... In terms of the image-making, I really start from absolutely nothing - it's akin to ... surrealist automatic writing ... and out of that generality what I eventually move towards is specificity." Referring to working on cast supports, he continued: "But my relationship to the support is incredibly specific from the beginning... if you [Grill and Majumdar] are working from something in the world, something that has a representational life somewhere, for me the only thing that's like that is the sculpture of the painting."
Although focusing his review on many of the younger and mid-career painters in the exhibition, including Clare Grill, Sangram Majumdar, Ellen Berkenblit, and Samantha Bittman, Yau notes that "Joan Brown and Charles Garabedian are the presiding spirits of the show Painting Forward at Thomas Erben. They could also be described as the presiding spirits of today’s art scene. By that I mean they did something more than go their own way; each developed a pictorial language that was unmistakably her or his own, and, more importantly, was simultaneously accessible and mysterious — a complete world that never gave itself entirely away."
Grill comments: "What I do as a painter is to paint a lot. It's part of what we all do as artists, doing a lot of work over and over again. In a way being an artist is growing your gut muscle and that tells you when you have made art. It’s finding your voice. You have some control over it, but it's also a result of working. It's not about deciding to change, it's about getting really involved with your material–whatever that is-- and finding what you can make out of the material. Also it’s about figuring out what kind of touch you have. There are paintings that will change color, because the color is not my color. I'm not excited or surprised by it. Or it might not feel like I made the painting. I will wipe out a whole painting if that's the case. Because my gut says it's wrong."
Alexander writes: "These paintings dive head first into the history of great painting -- the all-over space of Pollock, the shape-making of Gorky and Kandinsky, the playfulness of Klee -- and emerge looking utterly fresh, direct and personal. Grill's touch is completely tuned in to the nuances of the paint and the linen, creating fields of marks and shapes that accumulate to a state of utmost sensuality ... Grill has found a zone, an intimate space and a beautifully poetic vocabulary. The paintings seem to have sprouted, fully formed from her hand."
Matt Kleberg interviews painter Clare Grill whose exhibition Petal, Pedal, Peddle will be on view at Fred Giampietro Gallery, New Haven, through October 4, 2014.
Asked about when a painting is done, Grill comments that it's "when a painting looks back at you, when it has a face. When it has a presence, it says 'I exist, so don’t mess with me.' I know that sounds confrontational and I don’t mean it to be, but that’s when. When I believe it or when it doesn’t feel toxic in the space any more… Because until they are finished, they do feel jarring and irritating. These over here are all unfinished. And it could be a really tiny move or a total face-lift that is needed. I really work from that place, that felt place. I am just trying to situate these paintings in that buzzing, in-between space where they are just paintings. It sounds dumb, but that is what it is. They are just paintings."
Paulina Perlwitz reviews the exhibition Smart Painting at Artspace, New Haven, curated by John O'Donell, on view through March 22, 2014. The show features works by Blake Shirley, Sharon Butler, Deborah Dancy, Zachary Keeting, Ben Piwowar, Jenn Dierdorf, Rob D. Campbell, Derek Leka, Clare Grill, and Tatiana Berg.
Perlwitz writes: "The way Smart Paintings is organized might not be in line with the principles of 'casualist painting,' (an underlying theme of the show), but the friction between the stylized niche these works are said to be fitting into and the almost heavy handed organizational structure utilized by the curator is provocative and unnerving. O'Donnell uses the works of several different artists and opens up a dialogue between the paintings. The show professes to gather together the work of several painters who are asking similar questions about the definitions and properties of painting. However, it seems that O'Donnell's concerns may lie more in using the works of other artists to create one larger piece of art unto itself More than a show about paintings, this is a show that utilizes space to let paintings talk to each other."
Micchelli writes that the show, which features works by Ariel Dill, Clare Grill, Kristina Lee, Sarah Faux, and Tatiana Berg, "is predicated on the belief that 'mundanely subjective perceptions can yield extraordinary insights,' and it succeeds within its own boundaries. While those boundaries are rather narrow, in a broader context Casualism, with its humble anti-heroics, acts as a necessary corrective to the overblown production values that have carried away most of the market’s high end as well as the lion’s share of media attention. Casualism’s importance lies as much in the immediate, restorative transaction between artist and artwork as it does in its philosophical open-endedness."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy interview painter Clare Grill.
Grill discusses the source materials for her abstract paintings but she comments: "Often I'll start a painting with some kind of.. image or thing, then once the painting starts, the painting starts to have it's own set of rules at play, and then that's where the concern is... It's moved on from what it's source was." She continues noting that her sources are "inspiring but they're a jumping off point... I'm moved to make paintings and those are the things that I'm caring deeply about and trying to follow."
Joshua Abelow blogs images of the exhibition Primary at Nudashank, Baltimore, MD, on view through September 14, 2012.
The gallery materials state that "Working against convention, these artists are putting into practice an 'abject expressionism' in respect to materials, composition, color and form, sharing a rogue sense of what constitutes beauty. Among other things, the works in this exhibition reflect an instinctual acting upon surfaces or materials. The artists’ touches are visible, active, and at times assertive--each tear, scrape, twist and drip intentional and impactful."
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.