In her introduction Samet notes: "Although Gilliam is best known for his 'Drape' paintings—unstretched canvases stained in vibrant pigments and extended into three-dimensional space—the surfaces of the paintings he has made over a fifty-plus-year career are actually quite diverse. They include the “Black” and “White” paintings: dense thickets of monochrome paint, with collaged, cut and reused canvas additions. Gilliam has also worked extensively with multi-panel paintings in enamel on aluminum with plywood structures."
Halasz writes: "In the 1980s, Jules Olitski & Larry Poons were dominating the discussion within color field circles by making somber, 'close-value' paintings, heavily laden with gel. Perehudoff wasn’t. Instead, he was creating bright, always radiant and sometimes positively bouncy pictures with vivid color contrasts and only the occasional (though always dramatic) dash of gel. These paintings can often give the viewer a lift—being somehow as free and open as the prairie skies."
Mattera notes that: "Taking advantage of the newly available acrylic paints at that time, [the Washington Color artists] created geometric compositions, often applying the pigmented polymer directly into unprimed canvas. Their coolly measured work was light years away from abstract expressionist angst."
Halasz writes; "For most artists, a 'late style' comes as the final fillip. With Friedel Dzubas, it represents the third stage of an evolution that may be viewed in terms of Hegelian dialectics. The first stage, or thesis, is the Dzubas style of the 1950s, marked by the energy and dynamism common to so many gestural abstractionists of that period. The antithesis comes along in the 1960s, when — in the words of Barbara Rose — Dzubas 'cleaned up and emptied out his canvases.' Instead of many active small shapes, the artist focused on a just a few, large and superbly calm ones. The final stage, or synthesis, occurred in the 1970s, and lasted right through to Dzubas’s death in 1994. The dynamism of the 1950s combined with the detachment of the 1960s in Olympian canvases of increasing scale distinguished by the artist’s unique stylistic device, a feathery spectrum of color."
Mark Skilton, Hilde Skilton, John Bunker, Nick Moore, Sam Cornish, Robin Greenwood, Sarah Greenwood, Anne Smart, Anthony Smart, Ben Wiedel- Kaufmann, Noela James, and Emyr Williams visit the studio of painter Patrick Jones.
Jones introduces the work noting that "the paintings, to me, are to do with the fact that I work very, very thinly, on bare canvas. I don’t prime them at all, and I work with stained, thin acrylic paint ... I’ve always used acrylic, and I was brought up with it and I like it. It’s inert, and it’s not something I have to mess about with a lot to get it to do what I want. But that’s what I see the problem with the painting as being. Trying to work with virtually nothing on the canvas until the weave is filled, and then it changes. It’s a technical problem; it’s how to keep a painting varied and lively and interesting on that surface... it’s HOW to paint is the most difficult problem."
Ken Carpenter reviews Jack Bush at The National Gallery of Canada, on view through February 22, 2015.
Carpenter writes that in the exhibition catalogue (which features essays Marc Mayer, Sarah Stanners, Adam Welch, and Karen Wilkin): "Both Mayer and Welch put to rest the canard that Bush was 'an aesthetic marionette' unduly under the influence of Clement Greenberg. They recount in detail Bush’s 'aesthetic resistance' to the powerful New York critic. Bush may have changed his paint handling, centered the image less, and eventually focused on his strength as a great colourist by abandoning black, all at the suggestion of Greenberg, but the intelligence and inventiveness of the art was Bush’s alone... Wilkin makes a persuasive argument that Bush occupies a unique position within color field painting. His work is distinguished by a deceptive awkwardness, an 'irrepressible personality,' and a vocabulary of both colour and forms “rooted in observed actuality.” Indeed, Bush could be classified as what I call an 'image-bank' painter. His work stands in striking contrast to the resolutely non-referential and seemingly more precise and refined art of his American counterparts."
Emyr Williams explores influence and homage in works by Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitski. Williams argues that abstract paintings are less convincing and original when they reference past figurative art.
Williams concludes: "I want to believe that abstract painting can be as great as figuration, but this is a battle that must be fought on abstract art’s terms and not figuration’s. Paying homage feels like a white flag has already been raised, with content being delivered through context rather than visual functionality... Can figuration really teach abstract art? Artists have always worked from those that inspired them in previous generations... We need to find better ways to challenge figurative painting. Compared to figuration, abstract painting is a relative pup, a toddler finding its feet, and as such is want to fall on its face from time to time. I am optimistic for its future though. Yet for it to truly move forward, I can’t help feeling that we have to stop trying to hang on to figuration, even in oblique ways."
Peter Simpson reviews Jack Bush at The National Gallery of Canada, on view through February 22, 2015.
Simpson writes that the show is "an expansive demonstration of what painting can be. Dozens of paintings, gleaned from over 50 years of Bush’s career, come together as a journey through the evolution of his style and vision. While walking through room after room of Bush’s work, visitors see how he worked through his key influences, from realism to expressionism to the specific impact of the Group of Seven and its contemporaries... As a sequence, Bush’s paintings are like a tour of the possibilities of painting, the directions it can go in and the ideas it can illuminate. Additionally, the exhibition is a primer in how to look at abstract art — it reveals how styles relate, and how one can lead to, and help make sense of, another."
Morgan writes: "This highly original hard-edge painter and soft-edge draughtswoman has produced one of the more interesting exhibitions involving color, line, and form in the current enterprise of abstract painting. Her pictorial images, which are a compendium of layers of color involving time, intuition, and pressure from hand to surface, appear to have their own point of view rather than conforming to the current look of abstraction... Her color, light, and form emerge less from “self-critical” inquiry than from a rigorous intuition whereby nature is represented (and transformed) through a vertical topology, despite the fact that her paintings begin uniformly on a horizontal register."
Robert C. Morgan reviews Morris Louis: Veils at Mnuchin Gallery, New York, on view through October 18, 2014.
Morgan writes: "... here in this revisited exhibition, the viewer may once again establish an interactive dialogue (in the nearly archaic terms of 'an aesthetic experience'), as viewers become the subject in relation to the object of these paintings. During the course of this encounter this delicate, yet forceful visual interaction may offer the viewer a form of transference whereby the subject and object reverse momentary, implying a moment of transcendence, a minor stretch of infinity given entirely to color and the spatiality that contains it. This experiential quality is held in suspension within the interior structure of the Veils. They are paintings given to gravity, but also capable of iterating a set of conduits as if these translucent drapes were merging the viscous liquor of poured paint occurring in a timely manner as the light within the consummate form to be begins to settle into place."
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.