Phong Bui interviews painter Alfred Leslie on the occasion of the exhibition Alfred Leslie: 10 Men at Janet Borden Gallery, New York, on view through November 25, 2015.
Leslie comments: "I always felt people are open if you can catch them off guard. You can get them to see something that they may not have been able to see before. The idea was by making the paintings big, you eliminated all of the nuances of prettiness, which could be seen as distractions. If you can get their attention for even one second, perhaps even keep them from moving, just standing there looking, no matter where they’re from, the minute they ask, 'what’s going on?' You’ve got them! If you can get them to think about what it is they’re seeing, what it is they’re thinking about, it can perhaps lead to other thoughts about themselves or the world inside and the world outside. All of which are a part of the human condition for sure."
Einspruch writes: "Staver has long felt compelled to retell her family’s stories, iconically in their way, but not so much as to defeat all the specifics... In her more recent paintings, mythology supplies enough storyline to give her figures, soaked in a vat of Cubism just long enough to become delightfully rubbery, something to do." He concludes: "A simultaneous and revelatory show of Bob Thompson (whose influence Staver acknowledges) and the madcap Louis Eilshemius at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery prompts me to wonder if there’s a mythological-modernist tradition that we ought to consider more thoroughly, with Staver as its current chief practitioner."
Larry Groff and Tina Engels interview painter Lani Irwin.
Asked about her working method Irwin comments "There is no set method. Rarely do I make preliminary drawings, never do I plan out a painting in any formal way. I spend a lot of time staring at the blank canvas. In the end I must just start with something and believe that the next something will reveal itself in the painting of that first something. This requires a kind of faith that the painting itself will take over. What I do is more like choreography, placing objects and figures in relationship to one another to create a tension that interests me. There is no prescription for how this might work best. The selection of the particular objects or the gesture and position of the figures creates a dialogue. Objects speak to me and to one another. It is the dance between these elements rather than a formal consideration of balance or square within a rectangle that orchestrates my paintings and it is driven by intuition."
Eastham writes: "Tuymans describes an approach defined by the artist’s decision to take inspiration from the world around him and his place in it. This is ‘a realism born of necessity. This country has been overrun by so many foreign powers that we don’t have time to be Romantic.’ ... Tuymans ‘decided very early on not to make art from art’. Rather than join with, or react against, prevailing movements in the practice and theorisation of contemporary art he sought instead to engage with the world as he perceived it, and the impulse remains ‘to start from something real’."
Louisa Buck interviews painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, whose exhibition Verses After Dusk is on view at Serpentine Gallery, London through September 13, 2015.
Yiadom-Boakye comments: "For a long time now, I haven’t thought of what I do as portraits—I see them more as figurative paintings. I realised quite early on that I was not so interested in painting people whom I knew or doing the classic portrait from life, although I did it a lot when I was younger, because to be able to improvise, it’s important to train yourself how to look, and to be aware of how a body is composed or how a face sits. But once I tried to paint this guy who was really an incredible character and I was so disappointed with the outcome: I didn’t capture anything of him. Then I realised that I wasn’t interested so much in trying to capture someone who was actually there as I was in just the painting itself, and in letting that lead and decide what a person’s facial expression does, wh ere a hand sits or what a gesture is. So I was much more drawn to that as a way of working, to work from a composite of drawings, scrapbooks, found images, photographs—anything—and to bring it all together so it would be exactly what I wanted it to be: to play God."
John Seed compiles recollections from the students of Elmer Bischoff, whose paintings are on view at the George Adams Gallery, New York, through August 30, 2015.
One former student, Bruce Klein, comments: "In my studio I've tacked up this Bischoff quote: 'What is most desired in the final outcome is a condition of form which dissolves all tangible facts into intangibles of feeling.' This serves as both a goal and reminder." Seed, himself a former student of Bischoff, writes: "I remember realizing ... that Bischoff wasn't interested in isolated forms: he was interested in how everything worked together to form a whole."
Yaniv observes: "Each of Burg’s portraits evokes a distinct sense of staged theatrical drama, in which both the artist and her animate or inanimate models co-inhabit. She affirms that her models have to be people who are close to her, preferably women, and adds that dressing them up becomes like 'a bond of two kids enraptured in a make-believe game.'"
Phyllis Tuchman reviews Brand-New and Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s at the Colby College Museum of Art, on view through October 18, 2015.
Tuchman observes: "Sixty-some years later, all the work still looks brand-new and terrific. As it was, these singular portraits, Maine landscapes, and uncluttered interiors never got their day in court. Katz, for starters, went against the grain and painted small-sized, representational pictures on Masonite panels for much of the 1950s... In ten short years, Alex Katz went from being an art student to a fledgling artist to a mature painter and collage and cutout maker."
From the poscast post intrduction: "In his own words, Auerbach is suspicious of too much thinking: 'thinking about thinking', he says, 'isn’t true thinking…If one’s really thinking, one’s not aware of it'. Doing, for the artist, is everything."
Megan Abrahams reviews Julie Heffernan's recent exhibition Pre-Occupations at Mark Moore Gallery, Culver City.
Abrahams begins: "Dramatic, intense, surreal and rich with metaphor, Julie Heffernan’s recent series of large figurative tableaux transport us to an apparently post-apocalyptic place and time conceived from the artist’s imagination. In her elegantly realized, often disturbing vision, the earth’s environment appears to have deteriorated, propelling humanity back to a more rustic, primitive and desperate way of life. Layered with beauty, conflict and tension, there is much at stake in the world as portrayed by Heffernan. Her overriding concern is the man-made destruction wrought by climate change, overpopulation and ecological imbalance, which she articulates in the tradition of historical narrative painting interwoven with her own surreal vernacular and elements of the Baroque."
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.