Bell notes that "Drexler depicts her subjects in a very straightforward manner, usually against monochromatic backgrounds. The figures appear uncomfortable and still, isolated in a foreign scene. The saturnine scenes are further augmented by the exhibition’s curation, with works sparsely hung upon stark white walls and strong white lighting. A glance across the room confuses the mind: vibrant colors that grab the viewer’s attention are juxtaposed with scenes of death, rape, and assault. Empty purple, blue, and green faces stare. Death is hot on the heels of a smiling Marilyn Monroe in 'Marilyn Pursued by Death' (1963)–a reminder that the true human experience is ephemeral."
McKenzie writes: " ... [I]n 1988, Kiff’s exhibition at Fischer Fine Art in King Street, St James’s was my first experience of his work at firsthand; it was the exquisite colour he employed, the understated poetic human encounters with nature, and the wisdom expressed through dream-like images that resonate to this day. He struck me as a brave artist and a serious, well-informed man who, at times, produced hundreds of works on a single theme. Often reluctant to exhibit works because he was uncertain whether or not they were complete, the result is an abundance of superb work that remains available 14 years after his death, for Marlborough Fine Art to exhibit."
Patrick Neal reviews 8 Painters at Danese Corey Gallery, New York, on view through March 14, 2015. The show features works by Nina Chanel Abney, Matt Bollinger, Caitlin Cherry, Joey Frank, Doron Langberg, Liz Markus, Kimo Nelson, and Jennifer Packer.
Neal notes that "it is interesting that 8 Painters, comprised of all figurative painting, and timed to run concurrently with The Forever Now, offers an alternative to the mostly abstract works at MoMA. If abstraction is favored by undiscerning speculator collectors as well as museums hoping to advance a fast-forward chronology of art history, there is still no small amount of figurative work on the scene. The abstract works in The Forever Now reveal a hodgepodge of styles, with artists picking and choosing motifs across time and space and putting them together in single works (hence the term atemporal). Image-based artists are doing much the same thing. Recurrent throughout 8 Painters are stylings on past painterly marks and movements, not so much placed in quotations as absorbed into a work’s facture... It’s a hopeful sign that the artists in [the show] demonstrate a critical distillation of influences that inform their particular sensibilities, philosophical outlooks, and relationship to materials — not making any great claims, just proceeding in a personally deliberate way."
In her introduction Samet writes: "Botts has an exuberant but economic way with paint, marking the curve of a flower stem, the form of a mesa, and a cloud sitting in the sky with accuracy and poetic bravado. The landscapes are punctuated by geometric interruptions: squares of saturated color and black, jagged outlines that symbolize a break between the natural forms in the paintings and a studio or painting wall. They are the checks and balances in the middle of a relentless pursuit of adventure and the sublime, where motifs and geometry are constantly recycled and re-imagined."
Linda Francis interviews Thomas Micchelli about the work in his show Bacchantes and Bivalves at John Davis Gallery, Hudson, New York, on view through March 1, 2015.
Asked to describe his working process, Micchelli comments that it is: "Rather chaotic, less so in the drawings than in the paintings, which are often free-for-alls in terms of intention and technique: picking up and disposing of approaches as they prove useful one moment and useless the next; trusting that some kind of unity will emerge within a body of work without striving for it in terms of form or style. I find myself cleaving away my knowledge of art history to come up with a direct relationship to the paint, something that relates to the unmediated experience of the material on the surface — it’s an impossible task, but it’s my goal with each painting."
Piepenbring writes: "In the thirties, Neel made a series of illustrations for an edition of The Brothers Karamazov that apparently never came to fruition. It’s not clear if the publishers rejected her work or if the whole project fell through, but in either case, damn. The eight illustrations demonstrate how attuned these two sensibilities are: it’s the marriage of one kind of darkness to another. Compare them to, say, William Sharp’s Brothers K illustrations and the difference, the change in register, is immediate—the black storm cloud of Neel’s pen is well suited to Dostoyevsky’s questions of God, reason, and doubt."
Michael Rutherford blogs about paintings by Sarah Faux.
Rutherford writes: "There's been much said about how abstraction is very prevalent in contemporary painting these days, but there are those who are producing some wonderful work in a unique figurative vein as well, with precedence found in artists such as George McNeil and Amy Sillman. The paintings of Sarah Faux are an example of the type of painterly figuration that I've been excited about lately. Is it abstraction dropping hints at reality, or a merging of those sensibilities that cause me to step back and consider the psychology at play in her work? Anyway, Faux's paintings are some of the most slippery figurative pieces to be found. It's as though each one is a snapshot of a dream sequence--fugitive images in a fugue state that trigger thoughts about the humanity of the matter they so loosely depict."
Dama writes: "Dumas never paints from life. She would rather work from photographs, images cut from magazines or newspapers, postcards, reproductions of artworks from every period and style... the [recent Luc Tuymans] case draws attention, once again, to the relationship between figurative painting and its source. Is a painting based on a preexisting image different from that image? The legal issue shifts towards ontology. Dumas seems to answer the question by shifting the emphasis to how we perceive painted images. She feeds her empty canvases with the visual material she carefully collects, turning them into images that are more ambiguous and therefore more powerful. Her works are based on the complex structures that rule our visual culture. She uses images that represent 'difficult' themes such as violence, sex, and religion, not to provoke viewers but to force them to process the distance between the originals and her paintings."
McCleary remarks: "I will have the model come and pose for drawings and sometimes a photograph. The models return many times and pose in sets I build in the studio... It can take up to nine months to finish a painting. I usually work on four or five painting simultaneously. I work two to three hours a day with the model and continue to work on the paintings alone. There are usually two or three models posing throughout the week." He adds: "I want to keep a prudent distance from the model. The people I paint are always people I have respect for. I have to have some sort of connection to them... For me, painting is just working. It requires a lot of time alone, which I enjoy."
Phong Bui interviews painter Tal R, whose show Altstadt Girl is on view at Cheim & Read, New York, through February 14, 2015.
R comments: "What I want is to stay very close to a kind of impulse that evokes a narrative without the necessary details. This impulse for me feeds action. I develop this relationship for a while and then I have to go out again to restart it all over again. When I sit in a hotel room and I want to draw a stranger, I don’t mind when the eyes and the ears are not correct. What I care about is whether the drawing is alive, or if it can breathe. Years ago I went to the Edvard Munch museum to see his paintings, as well as seeing other works by his contemporaries in Scandinavia like Anders Leonard Zorn, Richard Bergh, Eero Järnefelt, just to name a few at the National Museum in Olso. There was such a contrast between everything they had painted, from the figure, the house in the forest, the moon to a dog and everything else, and the Munch paintings where all the details fail. But what is moving and alive in Munch’s paintings, which the others miss, is the air that breathes in and out of the images at all times. I always feel Munch kept his gun pointed all the time at the target where impulse and action are both right at the edge."
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.