Discussing his series of paintings of bathers, Moyer comments: "The Barnes and Philly collections are so full of bather-themed paintings by Cezanne, Renoir, and Matisse that I just accepted 'Bathers' as a subject for painting that was as common-place to me as 'Landscape' or 'Still life'. I admire Cezanne’s approach to the subject above all others. Particularly, I like how the figures in his paintings exist as a representation of humanity. I don’t see them as individuals nor do I see narratives to be figured out—especially in the later works. They are not all about abstraction either, his figures seem to exist to echo our sensuality and to serve the overall effect of his painting. For me this subject feels right and I plan on following it wherever it wants to go."
Sara Roffino reviews a recent show of paintings by Peter Williams at Novella Gallery, New York.
Roffino writes: "If one were to glance briefly at Williams’s works, the bright palette and carnivalesque scenes might belie the violence depicted. And, even after spending time with the paintings, processing that violence and thinking about the very real murders they depict, the elements of humor allow the viewer an out. Though the moment of Eric Garner’s death is depicted in 'Untitled' (30-by-40 inches), the brutal violence of that moment is offset both formally and ideologically with a close-up of the police officer’s pink (and hairy) butt crack, bulging forth from his belted uniform. It’s a challenging—perhaps subversive—gesture Williams is offering to his viewers, the absurdity softening the potentially didactic nature of the works."
Colvin writes: "New to the artist’s work is the appropriation of the still life as a foreground element to the background landscape. This is a motif drawn most explicitly from Jane Freilicher ... In contrast to Freilicher, however, Iliatova’s floral arrangements are denser, more spatially complicated, more uncertain in their life cycle; some flowers are wilting, losing color and vitality, while others are in full bloom and erect. The physical placement of the still lifes — up front — and in their embodiment of elapsed time become the silent narrators of what we do see and complicit witnesses to what we don’t."
Harris recalls: "I had a break-through in my painting when I began thinking metaphorically. It started with a vein in a forehead, then the realization that everything could be vascular. So tendrils of hair became capillary, as did tendrils of light, stripes in a shirt were arterial, a scrunchie hairband a thrombosis. This was a key for me to unlocking invention... I want my paintings to function like an eyelid, veering from dry to wet, inside to outside, opaque to transparent, form to formless, mute to aggressive, space curved outward toward the viewer, held in by fragile surface tension, the picture plane as membrane, the entire painting an eyelid."
John Seed interviews painter Nathan Lewis whose exhibition Light is the Lion is on view at Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, Connecticut through April 18, 2015.
Lewis comments: "I've always loved exploring abandoned spaces. 2011 is when I first decided to paint them. I've always been more of a figure painter and object (form) oriented. The factories were a departure from that mode of thinking and more related to settings. Although figures are in most of the paintings, the architecture and composition play a larger role in the psychology of the piece. Some of these spaces that are collapsing provided an experience of light that was uncommon and made me contemplate anew the strangeness and beauty of light. I think that is what prompted me to the series of works. The unfamiliar forms provided the challenge of inventing new personal translations of what I saw and felt into the formal language of painting. The factories themselves are ruins of an industriousness that is foreign to us today."
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."
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.