Poet Bill Corbett shares his thoughts on Franz Kline with Noah Dillon.
Corbett remarks: "I think he was after the dream of the abstract painters, which was to make drawing and painting one. For these guys — for him, Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning — it was to get the immediacy of drawing, to locate the viewer in that immediacy, and then to make it happen in paint. A work like this, it seems to me, is absolutely recognizable, because it’s a clear, firsthand apprehension of a reality. That communicates to me... He also, I think, wanted to give a sense of the moment, make you feel present. As you pointed out, he used house paint and the image is now getting lost: it’s cracking, yellowing, it’s a conservator’s nightmare. In a way, I think it’s too bad that conservators feel compelled to restore this painting to what it was."
Kalm notes that this show, and several other summer abstraction paintings (including Xstraction), "gives viewers a chance to reevaluate the many facets of this practice and with 'DNA' see the works of at least three generations of artists side by side. This show includes views of works by Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, Al Held, Louise Nevelson, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Joshua Abelow, Ronald Bladen, Brooke Moyse, Kenneth Noland and others."
Dooley writes that the exhibtion "brings together a group of collages from the 20th century united by the stylistic trait of 'painterliness.' ... Though painterliness obviously has its roots in painting, this exhibition shows how easily and successfully the concept can be applied to other mediums; painterliness is, in a sense, materiality, which is why collage – the mixing of different materials and forms – seems to be one of the best mediums to demonstrate this visual effect."
Tamar Zinn considers the limitations and potential of painting in black and white.
Zinn writes that "painting in black and white is not the same as thinking in black and white. By painting in black and white, the artist has pared down one part of image-making -- color choice, but rather than certainty we are offered a range of possibilities. Is the blackness something concrete or is it atmospheric? Does whiteness always connote a void? Can blackness and whiteness possess many of the same qualities? And of course, labeling colors simply as 'black' or 'white' is simplistic, as there are many variations of blackness and whiteness. Although the palette is limited to black and white, the experience of seeing is complex."
After visiting the recent exhibition Franz Kline: Coal and Steel at Baruch College's Sidney Mishkin Gallery, Tim Keane blogs about the origins of Franz Kline's classic black and white paintings and their unique ability embody a "kinetic" effect.
Keane writes: "To the extent that they represent an object outside themselves, Kline’s black-and-whites grasp the kinetic nature of things and the partial, incomplete nature of seeing. These paintings allude to parts of a whole, focusing on an indiscriminate component of a random structure, whose proportions are amplified by the black lines and enriched by the textured white ground. The brushstrokes, in their mutating blackness, seem to be moving. The lines they create point to realities outside the frame of the painting. These heavy lines are locomotives in the truest sense. The black contours oscillate, vibrate and harmonize according to a logic that only seems to emerge from the viewer’s stimulated attention to the pattern." Keane concludes: "In studying Kline’s black-and-whites, the images force us to recognize — to literally see — how our eyes, ahead of our thoughts, constantly orient our bodies in relation to space, and how peculiar or miraculous this fact is."
Elizabeth Johnson reports on the exhibition Franz Kline: Coal and Steel at the Allentown Art Museum, PA, on view through January 13, 2013.
Johnson writes: "Highlighting Kline’s childhood and attachment to the industrial Lehigh Valley, Coal and Steel unites Kline’s early realism with his late abstraction, framing the artist’s development within the beautiful but harsh environment we still experience today... Several never-before or rarely-seen urban paintings that Kline made in New York following the Ashcan School and American Precisionist styles sparkle in the exhibition." Johnson continues noting that curator Dr. Robert S. Mattison connects Kline's early work with that of "George Bellows, George Luks and John Sloan, and sees it as foretelling the structure of Kline’s later abstract art. Seeing 'Lower East Side Market,' a lovely, prismatic urban scene made in the Ashcan style, together with 'Chatham Square (circa 1948),' made in the Precisionist style, reveals Kline’s broad search for meaningful subject matter and a personal style."
Philip Koch blogs about happening upon works by Tonalist painter Charles Warren Eaton and finding a shared compositional energy between Eaton's work and that of Franz Kline.
Koch recalls: "...seeing Eaton paintings for the first time. I spied them from a distance and was struck by the simplicity of their basic composition. From across the room the 'big, bold, and simple' energy I'd once found in Franz Kline all but shouted to me. Sure, when one came closer you could see the way Eaton was a very different painter. He wanted not just the energetic flat design but a deep space and a palpable colored atmosphere too."
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.