Feinsteing writes: "Like the Italian masters who depicted scenes from the Bible, Lawrence created extended narrative cycles. He chose to chronicle the stories of normal citizens like himself—largely invisible in the art of the time—and situate them in the history of America. Daily lives, street scenes, and people at play, at worship, and at work feature prominently. So do historical narratives of slaves ... and the mass migration of black people from Southern farms to factories in the North and Midwest. Lawrence created a vernacular visual history, much of which is still missing from history textbooks today."
Kalinovski observes: "Worth uses non-traditional supports and techniques in his work. Painting with airbrushed acrylic on nylon mesh or Mylar has the effect of layering illusionistic space on top of the painting’s actual, material space. In areas where the surface is translucent, the stretchers and the wall behind the painting can be glimpsed. This gives each painting two sources of space: the illusionistic space of the painted image and the space behind the painting that can be seen through the mesh. These perspectives often clash with each other, such that perspectives cannot be synchronized to create a coherent sense of space."
Catherine Kehoe posts an essay by painter Tim Kennedy, written for his exhibition Paynetown, on view at First Street Gallery, New York, from March 3 - March 28, 2015.
Kennedy writes: "Working directly from the motif without an intervening filter such as photography, at least for now, is important to me. I think of my eye and my consciousness as a kind of funnel into which the world is poured and from which judgments about color, space and shape emerge in the form of a painting. This has seemed the simplest and best way for me to produce work."
Knight writes that McCleary's "style is part Piero della Francesca, whose crystalline Renaissance paintings stripped away visual disorder to impose simplified geometries with a timeless aura. And it is part Alex Katz, modern master of billboard-style austerity. In between, McCleary renders simple genre scenes -- ordinary people engaged in common activities. A couple dances. A waitress looks up after refreshing a customer’s cup of coffee. A man, glimpsed through an open bedroom door, weighs himself on a bathroom scale. Another man has his hair washed at a salon... In our image-saturated environment, where pictures daily flood the zone, McCleary endows small acts of everyday perception with hushed reverence."
Jackie Wullschlager reviews Van Gogh in the Borinage: The Birth of an Artist at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Mons, on view through May 17, 2015.
Wullschlager writes: "Van Gogh called these forcefully expressive yet poignantly delicate paintings 'interpretations in colour'. The monumental twin figures in 'The Diggers' are silhouetted like cutouts, lit by a fierce sun scorching the hard ground; beyond them the sky is a tenderly nuanced passage of pinks and azure touched with white highlights. 'The Sower' is showcased here alongside Paul le Rat’s 1873 etching of Millet’s image. Van Gogh has squared up the etching like a graph, then in his painting transformed the subtle monochrome gradations into exquisite modulations of blue-grey, which seem to glow, back-lit by a pale sun, lending the gnarled, solitary figure marching across the canvas an air at once sombre and ecstatic."
Cooper discusses her series of paintings made during her husband's deployment to Afghanistan. The paintings depict Cooper holding the iPad she used to talk to her husband each day: "...I started to realize that this electronic correspondence really was my experience of [his] deployment. ... So I began to paint the iPad in my hands, this one obsessive view, as if nothing else mattered. Then I began thinking about the screen and the painting surface and how they were alike and different. How the screen emits this cold light and how light in paintings is an illusion made with color and value. How the screen is slick and smooth and paint is messy and layered. I began to think that the iPad was to painting kind of like this long distance relationship was to having my husband with me in flesh and blood."
Chris Lowrance interviews painter Kathy Liao about her work.
Liao remarks: "I think of the formal issues of painting, of lines and colors and composition. I think of painting as a medium, as materials, as objects – the texture, the touch and the body of paint, the way it runs, drips, build up, get scraped away. But it is equally important to me that there is a REASON for painting. A reason that this image must exist, why it must be painted, why it came together the way it does. I allow a lot of room for the spontaneous, the unexpected in the making of my work, but often times, that one idea, that one feeling, or that one narrative is my guiding star. The painting could go to hell and back as long as I remember that initial idea. THAT to me is more important than painting a pretty picture, more important than the most formally successful painting, more important than every mark and every color being in the right place. I do not consider myself a 'Conceptual' artist, but to me, it is important to know why I am making the work. I chose painting as my medium to execute my idea."
Chris Miller reviews works by Christian Vincent at Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago, on view through December 21, 2014.
Miller writes "Vincent’s figuration appears more like casual photography than any classic, naturalistic or expressive genre of painting. The surfaces glow like a movie screen. The pictorial space is dry and flat—sometimes resembling the scenic views found on wine-bottle labels—but elsewhere recalling decorators like Louis Comfort Tiffany and dreamers like Maurice Denis."
Yau observes: "I think of the instances that both [paintings] 'Bathroom Sink' and 'Cathy' depict as being transitory... The material world persists, but Murphy’s depictions of brief records of our physical presence acknowledge that they will be transformed into something in which no trace of our having been there will remain. All evidence of our existence will be washed away in one case and, in the other, melt. We are destined to become invisible. Here, we might also read “Cathy” as Murphy’s pointed response to the belief that painting consists of mark-making and the artist’s signature gestures. It is not that painting has died. It is that certain values that we have long attached to it have died, which means that artists can reinvent it, as I believe Murphy has done."
Andrew Russeth reviews an exhibition of works by Florine Stettheimer at Lenbachhaus Kunstbau, Munich, on view through January 4, 2015.
Russeth writes that the show "is joyous and illuminating, filled with rarely seen pictures that elegantly make the case that [Stettheimer] is one of the greatest artists of the 20th century and could serve as a useful model for those of the 21st." He notes that Stettheminer is often "in the thick of things, while at the same time maintaining a slight distance, or lingering on the edge of the activity, taking it all in... In Natatorium Undine (1927), which is in Vassar’s collection, she wears gold and lounges on a pink chaise at a fantastical spa. Around her, ladies recline on huge seashells (and one odd, gigantic swan), make wild dives, get rubdowns from dark-amber-skinned men, dance to the band. These are rollicking paintings about the relentless pursuit of pleasure, the realization of wild fantasies, the ridiculousness of it all. They ooze a good-natured charm that is knowing but also indulgent. They’re ambivalent."
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.