Lichtman remarks: "I am ... influenced by cinematography–the way we experience places in films; scanning and focusing over a duration of time. I want to make paintings that are more like cinematographic passages than like still photographs, where the eye can move around and apprehend things slowly... I resist the temptation to plan out a composition before hand or to work from a study. Instead I start by painting something small and specific from direct observation, (a vase of flowers or a leg or the shape of a head) somewhere within the rectangle. From there I begin to imagine what might be to the right, left, above and below that thing: another object, a piece of light on the floor, the dog. It’s as if I was zooming out from a close-up of particular form, slowly revealing what might be in the periphery vision. I can only do this with places I know very well, where I know how light falls and how figures interact with things. But the process is totally arbitrary–if I feel like want a piece of yellow, then I put in a daffodil or a lemon, or a yellow dress I saw in a magazine. Eventually I get enough things down to claim where the depicted image takes place and what is going on... I want the painting to be about the act of looking so I try to start with a focal point of something I’m seeing. Even if I’m working from memory I’m trying to imitate that process of perception where your eyes focus on one thing and then dart around to another object and then meander to focus on something else."
Amirkhani observes: "While the studio paintings lend the exhibition an important theme, it is Hackett’s dialogue with painting itself that provides the coherent pulse. Whether a studio scene or a vibrant explosion of color, the paintings in this exhibition point to the shared intensities of labor, time-based processes of making, and the artist’s intimate engagement with materials that all paintings demand."
Einspruch writes: "... Hammershøi began painting unqualified masterpieces while still in his mid-twenties. It’s not excessive to say that Woman Seen from the Back (1888) recalls Vermeer’s treatment of women in the midst of domesticity. But it’s Vermeer with Scandinavian austerity measures. The subject’s back faces the viewer and the table is bereft of clues that would set the scene. Is she reading a note? It’s none of our business. Her posture, matronly proportions, black dress, and white apron convey her whole personality. The gradation of light on the unadorned taupe wall speaks of the reserved tenor of life in this house. The picture necessitated four tubes of oils. As much as its reductive modernism resembles Whistler’s, the artist appears to have arrived at it mostly on his own."
Carrier writes: "A little suspicious of the intrinsic power of visual images, Collins-Fernandez ... turns to words, gathered from overheard city conversations, and fabrics, materials that have a very different visual identity... Her materials, she rightly says, 'produce a density of emotion and meaning which I am interested in reproducing in my paintings.' Here of course she joins a long tradition of art drawing upon the contemporary urban environment. Langberg, on the other hand, wants that his paintings be presentations of visual desire. Not just of his personal desires—rather, 'I want my work to speak of things we all share such as friendship, intimacy, and pleasure.' In setting up this opposition between Langberg and Collins-Fernandez, however, I do not mean to underestimate their common concerns. When Collins-Fernandez says, 'you put a lot of yourself out there to see what will stick,' I believe that she speaks for both of them."
Johnson writes that "[Hammershøi's] paintings convey a distinctively modern psychological complexity. But unlike another famous Scandinavian, the Expressionist Edvard Munch, Hammershoi practiced a kind of representational painting dating back to Rembrandt and Vermeer. With their severely muted colors, Hammershoi’s portraits and pictures of women in nearly empty rooms may call to mind the suavely subdued paintings of James McNeill Whistler. Although influenced by him, Hammershoi never pushed as far toward abstract abbreviation as Whistler."
Wood remarks: "It is about how you set up a challenge. Sometimes you only need a couple things to challenge yourself, and other times you need one hundred. I like to have a lot of things going on in the studio the same time – different images and sizes. They are built up at different rates. I like to have options, to not feel there is only one thing I can do. Usually I have one or two big paintings going, and I offset that by working on smaller things — drawings and prints. I like to have something started as I’m almost finished with something else. Finishing a piece is fulfilling, but it can also feel hollow and empty. You might think you are awful when you finish it. Then, a couple of weeks later, maybe you think it’s not so bad."
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."
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.