Dan Coombs considers the quality of "all-overness" in painting.
Coombs writes that "all-overness is a quality that can be drawn out of anything, a doodle, a stain, a meandering drip, the most quotidian black and white photograph, it has the effect of turning the image back into a question, like suspending an image into a state of ambiguity, or giving the simplest geometry a floating quality – even the zips in Barnett Newman’s zip paintings are themselves fields, held by the surrounding fields of colour. It turns the tables on meaning because it has the effect of effacing the particular meanings of the image and elevating the image into a state of contemplation, as though you are able to contemplate something without being implicated in it, without it looking back at you and imposing itself upon you... Painting doesn’t so much annihilate meaning as suspend it and this may be why painting is such an anathema to conservative, rational thinkers. Wasn’t it Adorno who defined conservative thinking as “intolerance of ambiguity”? Yet ambiguity is the condition that brings relief from all the meanings in the world, relief from ideology and rational delusions."
Considering works by Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Dan Colen, Botticelli and others, Martin Mugar examines the differences between materiality and transcendence in painting.
Mugar writes that works such as Richter's abstract paintings "risk and do at times descend into pure materiality. This embrace of the material results in what I would call art that is 'time poor.' ... It appears that Richter wants to stop time to impress one event on the viewer to such a degree that it eliminates any consideration of what came before or after... Gone is the role of the imagination, which might evoke memory, or the role of symbols that could point to an inner structure of consciousness that shapes the present." On the other hand, Mugar continues, in paintings such as Botticelli's Birth of Venus "the goal was to get beyond [to] (transcend)... This transcendence was not achieved through an act of will but by knowing the right prayers or alchemical formulas or in the case of art to use the right proportions, colors and geometrical shapes."
Diehl writes: "The tapestries are based on a single scraped painting: Abstract Painting (724-4) (1990)... Woven on a mechanical jacquard loom, each tapestry represents a Rohrschach-like four-time multiplication of one quadrant of the original image. Dense and rich, they appear at once medieval and futuristic, tribal and Baroque, with varying texture, thick and thin, and colors that range from murky to brilliantly clear."
James Kalm visits the exhibition Xstraction at The Hole, New York. The exhibition features work by 32 contemporary abstract painters.
The press release states that the show examines trends in "textile-based and 'craftstraction'", paintings influenced by "digital aesthetics," "trodden-upon, dirtied, worn out or even 'entropic' abstraction," and "un-painterly abstraction" in the works of a younger generation of painters.
Kalm's video walkthrough looks at "commonalities and techniques employed by this generation of artists. Includes views of works by: Adam Henry, Andrew Sutherland, Angel Otero, Anoka Faruqee, Chris Johanson, Cory Arcangel, Gerhard Richter, Kadar Brock, Mark Flood, Sam Moyer, Thomas Øvilsen, Trudy Benson, Wade Guyton, Wendy White, Xylor Jane."
Thomas Micchelli reviews Xstraction at The Hole, New York. The exhibition features work by 32 contemporary abstract painters.
Michelli writes that "there are only a few paintings here that are startling in their originality, but despite their sheen of newness, their relationship to antecedents is very much in evidence. This is not a criticism; to the contrary, it’s a major factor in the richness of their aura (a word I use advisedly). The rest of the works in the show appear to be earnestly made, but their conversion of past practices (abjection and process are especially pervasive) for the here and now do not register as particularly imperative."
Deborah Barlow blogs a selection of passages from Gerhard Richter's Writings 1961 – 2007. Visiting the Outer Banks, Barlow finds the power of nature - the action of wind and waves - to be an apt metaphor for the process of painting as described in Richter's book.
Richter: "Any thoughts on my part about the ‘construction’ of a picture are false, and if the execution works, this is only because I partly destroy it, or because it works in spite of everything—by not detracting and by not looking the way I planned. I often find this intolerable and even impossible to accept, because, as a thinking, planning human being, it humiliates me to find out that I am so powerless. It casts doubt on my competence and constructive ability. My only consolation is to tell myself that I did actually make the pictures - even though they are a law unto themselves, even though they treat me any way they lie and somehow just take shape."
Joanne Mattera blogs about the recent exhibition of new works by Gerhard Richter at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
Mattera writes: "These are ink, not paint... And yet. Something interesting happens when you are surrounded by the horizontally striped prints, something the images on this blog post cannot convey. The prints, some multipanel, are so large that you feel enveloped by them. That optical vibration is so strong that it changes the perceived distance between you and the print, so much so that it’s possible to bump into the plexi surface before you even realize you are that close."
"The works are often monochromes, the most spectacular of which is Grau (Gray)... One gets the feeling that it is a painting made out of frustration. Maybe he wanted to make a painting that would be completely objective. Gray, being neither black nor white, is neutral, rational. It is also the type of thing that gets made when the language and history of painting are no longer able to tell us anything new, and the same forms and ideas are endlessly recycled. So Richter makes a painting that destroys everything that we are taught is essential about painting."
Richmond writes: "The major thing I walked away from with a new appreciation was how [Richter] thinks about his making and the process. It many of these he starts out using old motifs or styles from his 70’s and 80’s abstractions and then slowly subsumes then under a density of the smear. It is the burying and destruction that is partially important but the process gives him the freedom to abandon motif into the act of making. In the process to discover something one could not plan for and the sudden accidental apparition beyond ones conscious control is an exciting moment, an intricate dance between artist and canvas."
Rhodes writes that "The Tate show attests to a restless mind that never strays far from the complicated interactions of images and paint. Richter’s photographic Atlas is not part of the exhibition, but even without it, it is clear that for Richter, every image is a rabbit hole that opens to evasions of truth and to a false security about the stability of representational space. His art has been an evolution of paintings and objects that attest to the varieties of uncertainty embedded in contemporary consciousness."
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.