Clark writes: "I am not at all sure that we have an answer to it as regards Blake as an artist: a critical answer, that is, a set of descriptions and evaluations, arguing not just about the sources and period character of Blake’s image-making but its aesthetic and cognitive power... Could there ever be a criticism of Blake as an image-maker that set itself the same task as the critics of his verse ...? ... All critics of the poet’s visual imagery, wishing to understand what they are looking at and feeling the weight of Blake’s words close by, inevitably turn to them for guidance. The poetry begins to enfold the image; it frames and informs it; it claims the image as an extension or intensification of prophecy. But is this what matters in [Los and Orc (1791)]? I think not. The image is great not by reason of what it may mean but by reason of its distinctness, its emptiness, the ferocious boundedness of its imagining of a (non-)meeting of bodies."
Poundstone writes that while "the show makes clear, nobody did it better than Giotto in capturing natural emotion and faking fascinatingly abstract architecture... An alternative pitch is 'the first retrospective of Pacino di Bonaguida.' ...Half of its 98 objects are by that rather obscure artist... Pacino was the awkward case, a two steps forward, one step backward talent. Pacino adopted Giotto’s Renaissance modeling and grafted it onto throwback medievalism. The most avant garde thing about Pacino was his taste for novelty. He crafted new takes on conventional subjects and completely novel ones (such as Dante’s bestseller, The Divine Comedy)."
Manitach writes that Bluhm's "new work at Prole Drift cites the darker passages of the Song of Solomon and comprises fifteen prints pulled from a single plate that's been etched with images of an infant's incubator, breathing tubes, little foxes, twigs, creeping ivy and bottles of milk. The prints themselves are wildly different, having been inked or wiped with varying degrees of thickness, then collaged or painted over."
Sultan writes that "many of the works [in the exhibition] we had assumed were painted by anonymous artists were in fact by well known masters, who were 'wonders of the age'. This is a very large show, some 220 paintings, and there is so much to think about – narrative strategies, compositional and spacial structures, revelatory details, refined form, sheer beauty – that I decided to focus on color."
Haber notes that "One who thinks of Indian art as static will be surprised... Gold and distinct fields of colors slowly lose their primacy, before reasserting themselves around 1800, but they animate scenes from the first. Profiles hardly preclude a fascination with individual psychology, and a horizon line opens onto skies deepened by stars."
Seda-Reeder writes that "the traditional practice of miniature creation is applied to contemporary non-miniature works. And as demonstrated by artists like Ambreen Butt in Realms of Intimacy, the effect can be equal parts begging for close inspection and stepping back for the gestalt."
Altoon Sultan blogs about 15th century manuscripts and rare books on view at the Rauner at Dartmouth College. Sultan writes "When I see the refinement and marvelous detail of the borders surrounding the illuminations, I have a feeling that the makers of these pages loved color, loved ornament, loved nature."
Liz Hager writes about the work of Charlotte Salomon whose work is on view in the exhibition Life? or Theatre? at the the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco through July 31, 2011. Completed while evading the Nazis in southern France, Charlotte Salomon's "fictionalized autobiography, Life? or Theater?... 769 of gouache paintings with text and musical references (edited from the over 1,300 pages she completed) -is a triumph of mixed-media storytelling, a richly thematic and profusely imaginative narrative."
Altoon Sultan reviews A Prince's Manuscript Unbound: Muhammad Juki's 'Shahnamah' on view at the Asia Society in New York through May 1, 2011. She writes: "Many of the images were of battles and bloodshed, but even so, were full of wonder in their details and color." Sultan also share some of her own favorite Persian paintings enjoying their "carefully observed and refined details... the forms are essentially flat, but there is such sensitivity in the use of line that the merest suggestion of volume creates a sense of solidity."
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.