Gordon Stillman interviews painter Jane Irish whose show Faience and Firenze was recently on view at Locks Gallery, Philadelphia.
Stillman introduces the interview by noting: "I am drawn to the way Irish works, painting en plein air and creating her own source material to remake on ceramics and large canvases. This allows her to re-see, and therefore rework older material to make it new again––to make the past relevant in a new way to the present and to develop new connections between people and places. The work in Faience and Firenze consisted of en plein air paintings from Florence, ceramic bowls, and several larger canvases painted with the natural light in her studio."
Yau writes: "[Judith Russi] Kirshner gets to the heart of Fish’s paintings when she advances that the artist’s 'close focus allows her subjects to become unhinged from their referents, to become inexplicable.' I would further advance that in reaching the 'inexplicable,' Fish exposes most realism as a devolution into a style, demonstrating that close looking – which she shares with such artists as Dan Douke, Peter Dreher, Catherine Murphy and Sylvia Plimack-Mangold – can supersede style (or branding) and become both an examination and a translation of attention. It is this quality of scrutiny – of looking with such focused intensity that the commonplace things in the world become mysterious – that I find compelling. Fish is able to revisit the familiar in paint so that it moves closer to its original state of incomprehensibility."
Garwood notes that "Simonian demonstrates a genius for color, texture, and the exploration of spatial conundrums. Twenty canvases, worked in acrylic, range in size from a mere eight by ten inches to as much as six foot by five with subject matter that cycles between categories of comparable breadth. There are what I’d describe as optical-illusion still lifes, domestic interiors, travel theme — on earth and in space, and nature studies. It’s a roomy, mixed bag of themes... Simonian’s paintings ... knit luscious pictorial fields that tease cognition, along with the senses."
Christopher Lowrance interviews painter Stephanie Pierce, whose show Radiant Welter will be on view at Alpha Gallery, Boston from April 4 - 29, 2015.
Pierce comments: "I love getting to the point where the realization of the space has happened, and that I can then begin to let go of things, dissolve, shift, and then make it full of so much at once that it’s overwhelming as an experience to look at it. That might not even begin to happen the way I want it to until I’m deeply into the work–about 3/4 of the way through. I really love the last stretch of a painting where everything is moving incrementally, slowly, and intentionally; when I can see it’s finally a painting, rather than the frustration period of many routes taken that haven’t come to fruition as something that matters yet."
Kate Liebman reviews a recent exhibition of paintings by Heidi Howard at Nancy Margolis Gallery, New York.
Liebman writes that Howard's "pictures are deeply embedded in the tradition of Western portraiture, and her biggest influence is apparent throughout the show: the Nabis. She paints her friends, herself, and her family, seeking to capture physical likeness and that more intangible beast, personality, with her unique sense of color and an original use of pattern... Her emphasis on line differentiates her from many of the towering contemporary figure painters who rely on blocks and bleeds of color to create articulated faces (Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans, Peter Doig, Elizabeth Peyton). By not making fully rendered figures with skin tone, Howard keeps her paintings open and confident."
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."
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."
O.C. Yerebakan reviews Genieve Figgis: Goodmorning, Midnight at Half Gallery, New York, on view through October 25, 2014.
Yerebakan writes that Figgis "conjures a particular reliance on and subversion of classic painterly formats by pioneers Francis Bacon to Jean-Henoré Fragonard, the latter being gloriously reminisced in The Swing after Fragonard. The scene is the same in all its bucolic, baroque glory, yet Figgis’ treatment of her figures renders their poses and movements as blurry and violent, giving a certain unstable nature... Going back to the theatrical and exaggerated visuals of European aristocracy, Figgis tears apart her figures as they struggle to retain their human forms against her fierce brushstrokes. The artist distorts all the figurative power the elegant ladies and well-dressed gentlemen carry, blending them into a turbulence of complex abstraction. Long rides on horse backs or brief intimate encounters evolve into boisterous banquets of potent colors and unrecognizable narratives."
Nolan writes:"Hackett’s process is self-referential, with a wink at the viewer... The painting Studio Window encapsulates her project. Hackett paints what she sees when looking past the supplies and knickknacks that decorate a tabletop and windowsill—tree branches framing a view of wooded yards dappled with sunlight and the houses beyond. Her light-filled canvas glows with the clear-eyed optimism and attention to detail that she brings to every brush, can, plant, snow globe and clamp light, each resonating with loving labor."
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.