Thomas Micchelli reviews the exhibition Let’s Get Physical at Ventana 244, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, curated by Rick Briggs. The show features work by Jonathan Allmaier, Yevgeniya Baras, Rick Briggs, Chris Martin, Dona Nelson, Jackie Saccoccio, Russell Tyler, Maria Walker, and Chuck Webster.
Micchelli writes: "The kind of work found in this show, which avoids 'narrating or signifying' almost completely and makes a point of exposing the processes of its construction, is especially redolent of the artists’ 'fundamental manner of being;' their instincts, impulses and intelligence are woven into the manifold layers of attack, alteration and resolution. Through their formal and expressive thoroughness, these paintings, which present the viewer with obdurate abstraction, thingness and even hermeticism, draw us into their orbit not by what is splashed across the surface but by the physical manifestations of their creators’ thoughts, emotions and sense perceptions."
Hurst writes that "the idea of reasserting the value of painting, the value of 'inner content' within an artwork, or of transience, is hardly novel. Nonetheless, the paintings on view at A Pinch of Saffron, Dash of Vermouth seem to walk the walk... It is a combined yearning to transcend the everyday and banal that unites these artists. While other generations have done this with fetid brows and heroic gesture the artists in this exhibition seem to temper their efforts with humility and humor. The result is a sum greater than its parts."
Jonathan Stevenson highlights two shows featuring "casualist" painting at DODGE Gallery, New York: Corresponding Selves: Jane Fox Hipple (through October 27) and A Pinch of Saffron, Dash of Vermouth, curated by Ted Gahl, featuring work by Jonathan Allmaier, Ned Colclough, Robert Davis, Joanne Greenbaum, Angel Otero, Meghan Petras, Josh Smith, and Johannes VanDerBeek (through October 27).
Stevenson writes that Hipple "tugs the strand of Casualism keyed to the shambolic nature of everyday life into the household. Contrasting conventional rectangular space with foreign objects like sheets and screws self-consciously affixed to sloppily stretched – even ripped – canvases, she invests her pieces with the shifting emotions that might arise as one tours a house and pauses to reflect on each of its rooms." Curator Gahl "focuses on the limits that artists impose on process and materials – and how artists exploit skill and technique to transcend those limits – another Casualist theme."
Allmaier comments: "I think the key to letting the paintings make themselves is to regard the materials, along with their contingent circumstances (and it’s silly to think of circumstances as separable from an object anyway) as mental states, without distinction from a particular physical state. Then agency is there already – agency isn’t an abstract, supernatural ether: for us at least, we can only know it or talk about it or have it in relation to some object, and it even can’t be distinguished from a particular object. Making the paint is helpful for this. Then there’s physical color – tangible, weighted color, not just visual color or abstract color. This color has mentality (not my mentality) precisely because it is physically particular – the concept of the color isn’t impoverished by separation from the world. The stretcher is a very important step too. The kind of paint (and the way the paint ought to be treated, which is really the same thing, for a given painting) depends on the particular spatial or object quality of the canvas, which depends on the scale of the stretcher. So the stretcher is a type of drawing, which can get re-drawn if necessary by cutting and rebuilding it."
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.