Judith Linhares writes about Marsden Hartley's painting Madawaska—Acadian Light-Heavy (1940).
Linhares observes: "The almond shaped eyes are outlined with light. This is a handsome face but the body is what Hartley wants me to focus on. His body in relationship to the frame of the painting leaves spaces that are small in relation to the mass of the figure... The paint is applied with directness and follows the contours of the form, adding to the man’s dramatic presence. Seeing version III of Acadian Light-Heavy at the new Whitney reminded me how you can know a great painting, but its presence will still surprise you... This great Marsden Hartley painting is not only a work of personal desire, it challenges social norms and contains mystery in the simplicity of its form. What is the place of the body in the imagination and what is its part in being human?"
Ashley Garrett interviews painter Judith Linhares about her work. Home Turf, an exhibition featuring works by Ashley Garrett, Judith Linhares, and Liz Markus is on view at Brian Morris Gallery, New York, through May 10, 2014.
Linhares comments: "I think one of the particular things that painting offers—is that it is visual and physical. I see the danger –if you’re a painter and you’re painting on a rectangle you have thousands of years of history to contend with. Your work will submerge in that history if you don’t do something to distinguish it. I don’t know how you address that. Certainly one way would be strategy. Personally I like the confines of traditional painting. I think Poussin’s paintings are like miracles. I can get so many ideas and be so stimulated from this simple rectangle—it gives me hope that I could make something that good, or that significant. I am not sure I know what emotionally honest painting is but there is an idea of working through the process little by little and not looking for short cuts. Developing your relationship with the work over time is present in all good art be it Sigmar Polke or Fairfield Porter or Leonor Fini or Frida Kahlo."
James Panero visits the Nicholas Roerich Museum and reviews several current exhibitions including: Meg Hitchcock: The Land of Bliss at Studio10, Brooklyn (through November 10), Judith Linhares and Loren Munk with Rebecca Litt at Valentine Gallery, Ridgewood, Queens (through November 17), Meta Vista at 16 Wilson, Brooklyn (through November 9), and Scale at Life on Mars, Brooklyn (through November 2).
Speaking about her process Linhares remarks: "I might start my canvases with a ground of half purple and half yellow, and go from there. I work with complementary colors a lot. I do not trust ideas that come to my mind – instead, they have to come through the process, or be developed through the process. Otherwise, they look like something I have cooked up. When you put down yellow and violet, you create a sense of light, and that might suggest something. A yellow ochre on top of the yellow might suggest a backlit animal. I have a chance to surprise myself and invent the space as I work on it, rather than it being external. I am never thinking of it as flat, and I am usually thinking of it as a landscape environment. There is distant space, middle space, and near space, and things are happening in those spaces. What happens sometimes is that the idea will get developed over studies or redoing the painting. But it is very important to me that they come out of the brushstrokes, rather than being conceptualized ahead of time."
Taking Michael H. Miller's post of images from the 1978 New Museum exhibition Bad Painting as a catalyst, Sharon Butler asks if the label should be revisited in a contemporary context with "some specific examples, because the changing nature of what we consider bad painting is a fascinating subject for a good discussion. If these paintings, which generally tend to mash-up surrealism and humorous fantasy imagery, were considered 'bad' in the 1970s, what would be considered 'bad' today?"
In 1978 Bad Painting curator Marcia Tucker introduced the show by writing: "The freedom with which these artists mix classical and popular art-historical sources, kitsch and traditional images, archetypal and personal fantasies, constitutes a rejection of the concept of progress per se. . . . It would seem that, without a specific idea of progress toward a goal, the traditional means of valuing and validating works of art are useless. Bypassing the idea of progress implies an extraordinary freedom to do and to be whatever you want. In part, this is one of the most appealing aspects of 'bad' painting - that the ideas of good and bad are flexible and subject to both the immediate and the larger context in which the work is seen."
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.