Jerry Saltz reviews Make Painting Great Again at Canada Gallery, New York, on view through July 15, 2016. The show features works by Katherine Bernhardt, Katherine Bradford, Joe Bradley, Sarah Braman, Matt Connors, Gerald Ferguson, Jason Fox, Daniel Hesidence, Xylor Jane, Sadie Laska, Lily Ludlow, Elena Pankova, Tyson Reeder, Anke Weyer, Wallace Whitney, Michael Williams, and Dugan Nash.
Saltz writes: "Canada is known for showing a lot of painters. Seventeen in one gallery is a lot. Usually too many. Often when a gallery appears to specialize in painting the medium starts to feel like an endangered species, protected by keepers of the flame and those who think painting needs to go back to the good old days, whenever those days might have been. (The Caves?) Then there are the curators and academics who turn painting into an IRL issue of Artforum — a kind of textbook illustration, meant to be narrow, ideological, theoretically correct, black-and-white or mostly monochrome with elements of the photographic, somehow official, good for us. These people treat painting like a policy paper and a private club. None of this is going on at Canada. Not by a long shot. Not only do you never feel you are looking at things through the filters of money and professionalism, the show is a wide-ranging précis on some of the ways that painting is expanding by exploring tradition."
Zlotowitz writes: "Approaching each painting, there is a painterly hand similar to early impressionist explorations, but with Bernhardt’s familiar hodgepodge of content. Incorporating the birds, sharks, cigarettes and fruits she encountered in Puerto Rico, she brings the physical pieces of her trip back with her in this exhibition, showcasing her experiences in the language of consumed goods and creatures seen. Her imagination wanders, and allows for her to create versatile collages within the large canvases."
Dylan Kerr interviews Katherine Bernhardt on the occasion of her exhibition Pablo and Efrain at Venus over Manhattan, on view through October 24, 2015.
Bernhardt comments: "I’m thinking more about daily life, about products and things that we use. I’m thinking about stuff at the deli, things like that... They’re just good colors and shapes. Look at a sock: it’s got really good colors, white with red and blue stripes. Toilet paper is a squarish oval. A cigarette is a line. A dorsal fin is a triangle, and so is a Dorito ... I think the best painters don’t intellectualize their own art—they just make stuff. It’s more about color choices and color combinations."
Bernhardt comments: "I have always tried to use images in my life that I always see. I was trying to make the dumbest or the funniest painting that I could make. The stupidest dumbest craziest and funniest—combining imagery out there from today ... Overload of imagery in Flatbush, things in my daily street life, African fabrics, Moroccan rugs, graffiti – I put it all in one painting... obviously there are possibilities left in painting. People are inventing new things every day. Painting and drawing is the basis of all art in the world, and it will always be like this, and it is always changing. "
Alan Pocaro reviews the exhibition New Image Painting at Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, on view through October 4, 2014.
Pocaro writes that "is a stinging riposte to the kind of contemporary abstract painting that merely serves as 'a placeholder for value' and 'needs to get out of the way.' In its place, the show presents an alternative vision of art’s recent past that locates figuration and personal narrative front and center... Accusing contemporary abstraction of offering 'a site for infinitely shallow projection on the part of the viewer' is a serious, and—in my opinion—pertinent charge given the critical attention heaped upon it over the past few years. But it’s playing with fire: anemic art is anemic art whether it’s 'representational' or 'abstract.' Fortunately, 'New Image Painting' largely succeeds by its smart hanging and diverse selection of artists. The pairing of a spirited work by recent SAIC grad Nick Schutzenhofer with the more established, Matisse-riffing, John McAllister is alone worth the trip."
Bradford comments that the show, featuring one work each by eight artists, is meant to "celebrate a time when painting with humanist impulses and intimacy and personal stories is very much in the air and of interest."
Kalm notes that Bradford herself, as an educator and an artist, has inspired "approach and content more interested in a painterly empathy with people than a calculated theory."
James Kalm visits an untitled summer painting exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash featuring the work of Katherine Bernhardt, Alfred Jensen, Chris Johanson, Chris Martin, Andrew Masullo and Judith Scott on view through August 5, 2011.
The press release notes that the artists share "hand-wrought qualities and an aggressively direct use of color, texture, and material, their work provokes cultural and psychological readings as well as aesthetic ones... They suggest and supersede a number of dichotomies: abstraction and representation, skilled and unskilled, polished and crude, innocent and knowing."
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.