Emyr Williams explores influence and homage in works by Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland, and Jules Olitski. Williams argues that abstract paintings are less convincing and original when they reference past figurative art.
Williams concludes: "I want to believe that abstract painting can be as great as figuration, but this is a battle that must be fought on abstract art’s terms and not figuration’s. Paying homage feels like a white flag has already been raised, with content being delivered through context rather than visual functionality... Can figuration really teach abstract art? Artists have always worked from those that inspired them in previous generations... We need to find better ways to challenge figurative painting. Compared to figuration, abstract painting is a relative pup, a toddler finding its feet, and as such is want to fall on its face from time to time. I am optimistic for its future though. Yet for it to truly move forward, I can’t help feeling that we have to stop trying to hang on to figuration, even in oblique ways."
Tamar Zinn blogs about several summer shows in New York featuring abstract painting including: Eccentric Abstraction, curated by Bill Weiss, at Frosch & Portmann featuring work by David Hayward, Leslie Wayne, Mamie Holst, Richard Allen Morris and Bill Weiss (through August 3); Starting Out: 9 Abstract Painters 1958-1971 at Tibor de Nagy, featuring works by by Edward Avedisian, Darby Bannard, Friedel Dzubas, Paul Feeley, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Ralph Humphrey, Kenneth Noland, and Kendall Shaw (through August 1); the Summer Invitational at Elizabeth Harris featuring works by Rich Klauber, Joanne Mattera, Paul Mogensen, Gary Peter, and Sarah Walker (closed July 25), and Color as Structure at McKenzie Fine Art featuring works by works by Paul Corio, Richard Garrison, Rob de Oude, Mel Bernstine, Jason Karolak, Maureen McQuillan, Holly Miller, Alain Biltereyst, Martha Clippinger, Richard Roth, Cordy Ryman, Deborah Zlotsky, Kate Shepherd, Elise Ferguson, Don Voisine, and Richard Caldicott (through August 1).
Marcia G. Yerman reviews the exhibition Starting Out: 9 Abstract Painters 1958-1971 at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, on view through August 1, 2014. The show includes works by Edward Avedisian, Darby Bannard, Friedel Dzubas, Paul Feeley, Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Ralph Humphrey, Kenneth Noland, and Kendall Shaw.
Yerman writes: "Most of the exhibited artists continued to explore abstraction for the duration of their careers in one form or another. Others, such as Jane Freilicher ... evolved to a place where she expressed her vision through representational images..." She adds: "There are numerous connections between the different artists in the show -- such as friendships or student-teacher relationships. Part of the history of the Tibor de Nagy gallery is embedded in the camaraderie that grew within a community of artists, poets and writers."
In her most recent post on the 2013 Miami Art Fairs, Joanne Mattera photoblogs a fascinating selection of mid-century geometric abstraction on view at the fairs. The post includes works by Lygia Clark, Geraldo de Barros, Willys de Castro, Hercules Barsotti, Samson Flexner, Ana Sacerdote, Maria Friere, Alice Trumbull Mason, Julie Knifer, Shirley Jaffe, Leon Polk Smith, Gene Davis, Kenneth Noland, Charmion von Weigand, and Thomas Downing.
On the occasion of the exhibition Paul Reed and the Shaped Canvas in the 1960s at D. Wigmore Fine Art, New York (through Novemebr 16), Deedee Wigmore writes about the shaped canvases of Paul Reed and the Washington Color School painters including: Gene Davis, Kenneth Noland, and Thomas Downing.
Wigmore notes that "unlike New York’s Color Field art, Washington’s version was geometry-based. The flow of color and intervals of blank raw canvas softened the geometric-based structures of their compositions and kept them from becoming hard-edged. To get beyond the all-over compositions associated with Pollock, the Washington artists developed centralized compositions full of flowing movement. In their development of geometric Color Field painting, some of the Washington Color Painters also participated in the shaped canvas movement of the 1960s... Paul Reed’s shaped canvases ... comprise the most complex shapes created by the Washington Color Painters."
Kalm notes that this show, and several other summer abstraction paintings (including Xstraction), "gives viewers a chance to reevaluate the many facets of this practice and with 'DNA' see the works of at least three generations of artists side by side. This show includes views of works by Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, Al Held, Louise Nevelson, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Joshua Abelow, Ronald Bladen, Brooke Moyse, Kenneth Noland and others."
On the occasion of the exhibitions A Bigger Splash: Painting after Performance at Tate Modern (through April 1) and Explosion! The Legacy of Jackson Pollock at the Fundació Joan Miró (through Feb 24), Stephen Moonie considers the history of "painting and performance in relation to one another." He asserts that "it is evident that painting can no longer be taken for granted: instead it operates within an expanded field across and between media."
He concludes: "What is clear... is that performance and painting are closely intertwined, and that the relationship between the two works both ways: painting is not only a pathway into performance, but that many aspects of performance equally lead back into painting..."
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.