Einspruch writes: "Staver has long felt compelled to retell her family’s stories, iconically in their way, but not so much as to defeat all the specifics... In her more recent paintings, mythology supplies enough storyline to give her figures, soaked in a vat of Cubism just long enough to become delightfully rubbery, something to do." He concludes: "A simultaneous and revelatory show of Bob Thompson (whose influence Staver acknowledges) and the madcap Louis Eilshemius at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery prompts me to wonder if there’s a mythological-modernist tradition that we ought to consider more thoroughly, with Staver as its current chief practitioner."
Yau writes: "By revising a variety of well-known myths, and focusing on a moment other than the ones we are familiar with, Staver seems intent on positing a fresh angle, another possibility regarding our understanding of intimate relationships. In this regard, she is a utopian who doesn’t take herself too seriously, doesn’t devolve into the ponderous or didactic. She prefers the comic and a light touch. There is an innocence to these dramas that is Chaplinesque. Like Chaplin, she seems to be on a rescue mission fraught with perils. She wants Leda and her other creatures to escape unscathed, even as a red fox stretches across the canvas carrying a dead bird in its mouth or lampreys rise out of Pandora’s box. Beneath the humor and eccentricity that animates Staver’s work, there is a current of dignity and somberness that imbues it with a depth of feeling."
Etty Yaniv blogs about the recent exhibition Mixtape! at No. 4 Studio (co-curated by Sophia Alexandrov and Todd Bienvenu) that took place during Bushwick Open Studios. The show featured works by Joe Anthony-Brown, Todd Bienvenu, Katherine Bradford, Lauren Collings, Joy Curtis, Dan Flanagan, Emily Noelle Lambert, Margrit Lewczuk, Gili Levy, Meg Lipke, Lauren Luloff, Sangram Majumdar, Jason Mones, Alexander Nolan, Mark Petersen, Matt Phillips, Kyle Staver, and Dwain Thomas Walters II.
Maria Doubrovskaia talks to painter Kyle Staver about her paintings which are on view at Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York through November 23, 2013.
Staver comments: "Transformation…Painting is transformation. It’s like alchemy of something. I remember being an art student and making light for the first time. Feeling like light was actually coming from the painting. How would you ever give that up after once discovering it? And then the different kinds of light. Before my light was very exclamatory. Bright color, loud light! And then it changed, and I didn’t want it screaming. I wanted to control what it expresses. And the very last painting that I did in the show was the Syrinx, and when I was painting it, it came so close to being nothing, to just disappearing. So at what point could the light still be read as color? Some days I thought I just lost it completely, it would just disappear. All I had left were the little marks where the light sparked up. And then I would build the painting up again. I looked for the light that would just sort of hum."
Yau writes that in Staver's painting Daphne (2013), the figure's "feeling of being hemmed in by the painting’s physical parameters is contradicted by Daphne’s new identity as a laurel tree, a living and growing thing. She wants to break through the barriers and she eventually will. At the same time, her palpable physical presence underscores the empty night sky’s limitlessness beyond her. It seems to me that in 'Daphne,' Staver not only acknowledges that we are bounded beings that exist in an infinite universe, but accepts this unknowable state as both a challenge and an inspiration. In this regard, Staver’s 'Daphne' can be read as an examination of painting’s contested status, as surface and space."
Jennifer Samet talks with painter Kyle Staver about her work, Facebook debates, and late Renoir.
Staver remarks: "When I first started painting, with personal subject matter, I wanted to tell you what it was like to be alive, and to be Kyle Staver. I thought, I will paint about the most important events of my life, and hopefully, in doing that, will make a connection to you and it will be universal. Well, I did that for a long time. If you look at Titian, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, or Picasso, you see that at a certain point in their careers, they gave up personal incidents as subject matter, and turned to the mythological, because those themes are typical. We all share Adam and Eve — some sort of ideas about creation. So, rather than go from the particular and try to make it universal, I now am taking the universal and telling you about my stake in it."
Sharon Butler posts Kyle Staver's thoughts on her work which will be on view in the upcoming exhibition Kyle Staver: Paintings, Prints, Reliefs at John Davis Gallery, Hudson, New York (January 31 - February 24, 2013).
Staver notes: "I don't think it's an accident that these Mythical subjects are often taken up by artists in mid to late career. My recent paintings' latent anxiety, emotional/tonal heaviness, and darkness are not just reflections of my home in Northern Minnesota's climate: I have grown increasingly interested in speaking with the big boys of western art, stepping into their homes, working with their darker palettes and their darker subjects, classical mythology, especially. I don’t feel at odds with artists like Titian and Rembrandt—I’m not arguing with them as a contemporary female painter, although my own take on these mythic women is often quite different. I don’t subjectify my women; rather, they allow me to reinvestigate a myth from my point of view: rather than rape, there’s pleasurable co-joining, as in Danae and the Parakeet; rather than the terrified victim, there’s resistant outrage, as in Europa and the Flying Fish."
William Eckhardt Kohler blogs about the "weekend" exhibition Mark, Wipe, Scrape, Shape at Spaceshifter - the studio of painter Sangram Majumdar.
Kohler features "11 painters, Michael Berryhill, Gideon Bok, Matt Bollinger, Katherine Bradford, Tom Burckhardt, Jackie Gendel, Amy Mahnick, Majumdar, Kyle Staver, Didier Williams and Karla Wozniak, work in a variety of idioms; perceptual, abstract, poetical, narrative and conceptual... The dominant tone of these artists' orientation is that of idiosyncratic visionaries, rolling up their sleeves and forging a personal understanding of what painting can do. What is demonstrated here is that the newness is in what each artist brings to the table as each their own brilliant self; original rather than ideological or radical."
Staver painted the triptych to honor her brother who passed away six years ago. Seed writes "Although the paintings can be seen together as a cycle, Staver is mainly concerned that each image tells a strong story that can be related to the other panels. 'What is important for me, as a painter,' she relates, "Is that the three panels hold together and have the 'gestalt' to be cohesive, without relying on pictured sequencing, as in comic books.' Another element that connects the paintings is humor, something Staver finds essential; 'I do think humor is terribly important in painting. It is the constant and steady reminder of our humanity; the foible aspect of being alive.' "
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.