Bradley writes: "Start anywhere, go everywhere—that would seem to be the calling card of mid-twentieth-century painter Charles Burchfield’s body of work, which predominately captures scenes from nature and rural, country life as charged by drama, tension, and a freewheeling style that rockets straight out of humble en plein air painting’s crypt and into the stratosphere of vision."
Alexander observes: "Unlike the majority of her paintings in recent years, the new works 'read' immediately as landscapes, rather than as abstract paintings distilled from fleeting observations. That is not to imply that they have lost any of their potency as poetic objects. The artist's focus is exquisite, her images reduced to the simplicity of a diagram, or to quietly receding color fragments on the plane."
Ellen Gamerman interviews painter Alex Katz whose work is on view at Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York, through June 13, 2015.
Gamerman begins: "One morning. That’s how long it takes Alex Katz to start—and finish—a painting. This high-speed routine has repeated itself many mornings, for many years. Such remarkable productivity would be a feat for any artist, but especially an 87-year-old whose towering pictures demand exacting brushwork across canvases that span entire walls."
Alexis Clements reviews works by Etel Adnan at Galerie Lelong, New York, on view through May 8, 2015.
Clements writes: "On Adnan’s uncluttered canvases the color vibrates and pulses with an ecstatic fluorescence that lends many of the abstract works on display an energy and life that I could not look away from... Beyond Adnan’s use of color, one of the things that struck me most about the show at Lelong is the intense economy of her work. Not only are the works of a small scale (few of the paintings exceed 13 x 16 inches), but the paint is generally applied in only one layer... There are no obvious edits and changes in her work, no excess — instead, there seems to be a patient clarity, a practiced hand and mind."
Carr writes that in Quin's painting Down & Out (2013) "the foreground tumbles steeply down at the base of the canvas. The eye is launched into a sharp decline before rising up again with another hillside. In this visual rollercoaster ride, shadows and light are painted with a range of blues—deeper blues in the foreground, ethereal blue-grays in the distance ... The works here display artistic range, from serene, ordered landscapes to compositions rocking with violent visual motion."
Walker comments: "This is what it is all about: to be able to communicate with someone I haven’t even met. For me, that is what making art is all about. I am not making works to sell, that is a byproduct. I’m not doing them to impress people – although the fact that, if anything survives, there are eyes that are not yet born who will see them and be reached without words – the experience that you have described –pleases me, because I have made communication over the years to people who do not even speak the same language."
Discussing his series of paintings of bathers, Moyer comments: "The Barnes and Philly collections are so full of bather-themed paintings by Cezanne, Renoir, and Matisse that I just accepted 'Bathers' as a subject for painting that was as common-place to me as 'Landscape' or 'Still life'. I admire Cezanne’s approach to the subject above all others. Particularly, I like how the figures in his paintings exist as a representation of humanity. I don’t see them as individuals nor do I see narratives to be figured out—especially in the later works. They are not all about abstraction either, his figures seem to exist to echo our sensuality and to serve the overall effect of his painting. For me this subject feels right and I plan on following it wherever it wants to go."
Quin comments: "... in my day-to-day experience, the landscape seems to intrude most and calls out more for its recognition and observation. Whenever I make a painting of any kind, whether it’s landscape, figure or still life, I have to have seen that situation in the world. I have to have experienced it. Even if it’s just momentarily, even if it’s just a drive- by event; if I have seen it, then I can believe it and I can develop it, or try to, at least. That pertains to the landscape, figure, still life, whatever. It all starts from there. ... I enjoy painting more if I can develop pictures in the studio based on plein air sketches and then make the compositional choices and color changes that the painting suggests to me. So, at that point, it’s not what is dictated by allegiance the actual motif, and studies from it, but what happens after those initial encounters. I want keep the life and quality of the motif alive, but I don’t want to be tethered to it. I want to be able to change it and move things around. I’m more of a studio painter in that sense ..."
Seed notes: "Several of the exhibition's aerial views are very small: for example, Bridge Over the Navarro is just over seven inches across. As a result, I was drawn near as I inspected the painting, only to find that at close range it suddenly felt expansive. Rubin's brushwork is uncannily perfect, and the detail of a roadside stop sign represented by a pinprick of red paint -- look for it to the right of the bridge -- made its verdant green surroundings suddenly seem vast. The two thin, straight lines defining the edge of the bridge add a note of manmade geometry that provides a counterpoint to the blue river's serenity and meandering natural presence."
Chippendale comments extensively on observational painting and studying with painter George Nick: "Observational painting, I learned, was not a mimetic art form. We were not in the business of copying or duplicating what was before us, but of transposing it through paint, and through the forms we each adopted as individual painters. Our goal was not to match or try to outdo what nature did best, but to interpret it through metaphors that were 'parallel' and in every way 'true' to the facts we perceived, except in being literal about them. Ideas of 'truth' in observational painting were, accordingly, not limited to ideas of 'likeness' or verisimilitude. One could be absolutely true to the richness of one’s perceptions without being literal about them, in the same way that poetry can bear witness with great precision to truths and realities that lie far outside of, and are in fact inexpressible within, the jurisdiction of the literal. I found observational painting richly full of paradoxes and contradictions, often vexingly so. Nick taught me to think more with my brush. I learned from him that making was itself a form of expressed thought, and that solutions were to be found in painting itself. Standing before the easel, considering the variables that arose in my paintings with every passing moment, I learned that it was ultimately important to act—to paint—in clear material terms, and sooner rather than later. If recklessness was the consequence, and errors and mistakes the result, then these were simply the facts and uncertainties of painting. Risk, in Nick’s view, would forever trump cautiousness, and I inferred from his approach, which I came largely to adopt myself, that being overly guarded and calculating in painting was ultimately a dishonest act."
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.