Andy Parkinson reviews the exhibition Painting Past Present: A Painters Craft at Laing Art Gallery, on view through February 9, 2014. The show features paintings by Frank Auerbach, Laura Lancaster, William Brooker, Helen Baker, Derek Hirst, Narbi Price, William Holman Hunt, Emma Talbot, Paul Huxley, Sue Spark, Louis James, Paul Housley, Edmund Blair Leighton, Eleanor Moreton, Neils Moller Lund, Helen Smith, Winifred Nicholson, Mali Morris, Victore Pasmore, Ali Sharma, John Piper, and James Ryan.
Parkinson writes that in the show "eleven contemporary painters respond to paintings from the past in a visual dialogue. Some of the older paintings aren’t that old so it’s not always easy to tell which of the works are past and which are contemporary, after all paintings exist always in the present, and some of the ‘past’ painters in this show are still making new paintings today."
Andy Parkinson reviews the exhibtion the exhibition Without an Edge There is no Middle at Pluspace, Coventry, UK, on view through September 8, 2013. The show features works by Katrina Blannin, Julian Brown, Gordon Dalton, Andrew Graves, Terry Greene, Mark Kennard, Hannah Knox, Mali Morris, Joanna Phelps, Dan Roach, David Ryan, Andrew Seto, and David Webb.
Parkinson writes that the exhibition "captures, if just for a moment, that determined if sometimes gradual, pushing out towards the edge of what painting can be and do. No longer a 'progression' as it might once have seemed, and inevitably including repetition or recommencement, there is also a faltering 'progress' of sorts, a wending of different ways towards one end."
Andy Parkinson blogs about the exhibition New Possibilities: Abstract Paintings from the Seventies at The Piper Gallery, on view through December 21, 2012.
Parkinson writes: "In the seventies abstract painting in Britain was in crisis. At least that’s how it seemed to some. If during the sixties it had become hegemonic that privileged position was on the wane. Peter Fuller would shortly declare American abstraction to be not much more than a CIA plot, within the discipline of painting figuration was in resurgence, whilst outside it performance art and conceptualism were fast becoming the dominant art forms, leading to the stagnation of abstract painting. The exhibition... of fourteen painters from the period (all still painting today)... counters this viewpoint, demonstrating that instead abstraction in this decade was vibrant and varied."
David Sweet looks at the role of detail in abstract painting through the work of Robert Holyhead, Mali Morris, and Juan Usle.
Sweet writes that unlike these painters "there are plenty of current practitioners whose work, which is abstract by default, contains lots of superimposed, busy, ornamental passages, but who treat detail casually, as though it is a relatively trivial matter. In an era of high definition, however, the resolution which detail brings, whether handled intelligently or not, appears to be an increasingly important, even essential part of a contemporary pictorial strategy."
Parkinson writes that it is "ambiguity that I appreciate so much in Mali Morris paintings. What’s at back could just as well turn out to be up front, the edges might become central, an area that has become dense with rich colour may be cleared away to reveal a glowing light that becomes positive 'motif.' What appears 'positive' may turn out to be 'negative' and vice versa. I really don’t mean to find in all this metaphors for life but I can’t help it. And even then, such metaphors are quite different to ‘illustrations’ or ‘similes’, being themselves far more ambiguous and tentative. After all, it is painting we are looking at here, and painting that is resolutely and magnificently abstract."
Adam Walker visits the exhibition Double Vision, curated by Katrina Blannin, at at Lion and Lamb Gallery, London, on view through July 14, 2012.
Walker writes: "As eluded to in the title, this exhibition of contemporary abstract painting sets out to explore a series of binary oppositions: figure and field, surface and depth, chance and system, symmetry and asymmetry. While these are well-traveled avenues of exploration, the quality of the works on display makes revisiting them worthwhile."
Andy Parkinson blogs about the exhibition Double Vision, curated by Katrina Blannin, at at Lion and Lamb Gallery, London, on view through July 14, 2012.
Parkinson writes that the show's title "alludes to 'notions of double layering in painting, whether material, compositional or theoretical.' It explores binary oppositions like figure/ground, surface/depth, symmetry/asymmetry and chance/system, oppositions that are, in a sense, combined or held together, which in language might be oxymoronic but in painting seems perfectly natural. I wonder if we might even say that holding together opposites and exploiting ambiguities in relation to them is what abstract painting does best."
Parkinson writes: "In Mali Morris' little works on paper, gem-like in their luminosity, colour seems to become independent and brilliantly assertive. The modernist abstract tradition where the words 'big' and 'abstract' belong together has clear resonance with Morris' work, yet in these little paintings she almost turns the theory of colour-field abstraction on its head."
Andy Parkinson blogs about Mali Morris' painting Angel and People (1979).
He notes: " ...there is both quick physical action and slow meditative looking somehow preserved in the picture. Would it be too fanciful to suggest that there is a dialectic of doing and thinking that is transformed into the experience of viewing?"
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.