Thomas Micchelli reviews the exhibition Let’s Get Physical at Ventana 244, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, curated by Rick Briggs. The show features work by Jonathan Allmaier, Yevgeniya Baras, Rick Briggs, Chris Martin, Dona Nelson, Jackie Saccoccio, Russell Tyler, Maria Walker, and Chuck Webster.
Micchelli writes: "The kind of work found in this show, which avoids 'narrating or signifying' almost completely and makes a point of exposing the processes of its construction, is especially redolent of the artists’ 'fundamental manner of being;' their instincts, impulses and intelligence are woven into the manifold layers of attack, alteration and resolution. Through their formal and expressive thoroughness, these paintings, which present the viewer with obdurate abstraction, thingness and even hermeticism, draw us into their orbit not by what is splashed across the surface but by the physical manifestations of their creators’ thoughts, emotions and sense perceptions."
Maria Walker, Blue Bird, 7.75 x 12.5 x 2 inches (courtesy of the artist)
Curated by Julie Alexander, the show "brings together six abstract artists whose work pushes out the edge of the painting, playing with the basic structure of wood supports and stretched canvas... The work, verging on sculpture, clearly comes from a painter's mind. These six artists, through abstraction, both work within and challenge the perimeter of the painting, pushing beyond the boundary and entering the viewer's space. They do it with a personal mark-making that values joy and uncertainty." Alexander agreed to discuss curating the exhibition with Painters' Table. -- Brett Baker
Installation View: Susan Scott, Shy Painting (courtesy of the artist)
Julie Torres, Untitled, acrylic on panel, 8.5 x 8.5 inches (courtesy of the artist)
Valerie Brennan, Tango, oil on wood, 9.8 x 9.8 x 1.5 inches (courtesy of the artist)
Jamie Powell, Boogie Woogie, acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 20 x 18 inches (courtesy of the artist)
PT: The exhibition installation feels free and loose, “beyond” traditional alignment and presentation. Was that an intentional nod to the theme of the show or an on-the-spot reaction to how the works interacted with one another and with the space?
JA: Both. I knew I wanted to do a modified salon style but as the install progressed it was apparent that some of the work belonged on the edges of the space. It started with Susan Scott’s corner painting titled, Shy Painting. It was one of the first pieces hung. In looking for the right corner, it created a pull across the room that helped form the rest of the installation.
Butler writes: "Presenting uncharacteristic work by abstract artists Jonathan Allmeier, Tamara Gonzales, EJ Hauser, Stephen Truax, and Maria Walker that is conceptual, formal, and sincere all at once, Moyse is interested in the objects' history, the mark-making, and the way that the artists combine the two to create powerful new experiences, linking the 19th-century Symbolist movement, mysticism, and transcendental experience to recent approaches in contemporary abstract painting."
Michael Rutherford talks to artist Maria Walker about her work.
Rutherford writes: "Altered stretcher bars, torqued and triangulated planes, backs as fronts - the work of Maria Walker is a lesson in harmonizing tradition and experimentation... She has pushed her materials and flowed with them in order to elicit a distinctive sense of aesthetic truth. Many of her paintings involve dense soakings of pigment while others have a reworking of the stretchers that gives them the ability to stand on their own without being wall-mounted. A few pieces involve no canvas at all, which obviously changes how they’re approached and perceived. Through all this exploration, there’s a sense of sureness that surrounds what I consider challenging and thoughtful work."
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.