Barrie observes: "[Vigas'] characteristic mix of figuration and abstraction shows the clear influence of cubism, expressionism and constructivism, yet he always retained a distinctive flair for using fragments almost like fractals - which sets his work apart from his contemporaries. This use of fragments is also the crucial device of Vigas’ oeuvre, that allows him to re-invent recurring themes throughout his long artistic career. Shapes are sometimes fragmented into geometric shapes and his images are often made of recomposed fragments."
Van Proyen notes that the exhibition enables "a fresh look at the way that Bonnard was able to use the fluctuating warm and cool radiances of the color spectrum to model the shifts of volumetric shape, subtly adjusted in relation to fleeting ambient illumination. The result was a de-emphasis on projective flatness and a fresh re-emphasis on elements of painting that Richard Wollheim called 'seeing-in' and 'expressive perception' – those being shorthand terms for illusionistic and affective representation... It’s as if his paintings were registering changes of temperatures (including emotional temperatures) in the scenes they depict, rather than how they might passively appear to the photographically indoctrinated eye. Put another way, we can say that Bonnard’s chromaticism is more synaesthetic than that Matisse’s; that is, more able (by way of inference and suggestion) to incorporate multiple sensory registers that reach beyond the purely visual. As such, they infer a more sophisticated awareness of the nature of experience, one that recognizes that the full understanding of experience is more than sensation, that it also has elements of logic and desire integrated within it."
Blog post revisiting William N. Copley 1960 profile of painter Serge Charchoune, republished on the occasion of the exhibition William N. Copley: The World According to CPLY on view at The Menil Collection, Houston through July 24, 2016.
Copley writes: "Considering Charchoune in the light of what observations we have been able to make, we have perhaps established him as an abstract painter whose charm abides in his modesty... The tendency of Charchoune to render his own forms unnoticeable, if not invisible, suggests a constant and perpetual metamorphosis, particularly appropriate to the rendering of a musical theme. In other words, assuming that the paintings with musical titles were to be considered actual renderings of music, which I am convinced they are not, and Charchoune himself denies, they would be a step beyond, say Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie-Woogie, in that the vibrations of tones are not achieved by bright contrasting color, but rendered poetically through suppressions."
Zlotowitz writes that the show "[takes] the artist’s creative evolution and exposition as its starting point. Initially starting his career painting in the Impressionist style, this exhibition of Mondrian’s work dedicates itself to showcasing the artist’s career and subsequent development of his unique stylistic innovations. With over 50 drawings and paintings, the journey through Mondrian’s career is exposed through his many lenses and creative phases."
The show, Whitfield notes, addresses two issues: "Should Bonnard be seen primarily as an easel painter, as fully engaged in the twentieth century as Matisse or Picasso? In which case these decorations, dislodged from their original period settings, tend to muddle the story. Or should the artist be seen as a painter who began, and to some extent remained, a painter immersed in the Nabi pursuit of the ‘decorative’?"
Crehan writes: "Taking the artist’s 1947 visit to the United States as its starting point, the show reflects both Miró’s irrepressible energy and the return of his own stylistic innovations in the work of his American counterparts, inspiring his own work anew. Miró was ecstatic over the loose freedom of the abstract expressionists and their rugged approach to the painterly gesture, and would take that energy into his own canvases, opening new creative pathways in his already well established techniques."
McNay writes: "As the artist put it: 'What I am searching for is neither the real nor the unreal, but the subconscious, the mystery of what is instinctive in the human race.' Modigliani’s figures therefore blend the life model or muse with the sculpture, the present with the past, the 2D with the 3D, the marble with the flesh. Without much recourse to shading, it is Modigliani’s exploitation of negative space that gives both weight and volume to his bodies – and this is the negative space both without and within the figures."
Beckers writes that the curatorial idea "works around the question: 'Can we create an exhibition that presents a journey through the artist’s life?' And the main themes presented here do just that. Chagall’s connection with Jewish culture, the iconography of the shtetl (small Jewish market towns that existed before the second world war), folk traditions, and his exploration of 17th-century literature, light and use of colour are all represented here ... [curator Claudia] Zevi’s exhibition centres around four main parts and, although neither unique nor innovative, it does offer the visitor a good overview of Chagall’s oeuvre, which shows signs of strong influences, such as cubism, symbolism, fauvism and, at a stretch, surrealism."
Harry Thorne reviews Serge Poliakoff: Silent Paintings at Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, on view through February 21, 2015.
Thorne writes that the "works [exhibited] pose a strong defence to any claims that Poliakoff’s abstraction – and all abstraction for that matter – is nothing but the visual reification of the random. Each canvas is perfectly weighted, judged and executed – far from simple, spontaneous or accidental... These works do not allude to exterior concepts or draw inspiration from physical forms. Rather, they exist solely within their frames. There is nothing to grasp on to, no hints, no clues, and, as a result, the mind sets to work. Shapes are relegated, promoted, sidelined. Links are drawn only to slacken. Colours become bolder and fade to nothing. Akin to Kazimir Malevich’s much-lauded Black Square (1915), the works are ground zero. They provide absolutely nothing, and in doing so inspire the mind to jump into action. Before you know it, an hour has passed and the works have fully spoken for themselves."
Considering Picasso's variations after Delacroix, Schwabsky writes: "With the series of Women of Algiers (After Delacroix) ... Picasso entered a new phase of his art. He had always been an avid and able pasticheur of past styles, willingly giving the lie to the myth of progress that so many had read into his and Braque’s research in Cubism. But the Women of Algiers paintings are different: a kind of return to the intensive research paradigm of the heroic years of Cubism before the Great War, which Picasso now deployed to revisit, revise and sometimes explode the past with the full force of his profound ambivalence. In his essay for the Pace catalog, Jonathan Fineberg compares this effort to Beethoven’s in composing the Diabelli Variations, 'obsessively reinventing' his source (even though Diabelli’s harmless little ditty was easy prey for Beethoven’s pummeling), unlike Delacroix’s orientalist masterpiece. In the Algiers paintings, Picasso attempted to fragment and artificially recompose not just space and its objects (as in Cubism) but time and its beings as well. He was tearing Delacroix’s work apart and reconstructing it with fascination, ardor and hostility all at once."
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.