Kevin Blake interviews painter Molly Zuckerman-Hartung whose exhibition Violet Fogs Azure Snot at Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, on view through March 15, 2014. Zuckerman-Hartung's work is also on view at the 2014 Whitney Biennial through May 5.
Zuckerman-Hartung comments "I think the crisis for me is the flatness of the surface of the painting. With these paintings [at Corbett vs. Dempsey], I am finding ways to make the painting sculptural, to introduce space, but I don’t want to do that with illusionistic depth. Instead, I am thinking about the spaces between the paintings, the way they respond to one another across the room, and the differing historical references as producing space. So Matisse with the blue one, Malevich with the smaller black painting, Barnett Newman in the painting with three broad vertical bands. The paintings made up of tick marks are actually made as continuous lines, while folded. Then, when unfolded, the effect is that of small marks. This would be another moment of crisis in the show. I think of that kind of painting – methodical mark-making, as a form of transparency in painting – each mark is made in time, and the viewer is able to follow the mark making of the maker in turn. As with, for example, Hanne Darboven, Michelle Grabner or Agnes Martin. In my paintings, the mark is not transparent. The folds, unfolded, produce a kind of schism in the communication, the 'reading' of the painting. How I made the marks is not the same as how you read the marks. There is a breakdown in that kind of direct, frontal address. This produces, I think, a kind of space."
Reaves writes "Zuckerman-Hartung’s paintings are baffling. They’re not simply pretty messes, as so many gestural abstract paintings are these days. In some ways they’re like spilt milk or grass stains. They whisper, stretch, slip and stumble. Elegant details such as sewn pleats are obscured by hastily drizzled paint and globs of wax. Delicate patterns are smeared and smudged. Wet paint is smooshed. Nothing is sacred... For every bold move there are fifty tiny marks. A stain here, a slice there: a couple paintings feature repetitive notch marks made with bleach and enamel paint. These are constant reminders of the artist’s eccentric, unsteady hand."
Lilly Lampe compares two exhibitions of contemporary painting: Painters Panting, recently on view at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center and Painter Painter at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, on view through September 27, 2013.
Lampe concludes: "These exhibitions and their ilk call attention to the insecurities of painting by their very nature, but in their execution declare the evolution of painting more than a primacy of painting’s original existence. Essentially, painting’s influence is felt strongly, even if what purists would call painting has changed radically. But painting is always changing, and every shift has instigated a call for its death. The moves made by the Impressionists, Modernists, Abstract Expressionists, and so on and so forth, sounded like death knolls to their detractors, but made painting all the more relevant. Enough with the preemptive eulogies and defensive exhibitions; painting exists, and it’s good. The trick is to show it in a framework that’s more self-aware than self-obsessed."
Photo blog of the exhibition Wassup Painters, curated by Pavan Segal, at Anat Egbi Gallery, Los Angeles, on view through July 20, 2013. The show features works by Kerstin Brätsch, Paul Cowan, Cynthia Daignault, Liam Everett, Henrik Olai Kaarstein, and Molly Zuckerman-Hartung.
The press release notes that the show features "contemporary artists who approach painting through the use of nontraditional materials and innovative processes as a way of exploring new conceptual ground. Painting as a medium has a long and rich history and recent trends have focused on exploring and reinterpreting what has come before. In some contrast to this, Wassup Painters highlights artistic practices that push the possibilities of the medium into unexpected realms, blurring the boundaries between painting and other forms of object making."
Molly Zuckerman-Hartung discusses her work in a new video produced by the Walker Art Center on the occasion of the exhibition Painter Painter at the Walker, on view through October 27, 2013.
Zuckerman-Hartung comments: "Deconstructed painting would be the best possible term for it. That implies how it's operating for me and how I'm thinking about it. It's hard to stay within the rectangle and so it's always this getting outside of it and then getting back into it again, is part of the pressure for me, and I like that pressure. I'm pressing myself up against a lot of walls, that would be the intellectual foundation, if you will - watching the bottom fall out from every critical position I try to take."
Julie Caniglia interviews Eric Crosby and Bartholomew Ryan, co-curators of the exhibition Painter Painter at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, on view from February 2–October 27, 2013.
Crosby comments that there is "something about the resolute materiality of painting that continues to attract artists. These are objects that follow deeply subjective and individual ways of thinking, as expressed through specific materials. In this show you will see works that are stained, collaged, sprayed, cut up, stitched, assembled, glued, smeared, rubbed, and so on— some works are years in the making. Painting offers a frame for contact with this very physical presence. It’s a vivid contrast with our daily routine, where we experience so many images by using a cursor, linking to them, altering them, navigating away from them. Painting resists this kind of experience. A lot of artists today embrace that notion to an extreme. They go where the materials take them, not where the history of painting tells them to go. "
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.