Mary Hrbacek reviews a recent exhibition of works by Anders Knutsson at Van Der Plas Gallery, New York.
Hrbacek writes: "Knutsson's hues are emphatically mixed; they are not comprised of raw paint taken straight from the tube in undiluted pigments. Instead, he combines his own pigments in an attempt to explore pure unadulterated light through color that cannot be easily explained... Unlike Yves Klein, known for the idiosyncratic blue paint, or Frank Stella, whose early works are exclusively black, Knutsson investigates the entire color spectrum, focusing on one hue at a time. These veils of see-through paint create in solid form a depth of reflective light with the colors one perceives obliquely in the rainbow."
Goldner writes: "By studying, 'the colors of the sea, the sky and the sand, the seashells and seaweed, the dark clouds over the horizon in the evening,' Hafif says, she made these vibrant paintings using colors as Indian yellow, green earth, rose and ultramarine blue, and muted shades of indigo, silver and violet grey. Joan Waltemath explains in the catalogue, 'The pure sensation of light that bounces off the surface of each of her canvases seems to indicate colors so precisely calibrated that each emits a single frequency of light.' As [curator Mike] McGee observes, 'We experience her colors on a tactile, physiological and even feeling level.'"
Kenneth Baker reviews John Meyer: Diptychs at George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco, on view through June 13, 2015.
Baker writes: "The installation at Lawson permits visitors to see that the incidence of light on the paintings’ surfaces matters crucially to their definition, or self-definition. Yet even the surest perception of such aspects, under what seem close to ideal viewing conditions, feels tentative, subject to vagaries of changing daylight, viewing angle and our common incapacity finally to see as others see. Explicitness and elusiveness converge in Meyer’s work with an intensity we seldom see in contemporary art, irrespective of style. That flavor of experience can reach an exquisite, almost excruciating intensity in paintings where Meyer brought color into play, such as “Untitled Diptych #6 (Blue/White)” (1994)."
Tulsa Kinney visits the studio of painter James Hayward.
Kinney writes: "I ask [Hayward] if painting is a physical thing for him—I have this vision of him in his studio vigorously slathering globs of thick crimson onto a canvas with a paintbrush in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. In my mind he’s wearing only his cowboy hat and cowboy boots, and a pair of red boxer shorts—the same color as the painting he’s working on—and Hank Williams is blaring in the background. He answers, 'The physicality is part of it, but the heart and soul of it is the marking. In my monochromes I try to avoid there ever being a special place. There’s no chosen place. It’s totally proletariat, the marking. I want the corners to be as important as the center and I want every mark to be equal in terms of importance. Ideally, the last marks just kind of blend into the earlier marks and disappear.'"
Robert C. Morgan reviews works by Ha Chonghyun at Blum & Poe, New York, on view through December 20, 2014.
Morgan writes: "These scribbled, marked, and incised paintings are a challenge to consider the importance of our tactile sensations in discovering fulfillment within the cycles of nature. The force contained within these paintings is a vibrant one, directed toward those willing to contend with some kind of mediated posthuman reality on the verge of pushing us outside ourselves, thereby depriving our sense of awareness about how to live. This is the locus in which the Conjunctions intervene, the place where Ha’s terrestrial vision becomes a form of meditation. It is where the Conjunctions emit their healing power and where they connect us to art, not by conceptual anecdotes but through feelings."
Richard Benari interviews painter Daniel Levine about his monochrome paintings.
Levine comments: "I tend to work in groups, and also different applications. By groups I would mean the same paint - the titanium group by 'x' brand... the titanium group by 'y' brand... the titanium group by 'z' brand. Then there would be the zincs. There'd be many, many, many different types of whites. And then different mediums as well... In each session I ... generally work on one type of paint, one brand... but they're all individual pieces.. different scales, different surfaces, different applications, different tones, different depths of the the canvas, so [it's] a narrative, jumping from one to the next to the next."
Carl Belz writes about the exhibition Nothing is Everything at Pagus Projects, Norristown, PA, on view from March 22 – May 2, 2014. The show features works by Alan Greenberg, Karen Baumeister and Stuart Fineman.
Belz notes that Greenberg, Baumeister, and Fineman "face a challenge in wanting to find a responsive audience for their pictures within the ebb and flow of today’s cultural environment – an environment ubiquitously laced with cynicism and irony, bound to mass media, visually glutted, serving up art as spectacle and entertainment, and promising instant gratification while racing breathlessly and inexorably to the next great thing. Against that backdrop, which is nothing if not challenging, they present us with lean-looking pictures that picture nothing, that are reticent, that are slow to reveal themselves and their pleasures, pictures of the sort that are at their best when encountered not in clusters before crowds but one-on-one and face-to-face, the way we encounter one another, which is how we come to know fully everything they are. Our current cultural environment puts such pictures at risk, not only in increasing the odds against our getting their meaning right but against our finding time to get any of their meaning at all."
Brent Hallard interviews painter Daniel Levine on the occasion of Levine's exhibition The Way Around at Churner and Churner, New York, on view through February 22, 2014.
Levine comments: "When monochromes are successful, they are sincere, well painted, intelligent, and transcendent. As much as the work incorporates my own experiences and the world around me–I paint to understand the world and my place in it – the viewer is free to project onto them. As much as I’m making what appears to be a monochrome, I’m not making a Monochrome; I’m making a painting, with all its tics and quirks and successes and failures. A monochrome that fails is one that is presumptuous, where the paint is put on without any depth, or surprise, or meaning besides fulfilling the role of 'monochrome.' It looks simple, but it’s extraordinarily complex. In a way, monochrome is the ultimate parody of and the ultimate tribute to painting."
Noah Dillon talks to painter Daniel Levine about monochrome painting on the occasion of Levine's exhibition The Way Around at Churner and Churner, New York, on view through February 22, 2014.
Dillon writes that Levine "said, only half-facetiously, that, 'To start with, the decision to make a monochrome painting is a bad decision. And everything proceeds from there.' But it would also seem that what follows first from the initial choice to make a monochromatic painting—naturally and automatically—is that every subsequent decision is pivotal. Levine regards the three rudimentary issues of his paintings as 'structure, surface, and support'—the intellectual and emotional foundation, the paint, and the paint’s cotton and panel backing, respectively. He takes great care in thinking about what the possibilities are in tackling each of the three elements in a given painting. Whether the paint appears as thick impasto or thin as frost, he typically applies 15-20 layers, using various whites on cotton. The various techniques create different effects, different grades of opacity, thickness, and texture. The dimensions of his canvases are always just off square, which adds to their visual dynamism."
Matt Smith Chavez interviews painter Vincent Como about his work.
Como comments: "This thing-in-itself, this monochrome, acts as an object rather than an illusion, even if it presents an illusory space due to its depth of surface. That’s an issue with the organ or tool perceiving the object though, not the object itself. This object is a mark, in toto, a statement of information or intention made by human hands to convey an idea. This idea doesn’t necessarily fit within the context of our existing language-structure and so it becomes its own language. The language of painting, the language of abstraction, the language of the monochrome. In this way, I think of the work I make as statements or objects about human comprehension and limitation, the history of painting, the history of modernism, truth vs. belief and the successes or failures of this thing we call 'progress'. "
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.