Albers writes: "Among the most powerful in the de Young’s exhibition is SFMOMA’s 7 x 9-foot oil and charcoal Elegy to the Spanish Republic, No. 57. Here, as in all of the Elegies, rough-edged vertical black bars and ovoids scaffold a horizontal field, co-existing with areas of activated white. A charcoal line runs along the bottom. A black-on-white-on-black mostly horizontal element commands the top. Behind it in one corner is a washy cinereous patch. Surfaces are rugged, and the ponderous matte blacks feel implacable. The proportions are perfect."
Poet Bill Corbett shares his thoughts on Franz Kline with Noah Dillon.
Corbett remarks: "I think he was after the dream of the abstract painters, which was to make drawing and painting one. For these guys — for him, Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning — it was to get the immediacy of drawing, to locate the viewer in that immediacy, and then to make it happen in paint. A work like this, it seems to me, is absolutely recognizable, because it’s a clear, firsthand apprehension of a reality. That communicates to me... He also, I think, wanted to give a sense of the moment, make you feel present. As you pointed out, he used house paint and the image is now getting lost: it’s cracking, yellowing, it’s a conservator’s nightmare. In a way, I think it’s too bad that conservators feel compelled to restore this painting to what it was."
Kurchanova writes: "Apart from large canvases covered by Pollock’s signature all-over web of patterned, dripped or sculpted paint, a range of his smaller abstract paintings adds complexity to our understanding of his work as that of an 'action' painter... Pollock’s active engagement with printing presents his achievement as a painter to us from a completely different angle and complicates the understanding of his work as based in physical action and unmediated involvement of the artist’s hand. Printing is as much a mechanical process as it is a handcrafted one. Knowing that Pollock used it continuously in the course of his career makes us reconsider the significance of unmediated physical involvement with material frequently attributed to his work."
John Seed talks to Michael Klein, curator of Grace Hartigan: Works From 1960-65, on view at the X Contemporary Art Fair, Miami from December 1-6, 2015.
Klein comments: "... some of Hartigan's paintings of this period are pure abstractions such as Saint Valentine or Pomegranate; others like Grey Eyed Athena have a figurative element to them. It was typical of Hartigan to bring figurative elements into play within an abstract vocabulary and this is why the influential critic Clement Greenberg so opposed to her work. Hartigan was not aiming for a singular style but instead was exploring the options of what was available to her when it came to painting. This raises a question: why was it permissible, in Greenberg's thinking, for de Kooning or Pollock to make reference to the figure but not for Hartigan?"
Failing writes: "To evaluate the artist’s assertion that some of his ideas deserved 'survival on more than one stretch of canvas' requires a deep dive into his complex vision of relationships between mind, hand, and painting as an 'instrument.' ... In the exhibition’s catalogue and earlier publications, [curator David] Anfam cites evidence that Still conceived 'the real' from the vantage point of Platonic idealism, where 'the visible world is but an imperfect replica of the realm of ideas…. It’s the idea that’s fundamental for Still,' he emphasizes. 'The idea exists in the mind’s eye and in the imagination. Even if it springs from something observed in nature in the first sense, it lives within him on a metaphysical level. Physical printouts, as it were, can be done at will.'"
Blog post revisiting Geri Trotta's 195 profile of painter Wilfredo Lam, republished on the occasion of an exhibition of Lam's paintings at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, on view through February 15, 2016.
Trotta writes: "[Lam] works with one color at a time in a spurt of passion until he has put it everywhere he wants it. Then he sets it aside, goes on to the next color. He may use it later to mix into a new shade, but seldom returns to it in its original form... he pours a strong grass-green into what’s left of the near-black and makes an olive green. At first, its seems too dark. He adds more green, and lots of turpentine. He dips his brush in it, tests the color with a few strokes. All this time, he’s been using the same flat, bristle brush which he’s wiped on a rag in between changes of colors, or on the daisy-tiled floor that serves, quite casually, as a general palette. He puts the canvas back on the floor, pauses hesitantly, then covers the emerald with the olive-green, working as if pursued and muttering: 'There’s a moment in painting when everything must be stalked; either the work will be killed, or it will be born.'"
Malone notes that Ferren's work was "eclectic and wide ranging. What’s clear, even in the small Findlay exhibition, is how Ferren’s lifelong dedication to Zen and to the spiritual in art informed his many styles in ways that likely precluded enticements to choose just one... Ferren’s restive approach led him on many occasions to examine styles for a short period only. He did not so much work outside the mainstream as circle it continuously in a personal and highly meditative quest for meaning."
John Skoyles blogs about Milton Resnick: Painter in the Age of Painting, Geoffrey Dorfman's new manuscript about New York School painter Milton Resnick.
Skoyles writes: "The narrative contains transcriptions of interviews about the lives of artists of that period. Dorfman’s and Resnick’s sensibilities complement each other perfectly. As Dorfman notes, 'There are two voices running through this book: the artist’s and my own.' And the wisdom found here teaches lessons that apply across all the arts... What I love about this book is the humor and wit that runs through even the most dire accounts. Dorfman’s record of Resnick’s life is far from hagiography—after all, Dorfman knew Resnick well, and incorporates his failures as well as his triumphs."
Mattera writes: "I was most taken with the work from the last two decades of [Tworkov's] life. The title of the show, Mark and Grid, best describes the work on the second floor ... Gallery notes describe Tworkov in this period as 'a forerunner of post-minimalism.' I love that. The tension of the grid and the self-imposed limits of minimalism are here broken by the clear presence of the artist's hand. Marks, almost cursive, are contained within geometric compostitions which are, in turn, laid over a grid. The illusion of space--fractured, unfolding, or deeply dimensional--is strong in these works."
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.