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."
Phong Bui interviews painter Alfred Leslie on the occasion of the exhibition Alfred Leslie: 10 Men at Janet Borden Gallery, New York, on view through November 25, 2015.
Leslie comments: "I always felt people are open if you can catch them off guard. You can get them to see something that they may not have been able to see before. The idea was by making the paintings big, you eliminated all of the nuances of prettiness, which could be seen as distractions. If you can get their attention for even one second, perhaps even keep them from moving, just standing there looking, no matter where they’re from, the minute they ask, 'what’s going on?' You’ve got them! If you can get them to think about what it is they’re seeing, what it is they’re thinking about, it can perhaps lead to other thoughts about themselves or the world inside and the world outside. All of which are a part of the human condition for sure."
Jillian Steinhauer previews Women of Abstract Expressionism which will be on view at the Denver Art Museum from June 12, 2016 – September 25, 2016, and talks to the exhibition’s organizer, Gwen Chanzit about the show.
Chaznit comments: "Most [of the exhibited artists] were not fully acknowledged in their time. Though many showed in exhibitions along with men, this was a time when societal opportunities for women were limited. It’s not so surprising that Abstract Expressionism, like other movements, has largely been defined by male painters; yet in this case, their male-ness, their heroic machismo spirit, has become a defining characteristic of the expansive gestural paintings of Abstract Expressionism. But process and experimentation with materials weren’t exclusive to men; they are also evident in paintings by women. Many female painters also responded to personal triggers in their own firsthand experience; some abstractions might even be thought of as interior, emotional gesture. This exhibition endeavors to expand what we know of the movement to include canvases by women of Abstract Expressionism that express compelling points of view by individuals who were individual in every sense."
McNay writes: "Mural (1943) expounds a tension between emotional outburst and Pollock’s command of style, form and handling – something he maintained, even in his apparently automatic and uncontrolled pouring works to come. There is an emotive mix of the public and the private and the larger brushstrokes seem to breathe, expel air and revitalise. Colours of life (yellow, red, green) intermingle with that of death (black) and there are many different forms of mark-making, including some flicking and speckling – the first forerunners of his (in)famous dripping and pouring. The viewer is carried in a whirlwind of motion across the canvas, picked up, propelled, dropped down, swallowed into the deep vortices, spun around, and picked up again. Across the top, heads appear, thrown back, mouths agape, screaming – echoing the horrors of Guernica. But this is not a horrific work. It is not unsettling, despite the storm of movement and outpouring of feeling. It is vigorous, compelling and hopeful."
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.