Claude Smith profiles painter John Phillip Abbott, whose work is the subject of two exhibitions: Turquoise Sunset at Devening Projects + Editions, Chicago (on view from January 10 - February 13, 2016) and On Any Sunday at Pierogi Gallery, New York, (on view from January 8 – February 7, 2016).
Smith writes: "'Tennis,' 'Cosmos,' 'Pontiac,' 'Zen,' and 'Fortuna' are some of the words that find their way into Abbott’s compositions; diaristic words that create an association to past experience and memory. While they often have deeply personal meanings, their ambiguity leaves room for multiple interpretations."
Carrier writes: "A little suspicious of the intrinsic power of visual images, Collins-Fernandez ... turns to words, gathered from overheard city conversations, and fabrics, materials that have a very different visual identity... Her materials, she rightly says, 'produce a density of emotion and meaning which I am interested in reproducing in my paintings.' Here of course she joins a long tradition of art drawing upon the contemporary urban environment. Langberg, on the other hand, wants that his paintings be presentations of visual desire. Not just of his personal desires—rather, 'I want my work to speak of things we all share such as friendship, intimacy, and pleasure.' In setting up this opposition between Langberg and Collins-Fernandez, however, I do not mean to underestimate their common concerns. When Collins-Fernandez says, 'you put a lot of yourself out there to see what will stick,' I believe that she speaks for both of them."
Kalina writes: "As Duchamp was wont to do, Bochner pushes up against the resistant core of the quotidian—the unknown and the unknowable residing in the obvious and the ordinary. Language functions as the fundamental form of abstraction we engage with on a daily basis—so fundamental that we hardly see it at all, much less recognize it as an abstract and abstracting entity. It is the mental air we breathe and we ignore it unless it is taken away from us or is, in some sense, poisoned or damaged. In Bochner’s case, the abstraction of language naturally allies itself with the abstraction of painting. Art that deals directly with language confronts, of necessity, its essential abstraction, its simultaneous referencing of and removal from physical experience, as well as its tendency to hide in plain sight."
Noor Brara interviews painter Rochelle Feinstein about her recently completed series of paintings, on view at On Stellar Rays, New York through May 11, 2014.
Feinstein comments: "The 'Love your work' phrase is something that I'd heard for years, and I think it's still in play. It's one of the most awkward phrases to use because if you're the one saying it—often you're called upon to say something—it's not that it's necessarily insincere, but it's sufficient only for the moment, when you can't think of anything better to say... I was thinking of it coming from a comic book. In a comic book, the bubble is attached to the character speaking—they can't go back on what they said. I think if I used quotes or any other kind of punctuation for the work, it would be suggesting a linguistic structure outside of that particular phrase. It wouldn't be as 'spoken,' and would perhaps signify a kind of assigned meaning, which is exactly what I'm questioning the existence of."
Roche writes that in Schor's new work "interplay between above and below is key. Chthonic means underground and the concept of lying fallow has deep meaning for the artist. Her paintings—largely ink and oil on gesso on linen—suggest that underground can be a time/place of regeneration, contemplation and renewal. Schor’s fallow isn’t about being dormant, clearly. It’s a time of 'productive anonymity,' which she aligns with 'experimentation' and 'benign neglect,' in opposition to 'celebrity culture' and 'austerity measures'—all words found in Conditions of Contemporary Practice. In the luscious, nocturnal Morning in America, we find the avatar nestled below ground like a seed, protected against so much hovering verbiage, dreaming of benign neglect (as in leave me alone vs. abandonment). But underground is not always fertile or productive. Sometimes the avatar is pitched into the earth or uprooted, like the 100-year-old tree near Schor’s apartment during Hurricane Sandy, another experience of collective precarity entering this body of work."
Christopher Knight reviews the exhibition Mark Dutcher: Transfer at Coagula Curatorial, Los Angeles, on view through October 19, 2013.
Knight writes: "Together, Joan Mitchell and Jasper Johns would seem to be an unlikely pair of inspirations for a new body of paintings, but there they are hovering in the background of 10 lovely recent works by Mark Dutcher. Two kinds of nominal handwriting -- gestural abstraction and a recognizable vocabulary of painted signs -- slip and slide across the surfaces of his canvases, as if perpetually merging and fading away."
Sharon Butler posts a conversation between Mira Schor and Stuart Horodner from the 2013 College Art Association Conference. Schor's solo exhibition Chthonic Garden will be on view at CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles, from October 19 - December 8, 2013.
In the CAA interview, Schor discusses her development as a artist and speaks about choosing to paint: "I tried to bring the essence of painting, which was under attack, to feminism and to feminist theory." She also comments on her interest in language as image, noting that she turned to "handwriting as a trace of self and a form of address... whether or not you can read the text, you got the impression of language... I paint in English, that means that it might not be understandable, but I would hope that somebody looking at the work would say: 'This is language, I know language.' "
Marchand writes: "The work in the show 'Years of Pretty' rides back and forth between a concreteness of the written and the derangement of visual language. Mr. Schumacher’s extensive collection of drips, jabs, slashes swirls, swipes and arabesques cribbed from the abstract lexicon is never secondary to the civilizing nature of text. Unexpectedly the interplay between the two systems of language causes them to take on aspects of the other... The show has an enthusiasm and generosity that seems at odds with the history of abstraction, so it’s not hard to imagine why Mr.Schumaker would want to set the discourse surrounding abstraction adrift."
Alan Gouk argues that visual art and language share little in common.
Gouk writes: "the relationship of words, either spoken or written, to 'things,' is a world away from that of visual sensation to its pictorial presentment. The pictographic representation of a tree has a morphological link to its object – this means that its significatory function is radically different from that of sign to 'thing' in writing. In developed languages the link between signs and their objects has become arbitrary; not the case when it comes to painting. It is much closer to 'reality' (however defined) than is the word."
He continues: "In writing what may have begun as a pictographic sign is quickly modified by the act of writing itself, the flow of the implement used etc., into a kind of short-hand in which the original sign is transformed until its pictorial element is lost. Not so in art, painting or drawing; here the short-hand – dots and dashes of paint or line retain their direct visual role and are continually brought back into a correspondence with the 'facts' of visual sensation (even in abstraction)."
Abbott comments: "I’ll often begin painting with acrylic and brush, or spray paint. Referencing the grid, with stripes, dots, diamonds, etc. I know the 'sweet spot' will be arrived at when these layers, applied relatively quickly, will be overlapped with the perceived accurateness of the tape and slowness of it’s application. Eventually there is a zeroing in, and this is when a loss of time occurs and I find myself concerned only with the success of the image. In that moment, nothing else matters."
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.