Dan Coombs reviews an exhibition of works by Albert Oehlen at The Zabludowicz Collection, London, on view through August 11, 2013.
Coombs writes that Oehlen "seems to sustain his practice through a belief in painting’s formal possibilities. He is ... willing to get lost in colour, shape and line. The more recent work is intense and compelling. Yet Oehlen never lets go of the tension that exists between an idea of painting as an aesthetic act, and the idea of painting as an act with political implications. A political question lurks inside his work. He seems to be asking – what sort of agency do I have in the world? Am I creating something here, or am I just reconfiguring what already exists? Am I rebelling or am I in fact being acquiescent? There’s also a utopian impulse – to make failure into virtue, to redeem failure, awkwardness and inarticulacy by making them articulate."
[VIDEO] Painter Vija Celmins discusses her paintings from 1964 -1966 which are the subject of the exhibition Vija Celmins: Television and Disaster on view through June 5, 2011 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Celmins' paintings of the period are "characterized by violent themes such as crashing warplanes, smoking handguns, and other images of death and disaster influenced by the violence of the era and the mass media that represented it."
Celmins on the use of a mostly gray palette to render violent imagery:
"The paintings themselves are kind of restrained... and sometimes kind of tenderly painted... because I thought that restraint was kind of an inherent part of painting and I should try to come to terms with it... and this was my first attempt to do that."
Celmins on why her work changed after 1966:
"Something within me said 'You learned all these things from all these other guys, like de Kooning, the surface, the love of the surface, the more abstract kind of attitude,' and I just, dropped the whole thing."
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.