Rooney writes: "In these canvases, scribbles, zips, and coarse gestural passages, often painted wet into wet, populate both large and small-scale compositions in a frenzy of energy and intent. Abstracted marks are offset by repeated figurative motifs—animal skulls, mechanical detritus, and rotting debris—vanitas symbols bloated and swollen by the loaded history that delimits their boundaries. Pablo Neruda’s like-titled book of poetry marks the departure point for this affecting solo exhibition, and indeed, the works read as poignantly as Neruda’s 1950 revisionist history of Latin America. The difference is that Gisholt’s narrative mines the contemporary American predicament as its source material, with the works’ feverish landscapes transposing man’s tenuous dominion over the natural world."
Tim Keane profiles painter and poet Basil King and reflects on King's 2011 book Learning to Draw / A History.
Keane writes: "Making sense of the world through painting and writing seems less imperative to King than preserving the impetus and the means to carry on with what he calls the “unnatural” labor of expression. Against the tendency to describe an artist’s uniqueness as a practically preordained set of ingenious adaptations and inspirations, in his memoir King tells of crucial accidents, detours, mistakes, and disturbances that led to masterpieces. Perseverance depends on ‘drawing,’ not only in the manual sense of putting a pencil to paper, but in constantly ‘drawing upon’ examples — the unique patterns and resistant practices of forbears and contemporaries, including many to whom King had personal access, such as Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Ad Reinhardt and Gene Swenson. In Learning to Draw, King takes the unfashionable approach of defining himself as a participant in a bigger project — the creation by artists of a “language of devotion.” Art is conceived not as a path, and certainly not a “career,” but as a locus of renewable energy. The result is a kaleidoscopic history built around discrete facts and archetypal parables in which its author is a walk-on player."
Rhodes writes: "Always conscious of the transient pleasures of the fugitive moment, Freilicher made paintings poignant with the passing of experience and never-to-be-retrieved time. As with Bonnard—but without that artist’s languorousness—it is the detail and atmosphere of unemphasized living that is presented, explored, and valued. There is an immediacy or 'quick light,' as Alex Katz has described it. Some simple objects on a shelf or small table, combined with a rural vista or city view, are often enough for a subject... 'Painter in the Studio' (1987) finds Freilicher behind the easel à la Velázquez, reflected in a vertical mirror positioned in the corner of a studio and flanked by windows opening onto a bucolic stretch of Long Island. The inside and outside of the room—and the real and reflected of the mirror—overlap in formal repetitions of tall rectangles, like a fugue extoling the constant two-way traffic between interior and exterior, consciousness and perception."
Greenwald writes: "The offhanded, intimate approach adopted by Freilicher and some of her fellow painters belies the critically important contributions these artists made to the canon of twentieth century art. One of the works in the show, Pierrot and Peonies, 2007, pays tribute to French Rococo painter Antoine Watteau. Watteau’s friendships with players from commedia dell'arte informed his work, with troupe members posing in costume for paintings depicting human dramas. In Freilicher’s work, too, the artist has gone outside the art world for a creative exchange. Her friendships with New York School poets have deepened her relationship to her surroundings and the paintings here are richer for it."
Jerome Rothenberg writes about Milton Resnick's poetry and posts three unpublished poems by the painter.
Rothenberg also writes that "Resnick was a very visible & dynamic artist when we met him in the early 1960s, but beyond that he was also a persistent practitioner of poetry, less in a public sense than as a release for feelings & ideas that were a necessary supplement to his life’s work as a painter" Rothenberg continues, noting that Resnick "left behind at least 16 envelopes of unpublished, often handwritten poetry with some 40 poems in each. The poems that follow (the last one in particular) were written in the desperation of his later years, when the overall brightness of his early abstractions had changed to figurative depictions of what I would take, rightly or wrongly, as the terror (still luminous) within."
Martin Herbert talks to Seamus Heaney about Titian, poetry, and painting on the occasion of he cross-disciplinary Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 sponsored by the National Gallery, London. The exhibition/event invited visual artists, poets, choreographers, and composers to respond to three Titian paintings in the National Gallery.
Heaney, Herbert writes, "chose to write about The Death of Actaeon – in, as he says, 'a sonnet and a half; 14 lines, then six.' ...In Titian's painting, a horror show of a scene glimpsed through the gorgeous brown blur of the Italian’s late loose paint handling – the atmospherics and dreamy openness, perhaps, creating room for another creator to later inhabit it – we see the hunter sprouting horns as the dogs race towards him... 'I always thought of the stag as the thing in that painting, and it was the physical weight of the antlers that I felt,' says Heaney, 'and at the end Ovid says about Actaeon's companions that they're cheering on the hounds. The irony of that, I felt, should be a bit cruel – cruel and ironical at the same time.”
Ann Knickerbocker blogs about the exhibition The Painted Word at Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, on view through July 14, 2012. The exhibition features visual artwork by Bay Area poets and writes including William Saroyan, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Rexroth, Jack Hirschman, Jess, Robert Duncan, Michael McClure, Jack Micheline, Henry Miller, Kenneth Patchen, Christopher Felver, John Keating, William S. Burroughs, and David Meltzer
Knickerbocker writes that the "show at Meridian pulls together writer/artists working from the mid-1940's to the 2010's and makes us SEE the fullness of what the arts are and, specifically, what painting and poetry might BE if we can only see them, combined."
William Benton writes about poet Elizabeth Bishop's virtually unknown work as a painter. As Benton describes, "Bishop enjoyed being innovative and invisible at the same time. As a painter, she discovered in the limited range of her skills an intrinsic value. To see it made it so. Meyer Shapiro, the distinguished art critic, said she 'writes poems with a painter’s eye.' " Benton is the author of Exchanging Hats a book about Bishop's paintings.
This post was found via Maureen Mullarkey's excellent blog Studio Matters. Studio Matters posts featured on Painters' Table can be found here.
Sue Hubbard reviews Anselm Kiefer, Des Meeres und der Liebe Wellen at White Cube in London. She writes: "... each work is an attempt at a moment of fixity in the continuous flux of the ocean. Gynaecological instruments superimposed on the surface of the works disrupt traditional Romantic readings and imply a desire for human intervention in the timeless cycles of birth and death... [Kiefer] has been criticised for being theatrical ... Yet in this increasingly frightening and unfettered world we need artists like Kiefer ... who are prepared to face what is tragic rather than endlessly celebrating what is glib, slick and ephemeral."
This post was found via Deborah Barlow's excellent blog Slow Muse. Slow Muse posts featured on Painters' Table can be found here.
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.