Behnke writes: "In Ionian, the ready pictorial convention of an interior room that opens to an expansive outdoor view is abstracted to the point that portions of the picture plane begin to function non-objectively. While the upper right corner seems to recede into a blue expanse, this reading is quickly subverted by a form, flattened by pattern, that seems to enter the room space from a distance but upends the traditional perspective by immediately bringing any such reading to a halt as it is cross cut by a thick, black line. This line induces an abrupt, sharp change in the reading of the space by yanking the yellow and red striped form into the interior space and smashing it flat ... All of these elements; interior and exterior, natural and plastic, pattern and uninterrupted expanse, all work together to disrupt a common reading of space or to blend that reading with plastic concerns to jolt the viewer from a state of complacency and sureness."
Panel Discussion: A panel discussion presented in collaboration with The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation will be held at the gallery Thursday, December 4 at 6:00 pm. Panelists will include: Raphael Rubinstein (moderator), Geoffrey Dorfman, Louise Fishman, Ruth Miller, Michael Walls, and Karen Wilkin.
A must-see show of early works by Pat Passlof is on view at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, New York through December 20. Organized in conjunction with the Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation, this exhibition charts the earliest years of Passlof’s career from her studies with Willem de Kooning to her first exhibitions at the historic, artist-run March Gallery on Tenth Street. Passlof’s paintings from this period tell the story of a talented, audacious painter coming of age during a legendary decade of New York painting.
Passlof began the decade as a student, and one cannot discuss her paintings of the 1950s without addressing the influence of her teacher Willem de Kooning. After seeing an exhibition of de Kooning’s work at Charles Egan Gallery, Passlof sought his instruction, first at Black Mountain College and later as a private student in New York. 1 Tasked with “tightly rendered still lifes,” 2 Passlof embraced abstraction on her own as “a form of insubordination.” In her own words, she “took to abstraction like a feather to wing” rapidly adopting (and mastering) her teacher’s incisive, whiplash drawing style and his ability to evoke complex spatial architectures while maintaining the integrity of the picture plane. 3 Although the earliest paintings in the show find the young Passlof actively learning from de Kooning’s example (Asheville (1948) and Woman, Wind, and Window II (1950) come to mind), they are utterly fearless in their execution; one senses the student challenging the master at his own game.
The full and open nature of even her most youthful pictures also suggests that Passlof absorbed de Kooning’s belief in a cultured, holistic view of painting. “Spiritually I am wherever my spirit allows me to be,” he wrote in 1951, “and that is not necessarily in the future.” 4 This sense of the timeless nature of art seems to have stayed with with Passlof who consistently challenged her own gift for gestural abstraction against works of the past, and an insistent (if veiled) attention to the world around her.
Schor writes: "I figure that since the show is divided into two parts, installed along two separate sections of the space, with one side featuring the works of women artists who are deceased, and the other side featuring those of us still among the living, I feel that I can safely recommend the dead without incurring controversy among the other living artists in the show or referring to my own work in it or the ramifications of the word 'lady, ' which I know has stirred some controversy. Curator Jason Andrew of Norte Maar has assembled some terrific work in this show, a diverse group of works by notable artists and artists that some may be less familiar with, and in each case has included a very good example of the artist’s work, and in some cases quite a surprising one. Again, I am just talking about the dead. The works are grouped in open bays or booths, creating in effect small mini-exhibitions with some interesting synergies."
Panero writes: "It’s too bad that the language of music cannot apply to visual art. We all know there’s a difference between a tenor and a soprano, yet we value them equally. In fact, opera is rather dull without both. The same holds true for the voices of painters or sculptors. With its concentration of abstract artists, 'To be a Lady' suggests, in particular, why women’s voices have been essential to the evolution of modernism. Even without pivotal figures on display like Helen Frankenthaler, the lady who made the men look like boys, 'To be a Lady' suggests how women have advanced an abstract language that is thankfully free of distracting male quavers. Without macho bluster, the works here can settle into contemplative, often symmetrical compositions."
Thomas Micchelli writes about the exhibition To be a Lady: Forty-Five Women in the Arts curated by Jason Andrew, organized by Norte Maar, on view at 1285 Avenue of the Americas Art Gallery, New York through January 18, 2013.
To be a Lady, Micchelli notes, is a show of "startling scale, ambition and quality: a museum-caliber exhibition unenclosed by museum walls." He continues: "One of the ironies of To Be a Lady (implicit in its title, which Andrew asserts is meant as a provocation) is that the pieces derived from traditional notions of domesticity — 'women’s work' in the not-gender-neutral term — are often the most aggressive... Aggressiveness is on full display in conventional media as well, with tough and jagged paintings by Pat Passlof, Elizabeth Condon, Grace Hartigan, Mira Schor, Brooke Moyse and, with a marked acidity, Elizabeth Murray."
Joe Walentini reviews the exhibition Pat Passlof on view at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, on view through December 23, 2011.
Walentini remarks: "The place to begin with this exhibition is witnessing the absolute, unfettered joy evident in the paint handling. The paintings begin life intuitively loose, eventually find their way to defining the forms and finally, their various resolutions... an eloquent balance is established between the emotion of the paint and texture – and - a compositional structure obliquely referencing a grid."
David Cohen provides a moving tribute to painter Pat Passlof who passed away on November 13, 2011 at the age of 83. An exhibition of her recent work will be on view at Elizabeth Harris Gallery from November 19 - December 23, 2011.
Cohen writes: "The world has lost a very remarkable painter in Pat Passlof, who died on Sunday on the eve of a new exhibition of her work. Equally it has lost a very special human being... We sometimes forget how generous painting can be, as the making of it has antisocial requirements. In Passlof’s case, generosity comes across in the way her images are constituted equally of integrity and finesse: brimful of beauty, but uncompromising in rigor and resolution."
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.