Hughes writes that understanding Neel's personal tragedies and challenges made her life "difficult but uniquely nourishing for the kind of art she felt compelled to make. Living for most of her adult life in penury, she painted everyone she encountered on the streets of New York, from prostitutes to brush salesmen, museum curators to transsexuals... Her abiding subject, though, remained her extended family."
Esplund writes: "'Men in Armor' is an extraordinary show that builds dramatically when its paintings are allowed to speak for themselves, in dialogue, as they do here to great effect... Extremely detailed, almost fussy, Pulzone’s portrayal makes Boncompagni feel staged—nearly smothered by pomp and circumstance. This is accentuated by the painting’s enveloping black background, which threatens to swallow him; by the Weeble-like wobble of his ornate breeches, into which his torso is wedged like a mollusc into its shell; and by his pinched head, which teeters on his high lace collar like an egg in a cup... In El Greco’s tour de force, Anastagi’s plain black field armor is not symbolic window dressing but, rather, feels like a natural extension of the body, a second skin. Here El Greco merges wall and floor planes into a flat, vertical, airy field, which hovers ambiguously between room and landscape, between atmosphere and solid."
Sharon Butler posts an essay on the work of Deborah Brown by Paul D'Agostino, written for the exhibition Deborah Brown: Recent Paintings, curated by Matthew Neil Gehring at the Flecker Gallery at Suffolk Community College, Selden, New York. (through October 17, 2014).
D'Agostino concludes: "Infused with formal freeness, informed by freedom of imagination, embellished with brushy movement and broadly delightful palettes, Brown’s explorations into the pictorial and sculptural canon of art history are also, like Friedrich’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, self-aware. They are artworks about artworks, about painting’s potencies and potential, about its material reach. They are, like Friedrich’s hiker posing momentarily in a mountainous midst, both historically stilled and pictorially astir. Much like Friedrich’s work, moreover, Brown’s new paintings are about looking, observing, ingesting, encompassing. In the vast landscape of artworks that reside in her mind, Brown is perhaps that wanderer. The pictorial peak she has reached, where she pauses with an awed beholder’s inspired eyes, whistles and whirls with pensive echoes and reflective pride."
An extensive post about painter Lennart Anderson, including an apppreciation by Susan Jane Walp and and interview with Anderson by Larry Groff and Kyle Staver. The post also includes several videos about the artist.
Anderson remarks "When I was painting in the 50′s I was into what I call 'kissing color', things that were so close that you could hardly tell them from one to another, hardly tell them apart, what they were… I was into that and you could have something that was orange or pink. Well, de kooning was into that stuff too… maybe I got some of that from that kind of painting. But that is what I was doing to some extent… You can’t say that (about my work as a whole) on really essential pictures like Barbara – no one would say that I’m cheating cutting back down (on a full range of color value) on her… but I am because there’s no black. This is something I take on, what is the word… like a religion. The way I’ve taken it… there’s got to be space in the picture so there’s no black, the black is in the tube – once it goes out it’s part of the room, as it moves back into the picture it can’t be black..so that’s something I’ve used as my… sort of a rule...You can’t have a black if you’re painting nature."
Zachary Keeting and Christopher Joy visit the studio of painter Lennart Anderson.
Giving a tour of his studio, Anderson discusses a range of topics from the painting currently on his easel, to a painting he has been working on for 30 years, to working in spite of diminishing eye sight. "The idea that my eyes are bad makes one think that you're going to paint like an expressionist or sloppy or something," he comments, "but I found it was just the opposite. I was closer to Ingres than I was to Soutine or Kokoschka... it's very intense holding on to the line that has been measured."
Tina Engels interviews painter Anne Harris about her work.
Harris comments: "I think painting is fundamentally perceptual. It’s experienced in a sensory way. I don’t mean just seeing. Touch, movement, memory, imagination and emotion—all can be understood as perception, and all are involved when making paintings and looking at paintings. Painting from life, which I do, is another aspect of this. We each perceive the world differently: information passes through our senses to our minds, through our bodies to our hands, which then touch a surface to make marks that are specifically ours. That said, when I’m painting, I’m always looking at something. It may be that I’m just staring down the painting trying to figure out what it is, what belongs there, what’s next; or I may be looking at myself, or at a model or at other drawings or paintings in my studio."
Jennifer Samet interviews painter Jenny Dubnau about her work.
Dubnau comments that "there is so much editing when it comes to making any realist painting. The challenge lies in making a kind of poetry about the way things really are without straying too far. I don’t change the color or the details too radically; I hew closer to the truth, although I guess it’s all a lie anyway. At a certain point, I learned that the more resemblance to the actual person, the better my painting is. The more verisimilitude, the edgier the painting seems. Whenever I try to stray furthest from what was actually there, it doesn’t seem right.. I think in the contemporary art-world there’s a much-discussed suspicion of what we call 'skill' when it comes to contemporary painting, particularly realist painting. I find that to be a problem, because terrific art can look loose, tight, careful, or sloppy: there’s no one 'legitimate' style. Some people still project the whole history of academic painting onto representational painting made today. But sometimes, you look at representational painting and realize it is haunted by nothing, and that’s really exciting to me."
Painter Robin Williams reflects on Sylvia Sleigh's Annunciation: Paul Rosano (1975).
Williams notes: "I was first struck by [Sleigh's] somewhat naive approach to painting. She fixated on details, roving over a scene telescopically, describing textiles, hair follicles, or flower peddles with equal intensity. Surfaces seemed fetishized or eroticized, but playfully so. Perspectives were sometimes skewed or slightly flattened, revealing her desire to focus on parts rather than the whole. I noticed how this “naive” perspective, instead of invalidating the work, lent it a tranquil sense of painterly equanimity. Her pieces seemed indifferent to the visual hierarchy that defines space, distance, or remove. Sleigh’s eyes were an equalizing force and connected her with her subjects in a way that felt personal and political. In Annunciation, she observed the overflowing garden, the character of specific types of body hair and the minute flecks of light that unified the day. Each represented element seemed to be made from the same molecular makeup, striving to exist on the same plane."
Sharon Butler blogs about two exhibitions - Don't Look Now at Zach Feuer in New York (closed) and New Image Painting at Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago (August 23 - October 4, 2014).
Butler writes that both shows "[suggest] that a renewed interest in traditional genres--portrait, still life, landscape--is thriving within the painting community... That galleries are positioning a new kind of painting to replace what they (and many critics) see as a tired form of abstraction is a salutary development and very different from the days when the objectness of Minimalism, performance, installation, and electronic media challenged painting."
Haber writes that the show "brings together the five paintings of the Altamira family... The Met has borrowed the oldest son from a private collection, the middle son from the Cleveland Museum. The father comes from the show’s co-sponsor, the Banco de España, and the mother and daughter from the Met’s Lehman Collection. The boy in red, though, is right at home. Regular visitors to the museum will know Manuel well from the silvery white of his broad collar, delicate sleeves, and bowed shoes, along with the broad sash around his waist. ... To Manuel’s other side, cats eye a magpie with tense black and yellow eyes, and one may take a moment to spot the third and darkest cat lurking behind. The boy keeps the black and white bird on a string passing through both hands, with the steady raised arms of an impresario."
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.