Clark writes: "I am not at all sure that we have an answer to it as regards Blake as an artist: a critical answer, that is, a set of descriptions and evaluations, arguing not just about the sources and period character of Blake’s image-making but its aesthetic and cognitive power... Could there ever be a criticism of Blake as an image-maker that set itself the same task as the critics of his verse ...? ... All critics of the poet’s visual imagery, wishing to understand what they are looking at and feeling the weight of Blake’s words close by, inevitably turn to them for guidance. The poetry begins to enfold the image; it frames and informs it; it claims the image as an extension or intensification of prophecy. But is this what matters in [Los and Orc (1791)]? I think not. The image is great not by reason of what it may mean but by reason of its distinctness, its emptiness, the ferocious boundedness of its imagining of a (non-)meeting of bodies."
Couzens writes that von Heyl "is nothing if not flexible — canceling and subtracting intuitive moves, constructing unstable, open-ended formal juxtapositions into befuddling works that remain in a constant state of flux. We glimpse something almost recognizable before it dissolves into lyrical passages of swooning paint, only to be stopped dead by a flat-footed block of pigment shoring up tumorous appendages. But second looks offer different experiences of the same work. The only constant in von Heyl’s work is its continual renewal. She practices at the highest level, working against type, style and knowing. She interrupts herself and is not afraid to be clumsy, goofy or downright odd. She has referred to her process as 'brutal detachment,' erasing compositions by inserting 'some other element into it or over it, something that refuses to fit until it is a fact.' "
Mario Naves reviews the exhibition Gauguin: Metamorphoses at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on view through June 8, 2014.
Naves writes: "'Metamorphoses' is selective in its purview. A handful of paintings—some of them iconographic, a few rarely seen—are on view, but Gauguin’s works on paper, especially his prints and transfer drawings, predominate, with three-dimensional pieces in wood and clay providing a notable backdrop. Did the current vogue for inter-disciplinarity inspire the decision to highlight Gauguin, the man of many mediums? Whatever the case, the results are scholarly and often bracingly intimate. While MOMA’s claim that Gauguin 'more than any other major artist of his generation . . . drew inspiration from working across mediums' is curatorial hype—you’d think these folks had never heard of Edgar Degas—still, the exhibition does make an 'arguable' case for Gauguin’s 'innovative' approach to working on paper. As laid out at MOMA, Gauguin’s experiments in woodblock printing are considerably more evocative than the signature works on canvas."
Butler writes that the show features Kent's "buoyant silkscreen prints ... generated from the quirky shapes of unfolded cardboard boxes... I particularly liked 'Blue Nose' for the off-kilter stacking, scalloped line, and central blue painterly swirl that reminds me of Robert Mitchum's world-weary eyes--it seems to be watching us."
Mario Naves writes about the prints of Paul Resika on the occasion of the exhibition Paul Resika; Silent Poetry at Vandeb Editions, New York, on view through January 22, 2014.
Naves notes that "In Resika’s intaglio prints, gritty fields of aquatint are emboldened by staccato hatching; clubby lines dance upon zooming, milky expanses; and dense swaths of texture both set off and engulf Resika’s motifs: boats, lighthouses and nudes on the beach. All the while an encompassing range of gray, black and, at times, electric white imbue the proceedings with drama, mystery and, here and there, comedy."
Baker writes: "A century ago painters started to abandon the long tradition of picturing enterable spaces in which to stage narratives of events or observation. Yet the question where painting gets its content still haunts abstract work such as that of Erin Lawlor and Jenny Bloomfield... [Finnis'] odd artifacts draw meaning from echoes of Op art's dizzying patterns, from their use of arbitrary ready-made surfaces and from references - at which their titles hint - to obsolete or enduring computer technology."
Altoon Sultan blogs about a recent exhibition of Japanese prints at the Hood Museum of Art.
Sultan writes: "Images of the 'floating world'––ukiyo-e––a world of actors and courtesans, became a subject for prints in the late 17th century. The curators of this show chose to focus on the women of that world, leaving out the many images of famous actors. The compositions of the prints range from complex... to fairly simple; the color is subtle and harmonious. What most interests me, what I have chosen to focus on, in this group of prints is the way line flows gracefully from one form to the next, sometimes its curves are alongside the straight lines of architecture. Within the sinuous lines are patterns accentuating the form, or flattening it."
Caroline Menezes reviews the exhibition Fabricio Lopez – Várzeaat Mercedes Viegas Arte Contemporânea Gallery, Rio de Janeiro (on view through August 24 ) and interviews the artist about his work - large scale woodcuts and carved relief paintings.
Menezes writes that "it is rare to find an emerging artist who uses woodcut as his main artistic language, or attempts to explore new possibilities of artistic expression within woodcarving. For this reason, the work of the artist Fabricio Lopez is unexpectedly refreshing as he uses wood as the matrix of new ideas in arts... His printing procedure requires a gentle yet vigorous process. It involves his entire body dominating the wide expanse of paper surface that he employs to create large-format prints, which can measure up to 5m x 3m... For the artist, even the wooden plank that generates many different prints has a lifespan and at a certain point deserves to become an artwork itself. When this time comes, Lopez alters its surface and makes a painted relief that contains the memory of the many images it has already made, remnants of paper and ink like the ghosts of old impressions."
"Hokusai portrayed each waterfall differently, emphasizing the unique features of each site. He was the first Japanese woodblock print artist to focus on water as a design, and here we see the genius of his visual imagination. Although the Mt. Fuji series is better known, the Waterfalls series is considered Hokusai’s finest work in series form: each of the eight waterfall views is a masterpiece, and together they form an integrated whole greater than the sum of its parts."
Schwabsky draws an interesting comparison between the approaches of Cassatt and De Kooning, writing: "As odd as it might be to compare the intimist Cassatt to an Abstract Expressionist like de Kooning, the supposedly macho paint-slinger, the two had more in common than you’d think... Far from the cliché of 'action painting' as a rough and tumble of muscular effort, de Kooning thought that his painting was based on the perception that a person sitting in a chair might have of another person likewise seated, and realizing that amid all this sitting, the activity of perception encompasses all sorts of fugitive 'glimpses.' In this, he was only following the insights of Cassatt and her friends. The preponderance of seated figures among the more than sixty Cassatt prints on display should not delude one into imagining that her art celebrates passivity or ease. The probing, critical, self-revising edge of her testing lines and robust masses—her impatience with what has been done, and her tireless persistence in what is to be done next—was above all relentlessly active."
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.