Briggs comments: "Basically, I'm always working out of personal need and want my work to reflect my life. This has been true of my abstract work as well as the representational work. Previously with the Painter Man series, I worked in a narrative way because I needed to tell a story. Once I told that story, the need to make explicitly narrative work went away. Gradually I returned full circle to my first love of abstract painting. The newer work draws on my long histories with both abstraction and commercial painting. A painting can begin anywhere and end anywhere. For example, a painting could begin or end with the application of the round paint skein that forms in the can of the alkyd house paint that I use. I can do a large painting in a day and I just recently finished one that took 2 years to complete, so it's always different and it's that lack of a system that fascinates me. My process asks a lot – both of me and the viewer."
Rick Briggs blogs about the work of painter Dona Nelson, whose exhibition Phigor is on view at Thomas Erben Gallery, New York through May 17, 2014.
Briggs writes: "One of the relative constants amidst the variety of these paintings is the previously mentioned imprint of the grid of the stretcher and crossbars on the canvas. Nelson’s grids function as compositional scaffolds for the painting’s riot of material complexity and brightly colored images; they also act as direct indexical markers regarding the physical structure of the painting. Nelson’s constantly points to painting as both image and object. Similarly, in “Red and Green Noses,” she sews lengths of colored string through the canvas, front to back and back and forth, before knotting them off – the line, both literally and figuratively, ties the two sides together. In a recent artist’s statement regarding this interdependence of the two sides, Nelson spoke of her fascination with 'the way in which two very different visual and physical manifestations can be inseparable from and, indeed, create each other.' "
Thomas Micchelli reviews the exhibition Let’s Get Physical at Ventana 244, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, curated by Rick Briggs. The show features work by Jonathan Allmaier, Yevgeniya Baras, Rick Briggs, Chris Martin, Dona Nelson, Jackie Saccoccio, Russell Tyler, Maria Walker, and Chuck Webster.
Micchelli writes: "The kind of work found in this show, which avoids 'narrating or signifying' almost completely and makes a point of exposing the processes of its construction, is especially redolent of the artists’ 'fundamental manner of being;' their instincts, impulses and intelligence are woven into the manifold layers of attack, alteration and resolution. Through their formal and expressive thoroughness, these paintings, which present the viewer with obdurate abstraction, thingness and even hermeticism, draw us into their orbit not by what is splashed across the surface but by the physical manifestations of their creators’ thoughts, emotions and sense perceptions."
Katherine Bradford interviews painter Rick Briggs about his work.
Discussing the development of his work, Briggs comments that in the 80s he was "recording all the things I'd done to my place: replacing windows, spray painting, repairing the floor, etc. They were the kind of goofy, embarrassing drawings I never would have considered art but they absolutely do make sense as presaging the Painter Man series. I heard Guston once say that painting was an opportunity to embarrass yourself. I found that so shocking. I do think of my going from a reductive organic abstraction to a Pop narrative series based on a painter, albeit a house painter/artist, was my homage to Guston's challenge to 'embarrass yourself.' And you're right, Kathy, that figuration and abstraction were two very distinct activities back then. Remember when the abstract shapes in Elizabeth Murray's paintings first took on a figurative form? It seemed so radical then. Nowadays, it seems much easier to move freely between abstraction and representation. That's an aesthetic position I fully embrace."
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.