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.