David Sweet looks at the role of detail in abstract painting through the work of Robert Holyhead, Mali Morris, and Juan Usle.
Sweet writes that unlike these painters "there are plenty of current practitioners whose work, which is abstract by default, contains lots of superimposed, busy, ornamental passages, but who treat detail casually, as though it is a relatively trivial matter. In an era of high definition, however, the resolution which detail brings, whether handled intelligently or not, appears to be an increasingly important, even essential part of a contemporary pictorial strategy."
Adele M. Reed reviews the recent exhibition Robert Holyhead at Peer Gallery, London.
Reed writes: "Running across the first three walls are three rows of small 'drawings' set out in a grid-like narrative reflecting the stream of creative consiousness that Holyhead travels through before starting work on each final major piece. They present less a particular subject or story than a mood or reaction to shapes, colour and line. . Although appearing hastily made each sketch, 21.1 x 15.2 cm in size, felt extremely organic and simple, a method reflecting the fascinating beauty of the natural world... The same washed-out watercolour style is imitated in the oils, an alternative which seems far less straight-forward but distinctly more important. The paintings look best close-up, when the eye can pluck out every single brush-stroke and thumb smear made by extracting paint from the canvas; on some paintings I could make out the soft lines of a finger-nail engraved into the surface as part of the application or de-application of paint."
David Sweet reviews two exhibitions Robert Holyhead at Peer Gallery, London (through July 7, 2012) and Geoffrey Rigden at Poussin Gallery, London (through June 30, 2012).
Sweet writes that "outside of the issues of art criticism of a formalist sort, one might end up wondering about the contemporary positioning of these two painters and the politics of the different surfaces that each produce. Rigden's crustiness harks back to the rough finish of 20th century canvasses while Holyhead's smooth and shiny glazing evokes the uninterrupted texture of photography and screen based media."
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.