David Rhodes reviews the recent exhibition Cézanne Site/Non-site at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
Rhodes writes that in the exhibition "two concepts coined by the New York artist Robert Smithson during the 1960s have been used to explore aspects of the landscape and still life paintings of Paul Cézanne. For Smithson 'site' was the outdoors and 'non-site,' the studio... In 1967 Smithson argued that Cézanne’s formal achievements had been over emphasized — beginning with the Cubists — at the expense of the important relationship he believed the paintings held to location and environment. Although it might actually seem impossible, to overestimate Cézanne’s formal impact on painters who came after him – only two names need be mentioned, Matisse and Picasso – the consideration of the physical context in the production of Cézanne’s painting is indeed very rewarding. The exhibition rigorously explores the dialectic between open air and studio, convincingly demonstrating an eventual synthesis of the hitherto mutually exclusive experiences. Whereas the impressionists concentrated on landscape alone, Cézanne consistently painted both landscape and still life, eventually seeking to integrate the two, erasing the boundaries (both imaginary and physical) of inside and outside."
Paul Corio reviews the exhibitions Cellblock I and Cellblock II: An Essay In Exhibition Form at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. The two-part show, curated by Robert Hobbs, is on view through February 2, 2013. Together the shows feature a large group of artists including: Alice Aycock, Peter Halley, Robert Motherwell, Sterling Ruby, Robert Smithson, and Kelley Walker.
Corio writes that three works in the show by Robert Motherwell "present an excellent place from which to begin a fresh look into abstraction as an entity that’s not strictly literal and reductive. Motherwell was an artist who was especially resistant to the idea of making a picture devoid of external references, and even when he turned to geometric abstraction, arguably the most aggressively abstract genre of painting, the pictures still talked about issues outside of their own existence and materiality..."
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.